Tagged Ballet

Ballet dancer Violet appointed as ambassador for Russian Pointe Brand

Russian Pointe Brand ballet ambassador

Big CONGRATULATIONS to SK Dance Studio ballet student Violet who’s been appointed as an ambassador for dancewear company Russian Pointe for 2020.

As an International RP Dancer, she’ll be representing the brand throughout the whole of this year, so watch out for her posts on Instagram – search her Instagram handle @violetmaedancer to follow along, or visit her account here.

As well as her classes with SK Dance Studio, Violet is currently in her third year of training on the Cecchetti Associates programme where she’s trained by a faculty made up of ex professional ballerinas, Royal Ballet School trained teachers and tutors from the likes of Tring Park and The Hammond.

She also takes a weekly class with Royal Ballet School trained ex London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) ballerina Kate Simmons as part of the KS Dance Classical Associates programme.

We’re sure you’ll be an amazing ambassador Violet – Congratulations!

Photo by: Dancer’s Lens Photography

Russian Pointe Brand ballet ambassador

Isabel offered place on the School of Ballet Theatre UK’s Associate Programme

SK Dance Studio, Wigan - Ballerina

Huge congratulations to SK Dance Studio ballet pupil Isabel.

After her recent successful audition, she’s been offered a place on the School of Ballet Theatre UK’s Associate Programme. This prestigious training school is attached to the professional ballet touring company, Ballet Theatre UK.

What’s more, Isabel has also secured a place on their summer intensive course and will be off to train with them in just a few short weeks.

“Isabel has been dancing at SK Dance Studio since pre-school age and has blossomed into a beautiful dancer. She is particularly focused on her ballet studies and has worked incredibly hard on her technique” said SK Dance Studio Principal, Susan Kielb. “I’m thrilled that Isabel has been offered a place – it’s testament to all her hard work and dedication”.

As well as training at SK Dance Studio, Isabel also trains weekly with ex professional ballerina and Royal Ballet School graduate Kimberley Berkin as part of the PDE Associates programme in Leeds.

Please join us in congratulating Isabel on her amazing achievement.

Photo credit: Dancer’s Lens Photography.
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SK Dance Studio, Wigan - Ballerina

Violet wins Cecchetti Ballet Associates place for 2nd year

SK Dance Studio, Wigan - Ballerina

CONGRATULATIONS to SK Dance Studio ballet pupil Violet on securing a place for the second year of her training on the Cecchetti Ballet Associates programme.

Existing associates must audition along with new applicants in order to keep their place, so this really is great news. Violet will continue training in September with the Northern Cecchetti Associates group.

The associates programme is run by the Cecchetti Society Classical Ballet Faculty of the ISTD. It offers young dancers the opportunity to work with an array of amazing teachers who trained at, or teach at top schools such as the Royal Ballet School, Tring Park and The Hammond.

As well as training at SK Dance Studio, Violet also trains weekly with ex professional ballerina and Royal Ballet School graduate Kimberley Berkin as part of the PDE Associates programme in Leeds.

“Violet is a very dedicated dancer with a particular passion for ballet. Her first year of training on this prestigious programme has really helped her hone her craft, particularly her performance quality thanks to repertoire as well as technique classes” said Susan Kielb, Principal of SK Dance Studio. “I’m sure she’ll go on to build on this during her second year of training and bring everything that she learns back to SK Dance Studio to apply in her exam classes.  We’re all very proud of her”.

Please join us in congratulating Violet on her achievements!

Photo credit: Dancer’s Lens Photography
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SK Dance Studio, Wigan - Ballerina

Ballet dancer from SK Dance Studio wins Cecchetti Ballet Associates place

SK Dance Studio ballet pupil wins place on Cecchetti Ballet Associates Programme

11-year-old SK Dance Studio ballet pupil, Violet Stout, is celebrating success this week after learning she’s won a place on a much sought-after training programme for talented young ballet dancers.

Violet has been studying ballet at SK Dance Studio since she was just two years old, and in the last few years in particular, has really stepped up her commitment and is showing great promise.

With encouragement from her teachers, including dance school principal Susan Kielb, Violet applied for entry into the September in-take of the highly prestigious UK Cecchetti Ballet Associates programme, which is much respected in the ballet world.

She was invited to audition in early June 2017.

Audition success for the Cecchetti Ballet Associates

“The audition was really tough” said Violet. “Not only was it a really hot day, but there were so many very talented dancers there, all competing for a place. I knew I’d have to work extra hard to stand a chance of success, and I was determined not to let this dream opportunity pass me by. I gave it my all”.

This week Violet learned that her hard work had paid off when she received a letter offering her a place on the programme. She’ll begin training with the Northern Associates group in September, where she’ll be taught by a professional faculty in the world renowned Cecchetti method of classical ballet training.

