Letter: Dance training is out of step

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The Independent Online
Sir: There is no doubt that there are some serious inadequacies in the training of young dancers in Britain ('Ballet director attacks teaching', 6 June), but there is no simple solution. Very high-level skills in any walk of life are rare and need nurturing by very high- quality teachers, if they are to develop properly.

Young dancers, like young musicians, are dependent on the quality of their early training if they are to achieve professional standards. Historically, in the great dance training establishments, the introduction to serious training is handled with immense skill and expertise. Sadly, there is no equivalent in this country, perhaps because the arts in all their forms are still regarded as the icing on the cake rather than an integral and life- enriching part of society.

There is no shortage of raw talent in this country, and the comment that there are not enough suitable physiques is in my view nonsense. There are some physical criteria for a dancer that certainly help the process of training, but almost every great dancer of the last 50 years has had major physical problems to overcome.

Vocational training in this country needs to be re-examined, because at present we are seriously misusing the potential of our youngsters. It is the responsibility of our leading directors, choreographers and luminaries of the dance world to share in the process of that re-examination, and to contribute to finding a solution.

Yours faithfully,

CHRISTOPHER GABLE

Director

Central School of Ballet

London, EC1

6 June

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