This has been a great year for the Chantry Dance Company. They started the year by performing in Un ballo in maschera at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden which was followed by an engagement in La Dama di Picche in Rome between which they spent some weeks in Japan (see Welcome Home Paul and Rae 10 June 2015). They spent the summer with their summer school and associate programmes before hitting the road with their Autumn tour. I caught them in Halifax on 27 Sept 2015 and was very impressed (see Duology 29 Sept 2015). They also managed to find time to found the Chantry School of Contemporary and Balletic Arts (see If only I were young again - Chantry School of Contemporary and Balletic Arts 27 July 2015).
The company is now planning its 2016 tour "which will involve two original pieces - one set in space, and the other at a card game!" (Chantry Dance newsletter Dec 2015). It has already performed Chasing the Eclipse at the Gravity Fields festival which is about the cosmos with Dominic North and Rae Piper in the title roles (see Gravity Fields - Chasing the Eclipse 28 Sept 2014).
Chantry Dance has opened its company class to professionals and student dancers in full-time vocational training on the following dates:
9, 15-22, 24-29
1-6, 8-13, 15-16
9, 15-22, 24-29
1-6, 8-13, 15-16
I have been fortunate enough to watch the company class when Chantry Dance visited Halifax in 2014 (see The Happy Prince in Halifax 21 Nov 2014) and also in their rehearsal studios in Grantham earlier this year (see Chantry Dance's Vincent - Rarely have I been more excited by a New Ballet 4 Sept 2015). Here is what I wrote about them:
"Earlier in the day I got a chance to see their company class and a rehearsal for the Dylan ballet. All dancers work hard. I appreciated that when I saw English National Ballet in class in Oxford three weeks ago (Coppelia in Oxford 2 Nov 2014) but I think this troupe works harder than most. I had been to class in Leeds in the morning and had done several of the same exercises. Watching the professionals from a distance of a few feet I noted how they hold their arms in bras bas and second, how they define space in a forward port de bras, how they find their balance on demi-pointe and arabesque and much, much more. I hope I can remember and incorporate what I learned in my own dancing the next time I go to class."If I could pick up this much from a chair think how much more a real dancer or serious student can learn from joining them at the barre. If you want to put your name forward send your email to the joint artistic director, Rae Piper.
The School will publish a new prospectus for its three year vocational course shortly as well as information on its summer intensives, associate programmes and other activities. I first got to know the company through one of its workshops (see Chantry Dance Company's Sandman and Dream Dance 10 May 2014) and I learned so much from them. They have offered to run a workshop in either Leeds or Manchester in the New Year if enough people are interested so let me know if you would like to attend.
The Chantry School is based in Grantham which is a beautiful old town with a magnificent medieval church and other historic buildings such as the high school that one of our greatest scientists attended and the grocery store where our first and so far only female prime minister was born. Until very recently Grantham might have been regarded as a bit of a backwater but now there are more and more opportunities for dancers in the Midlands. The whole region has been designated as an engine of growth (see Jane Lambert The Midlands Engine 7 Dec 2015 IP East Midlands) and the Chancellor has promised a £4 million public investment in the Birmingham dance hub (see Thanks George 8 Dec 2015). Paul Chantry and Rae Piper are picking up plenty of commissions such as Horrible Hitsories' Horrible Christmas in Cambridge and Davis Walliam's Gangsta Granny in Birmingham. There is such a thing as being in the right place at the right time.