Moneymore student wins a place at prestigious London dance school

Ruaidhri Maguire from Moneymore.
Ruaidhri Maguire from Moneymore.

A TALENTED teen from Moneymore has been awarded a place at one of Europe’s top dancing schools.

Ruaidhri Maguire, 19, has been accepted for a place at Central School of Ballet (CSB) in London, which this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Ruaidhri has been dancing since he was nine years old.

He has now completed his first term at CSB, one of only 39 pupils accepted for a place on this three year degree course, a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance (validated by the University of Kent). CSB is the only dance school in the UK to offer this unique qualification. Ruaidhri was selected amongst 350 applicants who applied to CSB this year.

Entrance to CSB is through auditions which are held between October and March each year in London, Glasgow, Leeds, Italy and Japan.

The process involves performing for the school’s teaching staff, all of whom are ex-professional dancers themselves.

The course’s main focus is on Classical Ballet supported by Contemporary Dance as an additional subject, and also includes tuition in Choreography, Spanish Dance, Pilates, Jazz Dance, Drama, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Singing and Contextual Studies.

Ruaidhri gained his early enthusiasm for dance by attending classes at the Laura Walker School of Ballet in Belfast.

Before joining CSB on the degree course Ruaidhri was a student at Methodist College Belfast where he gained three A levels in Chemistry, Music and Drama.

Ruaidhri explains his progress so far at CSB: “I’ve now completed the first term at Central School of Ballet and it’s been hard work but fun too.

“We train at least six hours a day during the week and also take classes on Saturday morning.

You have to be dedicated to make it to the top of this profession but it’s my dream to be a dancer at one of the leading ballet companies when I graduate.

“The training is very challenging,” added Ruaidhri.

“Similar to the training of the best athletes, but we are all motivated by the rewards of performing.”

Sara Matthews, director of CSB explains the competition for places at a dance school at this level: “Students typically join us aged 16 after GCSE. By this stage many of them will have been dancing since primary school.

“Only the most talented and dedicated students are accepted but ballet is no longer an elitist profession. 25% of CSB students are given some kind of financial assistance through the school to allow them to complete their tuition here. We have a long history of accepting students from a diverse range of social and economic backgrounds.”

During his final year Ruaidhri will join the school’s touring company Ballet Central.

Ballet Central’s annual nationwide tour will commence today, 7th March, in London.

Touring with this unique student ballet company offers a professional performance experience that is not available through any other dance school on such a scale.

Sara Matthews added: “We are the only vocational ballet school able to offer our students an Honours Degree and this level of touring experience. Ballet Central continues to be a springboard for hundreds of dancers into the top international dance companies. Dancers live to perform so touring is a much anticipated part of our three year curriculum.”

Graduates from CSB go on to join the world’s premier dance companies. Recent CSB students are currently employed with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, National Ballet of Estonia, Ballet Black, Northern Ballet, K Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Slovakia Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre and many more.