Letter: Ballet schools fail to face their problem

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Ballet schools fail to face their problem

Sir: Joan Brady ("A step in the wrong direction", 14 July) damns the quality of all British ballet training and teaching along with what she alleges about the Royal Ballet School.

I have news for Mrs Brady. There does exist British ballet outside the Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet School. There do exist many directors, teachers and administrators who give serious care and attention to the mental and emotional development of dancers as well as to their technical training and their creative development. We practise professional development and are passionate about all areas of our work.

This work is suffering severely, unlike the fully funded Royal Ballet School, from the almost total elimination of any funding to students from their local education authorities, while the Department for Education and Employment has refused to date to address the problem. This places, on the school and parents, horrendous problems of fund-raising.

Dance training and education in this country is, generally speaking, below internationally recognised standards. In no way do I attempt to excuse the dance world for its failure to address this issue properly, openly and honestly and until it does so it will gain the respect of no one. Neither the Royal Ballet School in its chosen isolationist position, selfishly hugging its funding, nor the profession's unconstructive complaining have done anything to help solve the problem.

ANN STANNARD

Director

Central School of Ballet

London EC1

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