Today First Minister Nicola Sturgeon paid an official visit to Scottish Ballet to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

The First Minister took part in a community dance class for people living with Parkinson’s, watched company and Youth Exchange dancers in rehearsals, and met with staff, dancers and participants to mark this milestone year.

In addition to Scottish Ballet’s core funding for 2019-20, today the First Minister announced an International Touring Fund grant of £65,000. This will enable the company to bring a mixed bill programme to New York City as part of a US tour in 2020, and to deliver a Youth Exchange project for talented young Scottish dancers in Italy.

‘Scottish Ballet is a world-class performing company and I have seen first-hand how impressive they are, not only on stages in Scotland, but internationally too. The work they do off-stage is equally inspiring, particularly with regard to the dance classes for people with Parkinson’s, which make a real difference to lives across the country.

‘The additional funding announced today will allow Scottish Ballet to take their renowned performances on tour to the United States, and will also provide an opportunity for some of our most talented young dancers to benefit from an international exchange programme in Italy, further developing their experience and expertise. Scottish Ballet has achieved an extraordinary amount in its 50 years, and it certainly has a very bright future ahead.’

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister

During this visit, the First Minister took part in a Dance for Parkinson’s class, a flagship initiative of our Dance Health programme, delivered in partnership with Dance Base in seven hubs across the country. Dance can help people with Parkinson's physically, mentally and socially, aiding mobility and improving overall feelings of wellbeing. The success of the programme has led to the development of new initiatives for people living with dementia and Multiple Sclerosis.

After this, the First Minister took the opportunity to watch rehearsals for our second Digital Season, and the creation of a ‘Work in a Week’. This process is being live streamed daily on Facebook, inviting a global audience into the rehearsal room. The new work is being created by Artist in Residence, Choreographer Sophie Laplane, and features company dancers as well as members of the Youth Exchange.

The First Minister also enjoyed watching rehearsals for Helen Pickett’s The Crucible, based on the play by Arthur Miller. This gripping drama of power and persecution will have its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival before touring Scotland and the USA.

‘We were delighted to welcome the First Minister to Scottish Ballet in our 50th anniversary year. She has seen first-hand the extraordinary impact of our Dance Health programme, as well as our work developing young and emerging talent. We are extremely grateful for the additional funding which will enable us to continue to represent Scotland on the international stage.’

Christopher Hampson, CEO/Artistic Director