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The Haringey Independent
January 28, 2014

Jasper Arran, 17, has been accepted at Central School of Ballet (photo Haringey Independent) 2014[London, England] – A late start did not stop a Haringey schoolboy who dreams of being a top dancer from winning a place at a leading ballet school. Former Alexandra Park School student Jasper Arran, 17, was one of only 39 pupils accepted to study at the Central School of Ballet in London when it held auditions for more than 400 applicants in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Italy, and Japan.

Jasper has been dancing since he was 13, while the school’s director Sara Matthews said most successful students have been dancing since primary school.

Relative inexperience hasn’t stopped Jasper, who has just completed his first term. He said: “You have to be dedicated to make it to the top of this profession but it’s my dream to be a dancer at one of the leading ballet companies when I graduate. The training is very challenging, similar to the training of the best athletes, but we are all motivated by the rewards of performing.”

During his final year, Jasper will join the school’s touring company, Ballet Central, which aims to give CSB students first-hand experience of professional dance.

Graduates from CSB go on to join the top dance companies all over the world, including the English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, National Ballet of Estonia, Slovakia Ballet and Singapore Dance Theatre.

Copyright 2014 Newsquest

By Jim Palmer
The News Shopper
December 5, 2013

James Parratt, 17, will attend the Central School Of Ballet (photo by Bill Cooper) 2013A Beckenham [England] schoolboy has won a place at one of Europe’s premier schools for dance. Seventeen-year-old James Parratt has been accepted onto the exclusive degree course at Central School of Ballet.

More than 400 aspiring dancers applied this year – with auditions in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Italy and Japan – but James was one of only 39 to be offered the chance for professional training.

A former Harris Academy, James picked up 10 GCSEs and studied dance at the Penny Taylor School of Dancing in Lewisham.

He said: “I’m enjoying settling into my first term at Central School of Ballet – it’s been hard work but fun too. We train at least six hours a day during the week and take classes on Saturday morning as well. You have to be dedicated to make it to the top of this profession but it’s my dream to be a dancer at one of the leading ballet companies when I graduate. The training is very challenging, similar to the training of the best athletes, but we are all motivated by the rewards of performing.”

© Copyright 2013 Newsquest

Mid-Ulster Mail
September 11, 2013

Ruaidhri Maguire, 19, won bronze from National Youth Theatre 2013[Londonderry, Northern Ireland] – A 19-YEAR-OLD ballet dancer from Moneymore has picked up the National Youth Theatre bronze statuette which is presented annually for outstanding work within the company. Ruaidhri Maguire, a former pupil of Methodist College, Belfast, and presently studying at the Central School of Ballet, received the accolade last Saturday (August 31).

Ruaidhri took time out from his busy schedule to talk to the MAIL last week before he started back for his new term on Monday (September 9).

The young dancer has just completed his first year at CSB, one of only 39 pupils accepted for a place on this three year degree course, a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance (validated by the University of Kent).

The teenager began dancing at the age of nine and was a participant in the popular annual Ballet Workshops which are held at the Burnavon every August.

“I absolutely love the Central School of Ballet. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a career choice for me, but it’s very expensive having to buy things like shoes. And living in London is expeneive too – apart from the student loan and the student maintendance I don’t have any other support,” he said.

Going into second year, Ruaidhri is looking forward to a busy term. And at the end of his training he hopes to secure a contract which will enable him to perform with a chosen company.

Although he enjoys life at the ballet school, students are expected to work hard. “It’s a long day,” he said. “We start at 8:45pm and finish at 6pm. As a boy I don’t really have to worry too much about my diet, but I do make sure I eat a lot of protein,” he said.

For now, Ruaidhri is on his toes for another unforgettable term.

© 2013 Johnston Publishing Ltd.

The Star
Photograph by Bill Cooper
January 10, 2013

Talented Connor is delighted to win coveted place on dance degree course.

Ballet student Connor Taylor[South Yorkshire, England] – A Real-life Billy Elliott is making big steps in the world of ballet by following his dancing dream. Talented Connor Taylor is tipped for the top after winning a place at London’s Central School of Ballet.

And the Denaby Main teenager’s tale bears striking resemblances to the hit film about a youngster from a northern mining village who makes it big in the world of ballet.

