Milda Luckute on Her “Exciting, Astonishing, and Fulfilling Years” at The Royal Ballet School

Jul 9, 2024 | blog

Milda Luckute, a former Royal Ballet School pupil, is now a corps de ballet dancer at Semperoper Ballett in Dresden.

She joined the School in 2020 and graduated in 2023, incomes The London Ballet Circle Dame Ninette Award for being probably the most excellent feminine graduate of her yr.

Here, Milda shares her insights into her transformative expertise at The Royal Ballet School and the way it formed her profession as an expert dancer.

Milda’s Journey to Training on the School

Milda started ballet at age 5, impressed by Royal Ballet School dancers like Darcey Bussell, Carlos Acosta, Marcelino Sambé, and Zenaida Yanowsky, who later grew to become Milda’s trainer on the School. Milda was “mesmerised by their quality, dynamics, and very distinctive style.”

At 14, Milda attended the School’s Summer Intensive at White Lodge in Richmond Park. Each yr, college students from world wide attend the Intensive to obtain top-tier teaching from the School’s Artistic staff and visitor lecturers.

Milda “absolutely fell in love with the teachers, the style, [and] the repertoire” she encountered on the two-week Intensive. Despite contemplating it an “ambitious and unrealistic dream,” she knew she wished to coach on the School. “Deep inside of me there was a feeling that if I work hard enough there is a chance that it might become true,” Milda says.

A couple of weeks later, the School invited Milda to go to Upper School on a short-term scholarship. Those three days solely deepened her want to coach there. The School invited her to a last audition in 2019, however she wasn’t profitable.

Milda later understood that the School’s resolution to not settle for her at the moment was the precise one. “I was a year younger than the other applicants,” she says. “I simply would not have been physically able to cope with the pace of learning and probably would have risked potentially compromising my health.”

Once Milda’s preliminary disappointment subsided she grew to become “even more motivated.” One yr later, she took half within the Prix de Lausanne, a world ballet competitors for younger dancers. Impressed by her efficiency, the School invited Milda to affix Upper School as a full-time pupil.

How Milda’s Royal Ballet School Training Shaped Her as a Dancer

Milda says her Royal Ballet School coaching “fundamentally” formed her as a dancer: “Each day I was gaining something new and unique, which was moulding me and my own understanding of dance immensely.”

Milda provides: “Saying that my dancing technique improved would be a massive understatement. I have improved my overall technical package, turned my weaknesses into my strengths and developed traits that I did not know I [had].”

The distinctive data, expertise, and understanding of the School’s “incredibly special” lecturers additionally nurtured Milda’s confidence. For instance, her time on the School helped her overcome doubts about her dance skills associated to her peak.

Milda additionally advanced as a performer: “From an artistic perspective, I developed so much understanding of what is effective when creating a role or simply performing a step… and what has to happen within me internally for it to be felt by the spectators.”

Various reveals, such because the annual Summer Performances, gave Milda alternatives to domesticate her artistry, stage presence, and character execution. Additionally, journeys, live shows, and worldwide initiatives — just like the Prix de Lausanne Partner Schools Choreographic Project — allowed her to work with world-renowned choreographers.

Milda additionally loved “the priceless experience” of going behind the scenes of the Royal Opera House, coaching with world-class dancers, and getting coached by the most effective repetiteurs.

“The training is tough,” Milda emphasises. “Every day there was a new set of challenges to overcome.” However, these challenges have made her stronger and extra resilient, which now shines by in her work as an expert dancer.

Milda’s Performance Highlights

A spotlight of Milda’s time on the School was collaborating within the Lynn Seymour Award for Expressive Dance. Each yr, Upper School 2nd Year college students can current a solo of their option to a panel of judges to compete for the award. Milda ready a solo from Alberto Alonso’s Carmen Suite for the competitors.

An extra “pinch me” second for Milda was performing because the Queen of the Dryads in an excerpt from Carlos Acosta’s Don Quixote and performing in excerpts from Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hourat the Royal Opera House on her commencement day. “It still makes me tear up thinking about it,” she says.

However, Milda’s largest spotlight was performing the principal position from Raymonda at Opera Holland Park in her second yr. “The choreography is just so enjoyable to rehearse and perform,” she says. “It was definitely a night that proved to me once again why I love to dance.”

Balancing Artistic Training and Academic Studies

Full-time college students research a broad tutorial curriculum alongside their ballet schooling. In her last yr of Upper School, Milda undertook the Pre-professional Programme and earnt a bachelor’s diploma in Classical Ballet and Dance Performance.

“Although the artistic side of dance is the thing that draws me in the most, the theoretical side is something that I think only enriches the art and makes the artist so much more well-rounded,” Milda says.

“I constantly catch myself using the knowledge that I acquired in my daily work,” Milda provides. “I know that it will follow me throughout my career.”

Support From the School’s Pastoral and Healthcare Staff

Ballet is a efficiency artwork that requires excessive ranges of dedication and athleticism from dancers. As such, The Royal Ballet School ensures college students obtain the most effective healthcare and pastoral help. A staff of 20 healthcare consultants, together with a scientific psychologist, physiotherapists, and nutritionists, manages The Royal Ballet School’s Healthy Dancer Programme.

Milda calls the School’s healthcare suite an “oasis” that college students knew they may go to any time of the day. “The healthcare in the School is exemplary — I have never seen anything equivalent,” she says. She emphasises that workers deal with every pupil’s well being as “a complete and precious unit,” taking a holistic method to their well-being.

Milda explains that, as dancers typically determine with their work, they’ll really feel significantly susceptible at any time when they aren’t capable of dance. For instance, when recovering from an damage.

