Programme Manager – Rebecca Brookes
Following a professional career, and completing a first class honours degree alongside running her own dance school, in September 2015 Rebecca was offered a position in the Engagement and Participation Department of Birmingham Royal Ballet. This fulfilled a life-long dream to work within the company. Initially employed as a Community and Schools engagement officer, Rebecca was promoted to Participation Manager in 2018. Since 2017 Rebecca has been managing the Dance Track Programme. She has toured the country with the company and project manages both large and small-scale projects, Ballet Training in Birmingham and on tour, leads repertoire workshops and auditions, and co-devised a new Ballet fitness programme.
Previous to working at Birmingham Royal Ballet, Rebecca was appointed as Programme Developer for Education at Arts Connect West Midlands, the bridging programme implemented by Arts Council England to ensure that all young children have access to high quality Arts and Culture.
Programme Co-ordinator – Katherine Field
Katherine has trained in ballet since the age of 3 and furthered this love for dance by completing a BA (Hons) Dance degree at Chichester University followed by a Diploma in Dance Studies from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Since then she has been furthering her career in the arts by working in administration as well as dancing professionally before finding herself at Birmingham Royal Ballet from September 2017. As Participation Co-ordinator Katherine will be assisting the Participation Manager on all outreach projects delivered by the department. Katherine cannot wait to continue to grow within the company and further her love for ballet.
South and Plus – Rachel Hester
Rachel was born in the Bahamas to her American Mother and British Father. On moving to London England, aged seven, Rachel enrolled at Rona Hart’s School of Dance. Rachel successfully auditioned for the Royal Ballet School’s Junior Associate programme and then gained a place at the lower school White Lodge. Assessed out after only one year but determined to succeed as a dancer, Rachel continued ballet training with various teachers throughout London; she was an R.A.D scholar and took exams in both the R.A.D and Cecchetti methods.
Rachel won the Cyril Beaumont scholarship to the Royal Ballet Upper School and after 2 years was offered a contract with the Royal Danish Ballet Company where she danced from 1988-1993 performing worldwide. Age eighteen; she represented Denmark at the Eurovision Young Dancer of the year competition, 1989, with a pas de deux choreographed by Michael Corder.
Rachel joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1993, was promoted to First Artist and performed in almost every production until retiring in 2004. Most notable roles were; Alice in Hobson’s Choice, Winifred Norbury in Enigma Variations, Chinoisserie in Nutcracker Sweeties, Big Swans and Queen Mother in Swan Lake, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Phlegmatic in The Four Temperaments, Friends and Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Bathilde and Giselle’s mother in Giselle.
After leaving the Company, Rachel attained the Royal Academy of Dance’s Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma (P.D.T.D) with Distinction. Her teaching career thus far has included Elmhurst School of Dance 2004-2007, The Nicolson School for Dance 2006-2008 and the Dancexchange, 2003-2006. She has also taught and choreographed for Midland Theatre Ballet.
Currently Rachel freelances as a Dance Artist for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Engagement and Participation Department, having been the Dance Track south teacher since 2004 with many pupils successfully auditioning for Elmhurst’s Associate program and the Junior Associates of the Royal Ballet School. Several students have gone on to gain places at Elmhurst Ballet School and the Royal Ballet School, White Lodge.
Rachel also delivers workshops on behalf of the Royal Academy of Dance and regularly teaches for their Associate program. She teaches for the British Ballet Organisation (BBO) and the ISTD and is employed by the Royal Ballet School, as a Senior Associates teacher.
Central – Nicky Linzie
Nicky Linzie RAD RTS trained as an Associate of Scottish Ballet, at the Dance School of Scotland and the Arts Educational Schools. She completed her teacher training at the Royal Academy of Dance. Nicky has been engaged by numerous vocational schools and has taught both in the UK and abroad.
Long term appointments include Central School of Ballet and the Arts Educational Schools. Also previously London Junior and Senior Ballet, Scottish Ballet and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Nicky is appointed Royal Academy of Dance faculty and teaches Ballet both at London HQ and nationally. Her pupils gain places on associate and full time training courses across the UK.
Nicky is an approved Teaching Mentor for the BA Ballet Education students of the Royal Academy of Dance and has seen countless young teachers go on to secure jobs in their chosen field. She has delivered Dance as part of the Arts curriculum in a number of independent London schools including Saint Paul’s Cathedral School, Ibstock Place School (Head of Department) and the Hurlingham School.
