Student using a stretching band during a pilates class.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021

The Royal Ballet School is proud to be taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge for a second year. This year, all donations raised will go to support the School’s Healthy Dancer Programme.

Between midday on 30 November to midday on 7 December, all donations made via the Big Give website will be matched by Big Give Champions and some of our own generous supporters. This means that during the week’s appeal, all donations are effectively doubled and so the generous gifts we receive have twice the impact.

The Healthy Dancer Programme

Our students’ wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do. The Healthy Dancer Programme works to ensure our young students develop into healthy, strong and resilient artistic athletes. Our team of in-house healthcare experts empower every student with the knowledge and skills to look after their mental and physical health. The Programme prepares students for the rigorous demands of the ballet industry, and ensures they have the support and confidence they need to overcome challenges in their daily lives.

The Programme takes a holistic approach to healthcare, in collaboration with our artistic, academic and pastoral teams. Students have straightforward access to rehabilitation ballet instructors, physiotherapists, performance nutritionists, sports physicians, strength and conditioning coaches, school nurses, counsellors and Pilates instructors.

The difference donations can make

The Healthy Dancer Programme makes a clear and measurable difference to our students in so many ways. They are supported when things go wrong from the moment of injury throughout their recovery, with significant results:

‘A female student experienced a serious trauma in the studio during ballet class when her knee-cap dislocated. Having highly trained staff on-site available immediately ensured the right procedures were followed straightaway and appropriate plans put in place for the following six months. This included counselling to address understandable fears of a similar incident repeating. At home in Australia during the summer holidays, the team liaised with the physiotherapist and Pilates specialists there to ensure the treatment plan was consistently followed and that she had the right exercises to follow at home. Thanks to expert, multi-disciplinary support, she is currently dancing in The Nutcracker with Birmingham Royal Ballet, having recovered fully’.

Nick Cleverton, Physiotherapist at The Royal Ballet School

The Programme also allows us to collect and use rich data to enhance our students’ performance:

’Within Strength and Conditioning we focus on muscular and cardiovascular endurance, with individual programmes for each student. We monitor performance with weekly jump testing – they are jumping higher and landing stronger than ever before!’’

Niall MacSweeney, Sports Scientist at The Royal Ballet School

Crucially, The Healthy Dancer Programme ensures that our students know their minds and bodies and can make informed decisions, recognising potential problems before they become a problem:

’Last week we completed our company dancer profiling. It was such a pleasure to have ALL the Royal Ballet School graduates not only uninjured, but so well informed about their own bodies and healthcare needs. These dancers had essential knowledge about their bodies and were empowered to act on it’.

Brian Maloney, Ballet Rehabilitation Specialist at The Royal Ballet

Every single donation is hugely appreciated, no matter how big or small.

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