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Where are they now - the RBS class of 2005


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In her post (now locked) about Gailene Stock CBE, Lynette H gave a link to an article on the RBS website:

 

http://www.royal-ballet-school.org.uk/news.php?s=1

 

Lynette posed the query:  "...and there's a nice picture to go with it including McRae, Romany Pajdak, Shevell Dynott, Cory stearns and others surrounding her.  Is this the graduates of 2005 or so ? I'm sure someone out there will know. Interesting to think where they all are now."

 

I assume it is the class of 2005 as Joe Caley is seated on the front row and he joined BRB in 2005!

 

So there's the first answer:

 

Joseph Caley is now a principal dancer with BRB.

 

Over to everyone else!

 

 

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Interestingly these seem to be students from two separate graduating years.  A number of them graduated in 2004 and others in 2005.  However they all seem to be wearing the uniform of the Second Year of the RBS.  Maybe somebody who knows more than I do could explain?

 

Janet has already mentioned that Joe Caley (2005) is with BRB.  Three of the 2004 Graduates are, of course, currently with the Royal Ballet, Steven McRae, Lizzie Harrod and Romany Pajdak.  One of the 2005 Graduates is a  Principal at Stuttgart Ballet  (Alexander Jones) and another is a Principal at Zürich Ballet (William Moore).  Shevelle Dynott and James Forbat (2005) are both with ENB. Xander Parish (2005) is with the Mariinsky. Thomas Forster and Cory Stearns are with ABT. Laurence Rigg is with Béjart Ballet, Lausanne.

 

The two I’m not certain about are Nutnaree Pipithsuksant and Josephine Pra. Immediately after her graduation in 2004  Nutnaree joined San Francisco Ballet  as a soloist.  She is no longer on their roster and I have been unable to find out where she has gone.  Josephine Pra was last with Ballet Biarritz but left in 2011.  Maybe somebody has further information on these two?

 

Edited to say that, on a closer look, Steven and Cory are wearing the dark Graduate Year uniform. The rest do, however, all seem to be wearing the Second Year uniform.

 

Edited also to correct the information on William Moore (thanks to Naomi for the correct information).

Edited by Bluebird
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William Moore is currently a Principal at Zurich Ballet.

Apologies.  I should have checked that my information was up-to-date.  I have just corrected the original post. Thank you!

 

I believe the rest of the post is up-to-date but would be grateful  for information on any other errors or omissions.

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Bluebird
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Interestingly these seem to be students from two separate graduating years.  A number of them graduated in 2004 and others in 2005.  However they all seem to be wearing the uniform of the Second Year of the RBS.  Maybe somebody who knows more than I do could explain?

 

Edited to say that, on a closer look, Steven and Cory are wearing the dark Graduate Year uniform. The rest do, however, all seem to be wearing the Second Year uniform.

 

 

Mystery solved.  I've worked out that the photo must have been taken in 2002/2003 when the 2005 Graduates were in the First Year and were wearing its pale blue uniform and the 2004 female Graduates were in the darker blue of the Second Year.  My monitor does not seem able to show much difference between the pale and darker blue.  I don't quite know why I've spent so much time on a trivial matter in which only a handful of people will be interested! 

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The two I’m not certain about are Nutnaree Pipithsuksant and Josephine Pra. Immediately after her graduation in 2004  Nutnaree joined San Francisco Ballet  as a soloist.  She is no longer on their roster and I have been unable to find out where she has gone.  

 

Nutnaree is a bit elusive as her name has changed presumably to be less of a twister of western tongues. She's now Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun and is with Ballet San Jose. Interview here.

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Thank you both, a frog and John.  It's good that we now know what all the students in the picture are doing.  Interesting, also, that around a third of them have already become principal dancers.  A pretty good result for the RBS.

Edited by Bluebird
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Bluebird, this topic should actually be of interest to many people.  Given recent threads about British dancers and British schools it is encouraging to see how many of those pictured have made principal in various companies.

 

Thanks so much for all the information everyone.

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Another question would be why most of them are principal dancers in other companies than the Royal Ballet... What I heard from the British dancers at Stuttgart (also from Elisa Badenes who was at the RBS and rose to principal dancer at Stuttgart in just four seasons), they were keen to be at a company where you work with choreographers and where you get your chances right from the start, but on the other hand none of them had the feeling that Monica Mason was very interested in keeping them in London.

