For one night only, London Russian Ballet School (LRBS) will continue its collaboration with the world-famous Bolshoi Ballet and Theatre, bringing ballet and classical music to young people in London.
700 children from Lambeth, Brent, South West and West London, who have never visited a theatre to see ballet and most of whom have never heard of the Bolshoi Ballet, will join the audience at the London Palladium for free, with transport provided. Romantic Revolution is a philanthropic endeavour to engage these young children in ballet and impart the richness of this art.
We spoke with Harriet Pickering, LRBS’s Director, to find out more.
Could you tell us a little about LRBS?
London Russian Ballet School was formally founded in 2010 to offer training in Professional Russian Ballet. It is the only school in the UK to offer Russian ballet training exclusively with Russian-trained teachers, and training is made available regardless of background and financial circumstances. Inclusivity is the defining ethos of the school.
Technical skill, artistry, grace, power, dedication and stamina are the hallmark of Russian ballet, and this is what we offer our students. The method of teaching is characterised by a process of handing down from teacher to student the knowledge built up over many generations, and all our teachers are part of this legacy. Our Artistic Director, Evgeny Goremykin, danced with the Bolshoi Ballet for 20 years.
Vocational students are prepared for careers with world-class companies, and have unique access to Bolshoi Ballet classes, rehearsals and performances. LRBS also insists on A Level study alongside vocational training, as we believe a rich education is essential in order to become an artist.
LRBS also offers pre-vocational classes, classes for children and classes for adult amateurs.
You are working in partnership with the Bolshoi Ballet to present Romantic Revolution which is at The Palladium on 18th September, what can people expect to see?
Audience members will see four top principals from the Bolshoi Ballet – Ekaterina Krysanova, Semyon Chudin, Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov – performing alongside the young dancers of LRBS. These world-class dancers captivate audiences wherever they go, and only rarely perform in London. The varied repertoire will include the premiere of a new work choreographed specially for this performance and the dazzling Don Quixote.
Tell us about the 700 lucky school children who will be attending the performance?
700 children from schools across London will attend the performance free of charge. Most of these children usually have very little engagement with the arts, and will never have seen a performance on this level, or even a ballet performance at all. It is part of LRBS’s ethos that the art of ballet is universal, and should be shared with everyone; art is life-enriching, and everyone should have access to this.
How were the children chosen?
The schools that LRBS has chosen to work with were chosen because many of their pupils will be unlikely to have frequent engagement with the arts. Some of these schools LRBS has already been building a relationship with over several years, and some of the schools we are working with for the first time, such as schools in the Grenfell Tower area. The schools themselves have chosen the children which they felt would most benefit from this opportunity.
What do you hope the children will gain from the experience?
We would like the children’s eyes to be opened to something that they may not have seen before, or certainly not on this kind of level. We would like them to enjoy and be excited by something they might never otherwise have considered going to see. For some, this could be a life-enriching experience, and might mean that they go on to engage more with the arts in the future; others might be inspired to want to try ballet for themselves. As LRBS offers training regardless of financial barriers for those with the desire and potential to train, and also those who want to take ballet classes just for pleasure, watching LRBS students on stage with Bolshoi Ballet principals could be showing them a path that they themselves could take.
Why do you think it’s important for children to have this opportunity?
I believe that all children should be given opportunities of this type; the chance to experience art at the highest level, to stimulate their own imaginations and creativity, and to widen their perspectives. All great art could be said to hold something universal and life-enriching, and this is what we want to share. We also want to open the doors of possibility to those children who might like to experience dance for themselves.
Do you hope to continue this scheme so even more children can experience the ballet?
Yes, we hope to continue and to develop this scheme. We are planning to stage more performances in association with the Bolshoi Ballet, and with more of these inspiring dancers, both in London, and further afield, to reach new and still wider audiences.
Romantic Revolution is at The London Palladium on 18th September.