The Emerging Dancer 2020 finalists (c) Photography by Laurent Liotardo, post production by Nik Pate

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer is going ahead with this year’s competition being live streamed from the company’s home in London on 22 September 2020 at 7.20pm (tickets £5 – book here).

The 6 finalists are selected by their peers as the company’s most promising dancers. The Emerging Dancer competition is a huge opportunity for the finalists who get to perform challenging classical and contemporary roles created by renowned choreographers, in front of a worldwide audience and a panel of esteemed judges, including:

Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Sarasota Ballet Choreographer and former Royal Ballet and Rambert dancer Matthew Hart, leading multidisciplinary dance artist and director of Kerry Nicholls Dance, Kerry Nicholls, The Royal Ballet principal Natalia Osipova, Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director of Digital and Choreographer in Residence Kenneth Tindall and The Royal Ballet principal, Edward Watson.

Meet the 2020 Emerging Dancer Finalists and get ready to see them compete for the honour of winning either the top spot or the People’s Choice Award:

Victor Prigent

Victor Prigent. Photo by Karolina Kuras

What does it mean to you to be an Emerging Dancer Finalist?

 It is an immense honour to have been selected to be one of the Emerging Dancer 2020 finalists.  

I am extremely grateful to all of my colleagues and everyone at ENB who took part of the voting for the six finalists and selecting me. It makes you feel very special knowing your colleagues recognise the effort and the work you have put in through the years dancing with the company.

How have you prepared for the competition, given the restrictions due to COVID?

The preparations for the competition are no different to the amount of work and dedication I have put in since I have joined the company. It is something to look forward to, like dancing a special role or a piece you have never danced before, and you want to give it your best. 

Some things were different due to COVID, as training at home is very different than training in our studios, but you do everything you can with what is at hand and
 COVID was not all bad, it made you realise what really matters.

What are you performing and why did you choose the pieces?



I will be dancing Satanella with my partner Emily Suzuki for the classical pas de deux and we are dancing a new creation by Stina Quagebeur, First Artist and Associate Choreographer at ENB, for the contemporary part of the performance. 

The pieces have not been chosen by the dancers but by our ballet masters. Our ballet staff pair up each couple and recommends a pas de deux that would both suit the dancers and also challenge us. I do think it is better than choosing your own pas de deux as it is very easy to rely on what you like and know you can do. The contemporary pieces this year are all new creations made for the event. I couldn’t be happier to dance both Satanella and the contemporary piece which I’ve love working on.

Describe your experience of lockdown…



My experience of lockdown has been very similar to most people I believe. I stayed at home trying to keep my mind and my body busy. I have read a lot, watched a lot of TV, did barre and some stretching, played some music and video games. Nothing out of the ordinary really, but I definitely wouldn’t want to go back to lockdown happily…

How does it feel to be back in the ENB’s new home?

Being back in our amazing new building and facilities almost feels better than the first time we stepped in. It’s like seeing a best friend after many months of not hearing from each other and finally being reunited. You realise how much you miss the studio when you’re forced to stay away and you have no idea when you’ll be back.

Dancing and rehearsing gives me a huge feeling of freedom, the new building has allowed each dancer to develop and grow very differently to when we were dancing back at Jay Mews. The two buildings are extraordinary in their own way and the dancers are what makes it worth it and so welcoming.

What lockdown has proven to me is that I love ballet and dancing so much and I would never swap my job for anything else.

Ivana Bueno

Ivana-Bueno. Photo by Karolina Kuras

What does it mean to you to be an Emerging Dancer Finalist?

I feel very happy and grateful to have been chosen as an Emerging Dancer 2020, since it is a great opportunity to show the audience what I can do.

How have you prepared for the competition, given the restrictions due to COVID?

We are able to rehearse with a partner but wearing masks, it is been difficult because dancing with masks makes it harder to breathe so it requires more stamina, but we are getting used to.

What are you performing and why did you choose the pieces?

I am performing Talisman pas de deux with my partner William Yamada and a contemporary pas de deux which is a new creation by the choreographer Mthuthuzeli November. 

Describe your experience of lockdown…

The lockdown was a very different experience for everyone, in my case it was helpful to take that time for myself to think and do things that I normally don’t have time to do. So I took advantage of that time and used it as much as I could, which helped me a lot mentally to become stronger.

How does it feel to be back in the ENB’s new home?

It is amazing to finally be back, during the lockdown I was still doing ballet classes and workouts at home but I definitely missed the big space that we have to dance in the studios at ENB.  

Emily Suzuki

Emily Suzuki. Photo by Karolina Kuras
Emily Suzuki. Photo by Karolina Kuras

What does it mean to you to be an Emerging Dancer Finalist?

I feel so honoured to be the finalist of the Emerging Dancer competition. It’s pretty rare that young dancers who haven’t got any experience doing principal roles have the opportunity to perform a pas de deux at that level so I’m so grateful to have this opportunity and it will be one of my best, most meaningful experiences ever!

How have you prepared for the competition, given the restrictions due to COVID?

