Associate Programme

Associate programme

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.

How to apply

Applications for our Mid/Senior/Advanced Associate programmes open in September and close in October. Auditions take place from November to January. All auditions are for courses which start the following September. You can apply for our Full-time and Mid/Senior/Advanced Associate programmes in the same application.

Applications for our Junior Associate programme open in February each year and close in March. Auditions are held in the Summer Term and are for courses which start in September.

All applications received by the closing dates will be offered an audition class. Our auditions are held at our centres in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Dundee, Leeds, Eastleigh, Bath, Totnes and London.

Please visit our Auditions page to find out how to apply to the Programme.


Our Associate programmes

Junior Associates

Associate programme

Mid Associates

Associate programme

Ages 8-10

Senior Associates

Associate programme

Ages 14-15

Ages 11-13

Advanced Associates

Associate programme

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 year.

Associate Short Course - Belfast

Associate programme

This course is for girls and boys aged 9-15 who wish to take three associate classes with The Royal Ballet School.

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

Associate programme

Meet our Associate teachers

Associate programme

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].

Associate programme

Our Associate Programme is generously supported by The Leverhulme Trust

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