Photo: Danny Lawson/PA
The Royal Ballet gala is part of the programme celebrating Hull’s year as the UK City of Culture.
Years ago, I read an article in which some famous theater person opined that, with money for the arts always tight, only major centers should be funded, not small theaters and arts programs out in the boondocks. I believed then and still believe that was the wrong way to go. Everyone deserves arts. And who’s to say where genius can be found?
Which is why I liked this story from the UK about the post-industrial city of Hull, where an impressive ballet school has been training talent for years.
Anita Singh, writes at the Telegraph, “A backstreet in Hull might seem a world away from the bright lights of the Royal Opera House. But one unassuming dance school in a converted church has discovered more ballet stars than any other in the UK.
“The Skelton Hooper School of Dance has sent what is believed to be a record 24 pupils to the Royal Ballet School, including the current head of The Royal Ballet, Kevin O’Hare.
“As a tribute to the city’s dance heritage, O’Hare is taking his company to Hull for the first time in 30 years. He will stage a gala performance starring Xander Parish, star soloist with Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet and another former pupil. …
“ ‘For me, Hull-born, bringing the Royal Ballet up to Hull for this special opening performance is fantastic,’ said O’Hare. … O’Hare and his brother, Michael, who is now senior ballet master with Birmingham Royal Ballet, studied at Skelton Hooper. …
“The school was founded by the late Vera Skelton and is now run by her daughter, Vanessa Hooper. ‘My mother trained most of the teachers we have. She was quite extraordinary — the first person to get someone into the Royal Ballet from the provinces,’ said Hooper, who charges just £3.75 a lesson. …
“Hooper said there is something special about the city. ‘Hull’s a difficult place to get to. You’ve got to go there out of curiosity,’ she said. ‘We’ve had to build our own little world on the periphery.’ ”