"London boys ballet school reports huge rise in numbers" An Evening Standard Article | Sergei Polunin
“London boys ballet school reports huge rise in numbers” An Evening Standard Article

“London boys ballet school reports huge rise in numbers” An Evening Standard Article

London boys ballet school reports huge rise in pupil numbers!

Boys are no longer embarrassed by ballet, with applicants being inspired by “Strictly Come Dancing” and Sergei Polunin.

Evening Standard Arts In Association With LIZZIE EDMONDS
Friday, 27 January 2017

The head of a London ballet school for boys has reported a huge rise in pupil numbers, with many applicants inspired by television show “Strictly Come Dancing.”

James Cunliffe, founder and director of The London Boys Ballet School, said boys were no longer embarrassed to like ballet.

He credited professionals, such as Sergei Polunin, the Ukrainian former principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, and television shows, such as Strictly, with helping to “encourage more boys to dance”. This year the BBC1 show was won by TV presenter Ore Oduba.

Mr Cunliffe said his school, which trains boys aged between four and 18 in ballet, jazz and contemporary dance, had only 15 registered pupils when it opened in September 2014. It now has “in excess of 170 pupils”.

He added: “There have always been boys that have wanted to dance. I wanted to dance for many years but didn’t because I was too embarrassed. There was a stigma attached to it, that ballet was all pink and tutus and just for girls.

“It was also embarrassing to go to a dance class and be the only boy. That has changed now. Boys are no longer embarrassed to like dance. I do think dancers such as Sergei and TV programmes such as Strictly have helped encourage more boys to dance. It’s great to see so much more dance now covered in national television programmes.”

He said the popularity of his school would create a snowball effect, encouraging even more boys to start dancing. “When we first started there were a handful of pupils and they would come and go,” he said. “Now there are hundreds and the boys are like a collective. There is that camaraderie and they know they are not the only ones who like to dance.”

Pupils at the school study internationally recognised examinations set by the Royal Academy of Dance. In 2016 the school received the dance school of the year innovation award.

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