An audition class took place at Yewon School in Seoul last Wednesday. Some 90 young ballet dancers aged between 11 and 17 entered the hall in groups. Judges sitting in front of the hall were Christopher Powney, artistic director of the Royal Ballet School, and Samira Saidi, head of Intensive Courses and International Relations at the Royal Ballet School. Powney told the students to not get scared by his stiff look, as he usually does when observing someone, and to dance naturally.
Still, it would be hardly possible for young dancers to not get nervous at an audition held by one of the world’s leading ballet companies. Not being able to hide their nervousness, the students started to follow the moves demonstrated by a choreographer. Minor mistakes happened here and there, and some looked down on the floor as if blaming themselves.
Yet, as the audition went on with the accompaniment of piano, the dancers began recovering stability in their look and gestures. The judges encouraged them, saying that it is okay to make mistakes and everyone is doing well, to which the students responded by passionate participation. Powney and Saidi also brightened up looking at the dancers sweating.
The preliminary audition does not have the number of selectees predetermined. Stressing the painfulness of ballet as sports, Saidi said that the school will give opportunities to all students who are mentally prepared to endure intense training and have physical possibility and potential.
Successful candidates will be announced in mid-January next year, and they will attend a final audition in London in March to compete with students from 23 countries. If chosen at this final audition, they will become official students at the Royal Ballet School. Pointing out that many students end up leaving the school due to an injury or choosing to study instead of doing ballet, Saidi said the school fulfills its basic duty as an educational institute and supports its students for various future career paths.
Wrapping up the audition classes and training that took place for three days from Monday to Wednesday in Seoul, Powney and Saidi said they hope to come visit Seoul every year to discover talented South Korean dancers.