For its 2016 Season, the NATIONAL YOUTH BALLET OF GREAT BRITAIN will present a special programme of performances celebrating its inspirational Founder and Artistic Director Jill Tookey, who passed away in March this year. The 2016 National Youth Ballet Company will perform at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 August, with a special Memorial Gala performance at Sadler’s Wells on Sunday 4 September.
Over three decades, Jill Tookey quietly became one of the industry’s most influential dance leaders, inspiring generations of young dancers and choreographers, many of whom have embarked upon successful professional careers after their time with NYB. Jill was appointed a CBE for services to dance in the 2016 New Year Honours, and on Thursday 9 June this will be presented at Buckingham Palace to her ten-year-old granddaughter, and 2016 NYB company member, Gabriella Rummery.
The 2016 programme of performances will showcase highlights from National Youth Ballet’s 29-year history through some of Jill’s favourite commissions. These include The Old Man of Lochnagar, a ballet based on the children’s book by HRH The Prince of Wales, choreographed by Olivier Award winner and NYB alumnus Drew McOnie. NYB’s innovative Beyond Ballet platform will also return, showcasing young choreographic talents presenting their own works. The Memorial Gala performance at Sadler’s Wells will also include new commissions and performances from returning alumni including choreographer Andrew McNicol, West End performer Lucinda Lawrenceand Birmingham Royal Ballet first artist Ruth Brill.
The 2016 Season is led by Artistic Director in Residence Mikah Smillie, a graduate of the Royal Ballet School’s Teachers Training Course, Associate Artist for Re:Bourne, mentor for NYB’s Beyond Ballet choreographic platform, teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and freelance rehearsal director.
Mikah Smillie said today: “Jill Tookey was an extraordinary tour de force and the mastermind behind a pioneering company of young talented dancers. The dedication, cross department collaborations and innovation created memorable performances and resulted in young artists being exposed to high level production values and professionalism from very early on. Jill’s humour, tenacity and bravery to aim for the unachievable has left a significant mark and it is my honour and pleasure to help guide this Season in the celebration of NYB’s wonderful achievements and to help open the doors into a bright new future.”
National Youth Ballet involves talented young dancers aged 8 to 18 in every aspect of creating a ballet, from the conception of an idea through to performance on stage at a professional level. The Company also encourages children from all walks of life to become involved with dance through schools and community workshops. NYB utilises the skills of students in associated arts and encourages the talents of young designers, costumiers, musicians and student teachers in the preparation and production of all their work. Through the Beyond Ballet platform, the Company also nurtures young choreographic talent, supporting young choreographers in devising and showcasing their own works at professional level. This year 120 dancers from across the country were offered places with the Company, and will perform in the 2016 season.
Notable NYB alumni include Drew McOnie (choreographer), Sir Gregory Dean (Principal at Royal Danish Ballet), Jessica Brown Findlay (Actress, Downton Abbey) and Tyrone Singleton (Principal at Birmingham Royal Ballet), as well as many alumni working for leading companies including Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. Patrons include Carlos Acosta, Sir Matthew Bourne, Darcey Bussell, Joanna Lumley, Dame Monica Mason, Wayne Sleep and Sir Peter Wright.
26th – 27th August 2016
Hath Theatre, Crawley
2:30pm & 7:30pm
Tickets: £20.00, Children £14.00, Groups: 1 free for every 10