20 January 2023
There are hundreds of ballet classes available in London in dance schools and in dedicated ballet institutions. Each has a different emphasis on technique, choreography and vocational courses. The following specialist institutions have international reputations and feed into the profession.
The aim of the Royal Academy is to train classical ballet dancers for the Royal Ballet and the Birmingham Royal Ballet. It is a world leader in training and education setting the exams that other ballet schools use. It offers beginners classes from age 2 upwards. There are summer schools and boys-only workshops. There are exam Syllabus courses for ballet grades and GCSE and A level Dance which cover performance and choreography. The Royal Academy is in Battersea, just south of the Thames.
Central is located near the Southbank area and offers classes and courses after school and in the holidays. There's a range from fun and musicality for very young children to a pre-vocational class on Saturday morning for children between 11 and 16. The Associate programme is joined by audition and for students wishing to join the profession.
Classes here are for those who wish to enjoy ballet as a hobby as well as train for a career. The aim is to inspire a love of dancing and music. There are free-work classes and classes which follow the Royal Academy syllabus. The sister school for boys allows them to train in a unisex environment. The school offers a free trial lesson before enrolment and is situated in Islington.
With its Baby Ballet class, Danceworks introduces ballet to children as young as 18 months old, gently exploring music and movement. The pre-ballet class for ages 3-6 introduces the basics of ballet. The 90 minute class for technique and artistry is taught by the Czech dancer Eliska Bouzkova who has performed internationally. Danceworks is centrally situated in Mayfair.
This Shepherds Bush based school focuses on technique and musicality but does not follow the exam syllabus. Instead the emphasis is on individuality and freedom of expression with a drive towards performance. The school mounts two productions a year in West End theatres. This school has classes from the age of 3 and a half. The Young Dancers Academy offers pre-vocational and vocational training for ages 8-16. Places are gained through audition. There are also 1-week intensive courses in the summer. The school participates in the English National Ballet’s Futures programme, supporting pupils from diverse backgrounds with free tuition. The artistic director is Anna du Boisson who was formerly the rehearsal director of Rambert.