Saturday, 19 November 2016


Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts
Author Chemical Engineer
Source Wikipedia
Creative Commons Licence

DIBA stands for Danceworks International Ballet Academy. It is the facility through which Darnceworks trains dancers under the age of 18. I featured it in Danceworks Academy  on 21 March 2015. As readers know, dance education is one of my special interests whether for the young and gifted, those such as I who take up dancing for fun at any age and everyone in between.

Towards the end of the year, DIBA students put on a show. Last year it took place in one of Danceworks's studios in Balderton Street (see Danceworks International Ballet Academy Christmas Show 3 Dec 2015). Demand for tickets was so high that DIBA had to run three separate shows. The Academy will stage another show this year but this time it will take place in the theatre where RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) trains its own students (see Join us for DIBA's Christmas Nutcracker Suite on DIBA's website).

The performance will take place at 17:00 on Saturday, 10 Dec 2016 at RADA Studio Theatre, 16 Chenies Street, London WC1E 7EY. Tickets cost £20  for adults and £12 for children of 12 years or under.  There is also a £2 booking fee if you book online.

Ballet is not just a good way of improving deportment and keeping fit. It is intended to be performed in the theatre which is a place of magic and excitement.  If the link with the stage is ever lost or never there in the first place children will quickly tire of ronds de jambes and grands battements - and who can blame them? How many times have you heard well-rounded, well-educated adults say "I've never actually been to a ballet but I was made to take lessons as a kid and hated them." "Made to take ballet" indeed. It should be a treat!

One of the reasons why I write a lot about DIBA and (Danceworks in general) is that it keeps that link.  It is one of the features that distinguishes DIBA from so many other ballet schools up and down the country. The remarkable young dancer, Michaela DePrince, grand sujet with the Dutch National Ballet, taught some of the children on her last visit to Danceworks (see Michaela DePrince revisits Danceworks 7 Aug 2016). Most of those who attended Michaela's class will decide not to become dancers for one reason or another but they will all benefit from working with her. Their love of theatre will be enhanced for a start and many more will be inspired by her life story to jump their own hurdles which may lie in quite different fields.

However, Danceworks is not just for kids. I took one of its adult ballet classes earlier in the year and had a great time (see Hendrick's Class at Danceworks 19 Jan 2016).  I am delighted that the studio offers classes for my age group (see Over 50s Ballet Classes at Danceworks 30 May 2015). Tasha Bertram will teach a new over 50 class at Danceworks from 13 Jan 2017 between 18:00 and 19:15 (see New Over 50’s Ballet Class at Danceworks on Danceworks's website).

The following passage appears at the bottom of the web page:
"Benefits of balletThere is no age barrier to learn to dance and the long-term flexibility benefits of ballet are excellent. Ballet classes will help to:
Develop and maintain your flexibility. The combination of strength and flexibility is what keeps a body healthier and stronger for longer, and more resilient to injury.
  • Work both your body and your mind. The physical and mental challenges of ballet can improve vitality
  • Gain confidence in your body You will feel more supple and poised
  • Learn musicality Ballet is practiced in harmony with music. You will learn to draw energy from it, count it and live. 
  • Feel a new energy and forget your problems in a relaxed and quiet environment.
Come and experience our ballet class and enjoy this graceful and timeless form of dance."
I have been taking ballet classes now for several years first in Huddersfield and more recently with the Northern Ballet Academy in Leeds and KNT in Manchester as well as the occasional class in London and other cities. I can attest to all those benefits from my personal experience. There are adult ballet classes in every part of the country (even in towns and remote villages in the West of Scotland thanks to Ballet West (see the Outreach and Short Courses page on its website)). Everyone can have a go and I hope that a few of my readers will be promoted by this article to do just that.

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