English National Ballet’s Ballet Futures: The Pipeline Project
Plans for English National Ballet’s new pipeline project, Ballet Futures, have been announced, consisting of a high-quality, early-stage, ballet training programme for children aged 8-12 years. It aims to encourage and incentivise more dancers from traditionally underrepresented groups (African Diaspora, Caribbean, South Asian and South East Asian heritage) to participate in professional ballet training at the earliest possible point.
Starting with a pilot phase from January 2022 and run in association with dance schools nationwide, which so far includes Dupont Dance Stage School in Leicester, Janet Lomas School of Dancing in Greater Manchester, and West London School of Dance, the project will contribute to and promote a diverse classical landscape, in turn, impacting on 21st century work. Additionally English National Ballet’s senior leadership team will work with members of the Company’s artistic staff, as well as Company dancer, Sarah Kundi, who will help shape the programme and be a mentor to the children involved in the project.
Through Ballet Futures, English National Ballet will work collaboratively with dance schools to diversify their student base; encouraging talented young dancers from a range of backgrounds and creating an opportunity for them to grow into their potential as artists. It’s an important step towards broadening access to ballet, and the project is therefore providing space for more young dancers to increase their natural aptitude, harness their confidence, understand their artistic personality, and helping them find their places in the dance world in the future.
Following an audition, participants in Ballet Futures will receive free weekly training at their local dance school with additional financial support to contribute to the costs of shoes, school uniform and travel to and from English National Ballet’s east London home, where backstage access will be offered. Participants will also have the chance to work with English National Ballet artists and teachers including a Company representative who will visit participating schools twice a year to offer class, host a Q&A and share feedback and support.