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 three and developed 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 joining Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2017. Katherine assists the Participation Manager on all outreach projects delivered by the department.
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 – Rosie Price
Rosie Price, BA Hons, CBTS (RTS RAD), trained at Elmhurst School for Dance and then Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Since returning to The Midlands, Rosie works as a freelance contemporary, ballet and conditioning teacher and choreographer within the community.
For companies such as Spitfire Theatre Company, Kings International Ballet Academy and Chantry School of Contemporary and Balletic Arts, Rosie delivers classes/workshops, co-ordinates and choreographs contemporary and physical theatre. For organisations such as Caroline Carr Dance Studios, Expressions Academy of Performing Arts and Addict Dance Academy, she delivers classical ballet coaching, choreographs classically and delivers body conditioning methods for dancers including Progressing Ballet Technique.
As former Head of Contemporary and Choreography at The School of Ballet Theatre UK and now at Kings International Ballet Academy she relishes developing contemporary dance techniques with classically trained dancers, to enhance movement vocabulary, dynamics and performance skills as well as delivering contemporary repertoire and exploring improvisation and other choreographic approaches.
Currently studying for her MSc in Dance Science at the University of Wolverhampton, Rosie also co-founded REC Ballet in 2017 and loves teaching the students that join them from all over country. She welcomes the fun and is continually inspired by hardworking and passionate young dancers and aims to create an environment to nurture and enhance further. Rosie first worked with Birmingham Royal Ballet as a Junior Associate, she was lucky enough to perform with them as a young child in The Nutcracker and first worked with the Learning, Engagement, Access and Participation team as a rehearsal assistant in 2019 on the Swan LakeDreams project.
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
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.
Connor Wilcox - Central
Connor was born in Burntisland in 1994 and began studying at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) in 2012, where his teachers were Daniel Browell, Simon Nicholls and Margaret Fingerhut. He graduated in 2016 with a first class honours degree, and is currently following a Master of Music course at the conservatoire under the tutelage of Katharine Lam and Victor Sangiorgio. He was most recently awarded first place in the RBC Piano Department Prize 2021, along with first prizes as accompanist in the Delia Hall competition and Edward Brooks English Song competition, both in 2016. Connor performs regularly in Birmingham and further afield, most recently in the Ulverston International Music Festival 2019, the Birmingham International Chamber Music Festival 2018, and the Accenting the Classics research conference 2018.
Connor started playing for ballet in the same year, when he began a mentorship programme at Elmhurst Ballet School under the guidance of Mikael Pettersson and Elaine Li, going on to play for Elmhurst Ballet School Associate classes on Saturdays. In 2019, Connor received mentoring at Birmingham Royal Ballet from Jonathan Higgins and Jeanette Wong, and has since gone on to play for company classes and the Dance Track programme. Connor also enjoys teaching a number of private students, one of whom has recently commenced study as an undergraduate at Leeds Conservatoire.
Bogdan Suciu - North
After graduating an undergraduate degree in piano performance with first class honours at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2019, Bogdan decided to follow his interest in the relationship between music and movement and apply for a Ballet Accompanist position at Elmhurst Ballet School. A successful graduate of the collaborative scheme between the two institutions that was pioneered in order to give pianists a chance to learn the skill of playing for ballet class, Bogdan earned a full time position at Elmhurst and continues to work as a member of the music team there, uplifting the class and aiding in young dancers’ development and growth.
As part of his further outreach in accompanying young dancers and providing live music for ballet class, Bogdan started working with the Birmingham Royal Ballet on the Dance Track programme in 2019 and continues to do so. Bogdan’s passion for physical related disciplines started with a focus on stunts and acrobatics. He has acquired a Level 1 1st4SportQualification in Parkour Coaching and is currently studying on a course for Fitness Instruction. Bogdan’s motivation and drive come from an impetus to move people’s hearts and bodies through movement and music. His life philosophy is one of constant development and spiritual growth. His dream is that of inspiring people to become more physically active, more musical, and ultimately more creative, thoughts which originated Bogdan’s mantra: MOVE, PLAY, CREATE.
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 Birmingham Royal Ballet'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 for Birmingham Royal Ballet; since then they have repeated the project for the 2018 Sleeping Beauty Dreams and 2020 Swan Lake Dreams.
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 Birmingham Royal Ballet, and on television 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 World War II film, whilst juggling projects with Birmingham Royal Ballet, 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.