Monday, 28 March 2016

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

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One of the stands for which I was looking out when I visited MOVE IT 2016 last week last week was that of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. There were several reasons for that.

One is that the RCS is the destination for several of the students who have graduated from the Academy of Northern Ballet (see the Academy Graduates page on the Northern Ballet website).

Another is that it is linked with my own university which has just celebrated its 600th anniversary and where I first learned about dance and took my first ballet lessons. St. Andrews validates the higher degrees of the RCS (see the 2015 prospectus) and collaborates with the RCS in the Institute for Capitalising on Creativity which I shall discuss in another article.

Yet another is that it delivers its undergraduate dance course in partnership with Scottish Ballet which is another Scottish institution with which I have enjoyed a long association (see Scottish Ballet 20 Dec 2013).

Perhaps the most important reason for my interest is that the list of the RCS's alumni that appears in Wikipedia contains many of the biggest names on stage and screen. The RCS is justified in describing itself as "a national and international centre of excellence for performing arts education."

The RCS's stand at the ExCel Centre was staffed by the student recruitment manager and two of the students on the BA Modern Ballet course. According to the RCS's website this is a three year course in which the first year focuses on developing a sound technical and artistic basis in both classical ballet and contemporary dance, the second on building on those skills and learning choreography and the third on refining individual strengths and preparing for auditions. Several of the teaching staff danced with Scottish Ballet and masterclasses are given regularly by members of the company. From time to time students are invited to dance with the company or fill temporary placements. The student I met on the stand was a young man called Connor but his experience seems very similar to that of Amy Cobb whose student profile appears on the website.

I visit Scotland several times a year for work and holidays as well as shows by Scottish Ballet, Ballet West and other Scottish companies. At MOVE IT 2016 I exchanged business cards with those on the stand with a view to visiting the RCS on one of those excursions in order to write a more detailed article about its work.

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