The Royal Ballet School

London, England

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The Royal Ballet School was founded in 1926, when Dame Ninette de Valois opened her Academy of Choreographic Art. Inspired to create a repertory ballet company and school, she collaborated with Lilian Baylis of the Old Vic Theatre.  When Baylis acquired the Sadler's Wells Theatre, de Valois moved the School there and, in 1931, it became The Vic-Wells Ballet School feeding dancers into The Vic-Wells Ballet Company. In 1939, the school and company were renamed The Sadler's Wells Ballet School and The Sadler's Wells Ballet.  In 1946, the company moved to a permanent home at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and a second company was formed.

In 1947, the School moved into Barons Court and general education was combined with ballet training.  In 1955 the Lower School moved to White Lodge, Richmond Park and became residential.  The Royal Charter was granted in October 1956 and the School and companies were renamed The Royal Ballet School, The Royal Ballet and the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet (later Birmingham Royal Ballet following the move there in 1990). 

The School has since continued as the leading classical ballet school in the United Kingdom earning government support and an international institution which attracts the very best ballet students worldwide.  Its Mission is to train and educate outstanding classical ballet dancers for The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and other leading international dance companies.

In January 2003, the Upper School moved to new premises alongside London's Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. The state-of-the-art studios are linked to The Royal Ballet by the award winning Bridge of Aspiration thus fulfilling Dame de Valois’ dream to have company and school side by side.

Gailene Stock-Norman, AM, Director

Trained initially in Australia and then at The Royal Ballet Upper School as a result of a scholarship awarded by the Royal Academy of Dance. Stock-Norman danced as a Principal Artist with The Australian Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet, performing many of the leading roles in the major classics and also many dramatic works.

Following a 16-year professional dancing career, she accepted the position of Director of the National Theatre Ballet School, Victoria, Australia for eight years and The Australian Ballet School for nine years, before taking on the role of Director of The Royal Ballet School in 1999.

In 1997, Stock was awarded the Order of Australia for services to ballet. Internationally acclaimed, her knowledge and experience is regularly sought in the dance community worldwide. She has participated as a jury member in many international competitions including the role of President of the Prix de Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Youth America Grand Prix in New York City.

Since then, Elisabeth Platel is regularly invited as distinguished member to symposiums and training programs and to be a jury member for international competitions. She contributed to the conservation of the Paris Opera Ballet School’s repertoire which she also enhanced with works such as the Pas-de-six in Napoli by August Bournonville and Piège de Lumière by John Taras.

Marcelino Sambé, Student choreographer

Marcelino Sambé was born in Portugal and is 19 years old. He trained at the National Conservatoire in Lisbon before joining The Royal Ballet Upper School in September 2010.  His successes include junior division gold medals at the Youth America Grand Prix 2009 and the USA International Ballet Competition 2010.  Performances with The Royal Ballet School include Le Corsaire Pas de Deux presented at the Royal Opera House in 2011 and at a gala at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice in 2012.  Marcelino was offered a prestigious place with The Royal Ballet mid-way through his graduate year studies and took up his contract in November 2012.
 
M’ cã cré sabi (‘I don’t wanna know’ in Creole) was choreographed for the Ursula Moreton Choreographic Award at The Royal Ballet School in 2011 and received second prize. The music is by Barbatugues – Andando Pela Africa and Claire Pichet – Rue des Cascades.  It was also presented at the School’s summer season at the Royal Opera House the same year.  Marcelino was selected as one of the UK’s emerging choreographers by Youth Dance England for its ‘Young Creatives’ programme in 2012.

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