As a leading establishment in the classical ballet training space, The Royal Ballet School offers a range of exceptional courses that provide students with a high-quality education, preparing them for careers in the world of dance. Students can train with the School full-time, as part of the School’s many part-time training programmes, or during the regular intensive courses.
The Royal Ballet School’s Intensive courses present a unique opportunity for talented young dancers to experience superb coaching from expert staff and international teachers. As the Intensive courses allow students to experience in-depth dance training over an extended period of time, it’s a great chance for those who may be considering full-time vocational training with the School to determine whether or not it’s a suitable choice.
Here, we’ll take a look at what makes the Intensive courses so successful, review the experiences of last year’s participants, and outline details of the upcoming courses in 2023.
An Overview of The Royal Ballet School’s Intensive Courses
The Royal Ballet School’s Intensive courses give students a high-quality ballet training experience from the School’s Artistic staff and guest tutors over a concentrated period of time, often just a few days. Throughout the course, students develop their dancing technique and get to explore their passion for ballet with other like-minded individuals in a supportive, inspiring environment.
The School offers carefully crafted classes for each age group, allowing young dancers to enhance their skills while building strength, stamina, and flexibility. Leading teachers in the field of ballet guide students in mastering technique and offer tailored feedback that ensures pupils can achieve their best. Students develop greater self-awareness and understanding of their abilities, strengths, and areas for improvement, growing in confidence as they discover their unique attributes as dancers.
The Intensive courses also provide the chance to explore different dance styles and disciplines and get a greater understanding of concepts like artistry, musicality, and self-expression.
The Royal Ballet School currently offers in-person Intensive courses in the following locations:
- The UK, including London and other regional centres
- Hong Kong
The School also runs online Intensive courses, streaming virtual classes live from its studios in London. These non-selective programmes typically include classes on classical ballet, contemporary dance, and Pilates; healthcare talks; and question and answer sessions with Royal Ballet School staff.
Upcoming Spring Intensives in London and Hong Kong
April 2023 will see Spring Intensives return to London and Hong Kong in the form of non-residential courses. Application fees for both are £36.
Next year, The Royal Ballet School’s Covent Garden studios will play host to an inspiring variety of programmes at the Spring Intensives from April 3-6, 2023. The course will welcome dance students aged 12 to 13 and 14 to 15, who the School’s Artistic Staff will teach and accompany.
The course comprises separate morning and afternoon programme blocks: The morning will run from 9.30 a.m. until 1.30 p.m., and the afternoon programme will run from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Both morning and afternoon programmes offer specially curated packages of classes that students can choose themselves. Each will include a classical technique class, plus two additional classes covering various dance disciplines, including:
- Pointe work
- Focus classes
- Strength & conditioning
Students can select up to four programme blocks in the week, one per day in either the morning or afternoon. The School hopes this will make the course more flexible for students, whether they are attending for just one day or across all four.
Applications open Monday, Oct. 3, and close Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. Students can book classes in blocks of three, with each block costing £105. Each class will have a capacity of 26 students.
The Royal Ballet School will also offer a Spring Intensive in Hong Kong next year from April 6-11, 2023. The course offers classes to dance students aged 11 to 18, with Royal Ballet School Artistic staff teaching and accompanying.
The programme will include classical ballet technique and a range of other dance disciplines, including contemporary, pointe work, and Pilates.
Applications open on Monday, Oct. 3 and close Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. The course fee is £950.
The Royal Ballet School’s renowned Summer Intensive returns next year, running from Wednesday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. Across five weeks, students aged 10 to 19 will experience The Royal Ballet School System of Training at Covent Garden and White Lodge studios in Richmond, receiving world-class coaching from the School’s faculty and special guests. The courses will run as both residential and non-residential, with boarding offered for White Lodge and Upper School students.
From July 18 to Aug. 19, 2022, The Royal Ballet School welcomed dance students from all over the world to its White Lodge and Covent Garden studios at this year’s Summer Intensive. The five weeks of classes offered a varied timetable on topics such as classical ballet, character, contemporary, and Pilates.
Upper School at Covent Garden saw students enjoy classes and coaching in classical ballet technique, repertoire, pas de deux, solos, and stagecraft from a number of guest teachers. These included members of The Royal Ballet School Artistic faculty, such as Jessica Clarke, Zhan Atymtayev, Ricardo Cervera, José Carayol, Daria Klimentová, Nicola Tranah, and Paul Lewis.
