This October half-term will see The Royal Ballet School’s unique ballet training take place in Leeds, Manchester, and London in a series of one-day Intensive Courses. Leading the charge on these courses is one of the School’s new artistic managers, former Royal Ballet Soloist Paul Kay. Young dancers between the ages of 11 and 14 can now apply for a place on the Autumn Intensives that will cover the foundations of ballet technique, the artistry of classical ballet, and concepts of body awareness.
What Do the Intensive Courses Offer?
Alongside its full-time training courses in London, The Royal Ballet School continually seeks new ways to share its decades of expertise with more young people. The Intensive Courses make the School’s world-class teaching available to everyone, treating young dancers to a taste of a Royal Ballet School experience. During these one-day courses, the School’s highly esteemed Artistic staff and international guest teachers and coaches guide students to develop their talent and understand whether full-time vocational training is right for them.
As the name suggests, the Intensive Courses involve a rigorous, demanding day of dance training that allows students to focus on technique, master new skills, and grow muscle memory for their craft. The intensive nature of the courses means that students can progress faster in a shorter amount of time, preparing them for their return to regular training after they have completed the course.
Students also get the opportunity to broaden their artistic range and dance portfolio on these courses. Exploring new movements, styles, and disciplines such as contemporary dance, character dance, and pas de deux increases a young dancer’s versatility and adaptability, deepening their understanding of the art form and promoting artistry, musicality, and self-expression.
In addition, children enjoy the chance to meet peers who are equally passionate about dance from other, often international, schools, making new friends and connections and sharing experiences. Through collaboration with other people, young dancers develop important personal and social skills, such as confidence and self-awareness, and learn that effective communication and teamwork with other dancers is an essential aspect of a successful career in ballet and beyond.
Inspiring Generations of Dancers
Last year, former Royal Ballet Soloist Paul Kay stepped into the role of Artistic Manager, overseeing The Royal Ballet School’s Intensive Courses and auditions in the UK. Once a Junior Associate and then full-time student of the School, Kay began at White Lodge and graduated from Upper School in 2003 into The Royal Ballet. Promoted to First Artist in 2005 and Soloist in 2008, Kay went on to have an impressive career with the Company for many years, holding leading roles in The Nutcracker, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Cinderella. He also created roles in new pieces by Wayne McGregor, Kim Brandstrup, and Christopher Wheeldon.
As the man in charge of the UK’s London and regional Intensive Courses, Kay boasts impressive credentials: a successful career in dance, years of teaching experience, and the compilation of The Royal Ballet School’s Diploma of Dance Teaching, which he recognises as “one of the most well-respected and innovative teaching courses.”
The School currently offers in-person Intensive Courses in the UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Singapore as well as online Intensive Courses, streaming virtual classes live from its studios. Online Intensives are non-selective programmes accessible to all and provide a great opportunity to experience The Royal Ballet School teaching methodology remotely, with classical ballet, contemporary, and Pilates classes, plus healthcare talks and interactive question and answer sessions with Royal Ballet School staff.
Kay hopes that any student taking an Intensive Course will come away feeling inspired. For those who may be nervous about applying, he has the following words of advice: “Trust yourself, take the leap of faith, and follow your passions.”
Autumn Intensives 2022
Autumn 2022 will see Intensive Courses take place at three venues during the UK half-term:
- Debut Studios in Stockport, near Manchester, 24-25 October
- Yorkshire Dance Centre in Leeds, 24-25 October
- The Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden, London, 24-28 October
Throughout the courses, children will learn the foundations of ballet technique and how to apply these essential elements to their dancing. The course will also communicate the importance of body awareness in ballet technique and explore the development of artistry, including a study on how to effectively portray a character. Each day will begin with a warm-up and body conditioning, followed by a ballet class and one additional focus class, and ending with a cool-down and reflection time.
Though the courses are non-selective, places are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Each one-day course costs £120 and applications close on Friday, Oct. 7 or when all spaces are taken.
About The Royal Ballet School
The Royal Ballet School is a world-famous centre of classical ballet training that has produced generations of internationally renowned dancers and choreographers. From Margot Fonteyn and Kenneth MacMillan to Darcey Bussell and David Bintley, some of history’s greatest ballet stars have emerged from the School. Now, a new generation is making its mark: Matthew Ball, Francesca Hayward, Marcelino Sambé, and Christopher Wheeldon, to name a few.
Constantly evolving to remain at the forefront of training, the School offers a holistic, full-time programme at its sites in London. The course combines a comprehensive dance education with an extensive academic curriculum and thorough pastoral care, including in the form of the Healthy Dancer Programme. The School’s mission is to inspire the future of classical ballet training and nurture and prepare exceptional young dancers for careers with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and other global leading companies.
The School works to continually broaden access to outstanding ballet training through its dedicated Training and Access programme, which provides unique resources and training opportunities to primary school pupils, dance teachers, and members of the public.