Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal, Brandon Lawrence, has launched an online choreography challenge to stimulate students’ creativity and support their psychological wellbeing during lockdown. The dance community has been especially hit, with dance schools across the world closed and events, exams, and auditions postponed. Despite the proactive attitude of many dance teachers who now deliver online classes, many students report feeling lonely and missing what they call, their ‘dance families’.
The ballet dancer knows this all too well, as BRB has also had to adapt to support the morale of its artists and audience. However, as a performing artist, he also sees a silver lining, as this unprecedented break provides him the time to reflect on his craft and find creative ways to express himself.
“I felt it was extremely important to connect the bbodance family during this challenging time, especially since Dance Days was postponed. Everyone was looking forward to it. Many professional dancers and companies have been creating dance online; I wanted to make it extra special for bbodance members to be part of their very own piece of original dance. I urge you to let your creativity run wild!”
This is the challenge that Brandon brings to the students of bbodance, the organisation that trained him, and to whom he has been especially committed since becoming its youngest Patron two years ago. Since then, he has taught students, inspired graduates, and gained the esteem of longstanding bbodance supporters.
The Online Choreographic Challenge is open to students of bbodance teachers from across the world; all genres, ages, and abilities are welcome. Students have to express what lockdown means to them by choreographing one of three pieces of music commissioned from the award-winning composer, Andrew Kristy especially for this challenge. Entries close on 3 July.
Brandon will edit all submissions into a film illustrating the students’ collective experience; in addition, there will be a winner for each of the three pieces of music. Winners will receive special prizes delivered in partnership with Dansez, a sustainable dancewear brand that fights marine pollution.
Originally from Bradford, Brandon Lawrence was trained by a bbodance teacher and was one of the organisation’s top students, a bbodance Scholar, prior to being accepted into The Royal Ballet School. He was promoted to BRB Principal last year.
This creative project comes shortly after bbodance’s 90th anniversary, when Patrons, members, and friends from around the world came together for a warm online celebration.