Emerging Dancer 2013, Siobhan Mitchell

This year’s nominees are all graduates of the English National Ballet School chosen by their peers for their dancing and contribution as ambassadors for the company. The dancers, aged 21 to 27, each chose and danced a pas de deux and a solo. From process to product the atmosphere at the Southbank Centre provided an insight into a healthy and supportive environment, giving less a sense of competition and more so a sense of camaraderie and family.

The highlights for me were Nancy Osbaldeston’s solo and the black swan pas de deux danced by Laurretta Summerscales and Guilherme Menezes. Nancy held my attention from the outset, from company class to rehearsal and the final performance; she exudes personality and commands attention.  Nancy’s solo (Neumeier’s Bach Suite No.2) suited her dynamic, spirited character; she moved with a bouncy, vibrant confidence and radiated charisma through each phrase, executing the steps with assured technique and flair. Nancy basked in the spotlight and the pure joy of performance, using every inch of the music to lift and extend each movement. Throughout the evening Nancy continued to ‘raise the barre’ and in her pas de deux with Ken Saruhashi, this was especially visible. The chemistry between them was compelling and both dancers rose to the occasion, successfully executing the partnering and virtuoso phrases with finesse; Nancy flirted with a flourish of her fan and a pleasing playfulness.

English National Ballet. Emerging Dancer competition 2013.

The black swan pas de deux conjured up a storm. Lauretta’s characterisation of the black swan was powerful and electric. While Guilherme brought an innocence to the partnership, which was effective, if at times overpowered by Lauretta. The partnering was clean and confident with a lovely rapport. The pair ended on a particularly well executed combination of pirouettes and fouettes to thunderous applause.

Siobhan Mitchell