Letter: Rigours of the Royal Ballet

Share
Related Topics
Rigours of the

Royal Ballet

Sir: Your article (14 July) and subsequent correspondence has raised the issue of the state of affairs at the Royal Ballet School. My daughter was a pupil at White Lodge, the lower school, from 1989 to 1995.

The selection process is extremely rigorous and the fall-out rate once selected typically 50 per cent. The majority of the children receive substantial support from the Department for Education and Employment towards the pounds 14,000 per year fees.

This appeared to generate a view in the ballet staff that the children were privileged to be at White Lodge, and this was reflected in the way the children were dealt with in class. This combination of circumstances applied severe pressure to the children and their parents.

Our view at the time was that they were preparing the children for the intense competitive pressure they would experience in later life. However, there also appeared to be a lack of understanding of the impact of this environment on the children. Girls in my daughter's year suffered eating disorders and serious ballet-related injuries.

With the exception of Linda Goss, whose claim for unfair dismissal occasioned your article, the ballet staff appeared to focus on the Royal Ballet discipline of dancing and did not seem to show much sympathy for the children in these situations.

Because of the competitive pressure most parents are reluctant to speak out publicly about their concerns, so as not to jeopardise the chances of their children. However, the reality is that of the 30 children who commence the first year at White Lodge, possibly two or three will actually make it to the Royal Ballet Company. If the objective of the school is to prepare dancers for the Royal Ballet, then it has a low success rate.

My own lasting impression is that the Royal Ballet School is run primarily for the benefit of the Royal Ballet Company, with little accountability for the children involved. The Miss Goss case provides the opportunity to conduct a fundamental review of the school.

It is necessary not only for the future of British ballet, but more importantly for the future of the children who may attend the school.

S J OLLIER

Derby

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Assistant - Travel

£15500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Mechanic

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Auto centre is based in We...

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Technician

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This long established dealer gr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Greek Yes voters were so shy they didn’t even turn up to the polling stations

John Rentoul
epa04832814 Supporters of the 'No' campaign wave flags and react after the first results of the referendum at Syntagma Square, in Athens, Greece, 05 July 2015. Greek voters in the referendum were asked whether the country should accept reform proposals made by its creditors. 10367444  

Greek referendum: As Greece spirals towards disaster, a new era of extremist politics begins

Daphne Halikiopoulou
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate