This Sunday, 16 May 2021, we celebrate not only our 91st anniversary, but also surviving and thriving during 2020, the most difficult year in our long history.
Formerly known as the British Ballet Organization or BBO, we were founded in 1930 by Edouard Espinosa and his wife, the singer Louise Kelland.
Espinosa created our organisation to standardise the progressive learning of dance through syllabi and exams. He thought this was the best way to help students develop a solid technical foundation and encourage a lifelong love of dance.
91 years later, having survived two World Wars and an unprecedented global pandemic that severely affected the dance industry, we still uphold these values.
2020 was difficult. We could have scaled down, but that's not our way. Instead,
- we kept in touch with our members around the world through Zoom, phone calls, e-mail,
- we increased the level of support for our teaching students and moved all our courses online,
- we constantly monitored Government updates, revised our guidelines, and informed our members,
- we introduced Digital Examinations to help students continue their training despite restrictions,
- we organised a wide variety of syllabus and non-syllabus courses at discounted prices,
- we held our first-ever conference online, accessible to all teachers around the world,
- we held not one, but two online dance challenges to keep our students engaged, creative, and motivated — one of them resulted in a film,
- as restrictions eased, we welcomed students from English National Ballet School into our studios at HQ,
- when we could, we even held an amazing masterclass with Brenda Last, streamed live around the world from the Espinosa Studio 😊
- following that, we held an online half term programme of classes for students and online dance classes for adults,
- we also froze membership fees, examination fees, and other dues to help members,
- we introduced scholarships for bbodance Scholars,
- we welcomed new members and are now present in 15 countries & 5 continents!
- we celebrated our first-ever online graduation!
- we launched an eco-friendly Scholars collection with Dansez & Brandon Lawrence,
- we celebrated our 90th with Patrons, members & friends from around the world...
...and, did we mention — we launched not one, but two new video syllabi accessible to all our teachers worldwide: Inter Found Musical Theatre & Intermediate Ballet.
WHAT A YEAR!
Thank you to everyone who stood by us. You make bbodance what it is; you're the reason we go to work every day. Happy anniversary!
Photo: bbodance heart collage (view in high-resolution)