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My guess would be that Monica Mason only had a limited number of places available at the RB: there's usually maybe a maximum of three, four if you're lucky.  Harrod initially went off to Norway, didn't she?  And after all, I'd guess that, given the results, 2005 must have been a particularly fine year, and there wasn't the capacity for all of the dancers: you don't necessarily need 3 obvious future stars to meet the company's existing requirements.  (On the other hand, of course, a few more obvious stars might have proved useful, given the number of departures in the last year, but hindsight is a great thing).

 

Cory Stearns is of course a principal at ABT.

 

Elisa Badenes can't have graduated the same year as McRae/Stearns/Caley.  She danced Titania in The Dream for her graduation performance, and Caley had to step in from BRB because both Muntagirov and Ella were injured.

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I believe that Elisa Badenes graduated in 2009. 2005 was obviously a strong year. Was anyone else taken into the RB from the RBS that year apart from Steven McRae and Romany Pajdak? The men have done better than the women in terms of rank.

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I hope that I'm right about this. I read a fairly recent interview with Alexander Jones and William Moore in which at least one of them said that he had turned down the RB and accepted an offer from the company abroad because he thought that he would have better opportunities there. It may be that both of them were offered contracts with the RB. As Alison says, there are only three or four places available each year, and there are over twenty graduates and so many are inevitably going to be disappointed. I don't want to make this personal in any way, but there is a problem of "throughput" in ballet companies, particular at the most prestigious ones. I hope that I'm not going to get howls of disapproval when I say that when there is little progression among dancers that can block the promotion or the recruitment of other equally good or more talented dancers. There are only so many places in any ballet company (and only so much money) and if there is no movement then places will not become available for dancers coming up (or in). In some businesses they operate an "up or out" policy to address this problem. The RB has lost six of its principal dancers in the last 18 months. This should have created spaces for new principal dancers to be promoted from within its ranks but because four of the departures were unexpected or premature this has instead left gaps which I fear will be filled by dancers from outside.

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I believe that Elisa Badenes graduated in 2009. 2005 was obviously a strong year. Was anyone else taken into the RB from the RBS that year apart from Steven McRae and Romany Pajdak? The men have done better than the women in terms of rank.

 

John Mallinson posted a list of graduate contracts from that year:

 

http://www.ballet.co.uk/dcforum/happening/4450.html#7

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I believe that Elisa Badenes graduated in 2009. 2005 was obviously a strong year. Was anyone else taken into the RB from the RBS that year apart from Steven McRae and Romany Pajdak? The men have done better than the women in terms of rank.

Steven McRae, Romany Pajdak and also Erico Montes actually graduated from the RBS to the Royal Ballet in 2004.

 

In 2005 the RBS Graduates who joined the company were Xander Parish and Liam Scarlett.  Demelza Parish, Gemma Pitchley-Gale and Sabina Westcombe joined the company from the Second Year of the RBS - i.e. they did not do the Graduate Year.

 

Out of interest, I just had a go at finding the relevant threads from ballet.co.uk.  Here they are:

 

http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/news/2373.html (2004 joiners, promotions..etc)

 

http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/news/2849.html (2005 joiners, promotions..etc)

 

edit: sorry, Jane, we were posting at the same time.

Edited by Bluebird
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Bluebird, this topic should actually be of interest to many people.  Given recent threads about British dancers and British schools it is encouraging to see how many of those pictured have made principal in various companies.

 

Thanks so much for all the information everyone.

True, they have become Principals in other companies...but not at the RB. A bunch of British dancers/British trained dancers are currently doing well in the RB and BRB but when (if) the next Principal(s) will come out of that lot remains to be seen. I wonder if there is sufficient coaching/nurturing for those dancers?

Cases like Marianella, Alina, Leanne B., Tamara....these are dancers who first worked in other companies before they joined the RB and moved up the ranks quickly. The British trained dancers take much longer before (if!) being promoted. I often wonder if it would not be better for young Graduates to first go on dancing somewhere other then RB and join later (Valentino Z. is one example)

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 I often wonder if it would not be better for young Graduates to first go on dancing somewhere other then RB and join later (Valentino Z. is one example)

 

 

The grass is often - if not ALWAYS - greener on other sides.

 

Tis, I fear, the way of the world ... and not reserved to that of the ballet or CERTAINLY the purvey of the Royal Ballet.

 

There are countless examples in oh, so many arenas.  

 

Perhaps it is just human nature.  

 

Look at the creative talents who are celebrated AFTER their deaths.  (Not dancers, of course).  Surely that too is but a facet of 'coming back' and crossing (back on) boundaries.  

