World famous dancers to visit Harrogate school and share their skills this summer

Some of ballet's biggest stars are heading to a Harrogate school this summer to help inspire the next generation of dancers.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 9:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 9:50 am
Yorkshire Ballet Seminar Director Iain Mackay, left, with some of his young protégées in Ashville College’s Soothill Hall in Harrogate.

This exciting opportunity kicks off tomorrow, Wednesday, when Wayne Sleep – a former senior principle at the Royal Ballet who famously danced with Princess Diana - will visit the Yorkshire Ballet Seminar, which is being held for three weeks at Harrogate's Ashville College.

Launched 46 years ago, and now under the directorship of Iain Mackay, Yorkshire Ballet Seminars offers dance students aged nine to 19 the opportunity to attend world class residential courses during the summer and Easter holidays, alongside other events throughout the year taught by internationally renowned dancers and highly acclaimed teachers.

It has previously been staged in schools in Ilkley and York, before making Ashville its new home under Mr Mackay, a well-known name to ballet aficionados.

Iain trained at the Dance School of Scotland before moving to London to finish his studies at the Royal Ballet Upper School.

In 1999 he joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet where he rapidly rose through the ranks achieving promotion to Principal dancer in 2003.

Iain Mackay said: "Thanks to the extremely high calibre of our teachers, the Yorkshire Ballet Seminar is highly regarded and attracts young dancers from all over the world.

“This Wednesday, Wayne Sleep, who attended the very first Yorkshire Ballet Seminar, will be joining us to help inspire the next generation of ballet stars

“I was lucky enough to win a bursary to attend a YBS summer school, which helped me achieve my dream of becoming a Principal dancer, which I did at the age of 21.

"And when I retired from dancing, I became its director.

“I’d like to thank Ashville College for making us feel so welcome, and making sure we are incredibly well looked after in a very safe and reassuring manner. It’s a superb new ‘home’ for us and we are already planning to return next Easter.”

Anna Rakusen-Guy, Ashville College's events and lettings manager, said: “It is our pleasure to be able to host the Yorkshire Ballet Seminar, and to welcome Iain, his colleagues and the students to our facilities.

“Covid prevented them from coming last summer, and I'm delighted that they are now finally with us. Pre pandemic, the Easter and summer holidays saw our campus being extensively used by a host of outside organisations, and the good news is they are now looking to come back to Ashville.”

For more information about Ashville College, please visit or call 01423 566358.