No, you don't need to train overseas

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It is tempting to take up studies in prestigious overseas schools, but is it necessary? asks Matthew Lawrence.

I was 10 years old, the year was 1986, the place was Auckland and, according to British Ballet Organisation examiner, a tough Miss P. Wilson, I displayed, “Excellent breadth of movement and placing” for my Grade 5 Operatic Ballet Educational Section. I did not remember singing – just ballet – but no fear, the result was Honours.

The report also carried a promising appendage: “Excellent possibilities”.  What did this mean? Could it be that I had the potential to be professional? But how could this be fulfilled in New Zealand or Australia? Here we come Royal Ballet School (RBS) audition in London!

Thirty-five years on, and our perception of ballet institutions has not changed much: Australasia’s okay, but overseas is better. In my day, the RBS’s White Lodge, leading to the Upper School – and pathway to the Royal Ballet companies – was the premiere preference and main option. These days, there is a plethora of highly vaunted overseas options open to foreigners for elite ballet training for pupils as young as 11 upwards, such as the coveted Paris Opera Ballet School; Bolshoi Ballet Academy; Vaganova Ballet Academy; School of American Ballet; Canada’s National Ballet School; John Cranko School; San Francisco Ballet School … et al.

This is an extract from an article in the current (April/May/June) issue of Dance Australia. Buy from your favourite dance retailer or here.


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