Let’s have a party!
On 29 September 2013 at 7.00pm Yorkshire Ballet Summer School (YBSS) are hosting their annual fund-raising gala at London’s Sadler’s Wells. With an abundance of performances from dancers of The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, BalletBoyz (to name just a few) and stars of the theatre such as Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball (to name even fewer), the gala – this year hosted by Sir Anthony Dowell and Sir Derek Jacobi (to name them all) – is now something of an eagerly-awaited event. Especially now that Sergei Polunin will be popping in to bust a few moves too.
2013 also sees the 40th anniversary of the formation of YBSS during which time they’ve importantly provided scholarships for the likes of Kevin O’Hare (director of The Royal Ballet), David Bintley CBE (director of Birmingham Royal Ballet) and a whole host of dancers now performing with the UK’s major ballet companies.
Marguerite Porter, former Principal dancer of The Royal Ballet and current director of YBSS, took time out to talk to Dancing Review about the organisation’s continued progress and the excitement of the forthcoming gala.
DR: How on earth did you get such an amazing list of performers involved in the gala?
MP: I’m very fortunate in having such kind and generous friends who happen to be in the business. The planning of the Gala has been germinating for a good year now and during that time it’s changed considerably. Richard Clifford, who’s directing the Gala, is full of brilliant ideas and between us we plot and plan and somehow it morphs into a show. I realise how blessed I am with such contacts.
40 years is quite an achievement. What do you put YBSS’ longevity down to?
I think it’s due to the remarkable ingenuity of its founder David Gayle. He had the foresight back in 1973 to see the need for a summer course in which he could reach youngsters up north who would never have the opportunity to be seen by such luminaries. The Yorkshire Ballet Summer School has grown in that we’re able to give more scholarships and bursaries than in previous years but other than that it has remained pretty much the same. We try to create a joyful atmosphere in which the students can blossom and thrive.
What gives you the greatest feeling of pride as director of YBSS?
I feel most proud when I see my students grow in confidence over as short a period as two weeks. It’s thrilling to see them grow artistically in a happy environment and I’m proud that the charitable trust is in a position to help financially due to the generosity of our sponsors.
What are YBSS’ plans for the next 40 years?
The future plans for YBSS are to continue as we have for the last 40 years – to hopefully inspire, educate and encourage dancers for generations to come.
Tickets for this exciting one-off event are available from the Sadler’s Wells website.