Because our recent recruit James Cooper was such an energetic youngster (he hails from Hampshire, England), his parents introduced him to ballet by means of a dvd of ‘The Nutcracker’ danced by the Bolshoi Ballet. The 10 yr-old was captivated by the star soloist Irek Mukhamedov, as well as by the music and decided then that ballet was what he wished to follow.
After a few years at a local dance school, he entered the Masters of Ballet Academy in London, having been invited by one of the principals, ex-ballerina Olga Semenova. After a very rewarding two years, mainly under the tutorship of Semenova, he started full-time training at the Central School of Ballet, also situated in London, under the helm of Resmi Malko. However Covid intervened before he could stretch his wings further afield and during lockdown, like so many other aspiring youngsters, for several months he was forced to train at home.
Lucky for him however his father is a professional pianist and the live music pouring forth at home was his accompaniment!
When travel gradually returned to normal, Jamie auditioned for and was accepted into the John Cranko Ballet School in Stuttgart. He professes enormous admiration for his teacher there, Dimitri Magitov who he affirms was responsible for instilling perfect placing and demanding technical precision from his students.
James: “Having followed JBA on social media and heard very positive reports about it through a mutual friend, I auditioned and was accepted. What struck me forcibly at the audition was the personal feedback from both Alain and Altea: this strong focus on the nurturing of the individual dancer has been confirmed in the short time I have spent with JBA.”
As for dreams; Jamie has set his sights on the Bavarian State Ballet, inspired by their dancers and repertoire. And favourite ballets? ‘Onegin’, ‘Manon’ and ‘The Legend of Love’. Watching them transports him and reminds him just why he dances!
©Filip Van Roe