Meet the #tuneup line-up:
Meet the artists who are sharing their time and expertise for #tuneup.
DAME DARCEY BUSSELL DBE
Darcey Bussell is a former Principal with The Royal Ballet and the most famous British ballerina of her generation. Darcey trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined the Company in 1988. She was one of the youngest artists to serve as principal dancer after being promoted to Principal in 1989, aged just 20, after the premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s The Prince of the Pagodas, in which she had created the lead role. Darcey retired from the Company in June 2007 with a performance of MacMillan’s Song of the Earth, broadcast live on BBC2. She came out of retirement to dance the Spirit of the Flame at the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony.
Darcey’s extensive broadcast work includes being a former judge on Strictly Come Dancing, many documentaries for the BBC and she has presented The Royal Ballet’s worldwide cinema relays since 2014. She remains a Guest principal coach at The Royal Ballet and is Artist Laureate of the Royal Ballet School. Amongst her many patronages, Darcey is President of the Royal Academy of Dance and in 2015 she founded DDMIX (diverse dance mix), a dance fitness charity, aimed at getting dance fitness to be part of PE in state schools.
Dancer & Choreographer
John was selected as the first English dancer to be a part of Riverdance. John turned down a place at Oxford University to study chemistry as he was chosen to be Michael Flatley’s understudy in Lord of the Dance and went on to perform the lead role for two years also creating some of the choreography for Feet of Flames.
Choreographer & Dance Teacher
Louise began her training at the age of seven at the Grand Theatre School of Dance in Swansea and at sixteen, was awarded a three year scholarship by Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom, Surrey, to train with them professionally. She went on to successfully graduate with her teaching qualifications and a Diploma in Musical Theatre. Theatre credits include Starlight Express (Germany), Fame (Victoria Palace, London & UK tour), West Side Story (UK tour), Grease (UK tour) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
LYNNEBEC are a performance company based in Birmingham. It is made up of creative duo
Jessica Barber (she/her) and Catherine Butler (she/her). LYNNEBEC makes work that is highly visual, energetic and draws on their shared interests in pop-culture, contemporary circus/dance, site-responsive performance, and live/visual arts. It's characterised by themes of connection, queerness, identity, movement, humour, and
most importantly, JOY.
Soloist, Birmingham Royal Ballet
Lachlan is a soloist with Birmingham Royal Ballet. He was born in Sydney, Australia and trained at the Royal Ballet School. Lachlan first joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2012 and is best known for playing Neptune in The Tempest and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet.
Dancer & Artistic Director at O'Driscoll Collective
Jamaal has been a part of the dance community since 2010, practising a variety of dance styles, and developing a strong technique within the hip-hop style of breaking. In 2019, Jamaal created O’Driscoll Collective to give back to the community, facilitating conversation through movement, continuing to teach and deliver performances in a variety of settings. With passion and experience in outreach, Jamaal is currently the Participation Producer for DanceXchange & Birmingham International Dance Festival.
Vidya Patel is a Birmingham based Dance Artist with training background in Kathak learning from Guru Sujata Banerjee. After graduating from the South Asian Strand at Centre of Advanced Training Dance programme, Vidya represented the South Asian Category in the Grand Finals of the inaugural BBC Young Dancer 2015 at Sadler’s Wells.
Head of Lighting, Birmingham Royal Ballet
Johnny Westall-Eyre started his theatrical career in 1988 at Buxton Opera House and has worked in various areas of the technical theatrical world, including as Chief Electrician with Northern Ballet from 1992 to 1996, touring as a Production Electrician with Matthew Bourne from 1994 to 2001, and with Birmingham Royal Ballet from 2005 to the present day; Head of Lighting from 2009. Johnny also worked at the Edinburgh International Festival from 1990 through until 2013, being Head of Lighting for the Festival for ten years. He regularly adapts existing lighting designs and creates original designs for the Company's midscale tours and choreographic projects.