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.

It is one of the world’s most celebrated centres for classical ballet training, as both the leading classical ballet school in the UK and one of the world’s most celebrated centres for dance, attracting dancers with exceptional potential from across the globe.

The School has produced outstanding dancers and choreographers of international renown for generations, from Margot Fonteyn, Kenneth MacMillan, Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope, to a new generation currently making its mark on the world stage: Matthew Ball, William Bracewell, Lauren Cuthbertson, Francesca Hayward, Yasmine Naghdi, Marcelino Sambé and Christopher Wheeldon, to name a few.

Full time training

Full-time students are based in 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. The two buildings are linked by the iconic Bridge of Aspiration.

The School fosters academic and artistic excellence, nurturing its students holistically as they progress through a carefully structured dance programme alongside an extensive academic programme. Graduating students secure contracts with leading ballet companies worldwide. More than 70% of members of The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet are alumni of The Royal Ballet School.

Students have regular opportunities to work with The Royal Ballet, performing in productions and benefiting from coaching by Company dancers.

The Application Process

Admission to the School is based purely on talent and potential, regardless of academic ability or personal circumstances. 90% 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 each year. All auditions are for courses which start the following September.

Professional development and Outreach

As well as its full-time training programme, the School has a thriving outreach programme, engaging with thousands of aspiring young dancers in the UK and overseas each year.

The Associate Programme, established by Dame Ninette de Valois in 1948, offers pre-vocational training to gifted young dancers in UK-wide centres. The School runs programmes for primary school children both in-person and digitally. It also offers a calendar of intensive courses and masterclasses in the UK and internationally, and a range of online classes that dance students can enjoy wherever they are, whenever they choose.

The Royal Ballet School sets the standard for the future of classical ballet training with its extensive teacher training programmes for dance professionals from all backgrounds and levels of experience. These include a world-class two-year Diploma of Dance Teaching, the Inspire series of CPD seminars, one-hour webinars, and the ground-breaking Affiliate Training & Assessment Programme.

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