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Fulbright Association recognises veteran’s outstanding accomplishments

Dance artist Roman Baca wins 2019 Selma Jeanne Cohen Dance Lecture Award

Former US Marine and 2017-18 holder of the Fulbright-Trinity Laban Award in Music & Dance, Roman Baca is the 2019 recipient of the Fulbright Association’s prestigious Selma Jeanne Cohen Dance Lecture Award.

The award, which recognises the achievements of scholars and artists within the field of dance, was first presented in 2000 to acknowledge the importance of preeminent dance historian Selma Jeanne Cohen’s Fulbright exchange experience in Russia.

As a Cohen Lecturer, Roman’s work will be showcased at the Fulbright Association’s annual conference in Washington, DC where he will present his research, give a performance, and lead an audience workshop.

The classically trained ballet dancer, Artistic Director of Exit12 Dance Company and Iraq War Veteran is currently submitting his thesis for the completion of a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography.

Whilst at Trinity Laban, Roman’s research helped expand his practise and solidify his voice as a choreographer.  His final project, In-Trench, was a durational performance piece that choreographically explored the methodology of understanding the traumas of war.

For more information about the Fulbright Association’s Selma Jeanne Cohen Dance Lecture Award, please visit their website.

To hear more from Roman, listen to ourinterview with him from earlier this year on our podcast TL-Life: Crosscurrent.

Applications for the 2020/21 Fulbright Scholarship at Trinity Laban are still open and will close in October. To find out more, visit our international pages.

Image credit: JK Photography

Audience in awe of Dance alum’s acrobatics and musicality

Mirabelle Gremaud gives a stand-out performance in new theatre company’s“spectacular show”

Wise Children is a new theatre company conceived, created and led by Emma Rice, former Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe.

Described by The Guardian as celebrating “the sheer razzle-dazzle of a life in theatre”, their most recent production, Malory Towers, is based on the post-war school novels of acclaimed author Enid Blyton and stars dance alum Mirabelle Gremaud as Irene Dupont.

Speaking to Big Issue North about the role, Mirabelle says –

“I get to sing and dance, including acrobatics that are part of my character’s movement language. I also get to play the harp as my character is the musician – the girl who loves music and being upside down. I basically play myself.”

Big Issue North’s preview praised Mirabelle, who “left audience members in awe of her acrobatics before reducing them to tears with her musical performance.”

You can catch the final performances at the Oxford Playhouse on the 1 Oct – 5 Oct 2019.

Mirabelle trained on the Graduate Diploma in Dance at Trinity Laban. To find out more about studying dance at Trinity Laban, or how to apply, visit our dance pages.


Image Credit: Steve Tanner

Alumni Roundup August 2019

Our monthly roundup of some of the successes for Trinity Laban alumni.

Sheila Maurice-Grey and her eight-piece Afrobeat collective Kokoroko have been playing events across the continent this summer, and most recently  performed at London’s Southbank Centre, as part of the Meltdown season curated by Nile Rogers of Chic.

This month vocal alum James Newby’s performance of Debussy’s settings of three poems by Verlaine at the Hay-on-Wye Festival was broadcast on Kate Molleson’s second BBC Radio 3 programme in a summer series celebrating the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists

Alum Peter Edwards conducted jazz, gospel and Broadway music inspired by Duke Ellington for BBC Prom’s event Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music on 29 August. You can watch again on BBC iPlayer.

John Savournin performed in Wolf-Ferrari’s delicious 1909 farce of marital mistrust and modern manners for Opera Holland Park. Daily Mail opera critic David Mellor gave the production 5 stars, commenting “with John Savournin in fine form as Susanna’s dumb waiter, this was first-class entertainment”.

Sam Jewison took over the late night shows at the The New Generation Festival in Florence at the end of the month, celebrating of some of the greatest legends of swing and jazz. Watch Sam’s interview with Sky News about the event.

Also in August, Musical Theatre alum Duncan Sandilands joined G4 as their new bass. He’ll be performing alongside fellow alum Lewis Raines.

August saw awards and nominations for our alumni with composition alum John Powell nominated for Best Film Composer of the Year at the World Soundtrack Awards 2019, Ezra Collective and Cherise Adams-Burnett nominationed for Parliamentary Jazz Awards, and alum Steve Rubie, who runs the 606 Club, awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the The Musicians’ Company.

