Classical ballet and music are not elitist art forms but speak to audiences from all backgrounds

Manchester Performance Project

With the help of Margaret Casely-Hayford and Frank Norris the School of Classical Russian Ballet performed four times in Manchester in November 2019 for two of the Co-op Academy Schools to create new communities outside London and add a further dimension to both the outreach programme of the school and the ballet training of our students. The performances took place in an area of Manchester where there has never been a ballet performance before. The School of Classical Russian Ballet believes it is very important to make connections outside the metropolitan arena of London with children from widely diverse backgrounds where cultural deprivation is an issue for many young people.

The overwhelming success of the performances in Manchester was beyond everyone’s expectations and the short videos below demonstrate the enthusiastic responses. For nearly all in the audiences it was their first ballet performance and we are proud to say our students performed beautifully despite the difficult journey. The Co-op students were visibly excited and never before have youngsters rushed from the audience to thank us and to say out loud that they had never seen anything so beautiful.

We realised, following conversations with the children and adults in Manchester, that many young people said they had not only never seen ballet before but had never heard classical music before. We would once more like to help to change this situation in 2020. We plan to bring young classical musicians to accompany the dancers and are looking for partnerships with musical organisations to make this happen. Whether it is a young violinist playing a solo or a professional artist accompanying the students the impact would be astounding.


We have been invited to return in 2020 to Manchester but also to perform at the Co-op Academy in Stoke, a new and challenging venue. We will make the dress rehearsal involving the students a complete learning experience with questions and explanations. The evening performance will be for members of the local community and students. We see this as a very positive and enriching way to bring ballet and classical music to a wider audience of young people. We take and perform the “real thing” which is wonderful classical Russian Ballet and there is need for any explanation. Ballet is not elitist and neither is classical music it is the simply the lack of access to it that is.

We would like to thank Claire Cordell,  CFO of Aldermore, Allan Leighton,  Chairman of the Co-operative Group and the Co-op Academies Trust for their support in 2019.

Would you like to give a donation to support the cost of the train fares to Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent for the four performances in 2020 and bring ballet and classical music into the lives of young people. Your gift is important.

Please contact Ellie Gratton on if you want to inspire young in the Manchester and Stoke Performances.

Manchester Performances NOVEMBER 2019

We took over 40 students to an area of Manchester where there has never been a ballet performance for four beautiful performances for over 1000 people. The videos show the responses of the students and the local community. This was a great and important experience for us all and we have been invited to perform next year which is wonderful. We aim to improve the learning experience for the Co-op Academies Trust students with an inter-active performance explaining the music and ballet that has been chosen while ensuring that the performance practice for our students is once again a very powerful element of their ballet training at the School of Classical Russian Ballet.

Pictures from the evening performance at Manchester North Co-op Academy.

This is a project that we aim to develop and we will be planning to perform in 2020 with the Co-op Academies Trust in a more participatory and educational format with a working dress rehearsal involving the students to explain the music and the ballet being performed.

Pictures from the evening performance at Manchester North Co-op Academy.

Please support us to do this, more information will follow.

Please contact Harriet Pickering on
to find out more.

The Vocational and Pre-vocational students of the London School of Classical Ballet travelled to the Co-op Academy Manchester on 15th November 2019 for two performances for over 500 children and local people. The first ballet performance ever in that part of Manchester! This great trip was a huge success, Academy students ran up to the performers to congratulate them. “It was mesmerising. I felt like I was inside a story….” Maya from the Co-op Academy. Just one of the many comments we received.