Five days have passed since I was accepted into The Royal Ballet School at Covent Garden, but the excitement is still fizzing. Gaining a place at our Upper School has been my ambition since starting at White Lodge five years ago and this achievement is a huge reward for those years of hard work. Throughout the day, I find myself smiling whenever I think about the year to come and all the wonderful opportunities that lie ahead. I am so grateful for the people who have seen my potential and have given me the chance to continue training at The Royal Ballet School. It really is a dream come true.
The audition finals took place last Sunday at Covent Garden; 14 Year 11 Girls from White Lodge plus 22 others, from Britain and abroad. We were competing for a coveted place in front of a judicial panel made up of six dance teachers from the Upper School, plus our Director, Assistant Director and the Head of Outreach department. Two and a half hours flew by and I felt quite at ease after recently taking part in the YBDY competition and the Focus on Style masterclasses in that same studio theatre. I left the audition feeling I had given my all, proved my strengths and faced my weaknesses, but most importantly, expressed my love and commitment to dance.
It was Mother’s Day, so while the boys audition class took place I had lunch with my mum nearby, together with three of my Year 11 friends. Over a pasta salad we compared audition notes as we began the anxious wait for results.
After a sleepless night, it was impossible to concentrate during morning academic classes on Monday. The tension in our year group was high and we were becoming frantic to hear our plight. Luckily we were to find out sooner than expected. As we warmed up for our ballet class at 11.00am the call came to gather in the Salon. This was it, the moment of truth. Unfortunately for me, our Ballet Principal had decided to give the one-to-one news starting alphabetically with the boys surnames, and finishing with the girls, but in reverse alphabetical order!
I entered the Ballet Study after a nerve-wracking two hour wait – the penultimate Year 11 student to pass through that door from the Salon. As I sat down in front of Miss Van Schoor and Mr Yow I was holding my breath, not knowing what to expect. The moment the Ballet Principal affirmed that I had been offered a place, I burst into tears of joy. Suddenly I felt as light as a feather and possibly the happiest person on the planet. This was one of the best days of my life and for sure the best Monday ever!
Everything has fallen into place and it is such a relief for both my parents and me to finally be able to start making some plans for the future. I am counting down the days to my first day at Covent Garden in September, but I still have plenty of hard work to do before then.
There are two remaining events this term. Tomorrow, March 17, those of us who obtained distinction in the RAD Advanced 1 examination will take part in the RAD Phyllis Bedells Bursary competition. Following a class in front of an audience, we will finish by each performing two solos. On Tuesday 19th, last but not least, we have our annual Character Dance appraisal. I’m looking forward to the Spanish dancing and the castanet playing.
In signing off here, I still can’t quite believe that I have made it through to The Royal Ballet Upper School. I’m sure it will take a long time for it to sink in!