“We train the best,” proclaims an advertisement for the RBS, and it is hard to think of another vocational ballet school in Britain which could field such numbers of good performers as in this annual show. At least 85% of its graduates have already got contracts in ballet companies all over the world, with five joining the Royal Ballet.
The show opened with Allegro de Jeunesse to Tchaikovsky for lower school students. Choreographed with flair by graduate student Liam Scarlett, this promises great hope for the future. Ashton’s Monotones II was captivating, with Heather Chin in the vertical splits being turned like a chicken on a spit by George Hill and Thomas Forster.
In 1958 to music by Ravel, Ashton created the exuberant ballet La Valse. The students performed it with utter professionalism. To the rich voice of the Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa, Uneven Ground, choreographed by Australian Paul Boyd, was well performed. Though why we have to get a choreographer from the other side of the planet rather than give the opportunity to someone British is not clear, especially as none of the graduating students seem to be joining Australian ballet companies.
Petipa’s Raymonda Act III is full of glorious variations, all danced well by the students. The show concluded with an exhilarating item to music by Czerny, ending with all the pupils and students onstage where they rightly received much applause.
There is no question about it - they train the best.