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Royal Ballet School returns to being a virtual school during lockdown

The Spring Term started with The Royal Ballet School returning to virtual schooling, with Artistic and Academic classes and Healthcare and Pastoral support all moving online.

The process of moving back to online learning was quick and seamless for the School due to the knowledge and experience gained in the first lockdown.

Some international students from White Lodge and Upper School are currently boarding at White Lodge as they are unable to return to their homes due to travel restrictions. 

Artistic and Academic

Our students, at home in 23 different countries, continue to receive a timetable of live and offline Artistic and Academic teaching, including live ballet and conditioning classes for students’ different time zones.

Our students now have live music for classes as our pianists are also zooming in. Teachers and students are most appreciative of the live music which allows the classes to be spontaneous. When using recorded music in the first lockdown, the teachers had to stick to pre-prepared exercises. This was due to sound and technical issues meaning live music couldn’t be streamed.  Since then live streaming sound quality has developed meaning the pianists can accompany the live classes and teachers can react to what the students need on a daily basis.

Healthcare

Our Healthcare team continue to meet weekly with the Artistic team to discuss every student’s needs. They continue to offer a wide range of health support, with regular wellbeing advice, nutrition plans and resources.

Strength and Conditioning and Pilates classes are regularly given to the students with individual programmes provided where needed. Students recovering from injury continue to receive one-to-one physiotherapy support.

The impact of lockdown on motivation and mental health is a particular priority, and students are being encouraged to use their wellness app every day to help monitor their physical and emotional wellbeing. The Healthcare team provided lots of activities for our student during the recent Wellbeing Week. Counselling is available for any student who requests it, along with consultations with our Nutritionist and other members of the Healthcare team.

Pastoral

The Pastoral team are offering regular Zoom drop-in sessions as well as activities across different time zones, to engage all our students and to maintain their emotional connection with the School and with each other.

The weekly activity of ‘Tuesday Trivia’ is very popular, as are the weekend competitions.

Choreography

Contemporary classes are incorporated on a weekly basis for all Upper School students, along with choreography classes for our 1st Year students.

2nd Year students continue to meet with the Ursula Moreton mentors and have continued to work on their pieces.

Regular Creative Artist talks are still taking place remotely which recently included Merritt Moore, speaking to our 2nd Year students, and Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, offering a Q&A session for students.

Christopher Powney, Artistic Director of The Royal Ballet School, said:

‘The news of the second closure of schools nationwide, just as we were anticipating the return of all of our students for the Spring Term, was terribly disheartening to students and staff alike. I was so pleased, however, at the immediate response from our committed teachers to transition seamlessly back to our virtual School offering and for the support they gave our students in reverting back to academic lessons from their kitchen tables and ballet classes from their make-shift studios at home. 

After experiencing the initial lockdown in March of last year and the joy of the return to our studios last September, I know that our students will draw from the strength, focus and determination that each of them possess in order to continue moving forward during this current enforced lockdown. We will be with them every step of the way and eagerly anticipate their return to School and to the studio as soon as we get the word.’

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