Feature

Meet Jakob - the Dance Track graduate

Our Dance Track initiative works with 40 primary schools and more than 2,500 children in Birmingham, identifying those with the potential to be the ballet dancers of the future. We then provide a free two-year training programme of ballet training and mentorship to enable children to win places at the most prestigious ballet schools in the country.

Jakob is a ten-year-old Dance Track participant who has appeared on stage with the Company in The Nutcracker. ‘When Dance Track first came to our school I took to it straight away’, says Jakob. His mum explains, ‘Music was always playing in the house when he was growing up. He plays the violin and the recorder so in many ways I suppose ballet was a natural step.

'Ballet has helped him to become more focused and disciplined. We’ve just come from an audition for Elmhurst [School for Dance] actually’. Jakob elaborates on his experience: ‘I was nervous at first but I enjoyed it’, he says.

'Ballet has helped him to become more focused and disciplined.'

Jacqueline, Jakob's Mum

Jakob and Jacqueline are from Cannon Hill, an area she says is, ‘not known for its ballet dancers!’ Indeed this is the purpose of Dance Track – to give young people access to ballet where they wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity. We continue to work with those who display a particular talent in preparing them for auditions at the best ballet schools in the country – Elmhurst School for Dance and the Royal Ballet School.

Jakob enjoyed participating in Dance Track classes with our Department for Learning over three years, and was cast as one of the children in The Nutcracker. ‘It was scary at first but I got used to it. It was quite different from class. I had to know where to stand and how to dance with props. I got on really well with Brandon Lawrence and Kristen McGarrity. They made me feel less nervous and we had a lot of fun’.

Jacqueline admits that sometimes she was more nervous than her son. ‘I am so pleased that funding from Birmingham Royal Ballet supporters has given us this opportunity, and prepared Jakob so well for his dream of securing a scholarship at ballet school, and the next step of his fledgling career.’ ‘I want to be a dancer. Definitely!’ says Jakob emphatically.

You can help create opportunities for other children just like Jakob. To find out how, click here.