Boys' Ballet: Country Trends--England

Figure 1.-- The students pictured here are training at the Arts Educational School in Tring, Hertfordshire.

Schools in the United Kingdom have a variety od dance programs. Many primary schools have dance programs for the younger children. Once it becomes optional, usually only the girls want to participate. This is particularly true of ballet. Most school programs are entirely are largely for the girls. Ballet is mostly pursued at private dance schools aftr regular school. There is at least one seconady school, the Arts Educational School which has a program that dooes attract boys.


A British reader writes, "I saw a You Tube clip showing boy's carrying out stretch exercises. It was astounding the flexability they had. I tried but was not quite so nibble. If footballers could do that there would be some very striking goals and back flips!"

Prep Schools

Headmasters at small British prep schools often have to promote activities so as get a sufficient number of pupils volunteering to make it worthwhile. One headmaster tells the story of talking up the brand new activity of ballet lessons to his boys on one occasion. He must have given a persuasive pep talk because, to his great surprise, three boys held up their hands. The headmaster had to attend a meeting in the afternoon and was away from school. The boys who had volunteered were younger boys, not entirely aware of just what ballet lessons entailed. Naturally the older and wiser boys lost no time in informing them just what they were letting themselves in for and took great delight in teasing the devil out of the embarrassed trio. The boys desperately tried all day to see the headmaster to 'unvolunteer', but he was out. They became increasingly desperate. Matron assured them that they would not have to take ballet if they did not want to. But as they had volunteered to the headmaster, they were convinced that matron could not rectify the situation. At bed time they were so The boys were so distraught that matron let them stay up. Finally, when the headmaster's returned, three desperate little boys were awaiting him glad in their robes, pajamas and sneakers, terrified that they had signed up for a lifetime of "sissy" ballet lessons with an army of tutu-clad girls!

Dance Schools

There are many dancing schools in England where parents willingly pay for lessons for their children. Most of the students are girls, but several of the schools also accomodate boys.

English National Ballet School

The English National Ballet School did a movie to encourage males to dance.

London Children's Ballet

The London Children's Ballet has been active since about 1994. They have produced several DVDs of their productions. "Canterville Ghost", "Scarlet Pimpernel", "Little Princess", "Prince and the Pauper" are some of them.

Figure 2.--These are students at the English Royal Academy of Dance.

Royal Academy of Dance

Students at the Royal Academy of Dance bare pictured in figure 2. HBC ar this time has no infornmation about the school.

Royal Ballet School

The Royal Ballet School uses different colored tights for different grades. Other schools in England may do this also. Alexandra Moss writes the Royal Ballet School Diaries. RBS has done Peter and the Wolf. RBS has a new building. The Edwardson twins, now in Vienna, from the RBS, did the "Prince and the Pauper". Henry Hopkins, just the second Englishmen, just began at the Moscow Choreographic School is the "Scarlet Pimpernel".

Tring Arts Educational School

The British school pictured in figure 1 specialises in fine arts instruction. The boys and girls are receiving dance instruction at the Arts Educational School in Tring, Hertfordshire. In this establishment boys can take part in dancing lessons without worrying about being teased by their classmates, as they might be if they attended an ordinary school where most boys pursued an interest in football rather than ballet. There is also a comprehensiver school in Tring.

Unidentified school

One English dancer reports at his school boys wore blue tights and long whits socks with a white T-shirt. He indicates that the costume was quite popular.


The only movie HBC knows of about ballet in England is Billy Elliot. Billy Elliott is now a stage play. Please let us know if you know of any other pertinent films.


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Created: April 6, 2000
Last updated: 3:19 AM 8/28/2010