Dance is not just a performance; it is a language in itself. Every movement means something deep and profound, and learning this language requires education and training. True, you do not necessarily have to go to a dance school to learn the language of dance, but that does not mean that dance schools have got nothing to offer. An institutionalized environment featuring exposure to many opportunities to learn is something that gives an edge to those who attend schools. Those who attend the top dance schools get even more in their basket.
There are many, many dance schools in the world. Many of them are internationally acclaimed or are regional favorites. Today, we are going to stick to those with an international reputation. As I said, there many such schools, but there are a few which are simply irreplaceable. Their contribution to the dance industry is overwhelming, and anyone who intends to make a career out of dance should apply to these schools. I have provided brief details on these schools in the following discussion.
- The Royal Ballet School, London, England
I remember watching ballet as a kid and thought that it was all about balance and elegance. Well, I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Ballet is strenuous and requires more than just balance. The very balance and elegance I took for granted can be achieved only through a rigorous and painful regime. But, once you achieve both of them, you are ready for the world—and the Royal Ballet School offers a perfect platform to hone your skills. It was established in the year 1926 and takes the lead in the world of classic ballet. You just need to have the right talent to be here; academic scores take an ancillary position here. Renowned choreographers such as Dame Margot Fonteyn and Viviana Durante are its alumni.
- The Juilliard School, New York City, the United States of America
The world of Fine Arts owes a lot to Julliard School, which is generally regarded as the top school for fine arts. Having a legacy of more than 100 years, it has been home to many great personalities such as Anna Sokolow, Earl Wild, and Liz Smith. Its Dance division was founded in the year 1951 and offers a Diploma or a Bachelor of Fine Arts. It is quite popular for its Juilliard Electric Ensemble that offers the students an opportunity to experiment with technology during their performances. Being the top school, admissions here are nerve-racking experiences; the acceptance rate is generally between 5-8 percent.
- The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Chicago, Illinois, the United States of America
The Joffrey Academy of Dance is a premier dance academy in the United States of America which has garnered a lot of international attention ever since its inception. It is part of the famous company, The Joffrey Ballet, and offers a comprehensive course and training regime to its students. The curriculum is inspired by English, French and Russian influences in the dance world as a result of which you are exposed to a diverse educational experience. It is not easy to make it into the academy and you will have to go through an audition to make the cut. Many of its students and alumni have won laurels for the academy in various contests such as the Youth America Grand Prix and have found professional roles in many companies including the New York City Ballet and Estonian National Ballet.
- Paris Opera Ballet School, Paris, France
Arguably the greatest dance school in Europe, Paris Opera Ballet School was founded way back in the year 1713. Originally, it used to only admit adults but changed its policy later. Classes are structured according to age; the minimum age for applying is 8 years, and the maximum is 17 years. The pedagogy has been distributed into 6 levels and the course structure is largely multidisciplinary. Lessons in the history of dance, physical preparation, environmental law, and music are also offered to supplement the learning process. All students are expected to lead a residential life during their enrolment. Its alumni include Michel Descombey and Laurent Hilaire.
- The Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, St, Petersburg, Russia
Russia’s star dance school, the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, started in the year 1738 and was previously called the Imperial Ballet School. It is an associate school of the prestigious Mariinsky Ballet and has students from all over the world in its fold. In order to make it to the academy, you will have to undergo a three-tier audition process which usually begins in June. The minimum age to audition is 10 years. Throughout your training, you will be taught many things other than how to dance right such as French and piano. If you fare well during training, you might end up with employment at reputed ballet companies and theatres such as The Royal Ballet, The American Ballet Theatre, and the Mariinsky Theatre.
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