Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) First Soloist and Principal Dancer in the latest Beauty and the Beast tour, Brandon Lawrence inspired students and teachers at our biggest event of the year, Dance Days '19, together with fellow cast members, Company Principals, Samara Downs and Tzu-Chao Chou. The sold-out multi-genre event was also attended by dance business expert and Amazon bestselling author, Anne Walker MBE, and BRB Artistic Director, David Bintley CBE.
A former bbodance Scholar and our youngest Patron, Brandon judged our first-ever group dance competition together with BRB Principal Delia Mathews, who is also a former Scholar. Brandon is well-known to ballet fans across the UK for his recent portrayal of the Beast in David Bintley's beloved ballet. Last year, he was nominated under two categories at the National Dance Awards, including Outstanding Male Classical Performance.
Dance Days '19 was our biggest event of this year. It consisted of three days of intensive classes for students ages 8-18 in Musical Theatre, Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Commercial, and Creative Dance, as well as intensive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses for dance teachers. Topics ranged from pedagogy to creative techniques, dance science, business development, and bbodance syllabi. See the full list.
This year we were delighted to have two exceptional Guest Teachers, Samara Downs and Tzu-Chao Chou, who taught students Ballet Repertoire; for CPD, we were once again inspired by business expert & mentor, Anne Walker MBE, who is also our latest Trustee!
Dance Days '19 closed with a Performance & Awards Ceremony that recognised the most talented students in attendance. Last year's Ceremony host and Guest of Honour was bbodance Patron and Judge of Strictly Come Dancing, Craig Revel Horwood.
This year's Ceremony featured a special performance by former bbodance Scholar, Ross Dorrington, who now trains at the UK’s oldest vocational dance school, The Hammond.
"It was a pleasure to have judged the very first Dance Challenge at Dance Days ‘19. Not only did I see versatility, but I saw dancers truly working together. I was impressed, inspired and proud to fly the flag for bbodance," stated Mr Lawrence.
"Dance Days is about bringing together dance students and teachers to learn about their favourite art form side by side — it's about expanding their creativity and, with the help of our amazing Patrons and Special Guests, inspiring them to become the best performers they can be. bbodance is committed to the education, training, and enjoyment of dance, and Dance Days fully embodies that," stated bbodance Head of Membership, Julie Bowers, who coordinated the event and whom many of you know.
Dance Days '19 coincided with the launch of our latest syllabi — Contemporary Dance (Grade 3), Musical Theatre (Grade 4), and Classical Ballet (Grade 7). All our syllabi are regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and Qualifications Wales. See them all.
As always, Dance Days '19 took place at Birmingham's top ballet school, Elmhurst, and some attendees came from as far afield as Australia and Zambia!
We hope you had a great time at Dance Days '19 and look forward to seeing you next year for a special edition celebrating the 90th year of bbodance.
(pic: Brandon congratulating awarded students © Andy Ellam / Creative Studios)