Over the past few years, it has been a major objective of bbodance to review the Scholars Scheme and what it offers our students, teaching members and the wider dance community. The process has been long and there has been a delay over the last couple of years for fairly obvious reasons!

We are now pleased to announce some changes which we believe will enhance the Scholars Scheme to harness its original intentions; to support gifted bbodance students and enhance excellence in dance.

During the research into how the Scholars Scheme began and how it has evolved over the many, many years that it has been running, we were blown away by how many students have been supported and how many things have changed. We came up with the following clear objectives which have driven the changes we will implement:

  • The Scholars Scheme was born to support and enhance the training of gifted students. This must remain as the main aim for the scheme going forward.
  • The Scholars Scheme is exclusive to bbodance members. Going back through records, it was clear to see how well supported the Scholars Scheme has been by bbodance schools and teachers. Any suggestion of opening the scheme to non-bbodance members has been discounted and it remains a treasured benefit of being part of our organisation.
  • The Scholars Scheme does not, and has never been expected to, contribute financially to the organisation. It has always been subsidised and will remain so. There is however a need to ensure this financial obligation is manageable going forward.

As a result of our review, we are pleased to announce the following changes for the coming year (from Autumn 2022):

  • Classes will be more frequent – every 2 weeks. We have had overwhelming feedback from faculty and students that classes which are more frequent would be more beneficial to student progress.
  • The Scholars Scheme year will run from the Autumn term to the end of the Spring term (Sept to Apr) annually.
  • Classes will be held in two locations; Birmingham Royal Ballet studios for all classes aside from Senior Ballet which will be held at bbodance HQ in London.
  • Spaces will be strictly limited to allow the teaching to be focused on small numbers of students, further investing in the progress of students on the scheme.
  • The Scholars Scheme will follow a clear scheme of work and will culminate in a full weekend of training over the Easter break, with a performance and awards to be presented for outstanding achievement to a number of Scholars. Details of these awards are being finalised.
  • There will be one award for the Scholar of the Year which will be awarded to a Senior student. They will be presented with the Espinosa Cup and a fund of £2000 towards vocational training in dance.

We are clear that we want to respect the past, harness the very best from the heritage of our wonderful organisation and move forward with a Scholars Scheme which truly promotes the best that bbodance has to offer. We intend to continue developing other opportunities for our many student members to attend and we hope that the Scholars Scheme will be inspirational to those students who are committed to their studies and aspire to move into vocational training.

The Espinosa Memorial Fund, which has donated funds to support the scheme annually for many years, as well as the Board of Trustees, are all very supportive of these changes and our very own CEO, Julie Bowers is excited to see a return to the prestige of the scheme which she herself was part of some years ago, as a student of the imminent BBO teacher, Minnie Skerrett. It has been a wonderful journey thus far and we can’t wait to welcome our new bbodance Scholars in the Autumn.

Whether you are currently a Scholar or wish to apply to the bbodance Scholars Scheme, please find further information here.