Jump to content

London Russian ballet school?


2peas
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello, does anyone know anything about this school? My dd is keen to have more intensive/vocational lessons without going to a vocational school and is interested in the Russian training. I don't know anything about this school so if anyone has any experiences they can share I would be very grateful. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We looked at this school last year and were very impressed. There was a lot of building work going on  but the areas that were finished were beautiful. Staff were very approachable and the only reason we decided against it was he wanted a broader range of dance i.e. contemporary and jazz as well as ballet

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there are some people here whose DC are still training there at vocational level who could have more helpful advice for younger students.

 

I only know this school from an adult perspective as attended classes there for a year or so before the building works started and because of injury earlier this year haven't been back again yet.....but do intend to!!

 

It' does seem very ballet orientated and I think they do some Character work with the younger ones and Pilates etc .......and their Pilates are very ballet orientated.

 

They do a range of classes for adults(18plus) but on occasions the vocational kids joined our classes so seem to be quite flexible about this etc.

All the teachers are Russian or Russian trained(and that means trained in Russia .....not just in the Russian system)

 

They work them quite hard .....definitely no slacking here....but then there are only a few years to get results!

 

I always felt very good after class as although the barre can be a bit on the longish side you do feel really warmed up and ready for centre so less likely to get injured.

 

I don't think the real vocational side of things has been going that many years so will need to see how things work out for them and their students but I would be pretty sure that regular attendance there would bring about substantial improvement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for your replies, and spannerandpony thanks for posting the previous thread that's given me a good idea as to what to expect.  I've noticed that there seems to be quite a few Russian ballet schools in London.  My only concern  is that I've been told by dd's RAD ballet teachers that Russian training isn't always the right way to train English bodies!  I'm not quite sure what that means, its made me a little concerned, but when I've discussed it with them they've been very wary of us considering this style.  I don't really know what to think about that, wouldn't a good teacher know about injury prevention regardless of the style of training?  My dd is very keen to try Russian style as she feels she wants a change from RAD style.

Edited by 2peas
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

English bodies? versus Russian bodies? Hmmmm

 

There are types of bodies obviously more suited to dance and especially ballet training in general but am pretty sure it's got nothing to do with what nationality you are!!

 

Obviously the top Russian Schools are being selective about who they are giving full time training too....just as the top schools in UK are. But I would think anyone who has some training in ballet already whether RAD or BBO and so on would be able to cope okay with a Russian Vaganova style class.

Still better to try a few classes first to see if DC likes etc and London Russian are usually very accommodating in this way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Go and try it. Hard work, and the teaching does not compromise at all. which is a good thing in my opinion.

 

English bodies!!! I wonder if that comment just backs up some of the quite animated discussions on other threads...

 

but the Vaganova training, if done from an early age will develop muscles differently (as far as I understand). So if you did a couple of Vaganova lessons each week, then yes, your body would probably look different to one that did 1 RAD class per week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes I do agree that staying with mostly training in any one particular tradition : Vaganova, Cechetti, RAD, etc may develop a slightly different muscularatory but if say someone had trained in mostly RAD and had done so for several years they still shouldn't have too much of a problem with doing a Vaganova class and vice versa.

The difficulties would be more in adjusting to the different style and emphasis in movement rather than their body sort of couldn't cope at all!

 

I'm saying this in the context of an above post where the RAD teacher seemed to be saying that if you've trained in that style then doing a Vaganova class would not suit your body.

Edited by LinMM
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They're probably talking about the idea that Russian training insists on flat 180-degree turnout from day 1, and are concerned that less flexible students may therefore be required to force their turnout and so get injured.

 

I have no knowledge of this particular Russian ballet school or if this perception of them is in any way accurate or not, so am wondering if the RAD have based their opinion on any specific knowledge, or if there is an element of them being afraid of the competition since it is located very close to their own dance school at RAD HQ!

