/ Dance News

Hull to enter the Ballet Spotlight

The Royal Ballet announce their first performance in Hull for 30 years!

On September 16th, the current Director of The Royal Ballet, Kevin O’Hare, will be taking his company to Hull for the first time in 30 years.

O’Hare wants to pay recognition to the city and The Skelton Hooper School of Dance, who have sent a record 24 pupils to the Royal Ballet School, including O’Hare himself.
The show, staring Xander Parish, will be performed as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture programme and will re-open the Hull New Theatre, which has undergone a £16 million refurbishment. The opening performance will be an exhilarating evening of classical and modern dance presented by The Royal Ballet. It will bring together artists from Hull with a selection of Royal Ballet Principals and Soloists and some of the upcoming dance talent in Hull.

O’Hare explains that “For me, Hull-born, bringing the Royal Ballet up to Hull for this special opening performance is fantastic,”1

The Royal Ballet’s presence in Hull will celebrate the city’s contribution to dance and ballet, whilst also reaching out to dance enthusiasts of all ages and levels offering a range of opportunities throughout 2017, including pop-up performances and dancers taking to the streets of Hull to teach members of the public how to perform the cygnets’ dance from Swan Lake. O’Hare explained that this is an opportunity to thank Hull for what it has done for dance and what the city can do for the future.1

O’Hare’s passion for putting Hull back on the map for discovering the best talent in the dance industry has emphasised the importance in granting recognition to dance schools throughout the UK. All over the country there are schools who discover and help young dancers achieve their dreams, The Skelton Hooper School of Dance in Hull is one of many.
The Skelton Hooper School of Dance was founded by the late Vera Skelton and is now run by her daughter Vanessa Hooper and is located on a backstreet in Hull; a world away from the spotlight of the Royal Opera House. Vanessa explains that “My mother trained most of the teachers we have. She was quite extraordinary - the first person to get someone into the Royal Ballet from the provinces,”2

Other former pupils from the renowned dance school include O’Hare’s brother Michael, who is now senior ballet master with Birmingham Royal Ballet; Natasha Oughtred, Joseph Caley, Xander Parish, Demelza Parish and Elizabeth Harrod. Liam Mower, one of the original stars of Billy Elliot, also came from Hull, Vanessa Hooper says that there is something special about Hull, she explains that it is a difficult city to get to – “You’ve got to go there out of curiosity”.1

The Royal Ballet’s visit will bring dance schools, participants, and the public together to dance and recognise Hull New Theatre as a premiere stage and a city of talent.
Tickets for this performance will be available from Hull 2017 later this year.

Hull 2016, [2017], The Royal Ballet Opening The New - https://www.hull2017.co.uk/whatson/events/royal-ballet-opening-new/
1 Singh, A. [2017], Royal Ballet to honour the Hull dance schools that turns out stars - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/dance/ballet/royal-ballet-honour-hull-dance-school-turns-stars/
2 Brown, M. [2017], Hull revealed as hotbed of dance talent as Royal Baller comes to town - https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/mar/01/hull-hotbed-dance-talent-royal-ballet-city-of-culture