The White Lodge building in the sun, surrounded by green grass and leafy trees

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A new term at the School with some exciting changes

This term, we welcomed 226 students back to the School; 63 of those were new students. Our students have been settling in well, getting to know their classmates and teachers.

This new School year also marks the beginning of our new training structure. Our students will now train in four distinct dance programmes: Foundation Programme (Years 7 to 9), Development Programme (Years 10 and 11), Vocational Programme (1st and 2nd Year) and Pre-professional Programme (3rd Year).

Each programme is organised independently and is a different stage within the eight years of training we offer at the School. The programmes have customised content and targets which recognise the increasing intensity of the artistic, psychological and physical demands through the years. Going forward, the programmes will require separate application and audition processes.

Our newly designed programmes have their own Artistic Managers. These departmental changes see White Lodge ballet teacher, Belinda Hatley become the Artistic Manager of the Development Programme. Belinda currently shares this role with Hope Keelan but Hope will retire at the end of the Autumn term.

We welcome to the School José Carayol as Artistic Manager of the Foundation Programme and Zenaida Yanowsky as Coach for the Pre-professional Programme.

Also joining our Artistic Team this term is: Liane McRae and Giacomo Ciriaci as Classical Ballet Teachers, Rhian Robbins as Choreographic Teacher, Donna Makin as Irish Teacher, Denzil Bailey as Resident Guest Teacher and Didy Veldman as Contemporary Programmer Manager.

This November, Emma Northmore will take over from Samira Saidi as Head of Intensive Courses & International Relations and will be responsible for our in-person and online Intensive Courses. Emma danced with English National Ballet for eight years and has taught classes at Ballet Black, Pineapple Dance Studios, BalletBoyz and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. Emma is the founder of The Academy of Balletic Arts, Ballet Boost and Surrey Ballet Masters.

Christopher Powney, The Royal Ballet School’s Artistic Director, said:

I am incredibly grateful to Samira Saidi and Hope Keelan for their service to the School. Hope has been associated with the School for 50 years and has dedicated the vast majority of her career to the students and staff of The Royal Ballet School. Hope’s passion, experience, skill and personality will be profoundly missed. I am eternally thankful for all that she has contributed to the School and for all of the support she has kindly afforded to me during the past 35 years that I have known her.

Samira successfully helped build up our intensive courses, international master classes and auditions with impressive results. Last year, Samira’s creative mind and ‘can do’ attitude when met with the challenges of COVID 19 enabled hundreds of children to access our intensive courses via digital platforms. Samira’s success has been crucial to the School economy. Samira will be sorely missed; she has been an amazing colleague to work with and a huge support to the School, her team and myself.

I am thrilled to welcome our new staff members to the Artistic team. The exceptional talent joining the School have a wealth of knowledge and experience, nationally and internationally. I am looking forward to seeing the energy and perspective they bring to our Artistic programmes.

Find out more about the staff at The Royal Ballet School.