World Ballet School Day

7th July 2020

At Harlequin, we are very excited to celebrate World Ballet School Day today, a unique look at some of the most renowned ballet schools going through a challenging time – and standing together in solidarity.

World Ballet School Day has been created in collaboration with the Boston Ballet School, Canada’s National Ballet School, the English National Ballet School, New Zealand School of Dance, Palucca University of Dance Dresden and the Prix de Lausanne. The idea originally came from the wonderful Viviana Durante, Director of Dance at English National Ballet School, Artistic Director of Viviana Durante Company and Harlequin brand ambassador.

“World Ballet School Day is about uniting students training at professional ballet and dance schools around the world. We want to showcase their resilience, strength, dedication, talent, intellect and passion, celebrating how their journey begins and why—now more than ever—ballet, dance and art matter so much.” – Viviana Durante

In its inaugural year, World Ballet School Day has been shaped by the coronavirus pandemic which has affected how dance students have been training and preparing for their graduation, for performances and for their lives as professional dancers, all while being subject to social distancing measures and isolation.

This is why World Ballet School Day is specifically designed as a platform for exchange: a project from students for students. Working closely with professional choreographer Didy Veldman over Zoom, they put together truly impressive works are shown in an almost 3 hour long film today. You can watch it on the World Ballet School Day’s website.

In total, a dozen international ballet schools have made contributions to this project and are featured in the film. Although they are strewn across the globe, one common feature stands out: A strong preference for professional performance flooring by Harlequin.

In preparation for a successful dancing career, it is vital to lay the groundwork for a healthy and safe dance environment in order to prevent potentially career ending injuries. With input from dancers and biomechanical experts, Harlequin floors are specially designed for this purpose. “It is no surprise that all these world-renowned ballet schools dance on Harlequin floors.”, says Jason Beechey, principal of Palucca University of Dance Dresden.

Who are the participating dance schools?

Boston Ballet School
With many students moving on to the Boston Ballet, this school puts a high value on perfect technique but also on inspiring a true love of dance. It also prides itself in teaching diverse students.

Two Boston Ballet School students dancing on Harlequin Cascade vinyl.
Two Boston Ballet School students dancing on Harlequin Cascade vinyl. © Boston Ballet School

Canada’s National Ballet School
The broad variety of training programs available at NBS has meant that not only do its alumni go on to become professional dancers, artistic directors and teachers but there is also room for those who enjoy dancing as a hobby. No matter the dance level or age, all participants dance on a professional Harlequin Studio vinyl floor.

Ballet class on Harlequin floor at NBS Canada
Photo courtesy of Canada’s National Ballet School. © Bruce Zinger

English National Ballet School
Since this year, the English National Ballet and English National Ballet School share the brand new London City Island building, allowing the aspiring students to watch the professional dance company closely. The impressive building comprises eight rehearsal studios with Harlequin Activity sprung floor and Harlequin Cascade vinyl surfaces.
The English National Ballet School has been the catalyst for the World Ballet School Day project.

A rehearsal at the new London City Island, equipped with Harlequin performance floor
A rehearsal at the new London City Island. © English National Ballet

New Zealand School of Dance
Using unique training methods, the New Zealand School of Dance has established itself as one of the leading schools for ballet and contemporary dance in the Southern hemisphere. In its rehearsal studios you will find Harlequin Liberty sprung floor covered with Harlequin Studio performance vinyl.

Royal New Zealand Ballet rehearsal on Harlequin
The aim of most students is to join the Royal New Zealand Ballet. © Stephen A’Court

Palucca University of Dance Dresden
The impressive, modern campus of Germany’s only independent university of dance attracts aspiring dancers who are determined to invest nine years into their professional training while living at the university. They train on Harlequin Liberty sprung floor and Harlequin Studio vinyl and perform on Harlequin Standfast at the university’s own stage.
This year’s graduates faced the unique situation of having to develop their works under social distancing measures, resulting in unique and intimate solo and duet works.

A student at Palucca Hochschule showing that inspiration is possible even in times of lockdown. Performance on Harlequin standfast.
The students prove that inspiration is possible even in times of lockdown. © Ida Zenna

Prix de Lausanne
Not strictly speaking a school, but nonetheless an important step for many aspiring dancers, the Prix de Lausanne competition is a place of learning and opening doors to careers in the world’s leading dance companies. It takes place every year and Harlequin has been its partner and floor supplier for eleven years.

Ava Arbuckle's winning performance at the Prix de Lausanne
Ava Arbuckle was among this year’s winners. © Gregory Batardon

Australian Ballet School
The Australian Ballet School teaches elite vocational classical dance and most of its students move on to join the Australian Ballet or other renowned dance companies worldwide. The school’s mantra is to create dancers and dance teachers of the highest calibre who are “well fed in body, mind and spirit”. This strong focus on health also shows in the choice of Harlequin Liberty and Harlequin Cascade flooring.

Dutch National Ballet Academy
The Academie voor Theater en Dans is the only school in the Netherlands which has a direct affiliation with the Dutch National Ballet. Its programme ranges from children’s courses and summer academies to a Bachelor of Arts degree and a touring Junior Company. For such a variety of uses, the academy is equipped with Harlequin Duo vinyl floor.

École de danse de l’Opéra National de Paris
A ballet school with a three hundred year history, the affiliate of the Paris Opera Ballet prides itself in its tradition of excellence and providing a thorough general education to its students while training them to be world class performing artists.

Royal Ballet School
Connected to the Royal Opera House via a bridge, the Royal Ballet Upper School in Covent Garden provides excellent training for future dancers at London’s main opera house. It has Harlequin Cascade vinyl flooring installed in all studios.

Young talent training across the street from the Royal Opera House
Young talent training across the street from the Royal Opera House. © Royal Ballet School

Royal Danish Ballet School
The Royal Danish Ballet School is the school for ambitious young dancers in Denmark and it is equipped with a Harlequin Studio floor. Satellite facilities also offer daily ballet training to younger students as part of a general school curriculum, for example at Ballettskolen Holstebro in Jutland which uses Harlequin Duo vinyl.

Jumping, grinning little ballerina at Ballettskolen Holstebro
The joie de vivre is apparent in this young ballerina. © Ballettskolen Holstebro

San Francisco Ballet School
The San Francisco Ballet’s feeder school offers a youth ballet training program and classes for adults as well as partnerships with SFUSD schools and community organisations. The aim is to share the joy of dance with the broadest audience possible.