It’s been a long time coming, but Dan Chambers can finally return to his hometown of Chipping Norton and dance his heart out with Ballet Central later this month.
And he can’t wait to get back to at The Theatre Chipping Norton and show them what he’s learned since leaving the Cotswold town to become a ballet dancer.
Dancing in three of the six pieces on Saturday June 17, Dan said: “It will be amazing to return to Chippy and see all the people that have supported me on my journey. I think most of the audience will be made up of my family and friends actually,” he laughs, “because everyone seems to be coming.”
Ballet Central is the touring arm of final year students at the world class Central School of Ballet in London, which Dan joined aged 15.
“It was a massive commitment travelling up to London after school every Friday night and coming back on Sunday, but it was really important to me to continue my education,” he says, having since joined permanently.
So what did Dan’s family make of his chosen career? “I think they always knew I’d become a ballet dancer but wanted it to be my decision. So they are very proud and supportive and looking forward to the show as much as me.”
Dan will be one of 30 Central dancers performing a mix of traditional and contemporary pieces in Saturday June 17. From Pas de Deux, The Two Pigeons, inspired by famous choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton to Snow White’s shadowy retelling, Mirror, Mirror by Michael Pink, Dextera’s exploration of the Pygmalion myth by Sophie Laplane, and new choreography from Morgann Runacre-Temple and Darshan Singh Bhuller, there is something for everyone.
“There’s even some brand new work based around ABBA which is different to anything I’ve done before,” Dan says.
So what does it feel like when Dan dances? “It’s a great way of exploring your feelings through movement, and I love the discipline that ballet gives to me and the structure,” he says.
Ironically, ballet wasn’t an instant hit when Dan began dancing: “I didn’t really like ballet until I was a bit older,” he admits. “I was just very energetic so did rugby and tennis alongside tap, ballet and modern dance.
“And there were only one or two boys in our dance class which was hard when I was younger.
“But once I realised it was what I wanted to do as a career, and got into Central, that was it. It meant I had a lot of catching up to do because some pupils had been to vocational dance school, but it was so exhilarating,” he remembers.
Now 19, Dan says he just wants to carry on doing what he loves for as long as possible: “Getting into Central was a big achievement, a real milestone for me. Doing something you love is a gift and I’m really lucky because we dance six days a week, all day every day.
“So while there’s a lot of work involved in the tour moving from place to place, it’s such a great experience. It’s been amazing so far and great to be back on stage after Covid.
“I just hope the show will inspire other dancers to take ballet up as a career.”
Central Ballet is at The Theatre Chipping Norton on Saturday June 17. Tickets at: https://www.chippingnortontheatre.com/whats-on/ballet-central