Meantime in the Linbury studio theatre, Ballet Black was flexing its muscle. This small company of half a dozen dancers founded in 2001 by Cassa Pancho is supported by the ROH2 with rehearsal space and an annual performance. The group is starting to forge a distinctive identity in neo-classical works with an edge of urban toughness.
Their programme of commissioned work presented choreographies by contemporary choreographer, Henri Oguike, Da Gamba, and street dancer, Robert Hylton – Human Revolution.
Exploring ballet and pointe work for the first time, they produced exciting results that balanced well with more classical works by Raymond Chai and Christopher Hampson.
Linbury Studio also hosted the 10th British Young Dancer of the Year Award. Although open to all dancers born or having at least three years training in the UK, the Royal Ballet School invariably scoops the top prizes.
This year saw the most impressive line-up to date and, unusually, first and second places were won by girls where usually it is the male talent that wipes the board! Francesca Hayward, dancing a joyous act one Giselle was an outright winner and diminutive Anna Rose O’Sullivan, a fifteen year old charmer with laser sharp technique and perfect proportions came second.
The courage of the boys was impressive as they launched into demanding classical variations. Bruno Micchiardi, tackling Flames of Paris and Diana and Actaeon won a well deserved third prize.