By Cristi Bratu 14, student at Royal Ballet School
Reblogged from noua si jumatate
May 4, 2014
When I was 8 years old, a dance teacher called Graham visited my school and did a dance class with us. He asked me and four other children if we would like to join his contemporary dance classes and we went along to see what they were like. I really enjoyed it.
When I was 9, he asked me if I would like to try ballet and I was shocked because I thought ballet was for just for girls! Graham told me how he went to White Lodge and became a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet. I went to his ballet class and I loved it straight away so I gave up my place in a football team to continue. He is an amazing teacher. Now ballet is my life and my passion.
I started at White Lodge in 2010 when I was 11. I really liked the school and especially the ballet but it was very hard to leave my family and when I wasn’t dancing or learning, I was very homesick. The house parents who looked after us were really nice though and I soon made friends. My parents took me home every weekend so I didn’t miss them so much and I could focus on my week at school.( Note : RBS has full-time courses for students aged 11-18 years and begin for the younger students at White Lodge campus in Richmond Park where they run a five-year course alongside academic studies. The three-year training programme at Covent Garden campus is for students aged 16+ and includes academic studies in the first two years)
I am lucky because White Lodge is a lovely building set in beautiful Richmond Park which is full of deer and other wildlife. All the students have accommodation on site so we are never late for class!
There is a wake up call at 7am and we have breakfast at 7.30am. School starts at 8.30am until 4pm where we have four hours of academic lessons and two hours of ballet class. We have more dance classes or rehearsals before our evening meal at 6pm then at 7.15pm – 8.15pm we have an hour of supervised homework. We have drinks and biscuits or toast and then we can socialise until bedtime is 10pm.
On Saturday mornings all students are involved in dance classes and rehearsals for future performances. Saturday classes finish at 1pm. We do classical ballet, Irish dancing, Scottish dancing, morris dancing and contemporary dancing. This year we are doing more partner work and the boys have upper body training too. Classical ballet is my favourite form of dance and my ambition is to be part of a company doing what I love.
Every year in February we are assessed and if we pass we are offered a place at White Lodge for the next year. We work very hard for the appraisal class and it is a worrying time of year. Some of my friends were asked to leave and it was heart-breaking. We have lost 5 girls and 3 boys from our year.
I have danced at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden with the Royal Ballet in Nutcracker where I was a party child each time. It was an amazing experience. I have also performed in La Sylphide with Alina Cojocaru. She is a lovely person as well as an amazing ballerina.
I would like to say to anyone wanting to come to White Lodge, work hard and follow your dreams. It is a wonderful place to learn and progress. Come and be part of the Royal Ballet family!