Every year, thousands of dance students across London graduate from their colleges and head into the world of dance. Most won’t make it. The dance world can be a harsh, unforgiving place, and it falls on the shoulders of dance schools to prepare their students for the reality of a professional dance career. So what do you do? For the Central School of Ballet, the answer is create a touring company, and for the final semester of the degree, send your students out on the road.

Ballet Central was created in 1984, and is designed to give graduating students professional performing experience, performing a 20 date rout to ticket-buying audiences. The company visits towns and cities across the UK every Spring, usually commencing in March going through to July.

Crucially, the experience also provides the dancers with an understanding of all aspects of creating performance, including the staging of repertoire, costume design and technical aspects of sound and lighting. They do the load in at 9am on the day of the show. They sweep the stage, they steam the costumes, do their makeup, perform in the show, and do the load out. There isn’t a single aspect of the show that is untouched by their hand.

These images were shot over a 13 hour period, from 9am to midnight, on a normal touring day. I was with Chelsea from the moment she arrived at the venue, until she fell into a taxi, exhausted, at the end of the day.

My thanks go to Chelsea, Jenna, Chris, and the rest of the team at BC.

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