It was announced that dance alum and Popping For Parkinson’s founder Simone Sistarelli will continue to turn symptoms into strengths supported by Red Bull Amaphiko UK, a global programme which champions social entrepreneurs who are driving positive change.

Dance graduate Sara Houston published Dancing with Parkinson’s, a book which explores the experience and value of dancing for people living with the neurodegenerative disorder Parkinson’s disease.

In August, several dance alumni joined new companies: 2016 dance graduate Sophie Page is an Apprentice Dancer with Motionhouse, founded by alum Louise Richards, joining fellow alumni Rosie Macari, Bryn Aled and Beth Pattison already dancing with the company. Benni Pohlig recently joined Swedish contemporary dance company Cullberg Ballet, appearing onstage at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank. Paula Drera has won a contract with HimHerIt company that begins later this year. Hannah Connor joined Phoenix Dance as an Apprentice Dancer.

Also in August Jenny Reeves has set up About Time Dance Company. Based in Lancashire they company creates memorable experiences for communities with dance, exploring time, place and heritage.

As of this month two dance graduates are in Istanbul – Kate Haughton is presenting research whilst Umut Ozdaloglu is beginning a PhD programme.

Gianluca Vincentini has commissioned Transitions 2018/19 company member Wilhelmina Ojanen to make a piece for his Leeds-based company Mobius Dance.

Don’t Miss

Matthew Sandiford returning the Laban Stage this season with Ballet Boyz for Them/Us Wed 24 & Thurs 25 Sept. For more info and to book tickets visit our what’s on pages.

Gothic Opera, a new company founded by alumni Béatrice de Larragoiti, Charlotte Obsorn and Alice Usher, curates performances of rarely-seen 19th-century operatic works that take inspiration from the uncanny and eerie atmosphere of Gothic fiction. Their first production is Marschner’s Der Vampyr which they will be performing at different venues in Oct and Nov. Find out more.

Dance alum joins Phoenix Dance Theatre

Having graduated this summer, Hannah Connor is now dancing with the award-winning UK repertory company

After gaining a First Class Honours degree in Contemporary Dance from Trinity Laban, 2019 BBC Young Dancer Contemporary Category Finalist Hannah Connor has joined the UK’s longest-standing contemporary dance company outside London as an Apprentice Dancer.

Founded by three black British men in 1981, Phoenix Dance Theatre has grown to be a key forerunner in contemporary dance and for 37 years has performed across the globe educating and inspiring diverse audiences through dance.

Hannah has been dancing with the company since late August.

To find out more about studying dance at Trinity Laban, or how to apply, visit our dance pages.

Image: Hannah Connor (credit: Tas Kyprianou)

Vocal alum is rising star

Students will premiere Dr Zhivago with West End Stars

Musical Theatre students join Ramin Karimloo and Celinde Schoenmaker for the debut UK concert performances at Cadogan Hall

25 future stars from our vibrant Musical Theatre Department will share the stage with leading West End Stars Ramin Karimloo and Celinde Schoenmaker for the debut UK concert performances of Broadway musical Dr Zhivago at Cadogan Hall on Sunday 1 September.

Based on the novel by Boris Pasternak, the show follows Zhivago (Karimloo), a political idealist, poet and doctor who is torn by living a life with his wife, and the mysterious Lara Guishar (Schoenmaker).

The musical is written by Michael Weller and has music by Lucy Simon and lyrics by Michael Korie and Amy Powers. The piece originally opened on Broadway in 2015.

To book tickets, visit www.lambertjackson.co.uk or the Cadogan Hall website.

Situated in the heart of the UK’s musical theatre capital, Trinity Laban has an outstanding reputation for its rigorous and dynamic performance training, with recent graduates performing in the West End – including Trevor Nunn’s Fiddler on the Roof at the Playhouse Theatre – and in UK and international touring productions such asThe Lion King, Ghost, The Rocky Horror Show and Rock of Ages.

To find out more about studying at Trinity Laban, visit our Musical Theatre pages


See 24 films from 5 continents at new festival this September

The London International Screen Dance Festival (19-20 SEP) celebrates a wide range of films from the international dance community.

London International Screen Dance Festival from Trinity Laban on Vimeo.

