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Winter Edition 2017

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Winter magazine out now! Going to 35,000 families at our member schools, all raising funds for great causes.


PROFILE QUESTION TIME PHOTOGRAPHY: © MILLIE PILKINGTON Dream part? Maddison Odette in Swan Lake Tobias Spartacus is really cool. Favourite movement? M Anything with my arms, port de bras T Allegro, anything with bravado and accents Ballet hero? M Marianela Núñez. T Ivan Vasiliev Best advice? M “Go for it. Smile and enjoy every day. And listen.” T “Ask yourself what you want from each class. Don’t just go through the motions.” Above: The boys relish perfecting a movement Below: Girls and boys mostly train separately There are 15 boys in the class, which is a revelation. To think that 20 years ago 89 per cent of the school’s students were girls! Now the ratio is always around 50-50. And there is a huge mix of nationalities, too. Why RBS, I ask Brazilian second year Davi Ramos? “Because it’s the best school in the world,” he says. “My teacher recommended it because it has an amazing healthcare team, which will hopefully help me to dance longer.” The first and second years all live together in a boarding house in Pimlico, but girls and boys train separately for the most part. Academics are important, too. They start every day with two hours in the classroom and all students now do a BA in Classical Ballet and Dance Performance, the school’s new degree programme. “They think smart intelligent dancers are an important thing to have,” says Tobias. “Even our ballet teachers ask us how our academics are going.” This brings to mind a quote I saw on the stairs as I came in, from the school’s former Artistic Director, the late Gailene Stock: “We aim not only to produce dancers of excellence but also dedicated, balanced, wellmannered, thinking individuals who will be an asset to any community and in any environment – not only a joy to watch but a pleasure to know.” These young dancers have certainly been a pleasure to get to know, but with academics and training to contend with, I wonder if there’s any time left for fun? “We’re all too tired after class,” says Tobias. But the weekends are different. “Then we get to relax and let go,” says Maddie. It seems the school has struck just the right balance for these young stars. “Sometimes it does feel like we’re being looked after a lot for our age but we appreciate it because we can get the training standard we want.” This is borne out in class. Paul is a hard taskmaster, but the boys relish it, practising every spare second in between the music to perfect, perfect, perfect. As with Tranah, there’s always a reminder that this is the final frontier, the launchpad from which their careers will rocket. “People are going to be paying a lot of money to watch you dance.” Is the weight of expectation a problem? “It’s difficult watching how amazing people are,” says Tobias. “I feel like you’ve got to let it inspire you, though, not deter you. You just have to watch it and say, ‘Yeah, I can do that.’’’ For more information on how to support The Royal Ballet School (Registered Charity No. 214364), please email W I N T ER 17 ★ 23


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