“For that reason, healthcare is a very delicate matter that is almost more psychological than physical,” Milda says. “The School healthcare staff were remarkable at creating a safe space where we could relax, open up about our struggles, or just share some funny jokes or moments from the day, which would [allow students to] heal from inside out.”

The School’s Exceptional Teaching Staff

The Royal Ballet School’s Artistic workers includes a few of the world’s most completed dance lecturers. These lecturers assist college students grasp classical ballet approach, repertoire, solos, pas de deux, and up to date and character dance.

“I only have the fondest memories of each and every member of the teaching staff,” Milda says. “Not only do they have exceptional knowledge and understanding of the art form, [but] they are incredibly receptive to the students’ needs and day-to-day state of being.”

Milda notes that youngsters could be delicate to modifications within the surroundings, their our bodies, or their temper. These fluctuations can have an effect on a younger dancer’s efficiency in courses and life past the studio. She notes that the School’s lecturers are excellent at recognising and sensitively responding to those shifts.

Additionally, the School’s lecturers deal with college students as equals. “Although all the students in the School had immense respect for all the staff, the faculty’s attitude towards us was in no way that of hierarchical superiority,” Milda says. She believes this method helps college students develop as absolutely fledged, assured people with their very own opinions.

“If one day I decide to become a teacher, the example and standard set by all the incredible people I was taught by at the School will be my guidance and blueprint in this unparalleled profession,” Milda provides.

Extracurricular Life on the School

Connected to Upper School by the Bridge of Aspiration, the Royal Opera House is a vital supply of inspiration for college students. The bridge permits college students easy accessibility to The Royal Ballet studios for efficiency rehearsals.

No matter how busy Milda was, she attended as many Royal Ballet performances as she might to “observe and learn from some of the best dancers in the world.” She and her classmates would typically go to the Royal Opera House throughout their lunch-breaks to observe skilled dancers like Marianela Nuñez rehearse.

Taking half in Royal Ballet productions like The Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella as an onstage further or overlaying a few of the corps de ballet roles additionally fed Milda’s ardour for dance. “The things I observed, learned, and adopted in my own dancing during that time are invaluable,” she says.

The School’s Family Atmosphere

Alongside a palpable “sense of motivation” and keenness, The Royal Ballet School cultivates nourishing environments constructed on open communication and kindness.

Milda describes the School environment as “tranquil, warm, and tolerant” and “equally motivating, supporting, and inspiring.” She additionally notes the wholesome and respectful competitors between college students, a dynamic which permits friends to study from one another’s strengths and repeatedly attempt to enhance.

However, these younger dancers additionally discover time to unwind and bond. Some of Milda’s fondest reminiscences of Upper School embrace enjoyable along with her classmates and associates. “Even the smallest memories, such as movie nights with my flatmates or late evening trips to get ice cream, hold a very special place in my heart,” she says.

The School is “exceptionally international,” admitting college students from the UK and abroad. Milda’s yr group included college students from greater than 10 international locations.

“Regardless of the cultural differences, the School was able to create a harmonious environment where we all felt a part of one big entity,” Milda says. “Even after graduating, I still feel like I belong to The Royal Ballet School family.”

How Milda’s Training Prepared Her for Her Career

Milda says her coaching with The Royal Ballet School “paved the way [into] a highly professional ballet world.” Since becoming a member of Semperoper Ballett, she has already danced some soloist roles, such because the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty and the principal woman in Justin Peck’s Rodeo.

Milda believes the corporate can put such belief in her as a first-year corps de ballet dancer due to the skilled basis she developed on the School. Besides coaching her within the highest-level ballet approach, the School additionally taught her to deal with any choreography.

“The physical training has taught me such versatility and adaptability to be able to mould myself into anything a choreographer or a coach would ask me to do, while still maintaining my own personality and individuality,” Milda explains.

Additionally, the data Milda acquired now permits her to be her personal coach, motivator, private coach, and psychologist. Working in a dance firm, there are not any lecturers to regulate approach: “I have to be my own correction-giver,” Milda explains. “I am able to be one because of the wisdom that my teachers at The Royal Ballet School have generously shared with me.”

Milda’s Advice for Young Dancers

Milda advises younger dancers contemplating making use of to The Royal Ballet School to first analysis the School’s model and coaching strategies and perceive the trouble concerned in changing into a pupil.

“[Ballet] is one of the best professions one can have, but it is also one of the hardest,” Milda explains. “You really have to want it sincerely to be able to have a fulfilling career.”

The Royal Ballet School supplies ample alternatives to expertise and study its coaching by Insight Days, in-person programs, on-line courses, and social media content material. Milda advises potential college students to profit from these sources.

Taking half in sure occasions additionally helps younger dancers showcase their expertise to the School. When performing and auditioning, Milda reminds dancers that persistence is essential.

“One rejection absolutely does not mean that you are not good enough for the School,” Milda says. “However, if you have a gut feeling like I once did that you can do it, review your strengths and weaknesses, work hard to improve them, and try again!”

Embracing The Journey

For those that get accepted to the School, Milda highlights the significance of absolutely participating within the coaching. “Work hard, be curious, but never forget that ballet is so much more than just physical movements,” she says. “The deeper you dig, the more you might find what will inspire you and develop you into a dancer you want to be.”

Finally, Milda reminds college students to cherish each second on the School, because the years will fly by.

“The Royal Ballet School has given me three of the most exciting, astonishing, and fulfilling years that have shaped me into the person I am today,” Milda says. “The memories and the people I have met during my training years at the School hold the most special place in my heart and I know that they will follow me always and throughout my life.”

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