Emerging Dancer 2013

I was lucky enough to spend the day with English National Ballet on Monday to watch the Emerging Dancer award dress rehearsal and competition. It’s always fascinating to see how a dancer morphs into a role in the few hours between dress and performance and, on the whole, the six nominees for 2013 rose to the challenge.

Nancy Osbaldeston, the winner, performed John Neumeier’s Bach Suite no: 2 to perfection. His choreography requires light and fluid articulation, and she appears so comfortable dancing neoclassical repertoire that you wonder if it is the same dancer that performed Kitri’s act 3 variation less than an hour earlier. She faced the technical challenges of Don Quixote’ grand pas well, and with utmost control of her emotions. She is a strong, consistent dancer and is exciting to watch. The Emerging Dancer competition was the first time I saw her perform, but I had heard audience members talk of her stage presence and magnetism before. Having observed her throughout the day, I absolutely agree. There is a certain je ne sais quoi about Nancy, in everything she does.

English National Ballet. Emerging Dancer competition 2013.

Lauretta Summerscales won the “People’s choice’ award, which I think she truly deserved.
I was excited by her bold repertoire choices. The Black Swan pas de deux, which she danced with the charming and promising Guilherme Menezes suits her very well, both physically, and because of the challenges it presents artistically. She danced it whole-heartedly and convincingly as Odile, a tough task when the pas is done out of context. Her second choice, a solo from Mac Millan’ s Elite Syncopations was perhaps stronger in rehearsal, earlier in the day. But when a dancer is as beautiful, graceful and articulate as she is, you easily forgive a little unsteadiness in the face of competition.

Both winners are refined and versatile performers. They are clearly eager to grow as artists within English National Ballet and to push their own limits.

I left the theatre uplifted, inspired, and convinced I had just seen a glimpse of tomorrow’s ballet stars.

Alexandra Desvignes