Episode 7: Céline Gittens
Broadcast date: 30 June 2021
Céline Gittens first made her name as a teenager, winning both a gold medal and the Audience Choice Award at Sadler’s Wells in London, in the RAD’s Genée International Ballet Competition (now named The Fonteyn). Her serenity and clarity marked her out as something special. Born in Trinidad and later moving to Canada, she is now a Principal at Birmingham Royal Ballet, where in 2012 she became the first woman of colour in the UK to dance the leading role in Swan Lake. On Why Dance Matters, Céline discusses this landmark, and also learning ballet with her mother, an RAD teacher; dancing during lockdown; and sharing her passion for dance through her own coaching, including for this year’s inaugural Fonteyn competition.
Céline Gittens was born in Trinidad and grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She trained with her mother, Janet Gittens, and at Vancouver’s Goh Ballet Academy. In 2005 Céline was awarded a gold medal and Audience Award at the RAD’s Genée International Ballet Competition. Joining Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2006, she was promoted to Principal in 2016. Notable roles include Juliet, Odette/Odile, Aurora and Giselle. She gained a Master of Philosophy from the University of Birmingham. Céline has taught and coached with Elmhurst Summer School and BRB. For the RAD, she was an Artistic Examiner for the Solo Seal 2019, and coached dancers for The Fonteyn 2021.
Watch Céline’s lockdown film of The Swan.
Find out more about the RAD’s Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition.
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