She is on the current Artistic Faculty at Elmhurst Ballet School, Nicky teaches both in the School and on the associate Young Dancers programme. She has most recently been recruited by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Engagement and Participation Department to join the staff on their talent identification programme, Dance Track.
North – Rebecca Brookes
Rebecca began her dance training age four at Gwynn School of Dance and spent three years as a Junior Associate of The Royal Ballet School. The highlight being a part of Sir Peter Wright’s ‘Nutcracker’ with Birmingham Royal Ballet. After gaining a place at The Royal Ballet School aged eleven, Rebecca declined due to family circumstances.
Rebecca competed and won National Dance Scholarship competitions in succession and performed in annual Showcase Gala’s produced by the AAD, dancing in theatres all over the country and West End. Rebecca was offered various professional contracts on both stage and television before attending Northern Ballet School in Manchester to complete her professional vocational training.
Whilst at Northern Ballet School Rebecca danced with Manchester City Ballet and afterwards appeared with Northern Ballet as an artist. She was also a feature dancer in the Manchester City of Culture celebrations.
Rebecca taught for six years as a lecturer of Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary on the dance degree at Wolverhampton University. She has regularly demonstrated for the Arts Council and European Arts Council, presenting syllabus work for both ISTD and AAD. Rebecca ran a dance school for twelve years and completed the ISTD and AAD Teaching qualifications with students going forward to take place at Elmhurst Ballet School, The Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst associate programmes, Bird College and various University Dance related degree courses.
Rebecca has extensive knowledge and expertise to pass on her passion to all sectors of society and joins the Dance Track team as a teacher in 2018. She is delighted that she has the opportunity to change the lives of the children in her classes and also the parents involved, whether physically, emotionally or socially.
Ian Richards – South, Plus and North
Ian Richards is a graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire. He has worked extensively as an opera repetiteur and vocal coach and directed many musicals. He is in much demand as a pianist for dance and he is experienced in the nuances of accompaniment for dance, and in particular, ballet. Ian works with the Engagement and Participation Department of Birmingham Royal Ballet on a regular basis, accompanying Dance Track and creative workshops for all ages. Ian also plays for the Royal Ballet School associate programme.
ADDITIONAL STAFF (DANCE TRACK WORKSHOPS)
Born in Hull, Jenny trained at the Royal Ballet School before joining Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2001. After her career as a professional dancer she completed the Royal Academy of Dance PDTD and graduated from the University of Birmingham with a MA in Applied Dance. Following her retirement in 2007 she continued her academic studies completing her MPhil degree and joined Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Department for Learning. As Manager for Learning she went on to deliver, create, technique and repertoire projects in education and community contexts, nationally and internationally.
Since 2012 Jenny has continued to develop her career as a freelance dance artist alongside bringing up her two young children. She now works for Birmingham Royal Ballet, The Royal Ballet School, Royal Academy of Dance, English National Ballet and DanceXchange. Jenny has recently completed her Postural Stability Instructor qualification and is currently delivering on BRB’s Dance to Health project working with people at risk of falls. In 2017 jenny artistically co-led, with Rachel Hester, the Cinderella Dreams Project. In spring 2018 Jenny was delighted to be offered the opportunity to deliver Sleeping Beauty Dreams and showcasing Sir Peter Wright’s beautiful production under the management of the Engagement and Participation Department of Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Andrew Kristy - Pianist
Andrew is an award-winning British composer and pianist. After graduating with a BSc in Psychology, and pursuing a career in marketing, he returned to his passion, music, at the age of 25 and has since performed as far afield as China and Hong Kong with BRB, and on TV and Radio with celebrities such as Nigel Kennedy and Nusrat Fateh Allah Khan. Andrew is hugely versatile, having composed music for film and Bollywood; the London 2012 Olympics and Rugby League. In 2009 he was nominated for BASCA’s British Composer of the Year for his site-specific underground show “Wrosne” featuring live orchestra, choir and 60 young people. And in 2015 his score for the feature film ‘The Journey’ received several International Film Awards and nominations from Festivals in Europe and America for its “hauntingly beautiful” music. He is now working on the score for a British WW11 movie, whilst juggling projects with BRB, the National Trust and other organisations.
Jenny and Andrew both work as part of the Dance Track team when identifying workshops in schools through the spring term.