Boys Ballet Academy provides opportunities for boys in dance through the provision of an encouraging, supportive and inspiring environment with programmes tailored to focus on techniques specific to male dancers.
In facilitating a boys-only space in which to learn, with professional male teachers, BBA aims to increase the participation of boys in dance and dispel any misconceptions associated with boys doing ballet.
BBA offers fortnightly classes for boys in Ballet and Contemporary dance during term times on Sunday afternoons at Dance House Studios in Worthing.
Classes are divided by age/grade of ballet and all boys aged between 4-17yrs are very welcome to try a class with us whether they are an experienced dancer or a complete beginner.
BBA is dedicated to delivering a high standard of training and classes are taught by professionally qualified teachers. Alex Cowie, BBA’s Head of Ballet, trained at the prestigious Royal Ballet’s lower and upper school, before embarking on an extensive worldwide career in dance. He holds ISTD’s DDI (Level 3) and DDE (Level4/5) Ballet teaching diplomas.
In addition, BBA holds frequent dance workshops in other genres of dance, with guest teachers and industry professionals.
BBA is a not for profit organisation.
BBA Founder Claire Jones initially developed the idea of the academy drawing upon the experiences of one of her sons who danced.
Claire says “Sadly there has always been a stigma surrounding boys doing ballet and a lot of boys are given a hard time and ridiculed about their interest in dance.
Although more boys than ever are now taking up ballet, the marketing and images of ballet still portray it as more of a girl’s activity. Right from the very beginning when researching baby ballet classes, you are met with images of mostly pink, tutus and girls. It is no wonder that by the age of 4, boys already think that ballet is for girls.
My son danced at a local dance school where he was for a time the only boy in the class, one weekend he attended a one-off all boys workshop some distance away, and although he didn’t mind being the only boy in his class, he absolutely loved the all-boy class. For him, it was partly about social connections and finding plenty of other boys to connect with who shared the same interest and passion for dance.
I thought that with the provision of an all-male environment and male role models, perhaps more boys would feel confident to give ballet a try and may find they actually really enjoy it.”
BBA recognises the importance of connecting a community of boys in dance, providing pupils with not only a ‘boys’ space’ in which to learn dance but also an alternative social group to connect and interact with other young people of shared interests.
Being active through the arts helps with emotional and physical wellbeing.
Dance brings out the creative side in boys and keeps it alive, it can provide a great outlet to energetic boys too.
Dance is a physically challenging total body workout, that requires sharp athletic and mental capacities. Whilst gaining healthy flexibility, a boy that dances understands the importance of physical fitness and will be more likely to exercise regularly.
BBA aims to increase the participation in dance from boys, encouraging a healthy active community and challenges the stereotypical views surrounding boys in ballet
Reflecting on one of her proudest moments to date, Claire says “On our launch day in March 2019, we had over 30 boys join us for a taster class, many of these boys had never tried ballet before, and probably never would have. The experience introduced many boys to a new hobby they found they loved and many of them are still dancing with us now.
We hosted a free boys dance workshop at The Chichester Festival Theatre in October 2019. The workshop was designed to inspire and encourage more boys to try dance regardless of age, ability or social background. “
Hosted by BBA and the My Boy Can Project, it was a resounding success with over 30 boys turning up to enjoy the workshop led by Joey Bethell, international dancer and guest teacher at Boys Ballet Academy.
At the beginning of 2020, BBA launched its Outreach Project, offering professional ballet workshops to schools, community groups, clubs and organisations.
These workshops are suitable for both boys and girls. They are led by professional male teachers and in line with BBA’s vision and mission spread the message that ballet is just as much for boys as it is for girls.
The first Outreach Project workshop at The Ditchling Scout group was a great success!
The Cubs enjoyed a discussion on how ballet is equally for both boys and girls, as well as exploring the benefits of ballet training to enhance performance in other sports. They then took part in a 45min lesson, with lots of enthusiasm and fantastic efforts, followed by a Q&A session to finish.
Like many new businesses across the country, Boys Ballet Academy were impacted by Covid-19 and lockdown.
Being a fairly new organisation to Worthing, and only in the first year of operation, many of BBA’s planned projects and workshops had to be cancelled, as well as a planned performance on stage, in addition to being forced to cancel the remainder of the term’s studio classes.
Despite this, BBA put plans in place for online classes to take place via Zoom. Holding classes for different ages and abilities twice a week from March right through to September.
In addition to enrolled pupils, BBA opened up these Zoom classes to welcome external pupils, and had boys participating not only from all over the UK but other parts of the World too, even from as far as Australia!
BBA’s new term starts on Sunday 13th September, and despite having had to adapt how classes run to ensure and prioritise a Covid safe environment for all, everyone at BBA is all very excited to get back into the studios.
The termly classes, in ballet and contemporary dance run on a fortnightly basis on Sunday afternoons at Dance House Studios in Worthing, West Sussex, for boys aged 4-17yrs.
In addition, BBA plan to host occasional dance workshops for boys in other genres of dance with industry professionals.
Once Covid restrictions are lifted, and it is safe to do so, BBA also plans to host a FREE boys day of dance, an all-day workshop with industry professionals and a guest performer.
Looking to the future, BBA hopes to expand on and continue the Outreach Project further.
Please do visit the website at www.boysballetacademy.com to find out more about the wonderful opportunities Boys Ballet Academy offer.
BBA love to welcome new pupils, but due to Covid restrictions they are limited on the number of places available for new pupils this term, if you would like to arrange a free taster session please do contact BBA at firstname.lastname@example.org