Curated by Trinity Laban’s Charles Linehan – one of Britain’s “classiest choreographers” (The Guardian) – the inaugural London International Screen Dance Festival will feature 24 films from 5 continents, including 5 World Premieres from the UK, France, Australia, and European Premieres from the UK, Korea, USA, Cuba.

Chosen from over 250 entries by a panel of industry experts (dance artists Zoi Dimitriou and Stephanie Schober, and AV specialist Ian Peppiatt), the dynamic programme presents the inventive and experimental integration of movement, choreography and the moving image across two evenings at the Laban Theatre (19 & 20 September) to champion new independent short films from around the world.

Highlights include:

  • Joowon Song’s A Town with a Blue Hill, a poetic portrayal of a historical neighbourhood in South Korea sentenced to death in the name of urban redevelopment
  • Silent Imprints by Harry Brooks, which explores male fragility through strikingly original choreography within a stark industrial environment
  • Stopgap Dance Company’s Stopgap in Stop Motion (Stephen Featherstone), where photographs of disabled and non-disabled performers come to life
  • Sea Change – On Loss At Sea, a film by Trinity Laban’s own Lecturer in Dance, Lizzi Kew Ross, inspired by the landscape at Spurn lighthouse in Hull and the Cutty Sark’s maiden voyage
  • Mitchell Rose’s And So Say All of Us, a chain love letter to dance from 52 seminal international choreographers including William Forsythe and Meredith Monk,commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music in honour of Joseph V. Melillo’s 35 years of service as its executive producer

Charles Linehan, Reader in Choreography at Trinity Laban and Associate Artist with Dance4, Nottingham, says –

I am thrilled to launch the inaugural London International Screen Dance Festival to celebrate a diverse range of films from the international community that integrate movement with the screen. The programme for 2019 offers an exciting and surprising mix of experimental films.”

If you are interested in dance, film or creative ways of thinking about movement, this new festival will give you plenty of food for thought and an unparalleled opportunity to see works from all over the globe. 

London International Screen Dance Festival
Screenings 19.30h | SAT 19 –  FRI 20 SEP 2019 | Laban Theatre, SE8 3DZ

Discussion with producer Gitta Wigro and guest artists 18:00 FRI 20 SEP

For full listings visit www.screendancelondon.com

Book your tickets now at our What’s On page

Parliamentary Jazz Awards: 2019 nominations

Alumni and staff shortlisted at this year’s prestigious awards that celebrate best of British jazz

Following an online public vote, nominations for the 2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards have been announced.

The shortlist, chosen by a selection panel who represent a broad cross-section of backgrounds and are united in their passion and knowledge of jazz, includes:

  • Jazz alum Cherise Adams-Burnett for Jazz Vocalist of the Year
  • Ezra Collective (featuring alumni Femi Koleoso, Joe Armon Jones, and Dylan Jones) for Jazz Ensemble of the Year
  • Honorary Fellow Dame Cleo Laine for Service to Jazz

Nominated for Album of the Year – won in 2018 by alumni and staff band Dinosaur’s Together As One – is Trinity Laban’s professor of saxophone Jean Toussaint for his most recent album Brother Raymond. Jean was also the winner of the Jazz Education Award at last year’s awards.

Kelvin Hopkins MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG), said –

“These shortlists demonstrate the wealth of talent and commitment that exists in the British jazz scene. Now in its 15th year, the Parliamentary Jazz Awards honours the best of British jazz. MPs and Peers in the All Party Group are delighted to host another ceremony at Pizza Express Live and we are extremely grateful to PizzaExpress Live for supporting the event.”

Established in 2005, the Parliamentary Jazz Awards are recognised as some of the UK’s most important and respected awards, recognising rising stars and established talent.

The winners, chosen by judging members of the APPJAG, will be announced at the awards ceremony at PizzaExpress Live, Holborn, London on Tuesday 3 December 2019.

To learn more about jazz at Trinity Laban, visit our jazz pages

Image: Cherise Adams-Burnett (Tas Kyprianou)

New Programme Leader for MA/MFA Creative Practice

Trinity Laban is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Naomi Lefebvre Sell as the new Programme Leader for the MA/MFA Creative Practice (Dance)

Originally from Canada, Dr Naomi Lefebvre Sell has been a full-time member of staff within Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Dance since 2005, lecturing across the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes within the fields of choreography, performance and research methods.


