Patrons, Panel & Mentors

Gary Avis MBE

Royal Ballet Senior Répétiteur & Principal Character Artist

Patron, Mentor, Coach and Panellist

Gary trained at The Linda Shipton School of Dancing in modern, ballet and tap before leaving Ipswich at the age of 16 to attend Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in his third year of the course he was offered a place at The Royal Ballet Upper School and in 1989 was offered a full-time contract with The Royal Ballet Company.

With an international career now in its 33rd year, Gary has danced many principal roles with The Royal Ballet in well over 3,000 performances of well over 100 different ballet productions at The Royal Opera House and around the globe.

His most celebrated Principal Character Artist roles include Drosselmeyer – The Nutcracker, Tybalt and Lord Capulet – Romeo and Juliet, Ugly Sisters – Cinderella, Monsieur GM and The Gaolor – Manon, Von Rothbart – Swan Lake, Orion – Sylvia, Sir Edward Elgar – Enigma Variations, The Duchess – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Kostcheï – The Firebird, Tsar Nicholas II – Anastasia, Prince Gremin -Onegin, The Emperor – Prince Of The Pagodas, Kulygin – Winter Dreams, The Husband – The Invitation and The High Brahmin in La Bayadere.

As a dancer Gary continues to create roles for many of the world’s leading choreographers most recently in Christopher Wheeldon’s Winter’s Tale and Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works in which he partnered Prima Ballerina Alessandra Ferri and The Dante Project which had its World Premiere at The Royal Opera House in October 2021.

Perhaps most notably, Gary had the privilege of partnering the great British Ballerina, Darcey Bussell in Christopher Wheeldon’s   award winning Danse à grande vitesse and Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s ‘Song of The Earth’, which was Darcey’s farewell performance at The Royal Opera House (broadcast live on BBC2) where both Darcey and Gary shared the stage with the Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta. He went on to partner her on BBC One’s iconic show Strictly Come Dancing and on a national arena tour of Viva la Diva with Katherine Jenkins. He was also by her side for her return to the stage at The Royal Opera House a decade later in 2018 when they danced Sir Frederick Ashton’s Tango from Façade together at a gala celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Margot Fonteyn.

Gary left the Royal Ballet for five years in 1999 to co-founded K-Ballet Company in Japan, appeared in two series of ‘Ballet Boyz’ on Channel 4 and enjoyed two wonderful seasons with English National Ballet where he received wonderful notices for his performance in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake at The Royal Albert Hall, as Tybalt in Rudolph Nureyev’s production of Romeo and Juliet and for his role as Drosselmeyer in Christopher Hampson & Gerald Scarfe’s production of The Nutcracker.

Returning to the Royal Ballet Company in 2004, he was appointed as Principal Character Artist in 2006, Ballet Master in January 2010 and Senior Ballet Master in 2019. In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University of Suffolk and won the Critic’s Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Male Classical Performance in 2011 and 2019. Gary was presented with an MBE by HM Queen in 2018.

Gary supports a wide variety of charitable causes including Suffolk Community Foundation’s Arts and Culture Fund. He directed and appeared in two charity galas in Suffolk in 2011 and 2016 raising over £150,000. 

Photo: Andre Uspenski 

Anita Young MBE - FISTD ARAD Hon. Member of the BBO

Ballet Teacher, Choreographer, Coach & Mentor

Finals Panel & Mentor

Miss Young trained at The Royal Ballet School, joining The Royal Ballet Company in 1968 and was promoted to soloist in 1974. She performed many prominent roles in both the classical repertoire and “heritage” ballets of Sir Frederick Ashton. On leaving the company, Anita was offered the position of Ballet Mistress with Northern Ballet Theatre, before taking over responsibility for the Junior Associates of The Royal Ballet School based at Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

Miss Young decided to build a career as a freelance Teacher, Choreographer, Coach and Mentor, specialising in the Cecchetti Major Exam work. Anita has been a guest teacher for the Michael Clark Company, and for schools, colleges and companies in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malta, South Africa and the USA. teaching positions at West Street Studios, The London Studio Centre, and The Central School of Ballet, as well as teacher to the Senior Associates of The Royal Ballet School. Anita has also coached Professional Footballers, for the ‘FA’ at their ‘National School of Excellence’ in Lillieshall, as well as an American Football team and worked closely with United States Marine Corps, Sergeant, Harvey Walden IV, who is famous for the “Fat Club” UK television series, in which Anita also appeared, in 2002. Anita has also choreographed, and has given her own time, in support of Charities; Appearing in many television commercials and promotional videos.

Miss Young was on the faculty of The Royal Ballet School’s ‘Lower School’ at White Lodge and the Artistic faculty of The Royal Ballet School’s ‘Upper School’. In 2016, Anita was a guest teacher at the ‘Paris Opera Ballet School’. In February 2019 Anita was awarded the MBE by the Princess Royal!

Tierney Heap

First Soloist of the Royal Ballet

Patron, Panel & Mentor

“What a great opportunity the competition will bring for dancers across the UK. A positive, healthy and new approach to competitions for aspiring dancers and a great chance to showcase their talent with other students, I only wish I could have been able to take part in something like this when I was a student, but very excited to be involved now and an exciting prospect for the dance world!!”

English dancer Tierney Heap is a First Soloist of The Royal Ballet. She trained at The Royal Ballet Upper School and graduated into the Company in 2012, promoted to First Artist in 2016 and to Soloist later that year. She was promoted to First Soloist in 2018.

