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Press Release: Northern Ballet gains some new faces after student successes on Academy’s Graduate Professional Programme

Jan McNulty

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Northern Ballet gains some new faces after student successes on Academy’s Graduate Professional Programme

Four Academy of Northern Ballet students are celebrating after being offered professional contracts with Northern Ballet after training on the Academy’s Graduate Professional Programme. The pioneering programme, the first of its kind in the UK, offers a final year of training for aspiring classical ballet dancers looking to bridge the gap between school and their first professional contract.
As part of the course, the students, Alice Bayston (20, from Hull), Filippo Di Vilio (20, from Italy), Kiara Flavin (19, from Canada) and Dominique Larose (19, from California), have already performed with Northern Ballet in A Christmas Carol and Cinderella to gain performance experience. The four will also perform in Cleopatra when the Company goes on tour to Leeds Grand Theatre and Sheffield Lyceum Theatre in March 2014.
Filippo Di Vilio said: “I suffered an injury in my final year of training so I joined the Graduate Professional Programme to help me to regain my strength and further develop my technique in preparation for my first professional contract.
When I joined the course, I never expected that it would lead to being offered a contract with Northern Ballet and I was absolutely delighted when the Artistic Director approached me to join the Company. The world-class training and performance experience I’ve received has been invaluable and has prepared me mentally and physically to start my professional career. I’m really looking forward to completing the course and joining Northern Ballet full-time in the summer.”
The first year of the Academy of Northern Ballet’s Graduate Professional Programme commenced in September 2013 as a one-year classical ballet finishing course designed to make the connection between full-time training and professional performance. The course provides training in classical ballet technique, repertoire, strengthening and Pilates in small classes of 10 to enable students to get the individual attention they need. The teaching faculty includes former professional dancers and is lead by Northern Ballet’s Ballet Mistress and Associate Director of the Academy, Yoko Ichino. Students also benefit from a dedicated mentor whose role is to support the student through every aspect of their training.
The full-time course takes place at Northern Ballet’s Leeds city-centre headquarters where Graduate Professional Students train alongside the Company’s professional dancers and have the chance to watch rehearsals, take the occasional Company Class and experience how a professional ballet Company operates.
Academy Programmes Manager, Faye Cardwell, said: “I am thrilled that four of our Graduate Professional Programme students have been offered professional contracts with Northern Ballet. All of the students have worked extremely hard and to have four of our students join the Company just shows the high standard that they have achieved during the course, not only in their classical technique but also with their professional conduct. I cannot wait to see them on stage for the first time as Company dancers and I am proud that the Academy of Northern Ballet was able to play a key role in helping them achieve their dreams to dance professionally.”
Alice, Filippo, Kiara and Dominique will complete their training on the Graduate Professional Programme before joining Northern Ballet full-time from July 2014. Audiences can see them perform during the Company’s autumn tour of Dracula, The Great Gatsby, Cinderella and Peter Pan.
For more information about the Academy of Northern Ballet’s Graduate Professional Programme, visit northernballet.com/graduates, call 0113 220 8000, or email faye.cardwell@northernballet.com.

Notes to Editors
The Academy of Northern Ballet is the official school of Northern Ballet and is the only recognised Centre for Advanced Training specialising in Classical Ballet in the UK. Training programmes are offered at professional level for the professional dancers of the future and a wide range of classes at recreational level are available for anyone from the age of 18 months up. The Academy has a dedicated Student Support team to offer the best possible support and advice and ensure that students have a safe and friendly environment in which to pursue their passion for dance.
Northern Ballet is one of the UK’s five large ballet companies. Based in Leeds it performs throughout the UK as well as overseas. Northern Ballet’s productions mix classical dance and theatre, embracing popular culture and taking inspiration from literature, opera, or giving a unique interpretation of popular classical ballets.
Visit northernballet.com for full tour listings.

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