Student in Upper School studio

Success at virtual auditions and masterclasses in locked down Portugal

A recent successful round of Royal Ballet School virtual auditions in Porto, Portugal should reassure any applicants concerned about the effectiveness of auditioning online rather than in person.

On Saturday 31 October 2020, auditionees visited Conservatório de Dança do Vale do Sousa, in Porto, Portugal to attend an online audition for The Royal Ballet School. The audition was delivered from our White Lodge studios in the UK and were taught by Tania Fairbairn, accompanied by pianist Olga Mazour with Artistic Director Christopher Powney and Head of Intensive Courses & International Relations Samira Saidi on the panel.

Audition one involved candidates aged 13-15 years old, with six selected for final auditions. The second audition involved a further 28 candidates aged 16-18 years old, with two selected for final auditions.

The Royal Ballet School also hosted a masterclass on Saturday and two on Sunday 1 November from our White Lodge studios via Zoom to candidates in the Conservatório de Dança do Vale do Sousa. Candidates aged 11-12 years old were taught by Tania Fairbairn, those aged 13-15 by Samira Saidi and those aged 16-18 by Christopher Powney, with around 28 candidates attending each masterclass. From both the masterclasses and the audition classes, 13 students were awarded Direct Entry Awards to our UK Summer Intensive courses 2021.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, special travel permits had to be obtained from the local government to enable all students to travel between the different zones in Portugal and for those travelling from France and Spain. Conservatório de Dança do Vale do Sousa was made COVID-safe during the auditions and masterclasses: masks were worn throughout, only small groups were allowed for centre work, candidates were socially distanced at the barre and the studio was cleaned between auditions and masterclasses. Some students attended the masterclasses from their homes or in a separate studio if they were unable to travel. Our thanks to Vanessa Thomas of Viva Dança and her team in Portugal for their help in organising and managing the weekend.

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