Ballet dancer Olivia steps on to the professional stage
- Credit: Amber Hunt
A ballet dancer from Ipswich is poised to make her first professional appearance on home ground as part of a nationwide tour,
Olivia Boyd will be performing at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday April 11 as part of a five month tour performing in 20 venues across England with Ballet Central as part of the final year of her training to be a professional dancer.
She is a student at the prestigious Central School of Ballet (CSB) in London and the tour will be the first chance many friends and family will have had to see her perform locally.
She said: “I’m really excited about coming back to Suffolk, We do a lot of performances in London but not everyone from home can always make it there so this is a real opportunity for the people I know here to see what I do.”
Olivia, aged 18, now lives in London but grew up in Kesgrave where mum Claire is a beautician and her dad Colin works in IT.
Older brother Lucas is a plumber and younger brother Logan is a pupil at Kesgrave High School, which Olivia also attended.
She has been dancing since she was two-years-old - before joining the CSB she studied dance at the Angela Rowe School of Dance in Ipswich. She also performed as a soloist with the English Youth Ballet.
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Olivia won a place on the CSB’s three-year BA (Hons) degree course in Professional Dance and Performance and went straight there after completing her GCSEs without having to take A levels.
She was unfazed at moving to London at the age of 16: “Of course it was a big step, but I was just so excited and really ready for it. I’d worked so hard for it and now I was going to be living out what I’d always wanted to do.”
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For the first two years of the course Olivia and her fellow students had ballet classes ever day, learning steps and routines.
Fitness and diet plays an important part and there is regular gym work plus pilates classes to prepare their bodies.
“You have long days and it’s hard work, typically from 9am to 6pm when you are not performing,” she said.
“In a normal week I am at the gym two or three times to build up up stamina. but I also do weights. I
“It’s not about bulking up but about muscle tone. We also have pilates and personal trainers to help us.
“Diet is also crucial, you can’t afford to not eat the right things although that doesn’t mean you can’t have the occasional bit of chocolate now and again, we’re still normal people after all.
“You work hard but at the end of each day it’s important to relax too, which I’ll do just by cooking or watching TV or reading. You have to find time to switch off.”
Olivia is now in her final year of her course, which is focused on the Ballet Central tour which gives the students valuable experience of touring before graduation.
The dancers not only perform but also help with technical aspects including lighting, sound, staging and wardrobe.
The Ballet Central 2019 season’s repertoire includes Christopher Marney’s Carousel Dances, inspired by the 1945 musical Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein, a version of the Dying Swan Solo created by Calvin Richardson, and an extract from Frederick Ashton’s acclaimed Valses Nobles et Sentimentales performed to Maurice Ravel’s suite of waltzes.
Christopher Marney, artistic director of Ballet Central said: “Audience attendance for last year’s Ballet Central tour was higher than ever.
“The exciting repertoire brought by these influential choreographers not only entertains our audiences, but also ensures our talented young dancers secure employment with leading dance companies and musical theatre productions worldwide.”
Recent graduates have gone on to join prestigious companies such as the Scottish Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, the English National Ballet, and the Northern Ballet.
The Ballet Central will also see performances at the ADC Theatre in Cambridge on April 22 and 23, Norwich Playhouse on May 2, and Chelmsford Civic Theatre on May 3 as part of a five month tour performing in 20 venues across England before a final performance in Japan.