Disclosure: Dance Dispatches received free admission to write an open and honest review about our dance class with London Ballet Masterclasses.

How do you spice up your ballet routine? Maybe you squiggle into a zingy leotard or treat yourself to a laid-back at-home ballet barre class. As a recreational adult dancer, setting aside time for any dance class seems like one of life’s little luxuries. However, many adult drop-in ballet classes just focus on technique, so learning a short piece of repertoire can lots of fun – and London Ballet Masterclasses offers adult ballet workshops throughout the year.

London Ballet Masterclasses

London Ballet Masterclasses, founded by former Royal Ballet dancer Celisa Diuana, offers two-hour workshops that combine a standard ballet class with a famous piece of dance choreography (also known as ‘repertoire’ in French or ‘repertory’ in English). Diuana, a registered teacher for the Royal Academy of Dance, teaches some of the classes; but London Ballet Masterclasses also “[invites] guest teachers from the world’s top companies to coach [students] in classical ballet technique, pointe work, repertoire, solos and pas de deux.” They curate a range of drop-in dance experiences for adults in studios across London, and they also host ballet intensives for children.

If you prefer a good ‘standard’ adult ballet class in London, sans choreography, check out EveryBody Ballet.

Romeo and Juliet Masterclass Review

Instructor Lucy Heard led the Romeo and Juliet ballet masterclass, advertised as: “a splendid evening of Romeo and Juliet, with a themed ballet class followed by learning repertoire of the Dance of the Knights – court dancing at it’s best.” She snuck in a few romantic R&J-inspired gestures during barre, and although she walked around the room during the exercise, there were few corrections. While corrections are generally treasured and are necessary for growth, it was nice just to enjoy class and to self-adjust.

Lucy’s dance affinities quite matched my own (since we prefer flying across the floor to delicate pointe work), which made the two-hour class pass extra quickly. After barre and stretching, we received more Romeo and Juliet choreography than I originally anticipated. Our class flailed through an allegro of Juliet’s and enacted Romeo’s entrance from the famous balcony scene. Then we had just enough time to tackle a short segment from the Dance of the Knights before our adult ballet workshop ended.

Don’t forget, although we’re London-based, we visit studios around the world to review dance classes.

Admittedly, the court dance looks so simple compared to the prolific leaps, spins and lifts that we see in other parts of Romeo and Juliet; but, as always, dance looks deceivingly effortless. Lucy combined two renditions of the Dance of the Knights, incorporating both Kenneth MacMillan’s and Rudolf Nureyev’s versions, which cleverly gave us two different perspectives. One required a decent amount of travelling steps, while the other required a good bit of partner work.

The Royal Opera House’s Romeo and Juliet ballet was featured
as a free showing during the annual BP Big Screens season,
along with a modern version of
Carmen, directed by Barrie Kosky.

Hardly any of the choreography directly reflected the dance technique that ballet dancers regularly practice at the barre, but that’s the excitement of repertoire. You use your technical foundations to perform unique choreography, sometimes as a distinct character. I never fancied myself as a knight before, but marching around the studio as knight with my classmates was quite jolly – even if I managed to maintain a stiff upper lip.

London Ballet Masterclasses Summary

Level: medium – advanced

Physical intensity: 3.5 / 5

Best moment: zig-zagging across the floor with grand jetés – classic, but wonderful

Most challenging moment: tricky partner-work with choreography that wouldn’t be out of place in a Latin ballroom class

Three words to describe class: spirited,intimate, jovial 

If You Dance with London Ballet Masterclasses

London Ballet Masterclasses holds bi-monthly adult ballet workshops.

Their ballet masterclass themes and times vary, as do the studio venues. This class was inspired by Romeo and Juliet, but the next will feature George Balanchine’s famous Jewels choreography.

Visit their site to learn about their upcoming masterclasses: https://www.londonballetmasterclasses.com

The price for a 2-hour ballet masterclass is £20.

All information correct and up-to-date at time of posting.

We actually learned a decent-sized piece of ballet repertoire during the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ workshop. You can see a clip of our class doing our best to look like regal knights during the court dance.

Have you ever learned any famous pieces of ballet choreography? And was it trickier or less difficult than you expected? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

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