London Contemporary Dance School
Image: Camilla Greenwell
Central School of Ballet has announced the commencement of works for the bespoke fit-out of their new premises in London’s flourishing arts community on the South Bank in Southwark following a successful fundraising campaign.
This is a £9million project that involves the full relocation of the school to its new premises including the fit-out of the building. In March 2017 Central announced a campaign to raise £6million to finance the development and now, less than two years later, under £1million is required for the final stages of the Paris Gardens building. Support to date has come from individuals, major Trusts and Foundations and from two loans; £3million from Southwark Council and £600,000 from the Arts Impact Fund. Fundraising continues in earnest to repay the two loans.
The new Paris Gardens premises will feature amenities to rival dance training facilities anywhere in the UK; seven studios, a fully-equipped studio theatre, study and resource centres. The fit-out will include a state-of-the-art health suite providing psychology, nutrition, physiotherapy, Pilates and recovery from injury programme. The aim is to become a hub for a dynamic dance community combining excellence in dance training for those aiming for a professional career and a programme of opportunities for the local Southwark community.
Central currently runs a thriving community at its current premises in Clerkenwell. Over 1,200 people use Central’s facilities each week; from students training for a professional career in dance to children taking their first steps in ballet and adults using dance to improve fitness and wellbeing. The new premises in the South Bank will over the next five years allow the school to offer dance classes to thousands more in the Southwark area and give the local community opportunity to see and take part in dance and other performances in the new Studio Theatre alongside a range of other programmes in the building.
Heidi Hall, Director of Central School of Ballet, said: “The response to the capital campaign to finance our move announced less than two years ago has been exceptional. It has been most encouraging that organisations and individual arts enthusiasts believe in our ambition for wider access to dance for the public and improved training facilities for those aiming for a professional dance career. I am particularly grateful to Cllr Peter John and Southwark Council for their interest in and support of Central’s work, and to all our loyal supporters who have believed in our passion and determination to deliver this project.”
Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “This is wonderful news and we look forward to seeing the finished building and officially welcoming the Central School of Ballet as part of Southwark’s growing reputation as a cultural destination. It is one of our key commitments that local people are able to benefit from the regeneration happening across the borough, and as well as offering local people access to world class entertainment, the school is already running a satellite Ballet school at the Alfred Salter school which has been established since 2012 in anticipation of their move.”
Seva Phillips, Head of Arts & Culture Finance, Nesta commented: “Central School of Ballet’s continued fundraising success will mean that more young people will be able to benefit from the majesty of ballet for many years to come. The state-of-the-art Paris Gardens building will also be springboard for professional dancers, making an important contribution to London’s thriving artistic and cultural ecosystem. Through the Arts Impact Fund’s involvement with this project, we have been keen to demonstrate the value of social investment to long-standing cultural institutions embedded in their communities.”
[Image: Central School of Ballet dance student Erin King (17) poses for a photograph at their new premises on London’s South Bank, Feb 20, 2019. Photograph by Paul Hackett]