Edited by Meunier
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The RB has lost six of its principal dancers in the last 18 months. This should have created spaces for new principal dancers to be promoted from within its ranks but because four of the departures were unexpected or premature this has instead left gaps which I fear will be filled by dancers from outside.

 

At the LBC on Monday night, Kevin O'Hare stated that he wasn't intending to 'poach' dancers from elsewhere. [but this belongs to another thread really....!]

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At the LBC on Monday night, Kevin O'Hare stated that he wasn't intending to 'poach' dancers from elsewhere. [but this belongs to another thread really....!]

Well that's good news ( and didn't Mr O'Hare - on another occasion - say he felt there were enough Principals at the RB? ) 

That would give the most talented in the Company time to grow as dancers and be nurtured.

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Perhaps some of these dancers preferred to go abroad, hoping that they would have more opportunities for roles and promotion than if taken by RB.

This is actually very true, there have indeed been RB graduates who have turned down RB contracts in order to go straight in as soloists in other companies.

Edited by hfbrew
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As Nina says, a lot of the dancers who have moved swiftly up the ranks at the RB have come in from outside. I suppose that if they have successfully danced principal or significant roles elsewhere they come with a proven track record which gives them and, in turn, the AD confidence about their ability to take on larger roles even if they have to start in the corps as Alina did. I certainly think that a new graduate could do better by turning down the RB, going to another, possibly smaller, company for a few years and then applying for a soloist or principal position with the RB with solid experience of dancing leading roles. I wonder whether we'll see Xander Parish or Vadim Muntagirov (back) at the RB. Personally, I'm not too keen on some of the dancers whom the RB has recruited from other companies and I can't understand why they are preferred (given large roles and promoted) over some of the lovely RB-trained dancers who are just as good if not better. I suppose that, like everywhere else, there's a lot of politics and certain dancers are fortunate to have powerful allies and champions.

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As Nina says, a lot of the dancers who have moved swiftly up the ranks at the RB have come in from outside. I suppose that if they have successfully danced principal or significant roles elsewhere they come with a proven track record which gives them and, in turn, the AD confidence about their ability to take on larger roles even if they have to start in the corps as Alina did. I certainly think that a new graduate could do better by turning down the RB, going to another, possibly smaller, company for a few years and then applying for a soloist or principal position with the RB with solid experience of dancing leading roles. I wonder whether we'll see Xander Parish or Vadim Muntagirov (back) at the RB. Personally, I'm not too keen on some of the dancers whom the RB has recruited from other companies and I can't understand why they are preferred (given large roles and promoted) over some of the lovely RB-trained dancers who are just as good if not better. I suppose that, like everywhere else, there's a lot of politics and certain dancers are fortunate to have powerful allies and champions.

 

I would be shocked if Xander Parish wasn't asked back at some stage. Whether or not he would want to come back is another question.

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.........I'm not too keen on some of the dancers whom the RB has recruited from other companies and I can't understand why they are preferred (given large roles and promoted) over some of the lovely RB-trained dancers who are just as good if not better. I suppose that, like everywhere else, there's a lot of politics and certain dancers are fortunate to have powerful allies and champions.

Your last sentence summed it up Aileen!  

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I often wonder if it would not be better for young Graduates to first go on dancing somewhere other then RB and join later (Valentino Z. is one example)

 

Well isn't it exactly the job of a ballet director to find good students for his company and to develop their talents so that they can become principals? Not to let them leave and pick them up later, when some other ballet director has invested his trust, his time and his money in them? Everytime I found another one of those great RBS alumni like Jones, Moore, Badenes in the Stuttgart corps de ballet, I was wondering: what's wrong with the Royal Ballet, how can they just let them go? The question of limited places in the company is not an argument: if the connection between school and company really works, then the company director should know how many promising students there will be in the next two or three graduation classes, and he (or she, in this case) should be able to find places for them. After all: do you want home-grown talent or not?

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I wonder whether we'll see Xander Parish or Vadim Muntagirov (back) at the RB. 

 

Again at the LBC on Monday, Kevin was asked specifically about the possibility of Vadim guesting and, having initially responded to the effect that it would be difficult between 'home' companies, responded quite positively when it was pointed out that Tamara guested with ENB while at the RB. Maybe that gave him food for thought.

 

After his wonderful Solor in St. Petersburg, I would have loved to have seen Vadim dance in La Bayadere with the RB this season. In my view, he would have been the best Solor by a mile. [And, by the way, his Siegfried with ENB at the Royal Albert Hall this week is breathtaking. Catch him on Saturday night if you can.]

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