Life at Central

Life at Central is more than specialist training and supporting study modules. When you join Central, you also join a family. Read stories from current students on our degree courses about their day-to-day lives at Central.

First Year, Amelia Thompson

First Year, Harvey Woodward

Second Year, Anna McCoy

Third Year, Aaron Porter

First Year, Amelia Thompson

I applied to Central to learn from exceptional teachers and to become the best dancer I can be. Central’s focus on performance builds students’ artistry and storytelling abilities to create thinking dancers who are sought after in the dance industry. I had also previously been an Associate Programme student at Central and having loved the supportive environment I knew I had to apply.

My experience so far has been amazing! It’s incredible to work in new modern facilities, to train with committed, talented people, and to make so many new friends. The wide range of classes will help me increase my versatility and allow me to work more easily with different choreographers in the future.

First Year, Harvey Woodward

Having previously trained in multiple dance styles, as well as in drama and musical theatre, I wanted to ensure I would be able to further develop these skills in higher education and Central was the perfect place for this. Central allows me to enhance and nurture my artistry in multiple genres whilst still receiving high quality ballet training on a daily basis. I also had friends who were previously accepted at Central and after asking about their experiences, it only further inspired me to apply.

My time at Central so far has been hard work yet so fulfilling and exciting. With Central offering training with such warm and approachable teachers combined with such an encouraging student community, we are able to express ourselves in a comfortable and supportive environment.

Second Year, Anna McCoy

Central provides a range of performance opportunities, experience of working with different choreographers, and connections within the dance industry and wider artistic field to help guide student dancers towards our chosen profession – this is why I applied to Central for professional dance training.

I was also attracted to the wider course content including different dance styles, singing, choreography and more, enabling students to become versatile, knowledgeable, and well-rounded. The academic part of the course is important to me too, as it is a BA (Hons) degree course. It is very important to have academic qualifications, it broadens your knowledge creating a better understanding of your passion!

I am loving every second of training at Central as it is such a warm, encouraging atmosphere, allowing me to develop as an intelligent dancer, thinking for myself whilst being an independent artist. I am also learning to dance with my peers as a group. The progression here has been immense in terms of strength, technique and artistry. Learning that the eyes are essential, with the ability to connect with the audience has been informative. The classes here are extremely focused, always with an aim or outcome, never leaving me feeling lost or unsure as to what I am striving to achieve.

Living in London is such a dream. Being able to explore and see what this city has to offer is monumental whilst having new independence is really exciting. London is whatever you want it to be, the opportunities are vast, and you are only a tube ride away from something interesting to experience or see. From doing my own Pilates session in Hyde Park to sitting on the steps outside the Royal Albert Hall listening to the Last Night of the Proms, I have made memories to last a lifetime.

Third Year, Aaron Porter

I applied to Central as I wanted to train at a school that provided amazing ballet training but also offered tuition in other dance styles to make me a more versatile dancer. Central has all this to help develop into the best dancer possible for my future career.

I have found my training challenging and it has pushed me beyond my comfort zone, but I have made great progress and improved at a fast rate due to the wonderful teaching and feedback from all the tutors at Central. Also, having the opportunity to study multiple styles including Contemporary and Jazz has allowed me to become a much stronger dancer while also enhancing my core ballet training.

“After graduating, I aim to join a neoclassical company and possibly choreograph works of my own. I believe that Central’s excellent training and nurturing staff can help me achieve this. “

“Central prepares you for anything a choreographer might ask for. With ballet as the foundation of my training, I know that Central will help me reach my full potential. “

“When I graduate my ambition is to have the chance to work with influential artistic directors and choreographers such as Wayne McGregor and Matthew Bourne. “

“Moving to London seemed like a huge step at 16, such a young age, but having the support from my friends and the team at Central my move to London was much easier than I anticipated. I live in a student residence with my other classmates and have had such a great time. We are like one big family and all look out for each other. “

A day in the life of a second year undergraduate student

7am

Wake up and prepare breakfast: avocado and egg on toast with strong coffee. Do some very light stretching and wrap up for the cold weather. It’s so important to keep your body warm so you don’t injure yourself.

7:45am

Walk to Central’s new studios in Southwark. I’m lucky that I live in student accommodation close by. Some of the students travel from home and take the tube or train. It was quite hard in the First Year to live away from home, but I found that everyone is welcoming and Central soon becomes like a second family.

8:15am

Head straight to the studio to run through warm up exercises and stretching before class. We always make sure we’re properly warmed up before we start any training.

8:30am

Most days start with a ballet class. We start with practising basic steps at the barre which then progress to more complicated combinations of dance steps, building in energy and complexity. We also train separately with specialist tutors to develop specific skills, such as perfecting jumps and turns in the men’s class and pointe work for ladies, which I have later in the day.

10:45am

Quick break to grab some water – it’s important to stay hydrated – and then straight back into the Weston Studio for pas de deux class. This is one of my favourites – the chance to learn technique with a partner. This is a core part of professional training and essential for future careers as so much of performance involves working with another dancer to tell a story or convey meaning in a dance.

12:00pm

After pas de deux, the ladies we go straight into pointe class. Most classical ballets will involve ladies on pointe so it is important that we learn the specific technique to ensure we can do it safely while making it look as effortless as possible.

1:15pm

Lunchtime! I usually bring lunch from home and have it in the student green room but if I am short of time, I will nip to a café around the corner.

1:45pm

We’re split into two groups now for study skills and today we’re in the seminar room for a session about costume design. We learn to appreciate how costumes are created, the fabrics used and the requirements for dance performance – being able to move and look stunning on stage! In these sessions we listen to experts in their field such as nutrition for peak performance or how to transition into dance professionals.

2:30pm

Time to see the physiotherapist on site. I injured myself in First Year and was out of action for a couple of months. I’m much better now after intensive treatment but I am mindful of the need to take care of my body as I train, so regular appointments are important for recovery and to learn how to prevent re-injury.

3:45pm

I head to my Contemporary class which is a new dance style for me. I was surprised how much I enjoy the different techniques involved and the music used in repertoire. Most of the international ballet companies also perform contemporary pieces so it’s a very valuable skill in terms of future employment.

5:15pm

Ballet Central has been in rehearsals all afternoon and we’ve been invited to watch some of the repertoire they are rehearsing for the forthcoming tour. Next year it will be my turn!

5:45pm

Sometimes we might have events or performances in the evening, but tonight is quiet so I dip into one of the study spaces to do some work on one of my essays. As well as training really hard, we have academic requirements for the degree too. I have an essay due next week about injury prevention – a topic close to my heart. Sometimes I may head to the gym at this point for some weight training but today I head straight home.

7pm

I’m home! Every night after training we lie down and raise our legs (we call it draining our legs) to prevent a build-up of lactic acid and prevent aches and pains. Then after a quick shower I prepare a very nutritious pasta dinner. I always need something really filling after a full day of classes.

8pm

My new pointe shoes arrived today! There is nothing like the joy of brand-new pointe shoes. We usually need several pairs of pointe shoes each month which increases during performances. They are expensive, between £45-£60 each. Luckily, I receive a bursary through Central that helps pay for my living expenses, pointe shoes and uniform. I’m so grateful to the people who have donated to help fund my extra degree costs because without this support I would struggle.

10pm

Spent the last couple of hours sewing and breaking in my new pointe shows while re-watching a Royal Ballet rehearsal livestream. It makes me think about the future and the kind of company I’d like to join when I graduate but for now, I’m off to bed!

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