The Foundation/BA (Hons) Degree programme in Ballet and Contemporary Dance is validated by the University of Kent.
The Foundation/BA (Hons) Degree course is designed to develop dancers using highly tuned dance training by a wide, experienced and varied faculty, all prominent in their specialism. Students will be exposed to a vast range of dance techniques and styles with a focus on choreography and performance, along with rigorous technical studio based training in both Ballet and Contemporary dance. Critical studies give students the skills they need to become thinking dancers and choreographers. Rambert students graduate as versatile, creative and adaptable dance artists.
Ballet forms the cornerstone of the dance technical training at Rambert School. Our longstanding approach emphasises clarity of line, placement and precision, always allowing these to grow through a developing sense of movement. Beyond technical prowess, musicality, expressivity and artistry are emphasized and valued.
The study of Ballet encompasses daily class, pointe work for ladies (also daily), Pas de Deux, coaching, virtuosity, and learning/performance of classical repertory. Each term every student performs a classical solo in costume, lighting, and with live music, to an audience including students from other year groups and all teaching staff.
The daily 1.5 hour ballet classes are split by gender, and students are streamed to ensure they are working at a pace appropriate to their level and previous experience. This enables us to select students with a diverse range of previous training, and ensures that each student is enabled to strive for the highest personal goals, whilst deepening their understanding of their own physical structure.
In today’s dance profession this is a very broad field, which has evolved vastly since the work of early pioneers such as Martha Graham and, later, Merce Cunningham. The well-established techniques codified by these two important figures instil both a strong technical base and a deep physicality. Conceptual understanding and physical embodiment of these foundation techniques also helps students to understand how and why the newer styles practiced today have evolved.
From an early focus largely upon these two core techniques in 1st Year, students additionally begin to study other methods as they progress. 3rd year students might well encounter a different style almost every day. This approach builds versatility, and prepares graduates for the wide range of challenges they can expect to face at audition.
3rd year students learn a contemporary dance solo each term, which is performed alongside their classical solo.
Students are exposed to a wide variety of choreographic methods, ideas and tools through taught classes in 1st year, and through a diverse range of weekly workshops given by guest artists throughout 2nd and 3rd year. This ensures they experience many of the different approaches which are used by today’s dance practitioners and choreographers.
Rather like an artist’s palette, students then have a range of methods from which to draw as and when they chose to create work for student choreographic showcases, which take place twice per year. The student rehearsal schedule is separate from the daily timetabled classes, and studios are open evenings and weekends for this purpose. Any student can create a work and there is no selection for performance. Students also rehearse, light, costume and stage their work.
In the majority of auditions, students will be asked to improvise and/or create dance material based upon set tasks. Improvisation classes for each year group take place weekly, and are often also delivered by guest professionals.
Rambert School is renowned for producing passionate, expressive dancers and innovative choreographers. These outcomes are not accidental: they come through a strong emphasis on performance throughout the course, and through repeated opportunities for students to explore their creative ideas. Frequent experience of working with guest teachers and choreographers allows students to experience performance at professional level whilst still in school. This ensures that by the 3rd year of training the gap between student and professional has narrowed.
Performing is therefore an integral part of the learning at the School. Every student performs a solo before an audience of students and staff each term. Students also stage their own choreography, perform repertory old and new, and present shows to the public every term, both in the School’s own theatre space and at external venues. Rambert is also involved in the ‘Design for Dance’ project with Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design.
Rambert School and Rambert Dance Company enjoy a fruitful collaborative partnership. The Artistic Director of the Company has created a number of works for students, and there are occasional opportunities for students to join the Company in performance.
Theoretical work has been carefully put into place to support and enhance students’ learning in the dance studio. This area also promotes key transferable skills, preparing students for professional careers as dancers and also well into the future. Learning to think reflectively and to research independently helps students to form links between theory and practice. Good communication skills are vital in any walk of life.
Academic writing encourages students to construct arguments, analyse and evaluate information, structure their ideas coherently and reference their work conforming to recognised conventions. By the end of the BA (Hons) course each student is equipped to carry out their own independent research project, completing a 5000 word academic essay and a 20 minute oral presentation.
There is an extensive academic support programme in place, including 1-1 tuition for students with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, and English language classes for overseas students. This ensures that we are able to accept students with very diverse academic abilities and experiences, so that each builds skills and confidence at their own pace and within their own capabilities.