How ballet makes well-rounded performers

Pre-professional courses at the National Ballet School gear students for a sustainable career with diverse pathways.

Registrations are now open for auditions at the National Ballet School for its 2024 intake in full-time accredited pre-professional training, including the Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Dance.

Auditions will be held in Adelaide on 9 September, Melbourne 8 October and Hobart 24 October.

Artistic Director Damian Smith says studying ballet goes beyond mastering the dance form alone.

‘At The National Ballet School, we foster diverse and well-rounded performers. Students are exposed to a range of techniques including the Russian Vaganova, Royal Academy of Dance and aspects of Balanchine dance training,’ says Smith. ‘Our teachers are all former professional dancers who bring with them diverse performance and training backgrounds. This ensures students are well-prepared for any challenges they may encounter in their dance careers’.

The Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Dance also provide classes on teaching dance, sustainability of practice, funding sources and personal branding. Students have the opportunity to develop choreography, collaborate with fellow students and produce work form conceptualisation and casting to working with costume, stage and lighting designers.

‘Along with technical skill, students learn how to promote themselves and build a sustainable career whether as a dancer, teacher or choreographer,’ adds Smith.

While the National Ballet School’s curriculum is focused on excellence in classical ballet, it also incorporates character and contemporary dance. In addition, students attend classes in nutrition, injury prevention and body conditioning.

Smith continues: ‘It’s a short career that can be very gruelling and demanding, so having a solid foundation will allow students to have a much more sustainable path as well-rounded performers.’

Ultimately Smith envisions that graduates from The National Ballet School will contribute to the industry and leave a lasting influence.

The Advanced Diploma of Dance further supports students through scheduling auditions, participating in international competitions and creating a dance profile that analyses their strengths and talents.

‘At all levels we prefer to limit class sizes to around 10 to 12 students, so each dancer gets the attention and care they need, as well as the flexibility to tailor programs for individual ambition and need,’ says Smith.

‘Having access to perform regularly on the National Theatre stage is yet another facet of training that provides unique benefits to the students.’

The National Ballet School has been cultivating young dancers since 1939, with notable alumni going on to join The Australian Ballet, Tokyo Ballet, Queensland Ballet, London City Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet Company, New York Theatre Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Prague National Ballet Czech Republic and more.

Registrations for auditions for the 2024 National Ballet School intake in Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Dance is now open. Find out more.

Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. Most recently she took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram: @lleizy_