The Royal Ballet School Brings Its Primary Steps Programme to Wales

Liv Butler
Authored by Liv Butler
Posted: Friday, March 11, 2022 - 20:22

September 2022 will see The Royal Ballet School, one of the world’s leading dance schools, expand its popular Primary Steps Programme into Wales. The Programme has already given children throughout England the opportunity to develop their ballet foundations and go on to enjoy further dance training prospects. Now, primary school children in Wales will have access to the same opportunities.

The Royal Ballet School launched the Primary Steps Programme in 2006 to provide a positive introduction to ballet for children who may like to pursue the dance form. When taught artistically by skilled teachers, ballet can help children develop their confidence, creativity, and social skills, empowering them physically, psychologically, and emotionally.

Primary Steps in Wales

The Primary Steps Programme currently operates in 28 schools in England, providing children aged 7-11 with the opportunity to practise ballet — an opportunity that they may otherwise never have had access to. This autumn, six schools in Wales will also offer the Primary Steps workshops to Year 3 children over a five-week schedule, and a new centre will launch in Cardiff.

At the end of the workshops, the workshop leaders and teachers will select dancers to progress on to the Primary Steps after-school programme until the end of Year 6. These weekly classes will begin in January 2023 and offer young dancers the chance to further their dance education and develop their creativity. A professional musician will accompany a classical ballet specialist for each session.

Alongside their training, children will also:

  • Receive a dance uniform and shoes
  • Enjoy opportunities to see Royal Ballet School students train and perform
  • Attend visits to local and regional dance providers
  • Perform locally and at The Royal Ballet School.

Partnering with Rubicon Dance

The Royal Ballet School will offer the Primary Steps Programme in Wales with the internationally recognised organisation Rubicon Dance, a Cardiff-based, registered charity that the Arts Council of Wales funds. Rubicon Dance offers an ambitious dance programme, is responsible for a quarter of all dance activity in Wales, and provides several progression pathways for young dancers to develop their skills, including an Advanced Training Scheme for 11-year-old dancers. To date, Rubicon has fostered long-term partnerships with 73 schools across Wales and prides itself on delivering dance opportunities to ethnically diverse and disadvantaged children.

After the Primary Steps Programme

When young dancers complete the Primary Steps Programme in Year 6, The Royal Ballet School provides them with links to local and national vocational and pre-vocational dance opportunities. In 2021, two dancers secured places on The Royal Ballet School’s Mid Associates Programme. Meanwhile, some dancers have gone on to train vocationally at Elmhurst Ballet School and the Centres for Advanced Training at Moorland International Ballet Academy. Other dancers have trained pre-vocationally at DanceEast, The Lowry, Swindon Dance, The Place, and Dance4.

Learn more about the Primary Steps Programme.

About The Royal Ballet School

The Royal Ballet School trains some of the world’s most accomplished dancers and choreographers, who perform for companies like The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and other prestigious dance companies around the world. The School has shaped an array of renowned performers, including Darcey Bussell, Margot Fonteyn, Marguerite Porter, Kenneth MacMillan, and Christopher Wheeldon.

Many children who have completed the Primary Steps Programme apply for places at the School, where they can develop their ballet training in preparation for prolific dance careers. Prospective students can apply for places through an audition process that doesn’t take academic ability or personal circumstances into account. Instead, the School selects candidates based on potential and skill alone. Therefore, 84% of students receive financial assistance to support their training.

Successful applicants begin an extensive eight-year training course, which they begin at age 11. The course blends a variety of dance styles with its classical ballet training, and each student receives thorough physical and psychological support through the School’s highly praised Healthy Dancer Programme. Dancers train in outstanding facilities, like the Fonteyn Studio Theatre (which converts from a large studio into a theatre that seats 250), Pilates studio, healthcare suite, and audio-visual studio.

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