 

If your DD has very good natural turnout it would not be an issue in any case. Otherwise it would be one of the questions you would need to ask the school about before deciding whether to send her there. (I am sure they will get asked this all the time as it is is a commonly held belief about Russian ballet training.)

 

(

Edited by youngatheart
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps they were also thinking of the fact that the well-known Vaganova schools in Russia only accept students who have a very specific body type and physical/musical facility (as do all vocational schools) which they know will be suited to and can cope with their specific training system, which as far as I understand it does not have exams as students progress? (I am not suggesting that London Russian Ballet School teachers will not take into account any lack of facility/less than ideal body type in any student they teach or would try to force turnout beyond what each student could achieve etc)

 

In contrast the RAD, ISTD, BBO, IDTA etc exam syllabi are prepared in the knowledge that the majority of students training in their system will not have 'perfect' ballet bodies and will not wish to pursue ballet as a career. As has been discussed previously on the forum, ballet exam passes are perhaps more important (in this country at least) for the child who wants to prove that they have attained a certain level of recognised competence which can be taken into account when applying for higher education etc. I would think that training in both Vaganova and RAD/ISTD/BBO/IDTA etc ballet (after a few years of basic training) might give the best of both worlds to an aspiring dancer.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a lot of interesting discussion on the USA ballet forum a while back about switching between different teaching styles. I think the general consensus was that it is difficult to switch back and forth between different pedagogies when you are at an early stage in your training because when you are relatively new to ballet you need the constant reptition to get the movements 'right' and get them hard wired into your brain. So going from one type of ballet to another might mean you don't master either very well. Once you are more assured in your discipline you can take on board the different nuances of different styles more easily. Certainly that was my DS's experience- early in his training he really hated contemporary and other classical styles (Balanchine for example) as he found them very hard to connect with, and was adamant he would never be any good at them. A few years down the line he adores both. So perhaps this is partly what the commenter meant?

 

From another perspective, I have been told personally multiple times that UK dance companies don't like Russian trained dancers (at the junior level anyway - clearly they are perfectly happy to have guest principals) and that by letting DS train Vaganova we were reducing his chance of getting a job in the UK. But to be honest the dance world is so global (and he is more keen to work over in mainland Europe anyway) I didn't think this was a good enough reason to make him stay in a discipline he didn't like (RAD). And perhaps there's some truth in it, as RB(S) has never shown any interest at all in him, whereas he has had more than enough interest from other (equivalent status) schools and companies around the world to make this quite anomalous....Whether that is because he has a 'Russian' body (!) or has trained Russian is impossible to know....!!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

DD is doing a Russian summer school (Natalia Kremen). She chose that instead of ENB because she wanted to try the Russian style (don't think her vocational teacher was sure about it). It was her choice, I didn't influence her in any way, but I can only see good in another experience.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My DD trained in the Vaganova method for 5 years. It is a very rigorous training method which concentrates on barre work in the first couple of years. They had a class of 90 minutes and I would say they spent 55 minutes at the barre and 30 in the centre. This makes for a very strong body, legs and feet and gives a lot of strength for jumping. However IMO doesnt give the students much chance to develop musicality so much or maybe that was a cultural thing, I don't know. I think my DDs experience in ISTD and RAD gave her the edge in this. I don't think that I could comment on how the method translates to England but it certainly is a good method, maybe more expressive in terms of arm and body position than the more controlled RAD way but I would say no better or worse than any other. It depends on what the students like or what suits them best.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do 1hr 15 mins of classical ISTD and I started vaganova method since October which I do 2 and a half hours a week. When I was 4/5 the dance school was sold and the style changed from cechetti. I think they do use different muscles because when I went to have a pair of point shoes fitted, the lady warned me that I might ache changing styles when on point and after starting my first point class with the Russian ballet school on Monday my legs have been aching so much! It got even worse after Tuesday when I did my normal point class, it was crazy! It's Wednesday now and my legs are still aching but I am not moaning because I thoroughly enjoyed it and thankful I get to experience all these styles! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes I was never totally convinced about the anti Russian stance but heard it from several different quarters, so thought I would mention. Also I would think any differences in training must become less evident once dancers have been in other companies for a while anyway. And there are always exceptions to any rule....

