Secretary of State for Education visits The Royal Ballet Upper School
The Right Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, visited The Royal Ballet Upper School in Covent Garden on Thursday 9 June. Mr Gove was greeted by the School’s Director, Gailene Stock, and Chairman, the Marchioness of Douro.
Accompanied by Music and Dance Scheme Policy Manager Paul McDonald, Mr Gove was introduced to former Royal Ballet School student Steven McRae who is now Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet. Steven, in turn, introduced to Mr Gove several current students. Each of the students shared with Mr Gove their own unique stories, explaining how The Royal Ballet School and the Music and Dance Scheme had supported them in realising their dreams of becoming professional dancers. The presentation culminated with Mr Gove quizzing students about their careers and aspirations as well as engaging with some of the students’ parents who offered their perspective to the discussion.
A tour of The Royal Ballet Upper School followed giving Mr Gove the opportunity of meeting teachers and other students in normal academic lessons, as well as in daily ballet class. A lively encounter ensued when Mr Gove met a group of young people and their parents from the Dagenham primarySTEPS programme making one of their regular visits to the School. (Run by the School’s Dance Partnership and Access Programme, primarySTEPS is part of an initiative designed to introduce dance to primary school pupils in five centres nationwide.)
Mr Gove also visited the famous Bridge of Aspiration which links the School to the Royal Opera House.
In 1973, The Royal Ballet School was invited to become a founder member of the Music and Dance Scheme, together with the Yehudi Menuhin School. To this day, the School plays an integral role in the wider activity of the Music and Dance Scheme, supporting various programmes and reaching a diverse range of teachers and an ever growing number of pupils.
Pictured: The Right Hon Michael Gove MP with Director of The Royal Ballet School, Gailene Stock AM watching graduate year students in daily class.
Photo: Patrick Baldwin