Full Press Release: Arts professionals join forces to launch Ballet Academy Cymru & create a new training pathway for Wales’s emerging talent
Ballet Academy Cymru (BAC) is an exciting new social enterprise that seeks to create a direct route in Wales to the best youth classical ballet training and introduce successful dance professionals to Wales to inspire the next generation of Welsh dancers.
BAC is the brainchild of a RAD specialist teacher who has taught Royal children, an arts & business leader who co-founded National Theatre Wales, and an administration specialist in social change who moonlights as a ballet costumier.
The Academy launches its full programme today following discussions with RAD teachers, parents and arts leaders which identified a gap in the youth provision of classical ballet in Wales. Usually, younger dancers aged 8-16 have to travel to England to experience the development programmes and training intensives offered by leading UK companies who support youth training. BAC will look to bring that development experience directly to them, at home in Wales, instead.
BAC will help create a pool of youth talent by training pupils aged from 5-21 years; giving them a strong technical foundation from their first exposure to dance. Professional dancers from leading ballet companies will join young BAC Associates in workshops dedicated to progressing technique and repertoire. Student dancers will be encouraged to take their first performance steps in youth productions on the Welsh stage where the BAC Performance Programme will emulate real-life for these young hopefuls; a panel-judged audition followed by a series of expert-led rehearsals, as well as practical workshops with professional dancers. Such exposure will offer Wales’s youth invaluable insights into life as a professional dancer.
BAC’s Principal Nicola Peros confirmed ” Our ambition is not only to inspire young dancers through our Royal Academy of Dance teaching programme, but also, to engage former principal dancers from top-flight national & international companies, and to widen Welsh student experience of the art form. We are planning performances on a professional stage and will create our own immersive courses; we want to provide a Wales-route for our country’s emerging talent that will set them on a path that is not currently provided in Wales.’
BAC is committed to providing Wales’s students with experiences that enrich their views of classical ballet. As Deborah Powell, BAC director said, ” There is so much more to experience in ballet than purely learning the ‘steps’ – I am delighted that BAC will open doors for our young pupils and will make the ballet world really come alive for them. We want to create a pathway to the highest level of performance and to offer technical training that will allow dancers to reimagine their futures here in Wales.’
A core value of the new academy is that no one should be prevented from pursuing their dream to dance. As well as creating the Wales dancer pathway for emerging talent, BAC will also offer wider community dance opportunities through an Open Access programme. BAC plans to build a cohort of patrons to enable bursaries and scholarships to be awarded in support of Wales emerging talent, and also, offer grassroots participation opportunities in primary & secondary schools across Wales.
BAC Director Eirian Thomas says, ’We all have it within us to dance. Whether we’re beginners, experienced dancers, or teachers, we are always learning from each other and looking for experiences to grow. In a post-pandemic world, I cannot wait to see how Wales’s young dancers benefit from this wonderful opportunity.”