Meet Our Junior Conservatoire Students: Mabel Blair

The RCS Junior Conservatoire is a nurturing and empowering space for young people aged 8-18 who want to improve their artistic skills, gain self-confidence and learn with other like-minded people.

In this blog series, we hear what some of those young people like about the Junior Conservatoire, and why they look forward to classes every week.

Mabel is a student on the Modern Ballet programme from the Junior Conservatoire of Dance, which is available for young people aged 11-18. Modern Ballet is just one of the dozens of courses that we run at the Junior Conservatoire. Find out more and apply.

Mabel has attended the Junior Conservatoire of Dance’s Modern Ballet programme, an intensive training programme for students who are passionate about dance, for the past four years. The programme is designed in partnership with Scottish Ballet and has strong links with the Scottish Ballet Associate programme.

“The thing I enjoy most about the Junior Conservatoire is getting to work with other like-minded people,” she says. “When you attend the Junior Conservatoire, you are sharing class time with people who share the same dreams and goals as you do.”

Students on this programme benefit from learning within a conservatoire environment and have the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines. Mabel singles out the teaching staff and facilities for praise: “I get to be taught by wonderful teachers with brilliant live music from the pianists and I get to dance in great studios.” She says, “It is such lovely thing to be able to do”.

For Mabel, the move to online teaching has helped her to stay motivated throughout the pandemic. “Dancing in your living room can get very frustrating at times and each week the classes the Conservatoire provide have helped me to stay motivated and continue improving.”

Entry to this programme is by audition only and only a small number of students are accepted each year. “When you apply for the Junior Conservatoire it is important to know that everyone only wants you to succeed,” Mabel says. “You should try to enjoy the opportunity to perform in front of people who are experts in your art form, as this will bring out your best performance in the class.”

This course is specially designed for young dancers who aspire to study dance full-time and progress to a career as a professional dancer. However, it is not only about technique. For Mabel, the boost to her self-confidence has been huge. “My experience has been a real confidence booster for me, and I have seen a growth in myself as a performer.” Her advice for anyone considering applying is simple: “just go for it!”

For 50 years, the Junior Conservatoire has nurtured and empowered young people to fulfil their artistic potential, develop essential life skills and explore a world of possibilities within the arts and far beyond. Many Junior Conservatoire alumni have gone on to study the performing arts full time (at RCS or elsewhere) but many have also taken the self-confidence and life skills taught at the Junior Conservatoire and gone on to excel in other fields such as journalism and medicine.

We believe that encouraging and supporting young people to be the best they can be in a vibrant, happy and encouraging environment can help them grow, finding self-confidence, new artistic influences, and making life-long friends in the process.

Young people aged 8-18 can come and study lots of different genres within music, dance, drama, production and film techniques, all within the same world-leading facilities and from the same expert, knowledgeable tutors that our undergraduate and postgraduate students have access to. Find out more about the Junior Conservatoire.

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