Disclosure: Dance Dispatches received complimentary admission to provide an open and honest review of this dance class.
Shimmying into a leotard and tights and heading to ballet class for the first time can be intimidating – especially as an adult. But Everybody Ballet in London warmly welcomes brand new students in beginner ballet lessons and invites more experienced students to their intermediate adult ballet classes.
The Everybody Ballet website declares class is ‘For anyone and everyone – no previous experience necessary,’ and dancers are advised to wear whichever clothes make them feel most comfortable, in addition to ballet slippers. If those aren’t flashing green lights to begin learning ballet, what are?
And although Everybody Ballet provides adult beginner ballet classes, the instructors are far from novices. Their staff has strong links to London’s Royal Ballet, meaning you will learn the ballet fundamentals from top-notch current and former professional dancers. Everybody Ballet even conducts some of their classes in the gorgeous Royal Opera House studios. On the way to class from the cafeteria area, Everybody Ballet regular, Morgan, mentioned how frequently spotting Royal Ballet dancers still thrills.
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Everybody Ballet Class Review
After years away from the studio, followed by a short period of ballet every day at home, I took my first class Everybody Ballet with Bennet Gartside, a principal character artist of the Royal Ballet. Though, all of his regular dance students call him Benn.
The 75-minute class flew by. Benn gave a thorough barre warm up, keeping most of the combinations short and simple to remember. The demonstrations were quick, with a few pointers thrown in along the way, but most of his corrections came from personalized comments as he corrected dancers during and after the exercises. I think this approach worked especially well since dancers with a wide range of experience attend his class.
Since Benn was so encouraging, I was happy to get quite a few corrections – even before coming to center! Straighten the working leg, raise the leg in arabesque, lift the leg higher in retiré, keep weight towards the big toe in relevé to keep ankles in line aaaaaand reach up before arching back into cambré… Cerebrally, I know these things, but I’m sure I was less diligent while dancing ballet barre at home. Getting caught executing a lazy habit is a great way to improve.
Although not overly verbose, Benn referenced to famous ballet choreography when breaking down movements and he used students to demonstrate steps. He fielded students’ questions and efficiently segued back into the exercises to keep class moving.
If you’d prefer to drop into the occasional adult ballet class, try London Ballet Masterclasses, where you can learn classical ballet repertoire.
We focused on utilizing foot strength for jumps and completed a seemingly simple petit allegro, arms in low first – which sounds easy enough, but the quick weight shift following the soubresaut was a challenge.
assemblé – assemblé – assemblé – assemblé
assemblé – soubresaut – assemblé – soubresaut
And the traveling across the floor combination was simple, too. But the music was flipping fast, so we had to practice skimming across the floor to stay in time with the song.
temps levé – chassé – temps levé – chassé
Mercifully, we missed all turns (my Kryptonite), and we closed class after leaping across the floor with a long, lovely reverence.
Everybody Ballet classes are great place to build a ballet foundation and to uncover a little bit about the dance at a time. When I asked the close class of regulars for any quotes about class, they remained mysteriously tight-lipped… Until one cheekily replied that she preferred Everybody Ballet to remain a secret! The rest simply smiled in agreement. What a great testament.
Everybody Ballet Class Summary
Level: Beginner – Intermediate, although the class is advertised as Intermediate
Physical intensity: 3 / 5
Best moment: Dancers’ choice grand jetés across the floor, développé or not
Most challenging moment: Petit allegro foot confusion from a tricky weight shift
Three words to describe class: Straightforward, relaxed, uplifting
If You Go to Everybody Ballet at The Royal Opera House:
Beginners class: Mondays & Thursdays, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Price: £25 Drop in (£20 Taster), £120 for a block of six classes to be used in six weeks
Intermediate class: Mondays & Thursdays, 8:15pm – 9:30pm
Price: £30 Drop in (£25 Taster), £150 for a block of six classes to be used in six weeks
Address: Covent Garden / The Royal Opera House / 45 Floral Street / WC2E 9DD
Note: When you approach the Floral Street entrance, kindly ignore the theatre workers by the stage doors, who may direct you across the street to Royal Ballet School.
See the Everybody Ballet page for more information: https://www.everybodyballet.com/.
All information correct and up-to-date at time of posting.