About Enrico Cecchetti – Possibly the greatest ballet teacher of all time

This rigorous method of teaching was developed by Italian ballet maestro Enrico Cecchetti (born in 1850) who taught legendary ballet dancers such as Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinskyz. British pupils of Cecchetti included Marie Rambert, founder of Ballet Rambert and Dame Ninette de Valois, who founded the Royal Ballet School based on the Cecchetti method.

“There’s a huge amount of competition to gain a place on the Cecchetti Associates programme, so we’re proud as punch that Violet has been successful” said Susan. “This is such a fantastic opportunity for her to further her ballet training and I know she’ll fully embrace it and make us very proud”.

Alongside her Cecchetti Associates classes, Violet will maintain her existing class work with both SK Dance Studio and the Manchester Ballet Associates, where she trains every week with Royal Ballet School graduate and former professional ballerina Kimberley Berkin.

Congratulations Violet!

Click here to learn more about Cecchetti Ballet in the UK.

Announcing our Nutcracker Ballet Workshop on Christmas Eve

Nutcracker Ballet Workshop at SK Dance Studio Wigan on 24 Dec 2016

We’re delighted to announce a very special festive dance experience coming to SK Dance Studio this Christmas Eve, 24th December 2016.

We’re very lucky to have Northern Ballet School graduate and ex professional dancer Nicola Ciotta with us, who comes all the way from New York where she now runs her own dance school.  Nicola will be leading the Nutcracker Workshop for us, which is designed to bring the magic of this timeless classical ballet to life for four to twelve year olds.

Nutcracker Ballet Workshop - 10am to 1pm, 24th December 2016 at SK Dance Studio in Appley Bridge

Boys and girls aged 4 through to 12 years old are all welcome, regardless of whether they’re an existing SK Dance Studio pupil.  And given the workshop spans a whole 3 hours, parents can use the time to do their last minute Christmas shopping, wrapping or other preparations!

Our Nutcracker Ballet workshop includes:

  • Ballet warm up
  • Learn choreography from the famous “Snowflake Scene”
  • Let’s be Clara
  • Dress up
  • Nutcracker story time
  • Paint & take home your own Nutcracker
  • And more!
  • Cost – £15 for full 3 hours including refreshments

Places are strictly limited, so contact us today to reserve your child’s place or to ask any questions.  You can send us a message via our Facebook page, or click here for phone, text or email contact details.

Nutcracker Ballet Workshop at SK Dance Studio in Wigan, Christmas Eve 2016

Ballet for the boys: Adult classes complete Ben’s fitness regime

Adult Ballet Class for men and women at SK Dance Studio Wigan

21 year old Ben Gambles from Wigan was a pretty fit guy. He ate well, trained at the gym three times a week and was a keen runner to boot. So when his friend Katherine suggested they join an adult ballet class together, he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

Ben thought his existing workout regime meant all his fitness bases were already covered

“With my gym regime and long runs, I felt pretty sure I was covering all the fitness bases already” said Ben.  “I’d never even considered a dance class before. I was worried I’d be no good and to be honest, I’d always thought ballet classes were mainly for girls.”  But despite his apprehension, Ben decided to give it a shot.  “I’ve always been one to try new things and I didn’t want to appear narrow-minded, so I just thought – why not?”

Ben and Katherine went along to the adult ballet class at SK Dance Studio in Appley Bridge, Wigan, taught by the dance school’s principal Susan Kielb.

“I was really nervous about my first class, but I needn’t have been” said Ben.  “Everyone was really welcoming and friendly. Although there were people with different levels of experience in the group, Susan made time to break the steps down. This really helped me to understand the technical aspects of the exercises and what I was aiming to achieve.”

After a couple of classes, Ben was hooked and keen to learn.

Ben found ballet uses lots of muscles he'd previously neglected

Adult Ballet Class for men and women at SK Dance Studio Wigan“Although professional dancers make ballet look easy, it’s actually one of the most physically and mentally demanding things I’ve ever done. But that also makes it one of the most rewarding” continued Ben.

“Ballet class offers a really thorough all-over workout and uses muscles that my usual fitness regime hardly touches. It’s helped me to build incredible core strength, has made me more flexible than ever before and has massively improved my stamina. All these things have positively impacted both my gym work and my runs. I generally feel healthier and more energised.”

As well as the physical benefits, Ben’s also noticed the positive effect of ballet classes on his mental wellbeing.

“Conquering new steps gives a real sense of achievement, but it’s not just about the technical aspect of the class” said Ben.  “Ballet is about bringing everything together to create something special – the steps; the way your body moves; your breathing; the music; how you feel; and your sense of timing. It’s great for the body, the mind and the soul.”

Ballet demands real power and strength - it's as demanding as any serious sport

Asked if he’d recommend ballet classes to his mates at the gym, Ben has no hesitation. “Absolutely yes – in fact I already have” said Ben.

