Upper school ballet teacher zhan atymtayev reflects on his journey with the royal ballet school

Upper School ballet teacher Zhan Atymtayev reflects on his journey with The Royal Ballet School

After nine and a half years with The Royal Ballet School, we say farewell to 1st Year Ballet Teacher Zhan Atymtayev. Zhan is relocating to Stockholm to join The Royal Swedish Ballet as Rehearsal Director.

Before teaching his final classes, we chatted with Zhan about his journey and memorable moments from his time teaching at The Royal Ballet School.

Zhan joined the School in 2013 as a Vocational and Pre-professional Programme ballet teacher, following an illustrious career working with The National Ballet Theatre, Russian National Ballet, St Petersburg State Ballet and English National Ballet.

One of Zhan’s first memories of teaching was a Year 8 boys’ ballet class in the Pavlova studio at White Lodge. He recalls that his first classes ‘were a real learning curve’ and his students were already professionals and some of the best young dancers in the world. When asked what he most enjoyed about The Royal Ballet School, Zhan answered it was the students that make the School the wonderful place that it is:

It’s their passion, their determination, their willingness to learn and improve.

One of the highlights of being a teacher is being a part of a student’s journey: seeing them master new skills, develop confidence in their ability, and grow as human beings. Zhan spoke of the beauty of witnessing this journey:

For me personally, because I have been at the School for nine and a half years, it’s to see some of the students who came to White Lodge at Year 7, now they’re graduating from the School. So to be part of their journey at the School and see them growing as professionals and individuals, it was one of the most incredible things.

After nearly a decade of helping our students flourish from young dancers to professionals, Zhan leaves the School to realise his ambition of working with professional dancers at The Royal Swedish Ballet. He looks forward to his paths crossing in the future with his students:

I hope one day I will be able to work with my former students in a different capacity.

Hear more from Zhan about his time at the School:


Zhan’s teaching has been marked by his unwavering dedication, commitment, and devotion, and we are grateful for his contributions to The Royal Ballet School. We wish him all the very best for his next chapter in Sweden.