Dr Naomi Lefebvre Sell headshot

Naomi succeeds Dr Becka McFadden as Programme Leader for the MA/MFA Creative Practice programmes and will begin her new role in September 2019.

The dancer, choreographer and researcher holds a BFA in Dance from Simon Fraser University, an MA in Choreography and a PhD in Creative Practice (Dance) from Trinity Laban, and is Senior Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. Naomi’s artistic work and teaching is informed by her Doctoral research which examined the effect of mindfulness meditation on a creative process of dance making.

Naomi’s practice-led research is published in academic journals such as Dance Education and also in the book Dance, Somatics and Spiritualities; Contemporary Sacred Narratives, and she regularly presents at national and international conferences. Her current research is funded by Arts Council England.

The Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Creative Practice are postgraduate dance programmes at Trinity Laban that offer practising artists at all stages of their career a unique chance to develop and advance their creative practice. With two pathways – Transdisciplinary or Dance Professional Practice – students benefit from the support of staff at Trinity Laban and partner organisations Studio Wayne McGregor, Siobhan Davies Dance and Independent Dance, as well as opportunities to work with significant guest artists, and will finish their studies with an independent project.

To find out more, visit our Postgraduate Dance pages

Main image: Laban Building (credit Tim Crocker); Headshot: Naomi Lefebvre Sell (credit James Keats Photography)

Trinity Laban July Alumni Round-Up

Our monthly round-up of some of the successes for Trinity Laban alumni

Alum Stefan Đoković, who studied classical voice, is emerging as a respected talent in the world of fashion design. In June he received the Upcoming Star Award at the My Global Fashion Awards in Split, Croatia and in July he was named Best Haute Couture Designer at Dubai Fashion Week where he presented his Royals collection. Đoković describes his style as “fashion through the monocle of a musician.” He commented –

“This approach, which is unique, was interesting to the audience. Maybe people were fed up with dry views of what fashion is and has to be, and they simply responded positively to my fresh approach.”

Fellow vocal alum, counter-tenor Christopher Robson,performed at the Museum of Peoples in Schwaz, Germany as guest soloist alongside EUPHONIE Vocal Ensemble in a musical and literary exploration of 19th Century German court life through a cappella song.

Guitarist Oscar Jerome and drummer Femi Koleoso, graduates from our jazz programme, are star performers in Stella McCartney’s new All Together Now campaign and performed live at its Milan Fashion Week launch. They will be on tour in the UK and Europe with the campaign throughout Autumn.

Violin alum Marta Ramírez García-Mina was a finalist of the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition, playing with duo partner pianist Eloy Orzaiz Galarza as ‘El Parnasillo’. Their performance, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3, included works by J.S. Bach, Jean-Joseph de Mondonville, Francisco Corselli and W.A. Mozart.

Following a series of sell-out performances in October 2018 with Sadler’s Wells Young Associates in the Lilian Baylis Studio, Transitions Dance Company graduate Wilhelmina Ojanen performed in the main theatre at Sadler’s Wells in a bold and ambitious programme of pieces under the guidance of New Wave Associate Hetain Patel.

Dance alum James Pett was among the eagerly-awaited guest tutors at the International Dance Association’s (IDA) Campus 2019 festival in Ravenna, Italy. IDA is a reference point for dance schools, companies and practitioners around the world, awarding certification and focussing on classic, modern jazz, contemporary and hip-hop. Pett has previously toured in the UK and internationally with the Richard Alston Dance Company and Company Wayne McGregor.

The 5th Dance and Somatic Practices Conference was held at the Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University in early June and featured a host of Trinity Laban alumni. Rosana Barragan, Katye Coe, Thomas Kampe, Naomi Lefebvre Sell, Tara Silverthorn, Cleo Tabakian and Lucille Teppa were involved in the varied programme of panels, workshops and discussions. The conference explored the key themes of spirituality, body and environment, pedagogy and performance, politics and trauma, screen-dance and dance science through somatic movement.

Dancer Daisy Harrison was announced as one of four women leading Barbican Theatre Plymouth’s FUSE Diverse Dance project. She will work with lead practitioner and choreographer Suzie West over the next twelve months to direct a programme that brings together diverse communities, local dancers and guest choreographers to share and fuse dance styles and create new performances. Harrison also works with The Prism Project, a performing arts programme for children.

