Each year, LCB takes a favourite children’s story and develops an original scenario full of humour, drama and excitement to engage a family audience. LCB then commissions an emerging composer to write a ‘full-evening’ narrative score and an up-and-coming choreographer to set the ballet. Working also with an up-and-coming costume and set designers, LCB stages a stunning new ballet each year, performed over a week-long run to sell-out audiences in the West End’s Peacock Theatre.
The LCB Company is made up of highly talented young dancers aged 9-14 (boys 9-16). Children join the company through annual competitive auditions . The 4-month rehearsal and performance experience is free of charge, which not only makes LCB unique but also means there is no barrier to talent – LCB dancers come from every economic, social and ethnic background, united by their passion for ballet. LCB does not only select children who are technically gifted; audition judges look for children who have that special appeal that makes a dancer beautiful to watch regardless of whether or not they have a perfect ballet body.
LCB dancers rehearse on Sunday afternoons from January to April, with an intensive period of daily rehearsals over their Easter holidays. In total, they receive over 100 hours of free, specialist ballet tuition and performance experience.
A core part of LCB’s mission is to enable people to see ballet who normally couldn’t afford it, and to bring ballet into the community for those who are not physically able to access it. The charity also introduces new audiences to ballet, with many audience members drawn to LCB productions through the universal appeal of the popular stories performed by the Company. LCB’s outreach initiatives start on ‘opening night’ and continue throughout the year, impacting over 3,000 people’s lives each year through our programmes, workshops, tour performances and classes. LCB runs three flagship outreach programmes: Ballet for £1, which gives away free tickets to disadvantaged and isolated children and adults for just £1 and are followed up with free ballet workshops offered to all participating schools. LCB is an Artsmark Partner organisation and our Ballet for £1 programme can support Arts Awards. LCB Touring Company, brings abridged versions of the main production into care homes, special needs schools and community centres; and Dance Inspire, which is a programme of weekly free ballet classes offered in primary schools in disadvantaged areas.
To develop talent and support young dancers in their pursuit of excellence, LCB offers a number of training opportunities for children aged 9-16.
LCB runs two weeks of summer school, one for children aged 9-12 and a performance-focused summer school for girls aged 13-16. We also offer boys-only classes to support young male dancers who too often are isolated in classes full of girls. These classes are led by top professional male ballet dancers, and complement the boys’ normal ballet classes. To help and encourage children who audition for LCB but are unsuccessful, a yearly masterclass on audition technique and performance is offered, led by a top professional ballet dancer.