In the COVID lockdown we already knew what classical piece we would be performing so I was trying learn the character and the story of the pas de deux. I tried to stay in shape, by attending online classes, but I concentrated on stretching and did more pilates which helped me a lot.

What are you performing and why did you choose the pieces?

I’ll perform Satanella pas de deux with my partner Victor and our contemporary piece is by the amazing Stina Quagebeur.

Describe your experience of lockdown…

Lockdown was one of the hardest and strangest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I wanted to try something more and more but there was no space like I used to have in the studio, so it was very hard to keep myself motivated. 

The only thing that I liked the lockdown situation was that I could think about my life so deeply because I had so much time. I meditated and I was trying to make myself happier and I took care of myself more than before. The lockdown actually helped me mentally and it made me appreciate everything more than before. 

How does it feel to be back in the ENB’s new home?

I feel so thankful for what the company did for us by opening up the studios as soon as it was safe. We had training for a month before we started some rehearsals, which helped my body to get back in shape. I’ll never forget the feeling when I stepped into the studio after more than three months of lockdown, my heart was full with happiness!

William Yamada

William Yamada. Photo by Karolina Kuras
William Yamada. Photo by Karolina Kuras

What does it mean to you to be an Emerging Dancer Finalist?

I feel very honoured to be nominated! Emerging Dancer is great way to showcase upcoming dancers and the overall experience is going to be something that we will cherish for the rest of our careers. Hopefully, this Emerging Dancer experience will make me a better person and a better artist.

How have you prepared for the competition, given the restrictions due to COVID?

Preparing for the competition was very hard given the circumstances. During the lockdown I tried to do some exercises, but it’s not like the real thing, so when we were allowed to be back at the company studios I focused on the basics of the ballet and getting back to full fitness was very important too. Stamina is very easy to lose especially when we were stuck at home for over 3 months so I did a lot of cardio work after getting back at the company. 

What are you performing and why did you choose the pieces?

I am performing Talisman pas de deux choreographed by Marius Petipa and music by Riccardo Drigo and also a contemporary piece of brand new work created by Mthuthuzeli November. The company chose the classical piece and the choreographer for the contemporary! I am very excited!! 

Describe your experience of lockdown…

During lockdown I missed the companionship of my company and friends. It also made me appreciate more of what I thought was a normal life. Most of all I missed being on stage and performing! I know that many people had a hard time during the lockdown but for me it was great time to reflect on myself and I have used the time to learn new things and made me think to cherish every moment in life! 

How does it feel to be back in the ENB’s new home?

It is so great to be back at the company! I think we took all the amazing facilities for granted and it made me appreciate more of what we have and it is so nice to see everyone (from a distance). We have been put into bubbles of groups of roughly 10 dancers. The company has done such an amazing job at making us feel safe to be back at work and I cannot thank them enough for making this Emerging Dancer happen! 

Carolyne Galvao

Carolyne Galvao. Photo by Karolina Kuras
Carolyne Galvao. Photo by Karolina Kuras

What does it mean to you to be an Emerging Dancer Finalist?

To be an Emerging Dancer finalist means a lot because it is an amazing opportunity for younger dancers. 

How have you prepared for the competition, given the restrictions due to COVID?

Getting ready for the competition has been really different, because now we have to wear masks and it’s very hard to rehearse all the time with it. But also it’s a great process, working hard and working at something that will add to your future and experience. 

What are you performing and why did you choose the pieces?

I’m performing Diana and Acteon for the classical and for the contemporary I’m performing a new piece choreographed by Jeffrey Cirio.

Describe your experience of lockdown…

During the lockdown, it was very hard to keep motivated, but once I got my routine, I could push myself through the days.

How does it feel to be back in the ENB’s new home?

It feels amazing to be back to our building. I missed it so much, and also my friends.

Miguel Angel Maidana

Miguel Angel Maidana. Photo by Karolina Kuras
Miguel Angel Maidana. Photo by Karolina Kuras

What does it mean to you to be an Emerging Dancer Finalist?

It means a great opportunity to show what I can do and it is also a challenge for my career as a dancer, I am very grateful for this opportunity.

How have you prepared for the competition, given the restrictions due to COVID?

I was trying to get in shape by doing a lot of cardio, pilates, and a little of ballet barre in the morning, all this in my house. I have to admit that it was very difficult and dancing with masks is very difficult.

What are you performing and why did you choose the pieces?

Carolyne and I are performing Diana and Acteon PDD and it is one of my favourites!

Describe your experience of lockdown…

The lockdown was very difficult for me because I missed ballet studios and my friends a lot, but on the positive side it has helped me to think more about myself and focus on my goals.

How does it feel to be back in the ENB’s new home?

It feels amazing! It is totally another vibe, and having a lot of studios is the best because we have more opportunities to practice more and to be more focused on what we do.

English National Ballet
Emerging Dancer
Tuesday 22 September 2020, 7.30pm
Live-streamed performance
Digital Tickets: £5
www.ballet.org.uk/emerging