The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021

Student smiling on tread mill

The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021 is now over. Many thanks to everyone who donated and helped us exceed our original target, we are thrilled! We raised £45,835.24 in support of our Healthy Dancer Programme.

About the Healthy Dancer Programme

Today’s classical and contemporary ballet companies require outstanding physical versatility, athleticism and artistry from their dancers, in an increasingly competitive industry. Mental resilience and fitness are vital to dancers with demanding performance schedules. Full-time vocational training for up to eight years at the School is intense. Students must learn how to take care of their body and mind: to understand, minimise and manage possible injuries, disappointments and performance anxiety.

The healthcare team works alongside our artistic, academic and pastoral teams. The School’s System of Training is informed by their ongoing research and medical insight. Staff understand and quantify the demands of classical ballet training in every year group and offer tailored provision. Every student has straightforward access to rehabilitation ballet instructors, physiotherapists, performance nutritionists, sports physicians, strength and conditioning coaches, school nurses, counsellors and Pilates instructors.

The School is committed to not only developing our students as exceptional dancers and athletes but as healthy, resilient, happy young people. The Healthy Dancer Programme ensures that our students have the support and confidence they need to navigate their own pathways, wherever life takes them. They learn how to overcome challenges and achieve success, both within and beyond the world of ballet performance.

Brian Maloney, Ballet Rehabilitation Specialist at The Royal Ballet

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.

Wayne Kitchener, Physiotherapist at The Royal Ballet School

Getting back to fitness post pandemic has been a significant challenge for the students, and it has been difficult managing the excitement of returning to dance versus a steady and gradual increase in load and dance complexity. Ongoing education, conditioning sessions with the Healthcare Team have all supported the students with this challenge.

Giacomo Ciriaci, Ballet Rehabilitation Teacher

A 3rd Year student returned in September after having had an operation to remove some extra floating bones from the back of his right foot. The goal was to get him back to full fitness for his final ballet assessment in mid-November. He was extremely focused throughout his rehabilitation and every week we were able to progress to a more advanced step without any setbacks. He attended and passed his assessment.

The Big Give: our goals

Pilates class

All donations made through the Big Give Christmas appeal will support the Healthy Dancer Programme as a whole. It aims to:

  • Empower every student with skills and knowledge to look after their health and wellbeing as artistic athletes.
  • Support mental health and well-being, with an emphasis on performance psychology.
  • Provide holistic healthcare alongside the artistic teaching staff that informs the School’s unique System of Training to create healthy, strong and resilient young dancers.
  • Support Smartabase, a research database and phone app used daily by students to record and monitor key health indicators, such as sleep, stress and hydration.
  • Share insights and expertise to the wider dance community through working with institutions such as Queen Mary University of London, St Mary’s University, Twickenham and the English Institute of Sport.
Medical examination

How your donations will help

How money you donate to the big will help: it could buy equipment, support counselling, physiotherapy and rehabilitation
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