Children in some of the most deprived areas of London are being offered free ballet classes every week by one of the top dance schools in Britain. The Central School of Ballet is based in Clerkenwell and hopes that by opening themselves up to pupils from inner cities they will make classical dance appeal to a much wider and diverse audience.
The classes are taking place at three primary schools in Southwark, which had one of the country’s highest rates of child poverty. The aim of the classes is also to boost creativity, health and fitness, good behaviour and discipline. 24 year old Ellie Savva is the teacher for the classes and she said that its great to give this opportunity to the students and is good for self discipline for those who spend all their time on Facebook and YouTube.
She added that the children have progressed very quickly, and already they are filing in quietly and sitting with straight backs while she took the register, and that they are really keen to learn and were literally putting their hearts and souls into the classes.
For many of the children, it is the first time they have had any contact with ballet, and 9 year old David Ijishakin from the Alfred Salter School in Rotherhithe said it had been this teacher who first convinced him to join the classes as he was told it would help him to become a better footballer.
David also said that he thought that if the ballet helped him with his football nobody would tease him, but he was actually enjoying it and liked the exercise. He also said that if he got to a certain stage he would like to attend a professional ballet school and audition for a part in Billy Elliot.