English National Ballet School is delighted to announce that Viviana Durante will become Artistic Director of the School for the 2020/2021 academic year, following her appointment as Director of Dance in August 2019.
Since joining English National Ballet School Durante has reinvigorated the School’s teaching faculty and introduced guest teachers including Ivan Putrov, Amanda Maxwell and Mavin Khoo from Akram Khan Company to expose students to different dance styles and teaching methods. She has cemented the School’s commitment to developing the dance artists of the future by launching a new Professional Trainee Programme to further prepare graduating students for a career in dance.
Durante initiated World Ballet School Day, an international celebration of dance students that launched in July 2020 and saw English National Ballet School link up with eleven other leading schools. For the 2020 Summer Performance she commissioned Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Andrew McNicol and Didy Veldman to create new works for the students to perform virtually in a film produced by the BalletBoyz that has gone on to receive critical acclaim and be seen by thousands of people in over 50 countries.
As an internationally celebrated dancer, Durante was principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Teatro alla Scala and K-Ballet. In 2017 she founded the Viviana Durante Company to bring forgotten masterpieces alongside new works to a wider audience and in February 2020 presented Isadora Now at the Barbican. Durante holds diplomas in dance teaching from The Royal Ballet School and Trinity College London and has recently coached for The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
Viviana Durante said: “I am thrilled to become Artistic Director at English National Ballet School, continuing to help develop the next generation of ballet artists. In the short time I’ve been at the School, we have sought to unleash individual potential by providing our students with a rich, ambitious and supportive environment that inspires them to become their best selves and pioneering artists of the future.
The ongoing pandemic has brought many challenges but has also strengthened bonds, unlocked creativity and attested to the resilience, resourcefulness and dedication of our gifted students. Together with all the School’s staff, I look forward to finding new and innovative ways to ensure that our students remain active, engaged and passionate about our art form. I am more optimistic than ever about its future in their hands.”
James Mee, Chairman of English National Ballet School said “On behalf of the Board and everyone at English National Ballet School, we are all delighted that Viviana has agreed to be our Artistic Director for the coming year. Alongside Executive Director Jon Singleton, we are incredibly fortunate to have such a talented and committed executive team to help the School navigate through the current global pandemic. Despite the challenges, the many successes this past year are testament to their leadership. Under Viviana’s artistic directorship English National Ballet School will be able to further develop its reputation as one of the world’s leading ballet training centres and become the school of choice for talented young dancers around the world.”
About Viviana Durante
One of the foremost dance artists of her generation, Viviana was born in Rome and trained at The Royal Ballet School from age 11. She joined The Royal Ballet aged 17 and two years later came to national attention when she took over as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake in mid-performance, never having been taught the role. Promoted to Principal Dancer at 21, she danced all the major roles, winning equal acclaim in the classics and in dramatic ballets by MacMillan, creating roles in his Winter Dreams and The Judas Tree among many new works. She guested with leading companies worldwide and, after leaving The Royal Ballet in 2000, was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, La Scala Milan and Japan’s K-Ballet while also acting on stage and screen. She has received numerous international honours and has been named Dancer of the Year in four countries. Most recently, Viviana has coached for The Royal Ballet, ENB and ABT. She holds diplomas in dance teaching from The Royal Ballet School and Trinity College London and has taught internationally. She is a frequent judge at competitions including Lausanne and Beijing and in 2019 opened the Belgrade Festival as guest of honour. She was consultant editor of the 2018 DK book Ballet: The Definitive Illustrated Story and is a regular guest on radio and TV arts programmes. In 2017 she founded Viviana Durante Company to bring neglected ballet masterpieces and exceptional new work to a wide audience; the company was most recently seen in Isadora Now at the Barbican Theatre. In 2019 she was appointed Director of Dance at English National Ballet School.