You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.

Are you aged 13 – 19?  Do you want to be a leader?

Start now and join our focus group today!

What is a focus group?   

A focus group is: 

  • A small group of people that discuss experiences, thoughts and ideas on a particular topic
  • A group of people that represent a much larger group
  • Led by a facilitator who asks questions around a chosen topic

Why do we need one?     

Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Youth Services are about to start an exciting project involving young people from across Birmingham and we need your help!

We need ten dedicated and responsible young people that can help us to develop a youth company. By working with Birmingham Royal Ballet the youth company will learn about all aspects of putting on a professional performance. As Birmingham Royal Ballet prepares for a world premiere of a new production of Cinderella in 2010 the youth company will create their own version of the well-known fairytale giving them the opportunity to direct, choreograph, perform, compose music, and be involved in many of the backstage activities.

We are looking for committed young people that can lead on all aspects of the project development alongside Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Youth Services staff. They will be central to the management of the project and will ensure that the final project is one created by young people FOR young people!

Where?                                         Birmingham Hippodrome

When?                                          Once a month. Next session on Wednesday 3rd June 7-8pm 

How do I get involved?                Tell your Youth Worker and they will take it from there!

What’s in it for me?                                

  • The opportunity to visit lots of arts events for free! It’s our way of saying thank you for your time
  • Make new friends
  • Learn new skills, gain knowledge, and develop confidence
  • Develop and refine skills that you have learnt
  • Opportunity to make a difference and create a positive change in your community
  • The chance to work with an internationally renowned ballet company
  • The experience of working within a focus group – a recognised market research technique used by businesses
  • Have a real say in organisations and communities and in decisions that affect them

Click on the comments to read about what’s happened so far!


Here’s what you came up with:

  1. Respect everyone and their property
  2. Listen to each other and don’t talk over each other
  3. Always participate
  4. Try your hardest and put in the maximum effort needed
  5. Always be on time and be where you are supposed to be
  6. Work as a team
  7. Have fun, be happy, enjoy it, stay safe
  8. Don’t give up
  9. Be open to new experiences
  10. No junk food during breaks – don’t go hyper!
  11. Pay attention and focus
  12. Look after your body and everyine around you
  13. No going out without the permission of your Youth Worker
  14. Don’t swear
  15. Stay with your group
  16. Be supportive and don’t laugh at each other
  17. Be sensible
  18. Demonstrate good manners
  19. No fighting or arguing
  20. Be patient
  21. No gum
  22. Switch off mobiles
  23. Clear up any rubbish
  24. No jewellery
  25. Bare feet when performing

Think you can remember all those?!!!


Birmingham Royal Ballet welcomed everyone involved in the project to the Patrick Centre today to begin a challenging two day rehearsal period in preparation for their performance on Friday evening.

Everyone arrived at 9.45am excited, apprehensive and for some of us tired (myself included!) but there was no time to think about this as straight away Simone from bayc had everyone playing drama games to introduce each other to all of the new faces in the room and help rapidly make friends.

Surinder from BYS then got the groups to lay down some of the ground rules….yes down to the more serious stuff. See the related post to see what the final list was taken from everyones’ ideas.

Without taking a pause for breath Helen the dance artist took the whole group (forty one young people!) through a dance warm up that was er… not so balletic. It involved lots of shaking, jiggling, funny sounds and noises but certainly seemed fun, enjoyed by all and was definitely humorous to watch!

Jenny from Birmingham Royal Ballet then got all of the groups to learn some of the finale. This took a lot of coordinating and everyone focused well and worked hard to pick up the new steps. It was amazing to see all these groups who hadn’t met since coming to watch Still Life at the Penguin Cafe back in March all working together, learning something new, achieveing and enjoying a new experience.  After all that hard work everone was shattered and was definitely deserving of lunch and whilst I wasn’t witness to it I heard that there was quite a queue for Subway!

After lunch the Patrick Centre really came alive. The seats were put into place and the technician began to experiement with the lighting and backdrops. Whilst the groups worked on their individual pieces in different spaces Jenny worked intensively in the Patrick Centre piecing the whole performance together group by group. 

By the end of the day everyone was shattered but everything is now in place and ready to be rehearsed…and rehearsed and rehearsed (!)… tomorrow. Having observed everyone involved in the project from day one to today I can honestly say it has been a remarkable journey in such a short space of time. I’ve really enjoyed going out to the groups and seeing their progress and now seeing the hard work pay off. Everyone has contributed in their own special way to make this a very memorable experience and has demonstrated that with a little commitment they are capable of achieving great things. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow but right now I need to take off my shoes and have a REALLY good night’s sleep. So its over and out for now!

For all performers and Youth Workers coming to Birmingham Hippodrome on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th please find below a schedule of activity.

I have visited all the groups over the past few weeks and have seen how far you have all come and how hard you have worked. Everyone has something to be proud of. I know you’re all worried about how tired you are going to be over those two days so my only advice is get a good night’s sleep in!

