East Oxford School of Ballet
Principal: Penny Cullerne-Bown (BA, MPhil [Oxon], PGCE, Royal Academy of Dance Registered Teacher, Associate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, Imperial Ballet and National Dance)
Penny Cullerne-Bown has been teaching ballet in Oxford since 1984, when she came to do a degree in English at St Hilda’s College after 10 years of dancing and teaching in Hampshire. She is supported by a strong team of experienced, professional teachers.
The East Oxford School of Ballet was established in 1998. It offers training in classical ballet for children from 3 years and adults. We cater for people who dance once a week as a hobby as well as for students who aspire to a career in dance.
The desire of all the teachers is to encourage every single child to fulfil his or her potential within an encouraging yet demanding environment. We believe that this is how best to nurture a child’s talent and develop self-esteem.
Students may enter for the examinations of the Royal Academy of Dance and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, at both General Graded and Vocational Graded levels. The School has a 100% pass rate for RAD and ISTD Grades, with 93% gaining Merit or Distinction.
Students regularly gain places at vocational schools, but can also train here at a pre-vocational level while taking advantage of Oxford’s excellent academic schools.
We recognise the importance of stage experience for all students pursuing this performing art, at whatever level. The School gives regular productions, alternating full ballets with informal presentations. Our ballets include The Nutcracker (2003), Coppelia (2005) and Sleeping Beauty (2007). Informal presentations give students the chance to experiment with their own choreography and to try out different dance styles.
We specialise in classical ballet training. However, there are regular Modern/Jazz classes, and all the students have some knowledge of character styles through their RAD grade classes.
The School frequently has guest teachers to enrich the students’ learning – in the last few months these have included a Kirov Ballet dancer, a recent graduate of the Rambert School (and old pupil of this school) and a former soloist from Scottish Ballet.
We are the only ballet school in the region to offer GCSE Dance. This is open to pupils from Year 9 upwards, and gives them the opportunity to broaden their dance and analytical skills whilst gaining a recognised academic qualification. It is offered through a 2-hour session every Sunday, in addition to a student’s technique classes.