Two dance alumni, Zoi Dimitriou and Rachel Erdos, gave working seminars at Kinitiras, a centre for dance in Athens, Greece. Dimitriou, currently a tutor of Contemporary Technique and Choreography at Trinity Laban, undertook a week of research for her upcoming production, inviting professional dancers to join her with a view to future collaboration. In the framework of this research, a workshop for invited professional dancers will be held, with the prospect for future collaboration.

Tel Aviv-based independent choreographer Rachel Erdos gave four days of intensive movement workshops, open to the public, in which she encouraged participants to find their own creative voice and movement material using choreographic tools, improvisation and contact work.

Dance alum Yanaëlle Thiran performed in Dance West and Creative Youth’s Emerging Dance Platform at Rose Theatre in Kingston. Her group Company Concentric, formed while studying at Trinity Laban, gave a quirky dance-theatre performance with live musicians featuring music by Cécile Chaminade.

Musical Theatre graduate James Darch is appearing as Brad Majors in the national tour of Rocky Horror Show, which runs until October 2019.

This month, composition alum Cassie Kinoshi‘s SEED Ensemble was nominated for the Mercury Prize 2019 for debut album Driftglass. The album features jazz alumni Sheila Maurice-Grey, Chelsea CarmichaelJoe Armon-Jones and Cherise Adams-Burnett.


Don’t Miss…

Peter Edwards directing his first BBC prom at the Royal Albert Hall. The Nu Civilisation Orchestra, BBC singers, Carleen Anderson and the UK vocal assembly will be performing a selection of works from Duke Ellington’s masterpiece.

Prom 54: Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert
22:15 | THUR 29 AUG 2019
Royal Albert Hall, London


Sam Jewison and his orchestra will be taking over the late night shows at the The New Generation Festival in Florence.

The New Generation Festival Late Show
23:30 until closing every night | WED 28 – SAT 31 AUG 2019
Palazzo Corsini Al Prato, Florence

Dance alum Simone Sistarelli chosen for Red Bull Amaphiko UK

The Popping For Parkinson’s founder will continue to turn symptoms into strengths supported by a global programme which champions social entrepreneurs who are driving positive change

Popping For Parkinson’s is a unique project which delivers popping dance classes for people with Parkinson’s. Inspired by his grandad, Simone Sistarelli came up with the idea as part of his Independent Project in the final year of his Contemporary Dance undergraduate training at Trinity Laban.

Popping is a form of hip-hop dance which comes from California and is based on the contraction and release of muscles to a musical beat. Simone believes the rhythmic movements are particularly beneficial to Parkinson’s sufferers, as mastering popping can teach them how to control their involuntary muscle contractions, a common symptom of the disease.

Due to a deficiency in dopamine production, many sufferers also experience depression and anxiety. By inviting them to reclaim their movements and use them as an expressive and artistic tool, Simone’s classes are helping Parkinson’s sufferers to socialise and rebuild their confidence so that they feel energised and empowered.

What started as a humble weekly class in Wimbledon has become an internationally renowned project which is helping people on a daily basis and moving hip-hop culture forward. And being chosen for the first UK Red Bull Amaphiko Academy is the next step in expanding the positive impact of Popping For Parkinson’s.

Red Bull Amaphiko is a launch pad for grassroots social entrepreneurs who are making a positive difference in their community. The programme is designed to inspire and give individuals access to the mentorship, practical skills and tools they need to take themselves and their projects to the next level.

Over 10 days, participants will connect and collaborate with some of the leading innovators, entrepreneurs and storytellers in the world before being paired with a one-to-one mentor who will help develop the business, personal and strategic plans that will be brought to life over the following 18 months.

Simone Sistarelli comments –

“I am incredibly happy to have been chosen to be part of the first Red Bull Amaphiko Academy in the UK. This opportunity will allow me to grow as a social entrepreneur and expand my community dance project, Popping For Parkinson’s, worldwide.

We will be able to reach Parkinson’s patients all around the world and transform them into Popping dance students, turning a negative symptom such as the tremor into a positive starting point of artistic expression.”

Find out more about Sistarelli’s project at the Popping for Parkinsons website

Trinity Laban is supporting creative entrepreneurship with its own Innovation Award, which provides a unique opportunity for final-year undergraduates to access professional development support. The award forms part of Trinity Laban’s strategy to help emerging artists find their voice and innovate in the cultural industries, one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy.

Visit our Innovation Award page to learn more.