Can all performers remember to leave any valuable belongings at home, bring their costumes and wear appropriate dance wear for rehearsals e.g.  loose fitting clothing/no jewellery, and remember (I’m sure some of you can’t forget!!) it’s BARE FEET for the performance!! So be mentally prepared for this before you arrive!

Good luck everyone. You’ll all be great!

Thursday 28th May

9:45     Arrive

10:00   Icebreakers

10:30   Warm up

11:00   Learn the finale

12:30   Lunch

13:15   Break out session 1

13:45   Break out session 2

14:15   Break out session 3

14:45   Break out session 4

15:15   Break out session 5

15:45   Break

16:00   Full rehearsal joining finale and group pieces

16:30   End of day


Friday 29th May

9:45     Arrive  

10:00   Warm up

10:30   Full rehearsal

12:30   Lunch

13:30   Full rehearsal

14:30   Notes

14:45   Break (change into costumes)

15:15   Dress rehearsal

16:15   Break

17:15   Warm up and notes

18:00   Half hour call

18:30   Performance

19:30   End of performance


Please note that during the break out sessions on Thursday your group will either be rehearsing your individual pieces in a separate space with your BRB dancer, having a break or working in the Patrick Centre practising your piece as it will appear in the performance. A detailed schedule will be provided to each group on the day.

Find out more about your Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer  by clicking on the links and reading below:

Rory Mackay

Laura Purkiss

Tom Rogers

Christopher Larsen

Jenny Murphy:

Born in Hull, Jenny Murphy trained at the Royal Ballet School and joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2001.  Her repertory includes a wide range of works and many of the classics, she has performed at a variety of venues throughout the world, including the Royal Opera House in London. Jenny has created choreography for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Choreographic projects, on the Hippodrome main stage: The Planets, ‘Neptune’ and Dynamic Dance, ‘Much a dance about nothing’.  She has also taught and choreographed at Birmingham Royal Ballet summer schools.

For several years Jenny has been involved with Freefall Dance Company, a company of dancers with severe learning difficulties, led by Lee Fisher. In the summer of 2006 Jenny completed the Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma at the Royal Academy of Dance and in September 2007 she successfully completed the Dancers’ MA degree programme, run by the University of Birmingham. 

Jenny ceased her career as a dancer in 2007 and joined Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Learning Department as Co-ordinator for Learning.  Since joining the department Jenny has run workshops at touring venues, developed the Ballet training strand, and set up Insight Days in Birmingham.  She recently helped lead a workshop with Lee Fisher for the NDTA conference at Laban. 

Jenny has project managed the Selly Oak Arts Champions, which has built up links and worked closely with a particular community.  Following her year long support of the South Birmingham Dance Track Classes, Jenny will be teaching the North Birmingham weekly classes for disadvantaged children from September. 

Outside of BRB Jenny has taught on the Royal Academy of Dance Summer School in Fondo, Italy, for a week and has led repertoire workshops in Birmingham.  She has also taught at Rambert School in London and at Dance Xchange in the Hippodrome.

I caught up with some of the young people working at The Pump with Rory Mackay. Here’s what they had to say about the project so far:

“The experience of doing this ballet thing has been good, its been hard and tiring and sometimes you feel like you don’t want to do it but knowing that in the end something good is going to happen makes it worthwhile” – Charmane.

“My experience of doing the ‘Ballet Project’ has been good but sometimes frustrating! And the next day you ache! At times I feel like I don’t want to do it but other times I do. I chose to do the project because it was something for me to do instead of hanging around on the streets with people! I don’t think dancing in front of a lot of people will be too scary because Ian said that you can’t see them! Today we tried on our costumes they’re okay I guess …To be fair the whole things quite good!”- Olivia

“My experience of doing this Ballet Project is great I’ve never imaged myself doing ballet but I though it would be a great experience and yeah it is good but the next day you can ache but yeah you will enjoy it…and also costumes are great”- Nicole

“My experience of doing this ballet project is good and fun it can be good at times but at other times it can be tiring, I picked this project because I thought it would be good learning something different” – Samantha

“I have already done a ballet project before, the one that I am doing now is only 4  months  long but the other one I did was 18  months an its was called ‘Ballet hoo! Changed my life’ I chose to do another project because I want to carry on learning ballet” – Ian

“I think that the project is great and costumes are really glittery and learning it is good for people that want to learn it when we dance on the stage it will probably be hard for me to dance in front of the people” – Janet

“I think that the project is great because we have good time” – Sian

“I think doing this ballet project is good and I have learnt a few new steps. Sometimes its good but it can be difficult at times learning the dances. At first I never thought I would be here now doing this type of project but its enjoyable and the staff at pump and all the youth that come here are really helpful” – Tanya

Here’s a short clip of one of the workshops at The Pump from March this year. Just going over balance at control. For those of you in different areas, the dance artist leading the session is Dennie Wilson.

New clips to follow shortly!


Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

May 2009
« Apr   Jun »

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5 other followers