Photos: Michael Molloy
The 2018/19 academic year is an exciting year for English National Ballet School as we celebrate our 30th anniversary.
The School was originally founded by the Artistic Director of London Festival Ballet (renamed English National Ballet in 1989), Peter Schaufuss and housed with the Company at Markova House. With just twelve students in the first year, the ambition was to establish a feeder School to the Company, producing dancers trained in the Company’s unique style. Schaufuss appointed his ballet master Kerrison Cooke as the School Coordinator and he and his artistic team undertook all the teaching. Dame Alicia Markova, founder of London Festival Ballet, commented “The founding of our own School by London Festival Ballet is most important for the Company’s future development and success”.
The School proved very successful and within the first five years numbers grew rapidly necessitating a move to its own premises in Hortensia Road, Chelsea, where we still are today. Whilst the School was then housed separately from the Company, it has always maintained close links. Currently a third of the Company dancers are graduates of the School ranking from Artist up to Lead Principal.
Thirty years later and the focus of our training remains the same to deliver excellent classical ballet training alongside contemporary techniques and choreography to produce versatile dancers of the highest calibre. However, the limitations of our current premises require us a further move.
In July 2019 we will move to a new purpose-built home at London City Island. English National Ballet School and English National Ballet will come under one roof for the first time in 20 years. We will share a building that is open, collaborative and offers the space we need to create, innovate, rehearse and deliver ballet to the highest standard. We will be based in a new East London neighbourhood, London City Island, in Canning Town. We will be joining a thriving cultural community, close to the Royal Drawing School and Trinity Buoy Wharf, and the redevelopment at the Olympic Park.
At 93,000 square feet, the building is 4 times the size of our combined current homes. The School will have three rehearsal studios and access to the Company's Production Studio. There will also be two dedicated education spaces, a gym and pilates areas for the Company and School.
From our new home, together we will:
- Develop and nurture talent, by developing clear pathways for career progression in dance, music, craft and teaching.
- Create more work, by using our Production and Rehearsal Studios to expand our repertoire, innovate and invest in new work – strengthening our position as a leading force in the art form.
- Reach more people, by enabling more performances, more digital content, a larger touring footprint, and by engaging thousands more in our creative learning and engagement programmes.
- Become more resilient, with a more enterprising business model that ensures the Company and School are thriving for future generations.
We hope you will join us during our 30th year of celebration. Please join our mailing list to keep up to date with our exciting news and visit English National Ballet to find out how you can donate to our future home.