15 year-old dancer Karis Wilkinson from Swindon has been offered a place in the prestigious National Youth Ballet of Great Britain and will perform in this year’s season.
This is the second year running that Karis has been successful in auditioning, and this year’s highlight is a Gala Performance at international dance house Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London on Sunday 4 September.
The former Isambard school pupil began learning to dance aged nine, and by the age of 13 was offered a full time place at the reputable Tring Park School for Performing Arts in Hertfordshire to study classical dance. Karis initially attended both the Judith Hockaday School of Dance and the Gemma Short School of Dance in Swindon.
Karis said “ I’m so excited to be part of the cast again this year, it’s hard work but worth it to work with such professional choreographers, and perform at Sadlers Wells.”
National Youth Ballet involves talented young dancers from ages eight to 18 in every aspect of creating a ballet; from the conception of an idea, through to performance on stage at a professional level. The company also encourages children from all walks of life to become involved with dance through schools and community workshops.
This year 120 dancers from across the country were offered places with the company, and will perform in the 2016 season.
Notable NYB alumni include Drew McOnie (choreographer), Sir Gregory Dean (Principal at Royal Danish Ballet), Jessica Brown Findlay (Actress, Downton Abbey) and Tyrone Singleton (Principal at Birmingham Royal Ballet), as well as many alumni working for leading companies including Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.
Patrons include Darcey Bussell, Carlos Acosta, Sir Matthew Bourne, Dame Monica Mason, Wayne Sleep and Sir Peter Wright.
For its 2016 Season, the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain will present a special programme of performances celebrating its inspirational founder and Artistic Director Jill Tookey, who passed away in March this year.
The company will perform at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 August, with a special Memorial Gala performance hosted by patron Joanna Lumley at Sadler’s Wells on Sunday 4 September.
Over three decades, Jill Tookey quietly became one of the industry’s most influential dance leaders, inspiring generations of young dancers and choreographers, many of whom have embarked upon successful professional careers after their time with NYB. Jill was appointed a CBE for services to dance in the 2016 New Year Honours, and on Thursday 9 June this will be presented at Buckingham Palace to her ten-year-old granddaughter, and 2016 NYB company member, Gabriella Rummery.
The 2016 programme of performances will showcase highlights from National Youth Ballet’s 29-year history through some of Jill’s favourite commissions. These include The Old Man of Lochnagar, a ballet based on the children’s book by HRH The Prince of Wales, choreographed by Olivier Award winner and NYB alumnus Drew McOnie.
NYB’s innovative Beyond Ballet platform will also return, showcasing young choreographic talents presenting their own works. The Memorial Gala performance at Sadler’s Wells will also include new commissions and performances from returning alumni including choreographer Andrew McNicol, West End performer Lucinda Lawrence, and Birmingham Royal Ballet first artist Ruth Brill.
The 2016 Season is led by Artistic Director in Residence Mikah Smillie, Associate Artist for Re:Bourne, mentor for NYB’s Beyond Ballet choreographic platform, teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and freelance rehearsal director.