Former Wath St Pius School pupil Connor, aged 17, was one of just 39 pupils – out of 350 who auditioned – to win a coveted place on the school’s unique degree course in Professional Dance and Performance.

Connor, of Alvaston Walk, was put through his paces in rigorous auditions, that take place over five months in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Italy and Japan.

He has danced since the age of 10 and built on his ability at the Northern Ballet Academy in Leeds.

He said: “I’ve completed the first term and it’s hard work but fun. We train at least six hours a day during the week and take classes on Saturday mornings. You have to be dedicated to make it to the top, but it’s my ultimate dream to be at one of the leading ballet companies and to play the prince in Swan Lake.

“The training is similar to that of the best athletes, but we are all motivated by the rewards of performing in front of an audience.”

Connor said his family initially balked at the idea of him becoming a ballet dancer, but he now has their full support – his dad John was an accomplished tap dancer in his youth, but none of his four siblings have taken up ballet.

Sara Matthews, Central School of Ballet director, said: “Only the most talented and dedicated students are accepted here, but ballet is no longer an elitist profession. We have a long history of accepting students from a range of social and economic backgrounds.”

For his third year of study, Connor will join the school’s touring company Ballet Central.

Sara said: “We are the only vocational ballet school able to offer our students an honours degree and this level of touring experience. Ballet Central continues to be a springboard into the top international dance companies. Dancers live to perform so touring is a much anticipated part of our three year curriculum.”

Recent CSB students are currently dancing with the most prestigious ballet companies, both in the UK and internationally.

In the hit 2000 film, youngster Billy, who hails from the north east, defies his tough working-class mining family to become a ballet dancer, landing a place at the Royal Ballet School and eventually starring in Swan Lake.

© 2013 Johnston Publishing Ltd

The Lincolnshire Echo
Photograph by Tim Cross
November 28, 2011

A schoolboy from Lincoln has been selected to train at a ballet school which has turned out stars for some of the biggest dance companies in the world. At just 16, Thomas Arnold has started studying a three-year degree in professional dance and performance at the Central School of Ballet (CSB), in London.

He was one of only 38 pupils accepted from more than 420 applicants for a place on the course. The school has seen performers go on to dance with the English National Ballet, Ballet Ireland, Ballet Boyz and the Singapore Ballet.

“I started dancing after I went with my mum to her tap class when I was four,” said Thomas, from the West Parade area of the city. I’m not quite sure what keeps me so focused, but I like the competition ballet offers. There is always something to work for, you can never be perfect. My ambition is to go on and do this professionally.

“Starting this course there is a lot of work done on training; it’s all about ironing out bad habits and starting fresh. My parents are very proud.”

Thomas spends around six hours a day doing ballet and other types of dance such as contemporary movement and Spanish styles. The other three hours of the working day – which he attends Monday to Friday as well as Saturday morning – are spent on academic work which makes up around 30 per cent of the course. To get a place he had to dance in front of the teachers, all of whom are ex-professional dancers.

Mum Jayne Arnold, a primary school teacher, said: “We’re incredibly proud of him and what he’s achieved. We don’t know where he gets it from as I’ve got no rhythm and my husband Paul has two left feet. “It’s like magic I can’t describe to watch him dance.”

Before landing the place at CSB, he had attended the Elmhurst School of Dance in Birmingham where he gained one A* and four As at GCSE.

He trained at Janet Revan’s School of Dance in Lincoln between the age of 6 and 10. Miss Revan said: “He had natural talent, he had beautiful feet and loose limbs and the right body type. Thomas was also very well focused. It’s rewarding to see him go on and do so well.”

The places at CSB are funded as a regular university place would be, with fees this year being around £3,000 and expected to rise to £9,000 in line with the increases next year.

During his final year Thomas will join the school’s touring company Ballet Central, which visits venues across the UK.

Copyright © 2011 Northcliffe Media Limited

Lynn News
February 4, 2011


DANCER Reece Causton is tripping the light fantastic after winning a place at a prestigious London dance school.

Reece, from Denver, has been accepted for professional dance training at one of Europe’s leading dance schools, Central School of Ballet (CSB), being chosen for his place from among 400 applications.

Nineteen-year-old Reece gained his early enthusiasm for dance by attending the Footlights Dance Centre in Lynn. He formerly studied at Springwood High School.