“Don’t let the untrue stereotypical view of male dancers affect your decision to join a class. The power and strength required for ballet makes it more mentally and physically demanding than a lot of serious sports – it’s tough. Ballet needs more men and boys to get involved and since I joined SK Dance Studio’s adult class about a year ago, a couple of other guys have joined too. It’s been great to see.”

Ben has progressed into SK Dance Studio’s advanced adult ballet class and is now tackling much harder steps and enchainment.  “Susan is a fantastic ballet teacher. She encourages you to push yourself, because she knows what you’re capable of achieving and wants you to be the best dancer you can be. I think Susan enjoys the class as much as we all do.”

As well as the support of his teacher, Ben also values the camaraderie and team spirit within the group.  “If someone’s struggling, we’ll work together to go over things, or give each other big clap when we’ve conquered a step. It’s a really fun class – we laugh a lot.”

“I can’t recommend adult ballet classes at SK Dance Studio highly enough” he continued.  “If you’re thinking about it, then just go for it. You never know until you try and it might just be your talent.”

Why not try an adult ballet class for yourself? Come along to SK Dance Studio and give it a go!

If you’d like to try an adult ballet class at SK Dance Studio, then come along to either our class designed for beginners and improvers, or our separate class for more advanced adult ballet dancers. Click here for more information about our adult ballet classes and class times.

Dancers scoop awards and remember Melissa at SK Dance school show

Wigan dance school dancers win awards

Two pupils of SK Dance Studio in Appley Bridge were honored with special awards last weekend. Both awards were presented at the end of a second night’s performance of the dancing school’s show – “SK UK, the Great British Dance Tour”.

In front of a sell-out audience at Preston’s Playhouse Theatre, 14 year old Erica Walker (pictured right) was presented with the Victoria Trophy, traditionally awarded to the dancer who has shown real commitment and made the most progress during the year.

“Erica is such a hard worker and so focused during classes“, said Susan Kielb, principal of the dance school since 1974. “She’s only been dancing with us for around two years, but she’s stunned me with her progress”.

Erica, who studies ballet and modern classes at SK Dance Studio was delighted to win the award. “I was so surprised when my name was called out, I couldn’t believe it was me. When I started at SK Dance I felt totally out of my depth, especially when we started to dance en pointe,” said Erica “but through encouragement from my teachers I really gained in confidence. I’ve made many great friends whilst preparing for the show and despite my nerves, loved being on the stage”.

A special dance award to remember Melissa

10 year old Violet Stout (pictured left) was equally delighted to receive the Melissa Joyce Dancing for Joy Award, a very special trophy presented in memory of a talented former SK Dance Studio pupil from Appley Bridge who sadly died in 2001 after a battle with cancer, aged just 21.

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Melissa Joyce – a beautiful and talented dancer who always danced for joy.

Presented every two years at the dance school’s show, the award is given to the dancer who loves, lives and breathes her craft, finding joy in every single step just as Melissa did.

“Violet has a lot in common with Melissa,” said Susan. “Her beaming smile when she’s performing and the 110% effort she puts into every class, performance and rehearsal is just the same. It’s been a joy to teach them both”.

“I really want to be a professional dancer when I grow up” said Violet who studies ballet, modern, tap, acro and street dance classes at SK Dance Studio. Violet is also part of a weekly ballet associates programme in Manchester, where she’s further honing her skills with ex-professional ballet dancers who trained at the Royal Ballet School. “My mum knew Melissa well and has told me what an amazing dancer and lovely person she was. I really hope I will make Melissa proud with my dancing”.

SK Ballet Babies now on a Friday or Saturday morning

Ballet Babies at SK Dance Studio Wigan

In November 2013 we launched a brand new dancing class to the SK Dance Studio time-table specifically aimed at 2 and 3 year old children. This special baby ballet class has been so popular that we’ve added an extra class to the timetable.

You can now choose either our 10.30am Friday morning class, or our 9am Saturday morning class.

This thirty minute class is designed especially to excite and engage little ones aged two and three years old and offers a truly magical introduction to ballet. SK Dance Studio Principal Susan Kielb explains: “We’ve had some really great feedback about our new SK Ballet Babies class which is especially structured to engage young children in age-appropriate ballet-based activities including dance, music, imagination and of course, lots and lots of fun” said Susan. “We found that many parents really wanted to bring their children, but couldn’t make the weekday class time, so we decided to add an extra class, this time on a Saturday”.

“The content and approach for the new Saturday SK Ballet Babies class is the same as that in the week. It’s a great way to get toddlers interested in a really rewarding and captivating activity that will keep on growing with them as they get older” said Susan.

Ballet is the ideal way to help your toddler child to develop a sense of musicality, build confidence, co-ordination and body awareness, as well as providing a great opportunity to make new friends and burn off some energy. At SK Dance Studio, we believe it’s never too early to introduce your child to dance.

