Diana’s dancing to stardom

Diana Patience
Diana Patience

Eastbourne dancer Diana Patience is poised for success after being accepted for professional training at one of Europe’s premier dance schools.

The former Ratton School pupil has started dance training and education at the Central School of Ballet in London.

Seventeen-year-old Diana has been dancing since she was just three-years-old.

She has now completed her first term at CSB, one of only 39 pupils accepted for a place on the three-year degree course, a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance, accredited by the University of Kent.

Diana was selected from 350 applicants who applied to CSB last year.

Diana gained her early enthusiasm for dance by attending the Meads Dance Studio in Eastbourne and the Royal Academy of Dance in London’s Battersea.

Before joining CSB on the degree course, Diana was a student at Ratton, which specialises in the performing arts, where she gained five GCSEs.

Diana said, “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 take classes on Saturday morning too.

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

During her final year Diana will join the school’s touring company Ballet Central. Ballet Central’s annual nationwide tour will start in March in London. Touring with the unique student ballet company offers a professional performance experience that is not available through any other dance school on such a scale.

Sara Matthews from CSB said, “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. 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. Twenty-five per cent of CSB students are given some kind of financial assistance through the school to allow them to complete their tuition here.”

Graduates from CSB go on to join the world’s premier dance companies. Recent CSB students are currently employed with Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and the Scottish Ballet.