Two female dancers performing an arabesque in frederick ashton's les patineurs

New partnership with the Frederick Ashton Foundation for the School’s Affiliate programme

In a first for The Royal Ballet School and the Frederick Ashton Foundation, private and recreational dance students training in the Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme (ATAP) methodology will now have the unique opportunity to learn and study Ashton repertoire.

This pioneering partnership will allow young dancers to learn repertoire from Les Rendezvous, The Dream and Les Patineurs as part of their assessment training.

Dance teachers trained in the ATAP methodology will have exclusive access to written materials and online resources through the School’s on-demand platform, including videos of each solo and videos of repetiteurs from the Foundation coaching students. This will equip Affiliate teachers with the skills to teach the repertoire and prepare their students for assessments.

Left: The Dream, Fairies. ©2012 Royal Opera House. Photo by Johan Persson
Right: Les Patineurs, The Blue Boy. Steven McRae, The Royal Ballet. ©2009 Royal Opera House. Photo by Tristram Kenton

Jeanetta Laurence, Chair of the Frederick Ashton Foundation, said:

As Chair of the Frederick Ashton Foundation, I’m delighted that we’re able to partner with The Royal Ballet School in this innovative project, which will increase awareness of and access to Ashton’s ballets across a new generation of young people, their teachers and parents.

Choreography from three of Ashton’s ballets has been specially adapted by the Foundation’s repetiteurs for young dancers in the formative years of their training to engage their imagination and enjoyment of dancing through storytelling and theatricality. The accompanying resource packs, which include additional information on every aspect of these wonderful ballets, also contain each solo’s choreography written in Benesh Movement Notation as a practical skill for teachers.

Alongside our Founder, Dame Ninette de Valois, Ashton’s choreographic legacy has played an integral role in The Royal Ballet School’s history and development as a centre for excellence in ballet training.

This partnership will allow young dancers to understand the significance of Ashton’s works, his contribution to the development of the English style of classical ballet, and the importance of artistic expression and creativity.

Mark Annear, Head of Training & Access at The Royal Ballet School, said:

We are proud to have launched the ATAP programme to drive forward teaching and training standards in the recreational sector. Our partnership with the Frederick Ashton Foundation is a step towards this mission, allowing ATAP teachers and students the exclusive opportunity to learn ballets performed by some of the world’s leading dance companies.

This collaboration is a unique chance for many students and teachers in the recreational dance sector who have not had access to such opportunities before. This will undoubtedly enable both teachers and young dancers to reach their full potential by developing their classical ballet technique and love for the art form.

Three female and two male students at the barre in ballet class.

©2024 The Royal Ballet School. Photo by Henry Curtis.

The Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme (ATAP)

Launched in 2022, ATAP provides a training model that differs from traditional examination syllabi. The programme consists of six training levels for dancers aged five and upwards, each emphasising the importance of developing classical ballet technique and performance skills alongside an understanding of the art form through repertoire, choreography, and appreciation.

The Affiliate programme for teachers is delivered via intensive in-person training, virtual webinars and extensive video content distributed via a video-on-demand platform. Teachers are then accredited to deliver the programme to students in their own dance schools.

ATAP students will study Ashton repertoire as part of Levels 4-6, set to launch in academic year 2024/25, with an enhanced stream for young dancers considering a career in the dance industry.

Learn more about the Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme (ATAP).

The Frederick Ashton Foundation

The Frederick Ashton Foundation was established in 2011 as a charitable limited company working in close association with, but independent of, The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet. The Foundation strives to enrich the legacy of Frederick Ashton and his ballets through the ownership or management of the majority of the ballets and divertissement comprising the Ashton catalogue, and through a number of initiatives and projects, including a shadowing scheme, masterclasses and events.

Learn more about the Frederick Ashton Foundation.

Cover image: Les Patineurs, The Red Girls. The Royal Ballet. ©2018 Royal Opera House. Photo by Alice Pennefather