Jump to content

PRESS RELEASE: Viviana Durante appointed as Director of Dance at English National Ballet School

Jan McNulty

Recommended Posts









English National Ballet School is delighted to announce that internationally celebrated Viviana Durante has been appointed as its new Director of Dance for the 2019/2020 academic year, commencing September 2019. 

Italian born Durante has enjoyed a distinguished career as principal dancer of The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Teatro alla Scala and K-Ballet, she has won multiple awards, danced many major roles, originated new work, and is largely considered one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation.  


Founded in 1988 by English National Ballet to train students for a professional career in dance, English National Ballet School now has a body of close to 100 students from 12 countries and is a peer of major ballet schools all over the world. As Director of Dance, Durante will oversee the classical and contemporary syllabus of dance and have a creative input into the student’s development throughout the 2019/2020 academic year, an exciting moment for ENBS as it celebrates its 30th anniversary and moves to brand new premises on London City Island.


Viviana Durante said:

I am thrilled to be taking up the role of interim Director of Dance at this pivotal point in the School’s history.

ENBS has a proud tradition of excellence and achievement on which to continue building. Standards are very high, and we expect a great deal from our talented students. In turn we owe them the best possible training, pastoral care and career opportunities to enable them to realise their full potential.


A dancer’s career has many challenges as well as many rewards, and it can take many paths. I am passionate about treating each student as an individual and creating a secure, positive and supportive environment in which all can flourish as intelligent artists and rounded young people.


Steve Sacks, Chairman of English National Ballet School said:

On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to welcome Viviana as our new Director of Dance for the 2019/2020 school year, working alongside the Executive Director Jon Singleton.  Her deep knowledge of ballet and standing in the ballet world will be a tremendous addition to the School and to the students.  We are excited that she will be joining us as we move to our new home in London City Island.


Viviana Durante is appointed as English National Ballet School’s interim Director of Dance for the 2019/2020 academic year. Once ENBS is settled into its new home this autumn, recruitment will continue to fill the role, and others, on a more permanent basis.





Viviana Durante 

Born in Rome, she trained at The Royal Ballet School from age 11 and joined The Royal Ballet at 17. Two years later she attracted national attention when she took over as Odette/Odile in mid-performance, never having been taught the role. Promoted to Principal Dancer at 21, she danced all the major roles, winning equal acclaim in the classics and in dramatic ballets by MacMillan, creating roles in his Winter Dreams and The Judas Tree among many new works. She guested with leading companies worldwide and, after leaving The Royal Ballet in 2000, was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, La Scala Milan and Japan’s K-Ballet while also acting on stage and screen. She has received many international awards and has been named dancer of the year in four countries. Most recently, Viviana has been a regular guest coach for The Royal Ballet and has also coached for ENB and ABT. She holds diplomas in dance teaching from The Royal Ballet School and Trinity College London and has taught internationally. She is a frequent judge at competitions including Lausanne and Beijing and in 2019 opened the Belgrade Festival as guest of honour. She was consultant editor of the 2018 DK book Ballet: The Definitive Illustrated Story. In 2017 she founded Viviana Durante Company to bring both neglected masterpieces and exceptional new work to the stage. The Company made its debut at the Barbican Pit in 2018 with Kenneth MacMillan: Steps Back in Time and the following year presented a Kurt Weill programme at Wilton’s Music Hall, including a new work by Javier de Frutos that saw Viviana return to active performing. 


English National Ballet School

The 2018/19 academic year was an exciting year for English National Ballet School as we celebrated 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 January 2020 we will move to a new purpose-built home at London City Island. English National Ballet Schooland 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.


English National Ballet School, official School of English National Ballet is a specialist training centre for aspiring and highly talented young ballet dancers aged 16 to 19. We transform talented young dancers into world-class performers over a three-year programme validated by Trinity College, London.


The School was founded in 1988 by English National Ballet to train students for a professional career in dance. Today the School exists as a separate entity but maintains strong links with its parent company, sharing its commitment to excellence and access.


We are a talent-led organisation and each year 500 young dancers audition for one of thirty places in the first year. Once a young dancer joins, they have an incredibly bright future. Our dancers join English National Ballet and other prestigious ballet companies worldwide. Currently a third of the dancers at English National Ballet are graduates of the School.  


We are highly respected in the field for our training and pastoral care. We are regarded as an 'exemplary provider' by Trinity College London and have consistently been awarded Outstanding by Ofsted since inspections began. In our most recent inspection Outstanding was achieved in all areas which includes effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare, and outcomes for learners. The School recently recruited for a Head of Wellbeing & Safeguarding to lead on student support in the School.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Jan McNulty changed the title to PRESS RELEASE: Viviana Durante appointed as Director of Dance at English National Ballet School

It's great to hear the news! Shame it's only for one year... ENBS still have to look for 1-Year female teacher as Ms. Morales has left the school and 3rd-Year Male and Female teachers as they both left the school.  Wishing for all the success !


Link to comment
Share on other sites

A beautiful dancer indeed and a name ,but do great dancers make great pedagogues . As Miss Durante has only recently got her teaching diploma it will be hard for her to choose the 4 teachers needed for next year and assess students auditioning due to inexperience it takes a seasoned eye to do so ,also will she be able to reduce the women 's class sizes that grew from about 17students  to 26 over the last dance directors tenure . Is she carrying on with her company at the same time ?

I wish her well but she has a lot of work to do to remedy the last two years .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do great dancers make great pedagogues. Often they do, yes! There is an impressive list, including many current exemplars which some of us have had the privilege of observing teach during visits to various schools and companies.

In addition to her own company venture, Viviana Durante was working as a guest coach with ENB when they were rehearsing Manon last season. I am no expert but it seemed to me that she was offering a great deal in every respect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But running a school is different , as just coaching one off I’m sure she has good knowledge of the roles she performed but running a school needs someone wth experience . 

Do we know if she is going to run her company alongside her commitment to  ENBS big ask if so as being DOD at ENBS is a full time job 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps that's why it says for Academic Year 2019-2020 

She may be seeing how it all goes first before making any longer commitment which would be a wise decision if she lacks this particular experience. 

I hope it goes well for all concerned. 

Looking at what Viviane is trying to achieve with her Company I would say it augers well but anyway what a wonderfully talented dancer to have on board if only for a year!



  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...