Associate Programme

Junior associates

The Associate programme, created in 1948 by our Founder Dame Ninette de Valois, nurtures young, talented students between the ages of 8 and 17 in pursuit of excellence in pre-vocational classical ballet training.

Based in nine centres across the UK, the course is designed to augment an individual’s current training while introducing them to The Royal Ballet School’s System of Training, alongside other gifted children who aspire to a career in dance. Pupils continue to study with their regular dance teacher, in addition to their Associate classes each Saturday. Associates make lifelong friends on the course, dancing alongside other gifted children who share their passion for dance.

Associates sometimes have the opportunity to perform with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and other ballet companies, and many have progressed through the School and into the Royal Ballet Companies.

Our Associate programme offers regional training to young dancers before they are old enough to apply for full-time training. Many students accepted into White Lodge each year are Junior Associates.

Mid and Senior Associate boys are encouraged to attend our London Centre where specialist boys’ classes are held.

Our Associate programmes

Junior Associates

Junior associates

Mid Associates

The royal ballet school associates students 
patrick baldwin

Ages 8-10

Senior Associates

Brian slater

Ages 14-15

Ages 11-13

Advanced Associates

Brian slater

Ages 16-17

Senior Associate Short Course - Leeds

Senior associate students in the studio

This course is for girls and boys aged 14-15 who wish to take class with The Royal Ballet School, alongside their regular ballet classes.

The course runs on six Sundays across the academic, with two classes per term.

International Online Associates Portugal

Girls all wearing colourful leotards ready to start their ballet class in a white studio

Our new initiative bringing Royal Ballet School training to students aged 11-17 in Portugal.

More about the Associate programme


  • Held at nine centres across the country
  • Run throughout the UK academic year, usually from September to July
  • Each session lasts 2 hours 15 mins


  • Classical ballet based on The Royal Ballet School’s System of Training
  • National dance, historical dance, natural movement and pointe work as appropriate to the students’ age and development
  • Exercise programmes devised and developed by the School’s healthcare team

Associate Centre Locations

Five young junior associate students stood at the barre

Meet our Associate teachers

Katie davison

Any questions?

Please visit our FAQs page if you have any questions about the Associate programme.

You can also contact our Associate team by emailing [email protected].

Leverhulme trust

Our Associate Programme is generously supported by The Leverhulme Trust

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