Photo credit: bbodance Patron and Beauty and the Beast Principal Dancer, BRB's Brandon Lawrence
congratulates awarded students at Dance Days '19 © Andy Ellam / Creative Studios
Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) First Soloist and Principal Dancer of the latest Beauty and the Beast tour, Brandon Lawrence inspired students and teachers at the biggest event of the year of CDMT member, bbodance 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 author, Anne Walker MBE, and BRB Artistic Director, David Bintley CBE.
A former bbodance Scholar and bbodance's youngest Patron, Mr Lawrence judged the event's first-ever group dance competition together with BRB Principal Delia Mathews, who is also a former Scholar. Mr Lawrence 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 is bbodance's biggest annual event for students and teachers. It consists of three days of intensive classes for students ages 8-18 in Musical Theatre, Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Commercial, and Creative Dance, which are held alongside comprehensive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses for dance teachers. Course topics range from pedagogy to creative techniques, dance science, business development, and bbodance syllabi.
This year's exceptional faculty included Samara Downs and Tzu-Chao Chou, who taught students Ballet Repertoire, and, for dance teachers, business expert & mentor, Anne Walker MBE, who is also bbodance's latest Trustee.
The event 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.
This year's event coincided with the launch of bbodance's latest syllabi — Contemporary Dance (Grade 3), Musical Theatre (Grade 4), and Classical Ballet (Grade 7). All bbodance syllabi are regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and Qualifications Wales.
Dance Days took place at Birmingham's top ballet school, Elmhurst, and some attendees came from as far afield as Australia and Zambia.
Dance Days returns to Birmingham in April 2020 for a special edition celebrating the 90th year of bbodance. Find out more.