Where Dancing Overshadows Everything

In the middle of Odense lies a very special school - The Royal TheatRE’s Ballet School Odense. Over the last 16 years, the school has grown from 15 students to 110 students, spread out through all grades. The majority of students are girls, but they are also boys.

At this school you will meet children and young people who love to dance and who dream of being professionals on all the stages of the world.  At times requirements seem almost overwhelming and one’s body is sore and bruised. But at our school no dream is too big.

All quiet
The concentration radiates from the eyes of the proud young people in the dance studio at the Royal Theatre’s Ballet School in Odense.
It's morning and the 3rd and 4th graders have their daily ballet class.

The sound of piano in the speakers and the children's joints are stretched all the way out to their longest toes.

After 1 hour and 15 minutes, the lesson is over. The students go to their teacher, and say thank you for the lesson. Tomorrow, they will do it all over again. All students dance every day. 

Everyone did an entrance exam to become a student here.

“Basically, it requires that you have the right physical preconditions, and those physical preconditions are out of one’s control.
When you are admitted to this school, we say, that 70 percent is will, 20 percent is hard work, and 10 percent is talent, ”
says director, Inge Fjord.

Every year, all of the students go to a dance evaluation where each student's development, focus, and motivation are assessed. In sixth grade, the students are tested in classical ballet. Those, who are deemed suitable, can transfer from the school in Odense to the ballet school in Copenhagen, where they will live in a dormitory, associated with the school. From there, they develop their professional careers.

“There is a small handful of students from every grade, which continue into a professional career. If we succeed with one classical dancer and two modern dancers per grade, then we have reached our goal, ” explains Inge Fjord.

For her and the teachers at the school, there is just as much satisfaction in watching the students continue in jobs and educations in choreography, dance pedagogy, or the likes, when they finish at primary school. 

The lessons learned in dance and movement follow the students into their academic classes. In general the ballet school’s students averages in their final examinations are very good - perhaps because concentration is mastered in ballet.

“In Denmark, we ought to have a lot more school that offer an aesthetic program for children and young people. In our case, we are in it to produce dancers, but it just as well could be a school that focused on engineering or robots. Imagine what kind og amazing young people that could educate, ” adds Inge Fjord.

The level of ambition at the ballet school is high. And the students are aware that many others want their places - it's not all fun and games.
And it is a deliberately chosen path that permeates the school years, says the school’s director. The children should be able to feel that the choreographers and the teachers are just as ambitious and passionate about dance and education, as they are themselves.

“Our main objective is to bring an academic education, art, and human development into a higher unity for the young people. We want to create human beings, who can go out into the world and enrich and move it forward, using what they learned here, ” expresses Inge and continues,

"Will they become dancers - we don't know, but if we've done all we can, to guide them to be the best versions of themselves - then we have achieved our goal."

This text is a freely translated version of an article from a magazine.