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Student Spotlight: bbodance to Joffrey Ballet

We recently spoke to Grace, former bbodance student, who has successfully auditioned for the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City! Read on to find out about Grace's journey and her advice for aspiring dancers...

Image: Karolina Webb

How long did you study the bbodance Syllabus for?

I studied the bbodance Syllabus at Viva Theatre Arts in Warwickshire, with bbodance Registered Teacher Claudia Temple. Sadly, I had to stop when I moved to Elmhurst Ballet School full-time but I am so grateful for my time with Viva and Miss Claudia, without them I would not have taken the steps towards Elmhurst and ultimately Joffrey Ballet.  


What genres of bbodance did you study?

I studied Classical Ballet, Tap and Modern up to Grade 5.


Do you feel that training across multiple genres benefitted your overall ballet training?

Training in multiple styles definitely helped my ballet training. I believe it made me more of an all-rounder and I felt very confident going into Elmhurst having studied a variety of genres. At Elmhurst we study Jazz and Contemporary so this felt very normal for me.


Do you feel that taking bbodance examinations prepared you for your future training and auditions? The exams definitely helped me. The discipline in an exam is very similar to that of an audition. The preparation, technique required and deliverance is the same.


When did you study at Elmhurst Ballet School? Can you please tell us about your time here?

I started Elmhurst at age 11 in 2019. Sadly, like every student, COVID-19 interrupted my training for a good 12 months, but I am now in my 5th year and will graduate in July 2024. Due to the pandemic and the missed training, I have also been receiving lessons with Sander Blommaert and Iain Mackay at Blommaert Ballet School over the last couple of years. I have found studying with my main school, Elmhurst, and with Blommaert Ballet School beneficial to me as a dancer. I have really been able to hone in on my technique and just have that added personal touch. I have loved my time at Elmhurst and I will miss my friends and teachers when I leave this July. When I am home in the holidays I will continue to see Sander and will also continue to attend his summer intensives in London.

Please tell us a little about your Joffrey Ballet School audition experience?

I initially auditioned for their 2023 summer intensive in New York. The audition was in Birmingham and I didn’t really know much about the school then, but I had always wanted to dance in New York. A couple of weeks after my audition, my mum received an email inviting me over for July as I had been successful in my audition. We started looking at dates to go over in the summer when my mum received a further email offering me a place on their full-time pre-professional ballet training program. We were so surprised because places are usually offered after or during the summer schools.


We travelled over to New York in April 2023 to take classes with the current ballet students and to see if I wanted to go. I instantly fell in love with the school. It felt so right for me and like the bbodance Syllabus, it offers many different genres within the training program, with ballet being the focus. My offer was to start in September 2023, but they very kindly extended my start date to September 2024, so I could finish my GCSEs and attend Prom with all my friends at Elmhurst. We felt it was important to finish my lower school training and exams in the UK. I will travel to New York this August to start a new chapter in my life. For now, I will be training full-time, up to 7 hours per day, but I am looking at completing an A-level online too. 

Image: Photography by Ash


Do you have advice for students looking go into full-time dance training?

My main advice would be to just try it. My mum always says to me, if it doesn’t work out, then at least you know you tried. Boarding can be tricky for some at first, but after a few weeks we all fall into a new routine. If you love dancing, then we are in the studio up to 4 hours per day, plus we have to do our academics in class too. It’s great fun and something I have loved. You do have to work hard though as you get assessments throughout. 


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