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February 01, 2012

Kildare student wins place at prestigious London dance school

Aisling Kennedy Aisling Kennedy from Celbridge in County Kildare has been accepted for professional dance training at one of Europe’s premier schools for dance training and education, Central School of Ballet (CSB) in London.

Aisling, aged 16, has been dancing since she was just two years old.  She has now completed her first term at CSB, one of only 38 pupils accepted for a place on this three year degree course, a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance (validated by the University of Kent). CSB is the only dance school in the UK to offer this unique qualification.  Aisling was selected for her place from 420 applicants. 

Entrance to CSB is through auditions which are held every spring, a process that involves performing for the school’s teaching staff, all of whom are ex-professional dancers themselves. The course’s main focus is on Classical Ballet supported by Contemporary Dance as an additional subject, and also includes tuition in Choreography, Spanish Dance, Pilates, Jazz Dance, Drama, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Singing and Contextual Studies.

Aisling gained her early enthusiasm for dance by attending the Celbridge School of Ballet.  She joins CSB form St Wolstan’s Community School were she gained seven As and four Bs in Junior Certificate.
Aisling explains how she is making progress at CSB:  “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 top ballet companies when I graduate.  The training here is as challenging as any top athlete but the rewards of performing are what we all look forward to."

Sara Matthews, director of CSB explains the competition for places at a dance school at this level:  “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. 25% of CSB students are given some kind of financial assistance through the school to allow them to complete their tuition here.  We have a long history of accepting students from a diverse range of social and economic backgrounds.”

During her final year Aisling will join the school's touring company Ballet Central.  Ballet Central’s annual nationwide tour will commence this year on 8th March in Hertford and will visit 22 venues across the UK including the Lowry in Salford Quays and the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House.  For more information about the tour visit

Touring with this unique student ballet company offers a professional performance experience that is not available through any other dance school on such a scale.   Sara Matthews comments: “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.”
Graduates from CSB go on to join the world’s premier dance companies. Recent CSB students are currently employed The Royal Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, National Ballet of Estonia, Ballet Black, Northern Ballet, Birmingham Ballet, K Ballet, Rambert, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Slovakia Ballet, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and many more.

For more information visit