Pre-pandemic, Scottish Ballet’s Friends had exclusive access behind-the-scenes: experiencing costumes up close, watching rehearsals, and meeting our dancers and staff.
However, over the last year, we have had great success taking our events online – more people than ever can learn more about Scottish Ballet from the comfort of their own homes. Here are some of the recent events we have hosted:
Barre-men: Boys in Ballet
Thursday 28 January 2021
The new year saw us host our first-ever online event for Free Members and supporters. We chatted to Soloist Thomas Edwards and Artist Jamie Reid about their careers and experiences as men in ballet. From starting ballet as young dancers to taking on leading roles as professionals, they had many pearls of wisdom to share with our audience!
We were delighted to welcome over 300 of our Friends, Patrons and Free Members from all over the world, with people tuning in from as far as Australia as well as closer to home. With so many excellent questions, we asked Tom and Jamie to answer some of the ones we didn’t have time for.
Do you have a favourite ballet?
Tom: "Yes, my favourite ballet that as a company we have performed is Emergence by Crystal Pite. It was such a great production to showcase the company and the opportunity to work with Crystal Pite, who I think is just a genius was such a career highlight I'll never forget and will always cherish. Is there a favourite ballet I wish to perform in my career? Yes, I'd love to perform in Matthew Bournes Swan Lake, which has been a huge inspiration throughout my training days, and anything by Ekman, I sit and watch his productions on repeat!"
Jamie: "Yes, it would have to be either Highland Fling by Matthew Bourne or Crystal Pite’s Emergence."
What other sport/activity do you think best complements ballet training?
Tom: 'I think any elite performer needs something that compliments their training, whether that’s yoga, pilates, gyrotonics, gym, running etc. Something that can isolate certain areas to strengthen or lengthen. But it's important to know just because something works for one person it doesn’t necessarily mean it'll work for you. So just take your time, try new things and see what works for you.'
Jamie: "I think gymnastics is probably the closest you could compare ballet to. I did 'Ballet in Sport' as a project in my final year at RCS and with footballers, in particular, it was shown for those who did ballet it massively reduced the chances of injury throughout their careers."
What was your dance school before Scottish ballet?
Tom: Before Scottish Ballet I trained at Harlequin Stage School in Worcester from around 3 -16, then I moved to London from 16-19 to train at Central School of Ballet.
Jamie: "I was first at UK Theatre School in Glasgow as I initially wanted to do acting before I started dancing. I then joined the Scottish Ballet Associate Programme for 2 years before going into full-time training at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland."
What do you think about high tempo ballet for long periods during the performance?
Tom: "In terms of a fast-paced section of dance within a ballet then I am here for it. I love moving fast and dynamically, especially if the music is more neoclassical and really pumping fast."
Jamie: "Anything that is energetic and pushes your cardio I love performing. Seeing the results from starting rehearsals to then being on stage and touring can feel so satisfying at times."
Do you do other dances alongside ballet?
Tom: "During my training, I trained in Ballet, Spanish, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theatre and they tried (and failed) to teach me to sing. I think it's so important nowadays to be as rounded as possible (versatile), the more styles you can do the more valuable you are as a dancer and the more you can be used. Also by training in different styles the richer your movement and vocabulary becomes, and the greater appreciation and respect you have for other artists and their works. I'd be very surprised nowadays to find a school or a company that only train and perform classical ballet."
Jamie: "I have done a few different styles of dance when I was training at the UK Theatre School but ballet was the only one I ended up taking seriously"