Joining the School’s Artistic faculty were more than a dozen additional guest teachers:
- Luca Acri
- James Barton
- Leanne Benjamin
- William Bracewell
- Deirdre Chapman
- Elena Glurjidze
- Ben Harrison
- Layla Harrison
- Paul Kay
- Sarah Kundi
- Itziar Mendizabal
- Arthur Pita
- Zenaida Yanowsky.
Joining these classical ballet tutors were Rachel Bury, Julia Ellis, and Leire Ortueta, who taught Pilates, and Justine Berry, who taught character. Bafana Matea and Jason Mabana taught classes on contemporary dance.
Intensive students also got to collaborate on three new creations with Daniela Cardim, Erico Montes Nunes, and Charlotte Edmonds. Students danced to pieces by all three choreographers including Cardim’s All Human Beings, set to music by Max Richter; Montes Nunes’ piece, set to Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major” and recomposed by Peter Gregson; and Edmonds’ piece, set to Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five,” which took inspiration from the movement of birds and the students’ emotions during a transformative time in their lives.
Younger students taking part in the Summer Intensive at White Lodge enjoyed a wide range of classes and coaching with accompaniment from Royal Ballet School pianists and guest musicians.
Members of The Royal Ballet School Artistic faculty led classes in classical ballet technique, repertoire, solos, stagecraft, and pas de deux. These included Nicola Katrak, Carol-Anne Millar, Jose Carayol, Valeri Hristov, Liane McRae, Belinda Hatley, and Kenta Kura, as well as guest teachers:
- Larissa Bamber
- Ruth Brill
- James Butcher
- Victoria Collinson
- Rachel Hester
- Joel Morris.
White Lodge students also benefited from Rachel Bury, Julia Ellis, and Leire Ortueta’s Pilates classes, while Kate Swainston taught character, and Rhian Robbins taught a creative class. The School welcomed Natasha Volley and Katie Deacon to teach jazz class and Oliver Chapman, Estela Merlos, and Didy Veldman to teach contemporary classes.
The Royal Ballet School’s in-person and online Intensive courses remain hugely popular with students. The 2022 Spring Intensive, which this year took place from April 4-8 saw 143 attend the in-person, non-residential Intensive at Upper School.
Participants noted that the course was “really insightful” and that, as well as widening their knowledge of ballet methods, it gave young dancers the chance to make new friends from all over the world. The course’s flexibility in choice and cost was also mentioned, as well as the welcoming atmosphere, focused teaching, and the range of different techniques explored.
Meanwhile, 205 students participated in the Online Spring Intensive. The online classes enable students worldwide, as well as adults with previous dance experience, to access and experience the Intensive courses, benefiting from the highest level of dance training. The School’s Artistic team taught a range of virtual ballet, contemporary, and Pilates classes live from White Lodge. The week also involved question and answer sessions and talks that focused on the importance of health and well-being and growing both dancers’ bodies and minds.
Participants in the Online Spring Intensive mentioned the benefit of receiving high-quality training and experiencing Royal Ballet School classes without needing to travel to London. Others noted that having students demonstrate and teachers giving clear and helpful corrections allowed them to learn a lot from the experience and made a “big difference” in their technique and artistry.
The Royal Ballet School is a world-renowned centre for classical ballet training based in London. Established in 1926 by Dame Ninette de Valois, for almost 100 years, the School has contributed to the culture of The Royal Ballet, producing generations of dancers and choreographers of international acclaim. Some of history’s most memorable ballet stars are alumni of the School, including Margot Fonteyn, Kenneth Macmillan, and Darcey Bussell. Contemporary ballet greats who have graduated from the School include Marianela Nuñez, Edward Watson, and Christopher Wheeldon.
The School’s admissions process focuses on a student’s dancing talent, potential, and artistic merit alone, disregarding personal circumstances or academic performance. Today, more than 80% of students rely on financial support to attend. Students who gain a place in full-time education with the School spend eight years learning classical ballet rooted in the traditional System of Training, alongside other diverse dance styles and disciplines. The dance training, along with an extensive academic curriculum, attentive pastoral care, and the School’s innovative Healthy Dancer programme, offer a comprehensive and supportive educational and vocational training experience for all students. Besides the full-time training available at its White Lodge and Upper School sites in London, The Royal Ballet School continually endeavours to broaden access to classical ballet to the wider community through its various outreach courses and programmes.