Two of Moorland International Ballet Academy Pupils told us about their typical day and explained just how much dedication a career in Ballet takes from a young age.
Niamh Alvey has been a boarding pupil at Moorland International Ballet Academy since the age of 9. Now almost 16, Niamh explains how the experience was scary at first but would urge anyone considering it to take the leap.
“I used to come to Moorland School for dance classes on Saturdays along with lots of other children. One day my parents got a call from Mrs. Kidd [Artistic Director at Moorland Ballet] who told them I had been invited to attend the Academy full-time as they saw potential in my ability.
At first, I wasn’t sure, the idea of boarding school was quite daunting, but I agreed to give it a go. It was scary and completely new; I had never even stayed over at a friend’s house for a sleep-over, so it was my first real time away from family.
The first few days were hard but then on around day 3 I knew it was for me, I already felt part of the Moorland family and I felt so lucky to have the opportunity. I used to go home at weekends but now I just go home at half-term instead because I enjoy the weekends just as much as the weekdays!”
George Jennings, 16-year-old Moorland International Ballet Academy Pupil explained how boarding experience is ideal preparation for a future career as a professional ballet dancer.
“If I lived at home I probably wouldn’t be prepared for the future, not just because it would make fitting in training harder, but because I would not have the same life skills I have gained here. I have so much independence, I know how to do my own washing, do the dishes, budget with my spending money and also how to live with other people and work as a team.
I am also achieving more academically than I would have done at my previous school, which is impressive, considering I fit in as much ballet as possible around my studies too!”
What advice would you give to a potential student considering joining a Ballet Academy?
Niamh: Make sure it is 100% the thing you want, visit the school to get a real understanding of what it entails. It is hard and it takes dedication, but the rewards are fantastic, and I am really looking forward to the future.
George: Look for somewhere that’s homely, visit the place and ask about the facilities. The benefit of Moorland is that it’s a small school, we are all one big family that look after each other and support each other. It is a home-from-home and you can tell that just from visiting us and talking to pupils.
How do you fit in training around academic studies?
Niamh: We have just as many GCSE’s or A-Level choices as other schools, the difference is we use our free time and lesson breaks to train. The teachers make sure there is always a ballet lesson happening for us to attend and we can choose when to go.
George: There is also training at the weekend we can attend and evenings too, in the earlier years people will probably do about 6-8 hours of ballet a week but some do much more and it increases as you get older. I do 1-2 hours a day, but Niamh does much more!
Niamh: Yeah, I train whenever possible and some days I will do up to 5 hours! It’s my passion and being able to fit that around my studies so easily is wonderful.
With over 20 ballet pupils and more than half of these boarding, the team at Moorland are committed to providing world-class technical training whilst preparing students for a successful career in the industry.
Lynsey Kidd, Artistic Director, said:
“There are a lot of skills required to be successful in our industry, alongside encouraging and inspiring students to be exceptional dancers we also make sure they are ready for the demands of a fast paced, international career. In their final years here [6th form] students also gain a teaching qualification which broadens their career options and gives them flexibility long term.
Becoming a student at Moorland International Ballet Academy is by audition and invitation only, our selection process means we accept students who are gifted, driven and have true potential to achieve their dreams.”