As a centre of excellence in the teaching of dance, the Central School of Ballet has a reputation second to none. So one would expect its touring company to be equally stellar.

And it is.

The annual Ballet Central tour sees the company’s young and dynamic dancers showcasing the best dance theatre from industry professionals alongside newly-commissioned work and refreshed classics from the world’s top choreographers. They also help with technical aspects including lighting, sound, staging and wardrobe.

Under the artistic direction of Christopher Marney, its diverse range of dance and theatre is being staged across the country, going on to Tokyo. And on Saturday it arrives at The Theatre, Chipping Norton.

Ballet Central Artistic Director Christopher Marney is an alumnus of Central School of Ballet himself. “Twenty years ago, I graduated from Central School of Ballet having toured across the UK with Ballet Central, the same experience as that of the talented student dancers performing in this year’s tour,” he says.

“Choosing the repertoire for the annual Ballet Central tour is often shaped by the student dancers on Central’s three-year degree programme. I follow the dancer’s progress, their technical and performance strengths and how they bond as a group, identifying individual and unique qualities.”

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Christopher choreographed Carousel Dances which closes each performance.

“Inspired by the dream ballet from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 1945 classic musical Carousel, I have challenged our dancers with more than just complex steps,” he says. “In preparation, we took part in workshops with the National Centre for Circus Arts, equipping the dancers with many new skills, immersing them in a different type of performance world.

“I hope the energy of this final piece will inspire our audiences.”

This season’s repertoire also includes a a unique version of the Dying Swan Solo created by Calvin Richardson and an extract from Frederick Ashton’s acclaimed Valses Nobles et Sentimentales performed to Maurice Ravel’s suite of waltzes.

It also features an excerpt from Kenneth MacMillan’s works, House of Birds, based on the Grimm Brothers’ macabre fairy tale, Jorinda and Joringel.

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Dancers will also perform Jasmin Vardimon’s In Between, a physical contemporary work first created with the National Youth Dance Company in 2013.

For the first time, Ballet Central is collaborating with Thiago Soares, principal dancer with the Royal Ballet. It is also offering a rare chance to see behind the scenes as the dancers prepare for their performance.

Tickets are available to see an open class on stage in the theatre from 12.15-1pm on Saturday as the dancers prepare mentally and physically, perfecting their technique. The tickets are just £6, with pieces kept as low as possible to encourage new audience members.

Ballet Central dancer Tessa Raby dances the role of The Bird Woman in Kenneth Macmillan’s House of Birds. She says “There is something oddly joyous in performing these sinister roles.

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“I find myself reaching into my darkest childhood dreams to help me bring these wonderful characters to life.

“It is both an honour and a delight to be able to show the powerful creativity of the story depicted in Kenneth MacMillan’s work.”

Christopher adds: “The exciting repertoire brought by our influential choreographers not only entertains our audiences, but also ensures our talented young dancers secure employment with leading dance companies and musical theatre productions worldwide.”

Tickets at The Theatre Chipping Norton are £16, concessions £13. Go to or call the Box Office on 01608 642350.