The Ballet Trust was incorporated on 15 October 2008 with the ideal of helping children to be able to partake in all forms of dancing regardless of the financial circumstances of their parents or carers.
Dance is undeniably an enjoyable form of exercise and no matter how hard young dancers have worked in a lesson, we have yet to see anyone leave a dance lesson depressed and lethargic. Quite the opposite really, as parents wonder how they can bottle the excitement and enthusiasm emanating for their offspring after dancing. So it is of concern then when The Times carried articles on 4 November 2008 with the headlines “UK unemployment will top 7 per cent, says Brussels” and “Workers see hours cut as small firms tighten belts” and on 12 November 2008 claims “average daily job losses in Britain are approaching 1,000” which only adds to the every day local news of more companies going into administration. At 7% unemployment in an average dance school that means around 20 pupils will be affected by their parents losing their jobs and perhaps even more through having their hours cut. Dancing then probably becomes a luxury they can no longer afford and the pupils drop out of lessons. With that many pupils leaving it means that the viability of the school as a business is at stake and the possibility exists that it will join the myriad of other companies going into administration, to the detriment of all the pupils of the school.
All too often extremely talented children are held back from realising their dreams because their parents simply cannot afford the costs involved, even without the current economic pressures. Being part of a production by the English Youth Ballet starts with an audition that is challenging and for those good enough to be accepted there awaits a most enjoyable and rewarding experience. To partake in this experience will cost £385, which covers the cost of lessons from the EYB’s professional dancers, costumes and venue hire. Those who have been part of a production will attest to what excellent value for money this is, but if a child’s parents cannot afford the cost, a talented child faces the possibility of not being able to participate purely on financial grounds.
For those good enough to be selected for elite training at specialist schools, if their parents do not have the £25 000+ per annum to afford the fees, the Government has the Music and Dance Scheme (MDS) awards for under 16’s and the Dance and Drama Awards (DaDA) for over 16’s to study in specially designated schools and Higher Education establishments. The number of these scholarships available is very limited and they do not always cover the full costs involved – especially for the over 16’s. If they do not get one of these awards, no matter how talented the young dancer is, they are not going to get the elite training required to realise their dreams of being a professional dancer.
How can the Ballet Trust help? The ultimate aim of the Ballet Trust is to assist in funding those young dancers whose financial circumstances will prevent them from participating in dancing. For dance schools this could mean the difference between staying in business or going into administration. If The Trust could fund those young dancers who can’t afford to pay for lessons it means the dance school would be able to continue to be a viable business. Membership of The Trust would then become an investment in the long term viability of your dance school. For extremely talented dancers the benefits would be obvious, their dreams of becoming professional dancers could be realised.
To reach that lofty ideal is not going to happen overnight, but while we work towards actually being able to help people financially, we hope that we can assist you in making informed choices about getting elite training for a young dancer at a price that you can afford. To do that we will look into schools that offer education alongside dance training and present the details on this site for you to make an informed choice on where to go as a young dancer wishing to make a career in dance. Naturally we will not be able give you all the details about any particular school and would suggest you contact the school directly to fill in the blanks, but perhaps we can tell you about a school you had never heard about that will meet your needs at a price you can afford.