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The Royal Ballet School

Founded in 1926 by Ninette de Valois, The Royal Ballet School is the official school of The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet and is one of the world’s top three centres of excellence for classical ballet training. Students are based across two locations, with 11-16 year olds at White Lodge in Richmond Park, and 16-19 year olds in Covent Garden (adjacent to the Royal Opera House and linked by a footbridge).

For generations it has produced outstanding dancers and choreographers of international renown – from Margot Fonteyn, Kenneth MacMillan, Antoinette Sibley, Anthony Dowell, Anya Linden, David Bintley, Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope, to a new generation currently making its mark on the world stage –Lauren Cuthbertson, Laura Morera, Marianela Nuñez, Matthew Golding, Steven McRae, Vadim Muntagirov, Edward Watson, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon, to name but a few.

The training programme

The School offers an eight-year carefully structured dance course, aligned with an extensive academic programme, giving the students the best possible education to equip them for a career in the world of dance. For nearly 10 consecutive years, 100% of graduating students have secured a contract with a national or international ballet company and more than 70% of members of The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet are alumni of The Royal Ballet School.

As part of their training, students are given regular opportunities to work with The Royal Ballet companies, performing in productions and benefitting from guest teaching and coaching from company dancers.

How to apply

Admission to the School is based purely on talent and potential, regardless of academic ability or personal circumstances – 89% of current students rely on financial support to attend the School.

Audition applications for full-time training open in September for entry the following year, with auditions held from January to March. Visit the School’s website for further details.

Outreach programmes

As well as its full-time training programme, the School runs a thriving outreach programme – in any one year, the School engages with over 4,500 aspiring young dancers in the UK.

Its nationwide Associate programme offers pre-vocational training to gifted young dancers in eight centres around the country. Its primarySTEPS programme provides an introduction to ballet to 1,500 children each year, in five areas of England, and initial ballet training for selected children until the end of Year 6. It also runs a successful collaborative programme between Year 10 students from White Lodge and secondary state schools, called aDvANCE.

The Royal Ballet School also leads the field in teacher training and offers a world-class two-year Diploma of Dance Teaching as well as Inspire, a series of dance teaching CPD seminars for dance professionals from all teaching backgrounds.