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Stolen ballet costumes are found in garage

More than 100 outfits worth around £25k are traced following dancers’ social media appeal

18 May, 2018 — By Ellen O’Riordan

One of the Ballet Central costumes that was stolen. Photo: Ash Photography

STOLEN ballet costumes worth over £25,000 have been recovered after dancers appealed for help.

More than 100 garments belonging to Ballet Central, the graduate company of the Central School of Ballet, were lost alongside technical equipment inside a van that was stolen in ­Farringdon last Tuesday.

The group, who are in the middle of a UK tour, launched a #findourcostumes appeal on social media and by Tuesday this week the costumes had been traced to a garage in Bromley-by-Bow.

“The costumes were so important,” said Heidi Hall, director of Central School of Ballet. “It’s been so emotional. The students have spent a year working towards their tour. The costumes are almost a part of their characters.”

Although the costumes had been removed from their protective cases, none of them showed any signs of damage.

Ms Hall thanked the public for their help in finding the costumes and told the Tribune that she is now trying to “galvanise some support for the equipment”.

Specialist dance items are still missing including six lines of dance floor, ballet barres, boxes of show programmes, props, set, and Ballet Central T-shirts, along with sound and lighting machinery.

Ms Hall said: “These things are not going to be easily sold on as they are only valuable to performers. The technical equipment is all coded and much of the stuff has our logo on it. Cinderella’s pointe shoes have not been returned.”

These bespoke satin shoes were handstitched for the dancers by Freed of London and cannot be replaced in time for the shows. Many leading industry names, including Matthew Bourne and The Royal Ballet School, have offered to lend ­Ballet Central replacement props, set and shoes.

The school managed to raise £11,825, through their Just Giving page, which was set up in an effort to replace the stolen items.

“A lot of people don’t realise we’re a charity,” said Ms Hall. “We had just purchased a new floor and new ballet ­barres, after not doing so for years.”

The school will be ­digging out an “old, tatty floor” from storage for their upcoming performance in Bath.

Although Ballet ­Central has made a few minor purchases, they are “still really hopeful” that the items will be found.

“After something that’s been really difficult and upsetting, the support we have received restores my faith in human nature,” added Ms Hall. “With or without the return of their equipment, in true performer spirit, the show will go on.”

Met Police said they had been informed about the theft of the van with registration plate BV14 VCO on May 28, and anyone with information should contact them on 101.


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