American in Paris – Pop-up Masterclass

National Youth Ballet is delighted to host

American In Paris

NYB are thrilled to have original West End cast member Katie Deacon help take your dance and performance skills to new heights in an American in Paris Masterclass. Join us and experience the exciting and inspiring repertoire from this multi award winning show!

Venue: Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Stage door entrance

Date: Sunday 4th March (after NYB auditions)

Time: 4pm – 6pm

Age: Open to students aged 14 and above

Fee: £15 NYB auditionees / £20 be paid on the day in cash

Reserve Email: to reserve your place

The masterclass is open to all students aged 14 and above. To confirm your place please email stating your name and age. You will receive a confirmation email and payments will be taken in cash on the day. To receive your special NYB discount rate please include your NYB audition time and venue.



Katie Deacon is from Glasgow and trained at Central School of Ballet in London where she graduated with a First Class BA(Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance.

She then went on to dance soloist and corps de ballet roles with Ballet NDB (Czech Republic), English National Ballet and The National Ballet of Ireland. Katie decided to transition into Musical Theatre and has since performed in CATS (Jemima/understudy White Cat/Dance Captain) and the London Premiere of “Out Of This World” (Spirit of Night/Dance Captain) before joining the original West End cast of “An American in Paris” as part of the ensemble.

Her upcoming work includes creating the leading role of Ginger Rogers in the first full length production by House of Jazz called “Welcome to the Grand”, and performing a featured role in a piece for the Royal Ballet at the Barbican Centre this summer.

Katie has a huge passion for teaching and has taught all over the UK including at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Scottish Ballet Associate Scheme, the Dance School of Scotland, open classes at Pineapple Dance Studios/Danceworks and at some of the top Musical Theatre colleges in London/the UK. Some of her private coaching students have successfully auditioned for full time, part time and summer courses at The Royal Ballet School, Elmhurst Ballet School, Royal Ballet Associates and Scottish Ballet Associates. Katie will also have her own regular slot teaching Ballet at the brand new Base Dance Studios in Vauxhall.

Follow Katie

Twitter @katie_deacon

Instagram @katielonglegs92

Facebook Katie Deacon

Get the full details from the PDF:

NYB Finance Trustee

National Youth Ballet is looking for a new Trustee: a qualified accountant with extensive experience in finance or accountancy, to support the organisation through an exciting period of growth ahead. Please click here for more information.

Tributes to Jill Tookey

The stunning picture you see below, is Founder and Artistic Director of NYB, Jill Tookey, who sadly passed away on Good Friday 2016.

Her funeral took place on Thursday 7th April at St. Mary’s Church in Westerham and was a beautiful and poignant event. The ceremony was accompanied by some of Jill’s most-loved music, including some NYB favourites – the Pas de Deux from John Lanchbery’s TOAD, excerpts from Paul Reade’s Cinderella and a beautiful and moving live performance of Dark Lochnagar from NYB’s The Old Man of Lochnagar, choreographed by Nigel Hess, sung by Wendy Nieper and accompanied, on the harp, by Jane Lister.  

Jill Tookey in her youth

Jill Tookey in her youth, 1960s

6 male NYB alumni made up the pallbearers, whilst alumnus and choreographer Drew McOnie gave a moving eulogy about Jill and her incredible influence on the lives of so many dancers’ over the past 30 years. Amongst the moments of sadness were also moments of joy as the congregation fondly remembered stories of Jill’s fun and eccentric dancing parties, her infectious enthusiasm, her meticulous eye for detail and her love of fancy dress!

The funeral was well attended by family, friends, patrons, trustees and many of the NYB family past and present, including choreographers, back stage staff, chaperones, wardrobe staff, costume and mask design, alumni, parents, dance teachers and dancers – all the different people that make NYB the huge success that it is. 

We wish to share with you Jill’s obituary published in The Times earlier in the week, describing a Director who ‘helped generations of dancers into stage careers‘:

Jill Tookey


No other individual in the history of dance in this country has done more for young people, hopeful of careers in  dance and musical theatre, than Jill Tookey.
(David Bintley, Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet)

Jill encouraged individuals to fly. To be themselves in the most powerful way possible; with pride. Thank you Jill for that lesson.
(Jessica Allen, NYB Alumnus)

Click to read tributes to Jill in the Sevenoaks Chronicle

 If you wish to make a donation, the family would appreciate a donation to research into the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer via


NYB appoints new Artistic Director

The National Youth Ballet of Great Britain is delighted to announce the appointment of its new Artistic Director, Mikah Smillie. Following the passing of the company’s Founding Director, Jill Tookey, in March this year, Mikah was appointed Artistic Director in Residence and led the 2016 Season including a sell-out Memorial Gala performance at Sadler’s Wells in September. Mikah now joins National Youth Ballet on a permanent basis and will lead the company into its 30th Anniversary year in 2017.


Following a 20 year dancing career Mikah retired from performing and in 2014 she was selected to take part in the Dance UK Mentorship Programme and was subsequently appointed as an Associate Artist for RE;Bourne.  Mikah has worked extensively as a rehearsal director with, Re:Bourne, New Adventures, Scottish Ballet, Ballet Ireland, The McOnie Company and for Turner Prize winner Martin Creed on Work 1020 at Sadler’s Wells .  Mikah also has a passion for dance pedagogy and currently lecturers in dance on the BA Modern Ballet and BA/MA Musical Theatre courses at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and  has had vast experience working with a mixture of both professional dancers and creative young people in major arena events , film and television.

Mikah has been involved with National Youth Ballet of Great Britain over the past decade and assisted in developing the Beyond Ballet Mentoring platform, an exciting platform for young choreographers. She was appointed as Artistic Director in Residence in 2016, having been taken under the directorial wing of the late Jill Tookey in previous Seasons.

Anna Meadmore and Jonathan Payn have also been appointed as Trustees on the Board of National Youth Ballet.

Anna Meadmore has a long association with The Royal Ballet School, having graduated from their Teachers’ Training Course in 1990. After teaching there for many years, Anna went on to become the school’s Head of Academic Dance Studies, and is now the Archivist and teacher of History of Ballet. Anna has been associated with National Youth Ballet since 1991, first as a teacher and choreographer and then as a Patron. Anna was the founding teacher of the National Youth Ballet Workshops in Schools programme, and in 2011 succeeded the late Frank Freeman as adjudicator of the National Youth Ballet annual Choreography Competition.

Jonathan Payn has been associated with National Youth Ballet from the age of 12 when he was first a member of the Company. Jonathan has also choreographed four ballets for the company over the last 10 years. Jonathan is a graduate of the Royal Ballet School and is currently a First Soloist for Birmingham Royal Ballet where he has been a company member since 1993.


BBC Young Dancer of The Year

BBC Young Dancer of The Year will be announcing their finalists soon .

Following their success in BBC Young Dancer 2015, NYB Alumni Archie Sullivan and Paris Fitzpatrick have both gone on to secure  places with Northern Ballet. NYB currently has three Alumni in the company.







NYB Summer School 2013

For the 4th year running, NYB held its annual Summer School at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.

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Drew McOnie wins Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer…

NYB was delighted to hear of alumnus and choreographer for NYB, Drew McOnie’s success at the Olivier Awards 2016, held at the Royal Opera House. Drew was awarded Best Theatre Choreographer for In The Heights at King’s Cross Theatre.

Drew danced with NYB for many years before choreographing some of NYB’s favourite pieces including The Old Man of Lochnagar and more recently, Little Red Riding Hood with the score written by composer Tom Deering, also working alongside Drew in In The Heights.

A huge congratulations to Drew – very much deserved!

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