 

edited to add- I do know that Patricia Zhou went to RB as an apprentice after taking first prize at Lausanne, but wasn't offered a contract after the apprentice year- she was Vaganova trained ... but thats a sample of one so not very statistically significant!

Edited by CeliB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They're probably talking about the idea that Russian training insists on flat 180-degree turnout from day 1, and are concerned that less flexible students may therefore be required to force their turnout and so get injured.

 

I have no knowledge of this particular Russian ballet school or if this perception of them is in any way accurate or not, so am wondering if the RAD have based their opinion on any specific knowledge, or if there is an element of them being afraid of the competition since it is located very close to their own dance school at RAD HQ!

 

If your DD has very good natural turnout it would not be an issue in any case. Otherwise it would be one of the questions you would need to ask the school about before deciding whether to send her there. (I am sure they will get asked this all the time as it is is a commonly held belief about Russian ballet training.)

 

(

 

 

Youngatheart thanks I think this is exactly what dds teachers meant, but I didn't quite understand in the chat I had about it! My dd has turnout but can't hold it all the time I think that is what they said might be a problem if she always has to have this turnout as you have explained. Just to clarify the teachers are not at RAD HQ it's a local school that does RAD so I'm not sure if that is what is 'English' style or RAD style or what! However there is also the factor that they don't want her to leave their school. So perhaps that was why we told this! It probably wasn't the best idea to discuss it with them. I thought it would be ok as they had agreed that dd needed more outside of the school. Dd also wants a change. However thank you to everyone here for all the informative advice and experience.

Edited by 2peas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

DD has taken a couple of the drop in classes that LinMM has been to when home for the holidays.  She thoroughly enjoyed the lessons, wonderful teacher - did push her quite a lot. They do seem to be upgrading the building - lovely new staircase.  Bit of an awkward place for us to get to but it has been worth the trip

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There may be different demands made on children chosen to be especially trained as dancers at top schools than on students who are older or just generally doing Vaganova style classes. This is in relation to this "flat turn out" demand!!

 

Certainly never been demanded from me at any rate at either of the two Vaganova places I have attended classes!

 

Also there are levels just as in RAD so important (unless just doing a "general" drop on class ) to get the correct level for a younger person attending regularly.

 

There may be some schools perhaps in Russia demanding this flat turn out but most reputable schools working with children generally so they are not so especially selected shouldn't do this as they know the turn out is restricted by the hip in some people or takes years to achieve by GRADUALLY working on it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we moved to this Eastern european country I took DD to a local school and was shocked by the terrible rolling ankles due to trying to force the180 degree turnout. I made a point to DD that she needed to work very hard to make sure this didnt happen to her. She is lucky to have flat turn out but at 10 she did not have the strength to hold it. However when she started at the National Ballet school I did notice that they only took those students who were very turned out and as I said earlier they spent most of their time at the barre in the early days where its easier to hold. I am not sure I am a fan of this obsession with flat turn out but I guess thats how the style is. I know that now she has the strength to hold it, people do mention how beautiful it looks when she has been at summer schools and things, so I suppose this is the eventual goal of this type of training.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a big difference between forcing turnout and helping a student develop the strength to sustain their own, natural turnout facility. As I understand it, the former can lead to damage to joints, further down the line.

 

As you mention, dramascientist, "flat" turnout does look lovely. If a child has that natural facility and they are taught *safely* how to strengthen the surrounding muscles involved in maintaining it, then that's a good system of training.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree it's the not having the strength to support the degree of turnout attempting which can do the damage ......because you can force the feet but not the top of the leg muscles at the hip level!

This will be just ONE of the things top schools will be looking for facility in.

 

As I myself support a more holistic approach to ballet although I too do think it looks beautiful I don't believe it should ever be forced on those not able to. There are lots of other aspects to ballet which can be fostered!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...