How much do SK Ballet Babies classes cost?

SK Dance Studio’s baby ballet classes cost just £20 for a six week block and take place in our dance studio at The Vale, Appley Bridge, Wigan. You can start at any time during the course (we’ll simply adjust the price to reflect the remaining number of classes left in the block when you start).

“SK Ballet Babies classes are thirty minutes long, which we think is just about the right length for little ones. It’s not too short that our little dancers’ enjoyment ends just as they’re warming up, yet it’s not so long that children get too tired or lose interest” added Susan.

Contact us now to reserve your child’s place

To reserve a place for your child on either our Saturday or Friday SK Ballet Babies class, or if you’ve got any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone, email or via our Facebook page.

Like all our dance classes, Ballet Babies is taught by a fully qualified dance teacher (registered with Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing I.S.T.D. and the Allied Dancing Association A.D.A.).

Hope to see you soon!

Our top 10 dancers of all time: #4 – Margot Fonteyn

Margot Fonteyn at Number 4 in SK Dance Studio Top 10 dancers of all time list

Dame Margot Fonteyn is undoubtedly one of the best known names in British dance history and if this list was just about Ballet, she certainly be right at the top.

For many, Fonteyn was just about as close to perfection as you could possibly get in a ballerina, looking every inch a super-star from whatever angle you looked. Watch clips of Margot’s performances and you’ll never see a bad line. She extends every last movement through to its full potential and creates a constant stream of picture-perfect poses that somehow merge into the most beautiful moving portrait. Watching Margot dance is a bit like watching your most perfect dream.

After training with the Vic-Wells Ballet, which later became the Royal Ballet School, Margot rose through the ranks to become Prima Ballerina of The Royal Ballet aged just 20. In her career, she danced the lead role in all the big Ballets, including Swan Lake, Giselle, Cinderella and most notably, The Sleeping Beauty. Fonteyn’s portrayal of Princess Aurora in this well-loved ballet raised the bar so high in terms of technical ability and captivating performance value, that it became the standard for which every ballerina since has aimed.

Click here to watch Margot Fonteyn with Michael Somes in The Sleeping Beauty.

Though still at the very top of her game in 1961 at the age of 42, many expected that Margot was perhaps getting ready to retire from the spotlight. But in that year, she first met Rudolf Nureyev who was 18 years her junior. The incredible rapport and deep connection the two shared sparked a period of incredible creativity and remarkably, a revitalized Margot went on to dance the lead with Rudolf for many, many more years. In fact, Margot only finally hung up her pointe shoes in 1979 at the grand old age of 60.

They say that dancing is a short career, but not if your name is Margot Fonteyn. So for amazing longevity and achieving utter balletic perfection, Margot rides high on the SK Dance Studio Top 10 Dancers of All Time list.

Our top 10 dancers of all time: #5 – Rudolf Nureyev

Rudolf Nureyev at Number 5 in SK Dance Studio Top 10 dancers of all time list

Without question in our eyes, Rudolf Nureyev was (and still is) the most magnificent male Ballet dancer of all time who left a legacy for which every dancer since should be eternally grateful… he brought Ballet to the masses.

Born in the Soviet Union in 1938, Nureyev overcame crippling poverty and the disapproval of his macho father to pursue his passion for Ballet, having become hooked after stealing into a performance of the Ballet “Song of the Cranes”. Undeterred he sneaked off for Ballet lessons, earning money by dancing as an extra at the local Opera House to pay his way.

At 17, he won a place at the Leningrad Ballet School where he worked incredibly hard to perfect his craft. This led to a soloist contract with the Kirov Ballet in St Petersburg where he danced in 15 major productions, including taking the lead in Don Quixote, Giselle, La Bayadère, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.

But above all else, Nureyev understood that Ballet was about much more than flawless technique. He put his absolute heart and soul into his performances, giving him a totally magnetic appeal which made him the toast of Russia. In 1961, Nureyev went to Paris on a European tour with the Kirov, where he electrified audiences and critics alike. That year, he also made his London debut where he partnered Margot Fonteyn at her annual gala for the Royal Academy of Dancing.

Soon, audiences in theatres all over Western World were mesmerised by Nureyev’s expressive performances, but his appeal didn’t end there. TV and film producers quickly cottoned on to how well Rudolf’s magnetism translated to the screen and so filmed his performances for transmission all over the world, opening up an appreciation of Ballet to literally millions of people. He even danced a pas de deux with Miss Piggy in “Swine Lake” – How very un-high brow!

Click here to watch Rudolf Nureyev with Margot Fonteyn in Swan Lake.

Nobody did more for the reputation and appeal of Ballet than Rudolf Nureyev, so for this reason, he thoroughly deserves his place in the SK Dance Studio Top 10 Dancers of All Time list.