Up to now, the world dance pieces that have been such a successful part of Dancers of Tomorrow (the National Ballet Academy’s end-of-year performances) have always been choreographed for NBA1–4 pupils. But for this year’s performances on 7 and 8 July, world dance teacher Iva Lešic has been asked to make a piece for all the NBA pupils from NBA1–7. ‘And because I don’t teach the higher groups every week’, says Lešic, ‘it’s important that we do some exploratory work together first. We’ll be trying out various dance styles and hopefully we’ll create lots of great material. After the workshop week, in the run-up to Dancers of Tomorrow, we’ll start working on the pieces for the performances’.
‘The workshop programme for the students from the pre-professional programme, however, is not focused on choreographing a piece’, says Lešic. ‘What I really want to do is challenge them and provide them with a supplement to their regular lessons. For instance, we’ll be working on the Maori Haka, a dance in which you have to dare to be very ugly – something that most ballet dancers are not used to’. She laughs and says, ‘The girls, in particular, will find that a real challenge’.
‘I also want to work on Georgian dance styles; dances that are very powerful and exuberant, demand a lot of coordination and have to engage the audience directly. It’s important for young dancers to learn this, as it will help them later on in dancing character roles, for example’.