Boarding life at The Royal Ballet School
Boarding houses at The Royal Ballet School are not just places to stay; they are a home away from home for our 222 students who hail from 25 countries worldwide.
We believe that the best education is a well-rounded one – where students are supported by a network of artistic, academic and pastoral staff to achieve their potential as artists and human beings.
Michelle Kearsey is an integral part of this support network, part of the team responsible for caring for 57 Upper School students at Aud Jebsen Hall in Pimlico. As Housemistress, Michelle aims to foster a sense of community, independence and personal growth in the house, helping prepare students for their futures.
We start with all the basics of making them independent so that when they join a ballet company, they have the required skill set.
A day in the life
A typical day at AJH starts at 7.00 with breakfast before students leave the house for School. Classes start at 8.30 with academics, followed by Artistic classes, such as ballet, pas de deux, strength and conditioning, and character, which finish around 5.30 pm.
Once returning to AJH and following dinner, students have time to relax and unwind. On weekends after School, they have free time to explore local landmarks, parks and markets in vibrant central London or stay in-house and participate in activities such as silent discos and baking.
Between their exploring, students take regular trips to the Royal Opera House with free tickets to performances by The Royal Ballet.
We try to create a home from home atmosphere at the house because School is obviously quite structured. When they come back to the house, we try and create a fun and informal atmosphere.
A home from home
Just like at home, our boarding staff assume the roles of ‘in loco parentis,’ and Michelle says, ‘You never know what each day is going to bring.’ Her days are varied, from supporting students at performances to attending appointments, helping them open bank accounts or even visiting international embassies.
I think boarding is a lifestyle because we’re one big family. There are always people around, and you get to build good relationships with students over the two years. There’s nothing better than watching them perform and seeing how their careers progress once they’ve left AJH. When you see them on the stage, there is no better feeling; it is that proud mum moment for 57 of them.
Boarding at the School provides a nurturing environment for students to flourish, equipping them with the support and skills to balance the demands of full-time ballet training with their academic education.
I think parents play such a huge role in supporting their children. Boarding schools have changed a lot from many years ago. Our students love being in the house; they love being with all their friends who have the same passion as them and understand the dedication you need to succeed in a career in classical ballet.