On January 2nd I attended an audition workshop at the English National Ballet School (ENBS) in Hortensia Street, Chelsea. The workshop was for students aged 14-16 years interested in applying for a place at a vocational ballet school and offered the opportunity to gain practical experience and useful tips in preparing for auditions at either ENBS or elsewhere.
Located in the Carlyle Building just off Kings Road, the School is adjacent to Kensington and Chelsea College. The main dance studio on the second floor is filled with light from windows on both sides whereas a second studio on that floor had a more intimate feel. There is a further studio on the ground floor that we did not get to see.
We were warmly welcomed to Registration at 9.30am and were then split into two groups of about 20. My group was mixed male and female. We started with a Pilates class to stretch and strengthen, then moved on to a normal ballet class with barre and centre. After the lunch break we were separated into a pointe class for girls and a virtuosity class for boys. Our teachers were Sarah McIlroy, 3rd Year Girls ballet, and Ivan Dibey, 2nd Year Boys ballet.
At 3pm a Q&A session took place where Artistic Staff advised on how to prepare for an audition and answered our queries about what they look for in an applicant and on the training offered at ENBS. It was an interesting discussion and a great insight into the School. The workshop finished at 4pm and I returned home having had a good workout prior to the start of term and having gained a much better understanding of how the next three years of vocational training at the English National Ballet School could be.
Founded in 1988 by English National Ballet to provide talented young dancers with the highest quality of training, the School now exists as a separate entity but maintains strong links with its parent company. Currently a third of the dancers at English National Ballet are graduates of the School and countless dancers who are now working in major ballet companies worldwide have trained there. The School maintains a 100% graduate employment rate.