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School of American Ballet’s first ever London audition

Posted on September 28, 2011

sab london

sab_londonThis October, the School of American Ballet will hold its first ever London auditions, seeking intermediate and advanced students for the upcoming 2012 summer course. Auditions for male and female students will be held on Sunday, October 23 at Pineapple Dance Studios.


Founded by the choreographer George Balanchine, the School of American Ballet (SAB) is the leading ballet academy of the United States of America. New York City Ballet (NYCB), the school’s affiliated company, is made up almost entirely of SAB alumni, while the school’s former students have gone on to dance and teach at more than 5 dozen companies internationally, including The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet.


The summer course is a five-week training programme, running from June 25 until July 28, 2012 at the school’s New York headquarters. Each year, more than 2,000 students audition for the 200 places on the programme, which is led by NYCB director Peter Martins. The faculty includes more than a dozen NYCB dancers, many of whom worked directly with Balanchine.


The summer curriculum emphasises classical ballet technique as refined by Balanchine through his teaching and choreography, with classes in technique, adagio, pointe work, classical variations, character, ballroom, Pilates and weight training. Summer students live on site at the school’s fully-supervised hall of residency at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan. Merit-based tuition and housing scholarships are available.


SAB evaluates students throughout the summer course, and invites the most promising to become full-time students in its year-round training programme, which produces more professional classical ballet dancers on an ongoing basis than any other American ballet school.


Auditions will be held at Pineapple Studios, 7 Langley Street, Covent Garden on Sunday, October 23. Students aged between 12 and 14 (as of July 31, 2012) should arrive at 1pm. Students aged 15 to 18 should arrive at 2.30pm. The London audition will resemble a ballet class, with barre and centre work, will be conducted by Kay Mazzo, a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet who has been co-chairman of faculty at SAB since 1997.


There is an audition fee of £20, payable in cash at the time of the audition. Applicants who complete the optional online pre-registration form in advance may pre-pay a discounted fee of $25 by credit card at Applicants should bring proof of age (passport or birth certificate) to the audition. All girls should bring pointe shoes. Candidates will be notified of their results in mid-November.


The London audition is part of an international autumn tour that includes auditions in Paris (on October 23) and Madrid (October 25). Complete audition details are available from


Picture: Advanced students in class at the School of American Ballet’s 2011 Summer Course. Photograph: Rosalie O’Connor.

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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