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Burberry Inspire

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Burberry Inspire

The Burberry Foundation first launched Burberry Inspire in 2018 in Yorkshire, aiming to give young people a deep and varied experience of arts and culture whilst studying the impact of this on their development. During the first year of the program, more than 4,000 young people benefitted from their experience of the creative arts, ranging from dance and theatre to filmmaking and sculpture with four Yorkshire arts organizations: Northern Ballet; The Hepworth Wakefield; Leeds Playhouse; and Leeds Young Film.

Early in 2020, the Burberry Foundation expanded the program internationally for the first time, launching in New York City with American Ballet Theatre, Reel Works and Studio in a School NYC. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations from the Yorkshire and New York programs came together to find new ways to inspire and support students in the midst of the pandemic virtually, with support from the Creative Arts Team (CAT) at CUNY and The Ideas Foundation.

2021 Films

Beneath the Surface

Direction and Choreography by Ethan Stiefel

The Making of Beneath the Surface

Letters To My Younger Self

Direction and Choreography by Zhong-Jing Fang

The Making of Letters To My Younger Self

2020 Films

In 2020, American Ballet Theatre partnered with Northern Ballet to create four new dance films, featuring professional dancers performing choreography by students from New York City and West Yorkshire, England.

Filmed on location, including recognizable landmarks such as The Hepworth Wakefield, Salts Mill and Times Square, the final films were overseen by Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director of Digital and Choreographer in Residence Kenneth Tindall. Performed by professional dancers from Northern Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, students from Castleford, England and Queens, New York inspired the choreography for the films in a first for both ballet companies.

The films marked the first collaboration between Northern Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, working together virtually to bring the students’ ideas to life.

A Lonely Summer's Day (American Ballet Theatre)

Blended (American Ballet Theatre)

Trapped (Northern Ballet)

Roots (Northern Ballet)

"The collaboration between Northern Ballet, Burberry Inspire, American Ballet Theatre is a wonderful concept that is close to my heart. It was a project like this that sparked the imagination of a young working-class kid, in an inner-city school in London who otherwise would never have discovered the world of ballet. It’s an honour to have come full circle and be in the position I am in now, utilising my skills and creativity to try and engage and inspire the next generation as I was inspired all those years ago."

- Kenneth Tindall, Artistic Director of Digital and Choreographer in Residence at Northern Ballet

"During the Covid-19 pandemic, the unprecedented impact on every aspect of our lives has highlighted the importance of creativity as we’ve adjusted at home, at work and at play. With great challenge comes great opportunity and we wanted to share this ethos with young people by offering them a chance to work with professional dancers like never before. Pupils in Yorkshire and New York City have risen to the challenge and created some beautifully inspiring choreography which our dancers have loved bringing to life."

- Leanne Kirkham, Director of Learning at Northern Ballet

"We’re pleased to build upon the success of the Burberry Inspire program and now bring virtual learning in dance and design to a wide audience of middle school students in NYC and beyond. The opportunity to collaborate, share ideas and develop curriculum with the talented artists and educators of Northern Ballet has been a special experience for the artists of American Ballet Theatre and the students participating in Burberry Inspire. We look forward to our continued partnership and the opportunity to share student stories and experiences through dance-making from both sides of the Atlantic."

- Dennis Walters, Associate Director of Education and Training at American Ballet Theatre