The British Ballet Organization is proud to trace its rich dance heritage back to 1930 and its famous founders Edouard Espinosa and Eve Kelland.
The Espinosa name is known around the world as one of the most influential in the world of dance teaching. Leon Espinosa was a revered dancer who trained at the Paris Opera before moving to London in 1872. He went on to pass his vast knowledge to his son Edouard who was particularly passionate about teaching and made it his mission to develop a syllabus that would truly support training in Classical Ballet.
Edouard would go on to be a key founding member of the Association of Operatic Dancers (AOD), which later became the Royal Academy of Dance and left in 1929 to establish the British Ballet Organization (BBO), as we are known today. From the Espinosa family home in Barnes, the BBO was soon recognised as a centre of excellence, attracting some of the most esteemed students of their day – Phyllis Bedells and Dame Ninette de Valois amongst others! He didn’t stop in the UK either; going on to establish our Australasian branch in 1936.
A number of illustrious names have led the organisation over the years; John Field and Anne Heaton brought the BBO up to date in the 1980s by modernising the original Espinosa syllabus, under the blessing of Eddie Espinosa who had invited the Fields to take directorship at the time. They brought in Russian and French work, where the original syllabus was purely French, to modernise the syllabus and help gain accreditation under CDET. When John Travis became CEO and Artistic Director in 1995 he was instrumental in gaining UK governmental recognition for this syllabus which he had inherited. John was keen for the organisation to offer students qualifications which were relevant for the modern age, having himself danced professionally with London Festival Ballet, now English National Ballet.
The BBO now proudly awards qualifications in a variety of dance genres, regulated by Ofqual and Qualification Wales and is a proud member of the Council for Dance and Musical Theatre (CDMT). Headquarters have moved a few miles from Woolborough House and are now housed in state of the art, purpose built facilities in Battersea Reach. We still love to invite students into the studios for events that will help foster a love of dance for a very long time!