13 July 2012 at 5.55pm | Comment on this article
Students from the Royal Ballet School will take to the stage of the Royal Opera House this weekend for their annual performance, marking the end of the school year and - for final year students - their departure from the school. Some will move into careers with professional ballet companies, including the Royal Ballet itself.
An associate organization of The Royal Ballet, the school has nurtured some of the world's greatest dancers since its formation by Ninette de Valois in 1926. A number of the current company trained at the school including Lauren Cuthbertson, Alina Cojocaru, Gary Avis, Leanne Benjamin and Claire Calvert. Current director of The Royal Ballet Monica Mason and incoming director Kevin O'Hare also trained at the school.
The school is divided between the Lower School (White Lodge in Richmond Park) and Upper School (located on Floral St and linked to the Royal Opera House by the Bridge of Aspiration). As well as their ballet training, academic teaching is also provided, with students taking GCSE and A-Level exams while at the school.
This year the school will be performing works including a piece choreographed by Matthew Hart with an Olympic theme. As with every year's matinee, the finale will feature all pupils on stage for a spectacular grand défilé, offering a chance to see all 200 pupils in action - from 11-year-olds to those on the brink of turning professional.
Budding ballerinas and danseurs may find our YouTube ballet glossary useful. Featuring artists of The Royal Ballet demonstrating steps and positions, it's a great online resource for amateur and serious dancers alike.
Information on applying to the Royal Ballet School can be found on the school's website.