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.