Ten UK ballet schools have come together in support of thousands of young dancers considering the next step in their training.
In response to Covid-19, the current lockdown and its impact on dance training and preparation, ten institutions have moved the audition period from this autumn to January for September 2021 entry.
The vocational schools are RCS, Central School of Ballet, English National Ballet School, Elmhurst Ballet School, The Hammond School, KS Dance, Northern Ballet School, Rambert School, The Royal Ballet School, and Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.
By delaying the start of the auditions, prospective students will have more time to consider their options and work through the application process. With the slight delay, the schools hope the young dancers will feel supported and encouraged to audition, despite the effects of lockdown.
Many of the young auditionees apply for more than one vocational school and clock up hundreds of travel miles during the annual round of auditions. The audition process can include submitting a detailed application, a preliminary audition and a final call-back consisting of a ballet class, a tour of the school, an assessment by school physiotherapists and meeting faculty members.
The programme is designed to help dancers develop secure classical and contemporary dance technique, and prepare them for the profession as a confident, versatile and technically strong dancer. Students graduate with the skills required by professional companies as well as the ability to communicate effectively with other artists, choreographers and audiences.
Kerry Livingstone, Head of the BA Modern Ballet programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Auditioning for ballet school is an exciting rite of passage for aspiring dancers however, it’s crucial that they feel fully prepared and confident.
“Moving auditions to January 2021, instead of this autumn, will give applicants more time to plan and develop and we wish them all the very best as they embark on the next step in their dance journey. We look forward very much to welcoming them to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland from January.”
Jessica Wheeler, Principal of Elmhurst Ballet School, said: “We know auditions can be an exciting yet daunting experience for many young dancers and with the added pressures of lockdown creating some uncertainty and anxiety, the schools hope by working together it will give applicants more time to consider their options and prepare for one of the most important steps in securing the next phase of their training and education.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Principals and Directors of all the contributing schools for working together in this way to support the next generation of dancers.”
Viviane Durante, Director of Dance at English National Ballet School, said: “The later audition period will give the schools more time to think about the audition details once Government guidelines have been published so the safety of our future students, family members who often accompany them to audition, staff facilitating the day, and current students remains paramount in any planning and delivery.”
Read more on the three-year ballet degree programme at RCS in this interview with Kerry Livingstone, Head of Modern Ballet.