Heap was born in Manchester and began dancing aged two. She trained locally at the Debra McLaren School of Dancing, Rossendale, and the Caroline Wright School of Dance at Centre Pointe, Manchester. Aged 11 she won a scholarship to study at Elmhurst School for Dance and aged 15 joined The Royal Ballet Upper School. Awards while at the School include bronze medal at the 2010 Genée International Ballet Competition.

Heap’s repertory with The Royal Ballet includes Carmen, Lilac Fairy, Florestan’s Sister and Fairy of the Enchanted Garden (The Sleeping Beauty), Myrtha (Giselle), Empress Elisabeth (Maylering), Olga (Winter Dreams), The Firebird and roles in The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, ‘Rubies’ (Jewels), DGV: Danse à grande vitesseSwan LakeDon QuixoteVisceraThe NutcrackerLa BayadèreAfter the RainThe InvitationMultiverse and Carbon LifeAeternumThe Human SeasonsThe Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and Dances at a Gathering. She has created roles in Untouchable and Woolf Works

Yosvani Ramos

Patron & Mentor

Yosvani Ramos was originally born in Camagüey, Cuba, and in 1997 graduated from the Cuban National Ballet School. At 17 years old in 1996, he won the silver medal and best couple in the International Ballet Competition (IBC) in Varna, Bulgaria. In 1998 while dancing with Jeune Ballet de France, he won the silver medal at the USA IBC in Jackson, Mississippi. The same year, he also won the gold medal at the IBC in Paris, France. Subsequently in 1999, he won the silver medal at the IBC in Nagoya, Japan and danced with Ballet de l'Opéra National de Paris.

In the summer of 1999, he joined English National Ballet (ENB) as a Soloist and was promoted to Senior Soloist in 2000. Then in 2003 after his performance as Franz in Coppélia, he was promoted to Principal dancer. He continued to dance with ENB until 2008 when he joined The Australian Ballet as a Principal Artist until 2013. The following year, he performed as a Principal dancer with Cincinnati Ballet before joining Colorado Ballet in the USA as a Principal dancer in 2015, where he is presently.

He has performed as a guest artist all around the world and taught for companies like The Royal Ballet, New English Ballet Theatre and Northern Ballet Theatre in England and is the Patron of Kings International Ballet Academy in Leicester, UK. He has danced the lead roles in major classical ballets such as Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppélia, Romeo & Juliet, Don
Quixote, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, The Merry Widow, Manon, La Silphíde, The Snow Queen, as well as ballets by Balanchine, Ratmansky, Duato, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris and many others. Furthermore, he has choreographed original pieces for ENB, Colorado Ballet, and Colorado Ballet Academy.

Cira Robinson

Patron & Mentor

Leanne Cope

Former First Artist of The Royal Ballet & Tony Award Nominee

Patron & Mentor

”This is a fantastic opportunity for young dancers to gain performing experience in a supportive and nurturing environment. Sometimes when we are training we lose sight of what it might all be for and that is performing. For dancers to prepare solos with the support of their teachers, be inspired and learn from peers and be coached by world class teachers. This is a unique opportunity to grow and develop skills in performance preparation, build technique and stamina but most importantly grow as an artist.

Wishing all dancers much love and luck for this wonderful experience.“

Leanne was born in Bath and started dancing aged 5 at her local dancing school Dorothy Colebornes School of Dance . She trained at The Royal Ballet School lower and upper school and joined The Royal Ballet Company in 2003. Whilst there she danced in all the classic repertoire and created roles in ballets choreographed by Liam Scarlett, Christopher Wheeldon , Jonathan Watkins and Wayne Mcgregor.

In 2014 she took a sabbatical from The Royal Ballet to create the role of Lise Dassin in the 4 time Tony winning musical An American in Paris on Broadway for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and won The Astaire award for The Best Female Dancer on Broadway. She then revived the role and made her debut in Londons West End .

Leanne is a regular presenter for The Royal Opera House for their live events on youtube.

Isabelle Brouwers

First Artist, English National Ballet


”This wonderful educationally structured competition format presents the exceptional and diverse young talent in this country with a great opportunity to gain exposure and experience on stage, meet and be inspired by different artists and teachers, expand their social and professional network, develop their skillset and passion as artists and performers and is a truly exciting stepping stone to propel these young emerging talents into the professional dance realm! ”

Brouwers started ballet at the age of 7 in Romania and  started training privately, competing in the Youth America Grand Prix in 2007, where she was awarded 2nd prize, and 2008, she was fortunate to be awarded a place at the Royal Ballet School to start her professional training. She continued her professional formation at the English National Ballet School, where she was given further opportunities to take part in reputed competitions, among which the 2013 Prix de Lausanne, the Young British Dancer of the Year awards, where she was awarded 2nd place and the Genee International Ballet Competition and was awarded the Silver Medal.

Browers joined the English National Ballet in 2014,throughout her career she has been presented with inspiring opportunities, including being selected as a finalist for the ENB Emerging Dancer Competition in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Involved in wonderful performance opportunities in the UK and internationally, most honourably at the Paris Opera and the Bolshoi Theatre, of which highlights include performing the role of Myrtha in Mary Skeaping’s classical and Akram Khan’s ingenious reinterpretation of Giselle, Brouwers was also a part of the creation process for, Odalisques in Le Corsaire, Lead Swans in Swan Lake, A Drift solo by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui for Emerging Dancer 2017, the iconic Rite of Spring by Pina Bausch and Blake Works I and Playlist EP by William Forsythe. 

Her recent election as Dance Leader of the Future with the English National Ballet now allows her pursue her vision and leadership practice alongside my dancing career. 

Emma Northmore

Artistic Director, All Panels & Mentor