Reece, who has been dancing since he was 12, will now train for three years aiming for a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance.

CBS is the only dance school in the UK to offer this unique qualification which focuses on ballet and classical ballet supported by contemporary dance, as well as choreography, Spanish dance, pilates, jazz dance, drama, dalcroze eurythmics, singing and contextual studies.

CSB director Sara Matthews said: “Students typically join us aged 16 after GCSE. By this stage many of them will have been dancing since primary school. “Only the most talented and dedicated students are accepted but ballet is no longer an elitist profession. “Bursaries are available to students who need financial support to complete the course.”

During his final year Reece will join the school’s touring company Ballet Central, formed from final year students.

Ballet Central celebrated its 25th anniversary this year with a nationwide tour that covered 25 venues across the UK including the Lowry in Salford Quays and the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House.

Graduates from CSB go on to join the world’s premier dance companies. Recent CSB students are currently employed The Royal Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company, English National Ballet and the Scottish Ballet.


©2010 Johnston Publishing Ltd.

By Katy Islip
The Echo
January 31, 2011


A dancer is toasting success after winning a place at a prestigious dance school.

Tom Broderick, 17, is starting a three-year degree in Professional Dance and Performance at the Central School of Ballet, in London.

The youngster, of Danesleigh Gardens, Leigh, started ballet at seven and went on to learn a range of styles before pursuing his passion full time. He said: “I’ve always known I loved dance, but I didn’t decide until last year to specialise in ballet.”

After scoring five A*s, five As and one C in his GCSEs at St Thomas More High School, Westcliff, Tom auditioned and won a place at the school, beating 400 fellow applicants.

Tom said: “I did the English Youth Ballet at the Cliffs Pavilion, and some of the principal dancers told me to start doing Royal Academy of Dance introductory classes, and then I won a place to study full time.”

Now his days are filled with dance as he works towards his degree, which will see him join the school’s own touring company during his final year. Tom said: “We start in the studio at 8.15am and do a half-hour warm up before two hours of ballet. Then we do lessons in different areas of ballet with the girls. We also do contemporary dance two or three days a week, as well as doing pilates, which helps keep us very flexible and strong.

“It’s great to be with so many other dancers. We all live together, so it’s really social.”

Although Tom now spends term-time living in London, his home with mum Tina, dad Paul, sister Kate, 20, and little brother Joe, four, is still where the heart is. He said: “It was a big leap to come away from home, but more for my family than it was for me.

“Not seeing Joe is the hardest, but my family are so supportive and it only takes an hour to come home so I can visit as much as I like.”

Once he completes his studies, Tom hopes to go on to join a professional dance troupe.

He said: “I love ballet, but I think I’m better at contemporary dance, so I would love to join a contemporary company after my time here. That would be amazing.”

School director Sara Matthews said: “Only the most talented and dedicated students are accepted but ballet is no longer an elitist profession. Bursaries are available to students who need financial support to complete the course. The course here has degree status so the fees are set for EU students at the same level as other universities.”


Copyright 2011 Newsquest Media Group

By Diane Parkes
The Birmingham Post
January 7, 2011

Diane Parkes talks to a budding young ballet dancer who is aiming for the top.


Every week little Thomas Edwards would peer through the glass and watch his two sisters in their ballet lessons. So when the teacher suggested he join the class, he thought he may as well give it a go.

At the time Thomas was just under three years old but that decision went on to change his life as the Worcester teenager is now a full time student at one of the UK’s most prestigious ballet schools and is aiming for the top.

Thomas, now aged 16, took his first steps with Harlequin Stage School in his home city and has been an ardent ballet fan ever since.And he still remembers those first lessons. “I used to be dragged along to go and wait for my sisters and I was standing outside when the principal invited me to take part,” he recalls. “And so I joined the classes and the principal then told my mum to get me some ballet shoes.”

And when his sisters, his twin Amy and older sister Emily, now 19, hung up their pointe shoes, Thomas carried on dancing. “I was the only boy in the class for about 14 years,” he says. “Just when I left another three boys started but up until then I had been the only one. It was good as it meant I always got the good lead roles for the duets but it would also have been good for there to be other boys.”

