Sander Blommaert gives ballet classes online
15 April 2020
Reporter: Vera Liber
Belgian-born Sander Blommaert, former dancer with The Royal Ballet and a qualified ballet teacher who teaches at Elmhurst Ballet School, Birmingham and runs his own summer school, workshops and private coaching, is giving ballet classes online.
Before the UK went into lockdown, Blommaert noticed that artists in Italy were providing free tuition online, so he started doing the same from Monday to Saturday at 11AM on his Instagram page, where he has more than 52,000 followers.
Aimed at dancers of an intermediate experience level, but drawing interest from a range of people from ballet professionals to the merely inquisitive or those new to dance, the virtual classes are regularly attended by more than 400 dancers.
Teaching from his home in Birmingham, Blommaert said, “I am amazed at how many people are following the classes and taking part. I am impressed by the whole ballet community who have come together at this difficult time to reach out and help others. As generous as it is for professional dancers to be sharing classes online for free, I also felt there was a need for experienced ballet teachers to be offering classes, so that students, especially full-time vocational ballet students, could receive the same information they benefit from in a school setting and enable them to maintain their training at home.”
Although the online classes are free of charge, Blommaert has set up a Justgiving page so people can donate if they wish and all money raised will go to charities and organisations affected by the shutdown.
He has started to arrange other events for dancers online, including In conversation with Sander Blommaert in which renowned names from the ballet world are interviewed on his Instagram Live on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at 7PM. Upcoming events feature Mara Galeazzi (17 April), Céline Gittens (20 April), Edward Watson (24 April), Christopher Wheeldon (27 April), Gary Avis (29 April), Elmhurst’s Principal Jessica Wheeler (1 May), César Morales (4 May) and Aaron Robinson (8 May).