Emerging Dancer 2013, Laura Warner

For the first time in its four years of running, English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer award saw all six of its nominees graduates from their own school. Straight off the back of their season touring with The Sleeping Beauty, the dancers as voted for by the company, took to the stage performing a solo and – something else that was a first for this year – a pas de deux.

Beginning the night’s events, Nancy Osbaldeston and Ken Saruhashi perform the Don Quixote pas de deux. Echoes of their difficult dress rehearsal remain; notably Nancy keeps her focus to the floor whilst embarking on balances en pointe to find her stability in Ken’s hands. On the whole they manage to pull it out of the bag in the performance with a cheerful and buoyant duet. Nathan Young and Alison McWhinney’s partnership works superbly for their interpretation of Giselle. Alison dances the role beautifully and combined with Nathan’s subtle supporting, they create that ghostly and mystical quality the piece requires.
English National Ballet. Emerging Dancer competition 2013.
The short repertory solos are hand-picked by the dancers and with a video clip preceding them, reflect their personalities perfectly. Describing himself as ‘happy and positive’, Ken leaps around the stage in Verdiana, executing each jump and turn effortlessly. Nathan – a man of few words – robustly portrays a Bournoville solo variation from Napoli.  Alison maintains her refined composure that she’s held throughout the day and performs Grande pas Classique with understated grace. Providing the comedy for the evening, Guilherme Menezes struts on stage before launching into the contemporary solo, A Simple Joy. He shows himself to be a natural actor as well as a striking soloist. Lauretta Summerscales creates a cheeky, hip-wiggling character in Elite Syncopations and is presented the People’s Choice award, as voted by the audiences of ENB’s work. And proving ‘it’s all worth it’ is petite and powerful Nancy, who bounds about, toying with John Neumeier’s choreography in Bach suite no: 2. You cannot help but fall in love with her personality as well as her dancing, resulting in her receiving the prestigious award at the end of this ladies’ night.

Laura Warner