Thomas continued with Harlequin and was also a member of the Worcestershire-based Midland Musical Theatre Group. His dance commitments kept him busy.“I used to do swimming, football and dance but the dance gradually took over,” he says. “I danced every day apart from Tuesdays and Sundays and that would be for two or three hours each night. Then if we had festivals we would also be practising on Sundays.“We would do summer schools and put a big show on at the end of the summer. And we did a lot of competitions.”

So much of his youngest years were spent dancing that Thomas now has folders and folders of certificates and photographs of him appearing in countless guises.

And he also stepped out on the professional stage. “I was in a panto at the Swan Theatre in Worcester when I was Michael in Peter Pan,” he says. “And I also appeared in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker as one of the children when I was about seven. It was great to see how everything goes on behind stage and everyone was so nice to us.”

Thomas became a junior associate with the Royal Ballet, attending classes at Birmingham, and then became a mid associate. By the time he had progressed to senior associate he was travelling down to Covent Garden in London every Saturday for classes.

But, despite the huge time commitment given to dance, Thomas tended to keep quiet about his talent…

“Then when I came to finish school I did a performance for the end of year show and everyone said they hadn’t realised I was that good. That was because I had never really told anyone. I just used to keep quiet about it and get on with it. It was like I was in a bubble.”

Thomas may have been a young Billy Elliot but he was fortunate because his family were fully behind him. “My parents have always really supported me,” he says. “They used to take me to all of the festivals and always try to come and see me when I perform. I am sure my sisters have missed out a bit because of it.”

In his younger years Thomas was twice offered places by dance schools but the family could not afford the fees. Dad Ken, aged 52, is a hospital ambulance liaison officer at Worcester Royal Hospital and mum Jane, aged 51, is a nurse practitioner. But both were determined to support their son as much as they could. And when he was offered a place at Central School of Ballet in London they knew it was an opportunity of a lifetime.

With annual fees of more than £3,000 to meet the family have received some financial help but are having to dig deep to support their son. But they know the money is well spent as he is following his dreams.

Thomas admits to being nervous at the auditions, which saw 400 talented youngsters aiming for a place, but knew he had to show them his best. “I was fine going on the train but when you get there and you are about to start the audition you do get really nervous,” he says. “But you just have to do it and show them what you can do.”

Last autumn he began classes at Central – and finally had the chance to learn alongside other boys.“There are about 25 girls and 11 boys in our year,” he says. “It is really good as you can learn from the others and talk about what you are learning.

“At the beginning of the year we did two weeks of drama, music and dance which was a really good ice breaker. I knew a few of the others from auditions but most of us didn’t really know each other well.

“Then when we started the classes they said they would strip it back to basics so they could pick up any faults. They want to make sure we are technically perfect. A few people weren’t sure about that to begin with as they had been dancing for years but it has been really good as we have really improved a lot in a very short time. Even in a few weeks I can see the difference. For examples with pirouettes, which is one of the things I am good at, I could do four or five and can now do eight or nine.”

Thomas will study at Central for three years and will aim to leave with A-levels in dance and English as well as BA Hons Degree in Professional Dance.

One of the huge advantages of the school is that it will also give Thomas the chance to perform. “In the third year it is a touring company which goes across the UK so you get really good experience. It is one thing to have the technique but this also gives you the experience of performance and that really matters when you are auditioning to join a dance company.”

And the teenager is keeping his options open for the future. Central has seen graduates join countless internationally renowned companies including The Royal Ballet, Rambert, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre. “I would love to work for one of the big UK dance companies,” Thomas says. “If I had my absolute wish it would be to dance with Matthew Bourne’s company as I love his work and I love the idea of combining ballet with something a bit contemporary.”

And in an echo of the film Billy Elliot in which Billy gains the lead role in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Thomas adds wistfully “to be the lead in his Swan Lake, that would be the best.”

But Thomas, who has already notched up experience of pieces as diverse as Coppelia and Elite Syncopations, is keen to take on all the roles the ballet world has to offer. “I would love to be a principal and to have the chance to play the great romantic leads,” he says. “Something like Romeo and Juliet.”

In the meantime it is back to class this week for Thomas as school started at the turn of the New Year. His parents admit they miss him but are just happy that he is following his dream. “We have had to cut back a bit to send him there but it is worth it,” says Ken. “We are so proud of him. He has always worked very hard at it and we always feel proud when we see him on stage.”


© 2011 Trinity Mirror Midlands Limited. Birmingham Post™

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