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"


Creating The Secret Theatre 

Thursday 10 December 2020

To celebrate our first ever feature film The Secret Theatre, we invited our Friends to join us for a screening of a behind-the-scenes documentary, and a chance to hear from the people on both sides of the camera.

Soloist Bruno Micchiardi discussed his role as the Ringmaster and how he enjoyed utilising the camera in his performance to create a different experience for the audience. We heard from Technical Director Matt Strachan about how he and his team have adapted to working in film rather than live theatre, as well as sharing some movie magic! Plus Rehearsal Director Oliver Rydout talked about how his role has changed in the studio, from keeping morale high on long filming days to imparting the creative vision from the artistic team to the dancers.

And of course, we asked how they planned to spend their Christmas break, as they were not on tour for the first time in years! Similar to many of us, spending time with family where possible, relaxing and eating good food was top of their lists.


Indoors

Thursday 6 August 2020

During the first lockdown of 2020, Resident Choreographer Sophie Laplane, from her home in France, produced a dance film, Indoors, featuring 36 dancers at their homes in Glasgow using 28 doors. 

During this screening and discussion, Sophie explained to Rehearsal Director Oliver Rydout that she was keen to be experimental with choreography beyond the stage and that lockdown provided the perfect opportunity, choosing to feature doors as a symbol of unity – as everyone has one! 

Friends heard from Sophie, Oliver and Principal Evan Loudon about the logistics of creating and performing such work, overcoming the constraints of lockdown by working as a team despite being apart, negotiating challenges (different types and sizes of doors being one!) and, most importantly, giving hope to supporters and performers.


Pointe Perfect 

Thursday 8 July 2020

In the summer, while our company dancers were working from home, many young dancers were doing the same! We invited our Young Friends to join Principal Bethany Kingsley-Garner for her tips on how to prepare for going ‘en pointe’.

Bethany showed us some exercises for building strength and flexibility in the feet, as this is crucial for starting pointe work. She also demonstrated how she prepares her shoes for rehearsals and performances, from coating the insides with ‘shellac’ (a hardener), to sewing on the ribbons and elastic. 

For lots of our Young Friends who are at the very start of their pointe-work journey, the main piece of advice was to prepare well and have fun!


At home with Scottish Ballet

Thursday 28 May 2020

In May, during the first phase of lockdown, we hosted our first ever digital Friends event.

Supporters from all over the country logged on for a webinar with SB Principal Bethany Kingsley-Garner to hear about her working-from-home regime. 

Discover Beth's home studio, with a barre fashioned from her dining room chair placed upon a yoga mat, plus gain insights into how her working life has changed. 


50th Anniversary Alumni Event

In September 2019, we were delighted to be joined by our Alumni at Theatre Royal Glasgow to toast our 50th anniversary and to reflect on the last five decades of Scottish Ballet.

You can find pictures from this wonderful event here


How Scottish Ballet stays Strong

Thursday 19 September 2019

Principal Friends and Director’s Circle patrons joined Physiotherapist Martin Lanfear in the treatment room and gym, giving guests an exclusive insight into how Scottish Ballet dancers stay strong and supple, and how elite dance physiotherapy differs from sports physiotherapy. Martin talked to guests, about how technology tracks dancers’ fitness, progress and can even predict an injury. Soloist Aisling Brangan demonstrated her gym programme and surprised guests with how much she can lift (40kg!).


The Crucible Creations – From Cloth to Coat

Thursday 12 September 2019

Friends of Scottish Ballet joined Senior Wardrobe Technician, Ciara Nolan, in our coveted costume store to hear all about the couture costume-making process for The Crucible and gave us an up-close look at the designs. Principal dancer Constance Devernay who played the role of Abigail took time out of rehearsal to talk to guests about quick changes during the ballet. Guests also got a glimpse in to final rehearsals before the autumn season tour and joined Scottish Ballet staff and dancers for refreshments.


Scottish Ballet at the movies

Thursday 5 June 2019

As we look towards the next 50 years, we also reflect on our past, and the performances and people that shaped Scottish Ballet.

We are curating an archive and digitising almost 50,000 minutes of footage from performances and rehearsal from the original film. We hosted an event at the Moving Image Archive at Kelvin Hall for 90 patrons and Friends to fondly reflect on our most iconic and historically significant work, most of which had not been seen for 40 years including Cheri and Giselle.

Scottish Ballet’s digital archive can be accessed at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow between 10am and 5pm Tuesday to Saturday.