Royal Ballet School sign, Upper School, Floral Street, Covent Garden

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Royal Ballet School becomes virtual school during lockdown

On Monday 20 April, The Royal Ballet School reopened for the Summer Term as a virtual school, with Artistic and Academic classes and Healthcare and Pastoral support all moving online.

Artistic and Academic

Our students, at home in 23 different countries, began receiving a timetable of live and offline Artistic and Academic teaching, including live ballet and conditioning classes for students’ different time zones. Students have also had the opportunity to receive a section of subsidised Harlequin dance flooring to ensure the safest possible environment as they train at home.

Healthcare

Our Healthcare team is proving invaluable at this time, meeting weekly with the Artistic Team to discuss every student’s needs. They offer a wide range of health support, with regular tips, nutrition plans and recommended reading. Strength & Conditioning or Pilates classes are given daily with individual programmes provided where needed, and students recovering from injury continue to receive one-to-one support. The impact of lockdown on motivation and mental health is a particular priority, and students are being encouraged to use their wellness app every day to help monitor their physical and emotional wellbeing. Counselling is available for any student who requests it, along with consultations with our nutritionists and other members of the Healthcare team. 

Pastoral

The Pastoral team are also able to provide support whenever needed. To enable students to take part virtually in shared activities, and to celebrate their peers’ successes, a secure social media platform has been set up for each of the School’s boarding houses.

Choreography

3rd Year students are also getting the opportunity to work with choreographer Didy Veldman in a lockdown choreography project, led by the School and involving five other top international ballet schools, exploring the theme of physical restriction. The outcome of this project will be determined by the creative process itself, and we look forward to sharing further developments as the project unfolds.

Mentoring

A programme of online mentoring with Royal Ballet dancers and choreographers has been arranged for both White Lodge and Upper School students. This has so far included Marianela Nunez, Steven McRae, Lauren Cuthbertson, Matthew Ball, Yasmine Naghdi, William Bracewell and Claire Calvert, with more to follow in the coming weeks. We are extremely grateful to them for their time, professional perspective and inspiring messages, and also to Royal Ballet Director Kevin O’Hare for encouraging this project.

Christopher Powney, Artistic Director of The Royal Ballet School, said:

‘The past few weeks have brought unprecedented changes to the way we operate as a School. Our staff have worked tirelessly to adapt and bring as much normality to our students’ daily school life as is possible, for which I am incredibly grateful.

‘While there is an enormous range of support available, I believe that one of the biggest challenges for any student is maintaining their mental wellbeing and motivation levels in such challenging circumstances. For this reason, I am particularly proud that their live classes and positive spirit are helping to inspire a great sense of community and companionship among our students all over the world.

‘Their sense of solidarity and immense dedication will continue to inspire us during the uncertainty of the coming weeks and months, until we can be together in the studio again.’

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