Top British Dance School Scraps Ballet Auditions Saying It’s ‘White & Elitist’

A top British dance school has dropped ballet from its entry auditions after branding it a white ‘elitist art form’

The school argues that ballet is a form of dance that is rooted in ‘white European ideas,’ it is expensive to learn, idealises certain body shapes and physical attributes, and divides roles along gender lines.

The Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) in Leeds, say they reviewed the dance as part of a wider plan to ‘decolonise the curriculum’ to make it gender neutral.

The Mail Online reports: Head of undergraduate studies at the conservatoire, Francesca McCarthy, called ballet an ‘elitist art form’. 

Ballet’s traditional terminology uses ‘ballerina’ for women and ‘danseur’ for men, with female dancers focusing on pointe work and lifts and leaps for men.

Ms McCarthy said the ballet’s terminology has ‘strongly gendered roots’ and was, ‘problematic in relation to inclusion of non-binary and trans dancers.’

Ballet will still be taught at the school, which charges £9,250 per year for British students, and £17,500 per year for international dancers. 

However the classes and teaching methods have been altered to be more ‘inclusive’. 

‘There are issues relating to body, money, language and movement vocabulary,’ Ms McCarthy told The Telegraph.

She said that class costs impact students who cannot afford to learn the dance, adding ballet ‘is built around particular white European ideas and body shapes’ which could put off dancers who do not fit this ‘aesthetic ideal’.

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