The Royal Ballet School has announced the reappointment of Christopher Rodrigues CBE as the chairman of the School’s governors.
Having already served three years in the role, Rodrigues will extend his tenure until 2026, as the prestigious centre of ballet training approaches the start of its second century.
Rodrigues’ Position as Chairman Over the Past Three Years
Rodrigues took over the post of chairman of The Royal Ballet School in January 2020, succeeding Princess Antonia, Duchess of Wellington OBE. The son of two former Royal Ballet dancers (the late Julia Farron and Alfred Rodrigues), Rodrigues is passionate about the arts and greatly admires ballet dancers and choreographers.
This admiration has deepened during his three years as chairman of the School. In a statement given at his reappointment in January 2023, Rodrigues acknowledged the “commitment and diligence” of the School’s staff and the passion of the School’s partners and supporters during a time of unprecedented hardship.
Like many other schools, The Royal Ballet School had to place restrictions on its students’ education during the COVID-19 pandemic. This sometimes meant the complete cancellation of popular live events, including the widely celebrated Summer Performances.
Rodrigues added that the “determination and talent” of the School’s outstanding students has inspired him, highlighting the young dancers’ enduring “equanimity and good humour” despite repeated obstacles to their training.
ISI Report, Digital Transformation, and Dance Teacher Training
The last three years have seen the School reinforce its position as the world-renowned home of excellence in classical ballet education. The Royal Ballet School’s latest Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) report rates the School as “excellent” in students’ academic achievements and personal development.
In 2021, the School proposed a multi-stage strategy for digital transformation to enrich its current offering and reach new global audiences. The ongoing digital strategy includes a website upgrade, the expansion of the School’s online shop, and the growth of the School’s video-on-demand platform.
The platform offers a unique collection of classes and talks for dancers, including Intensive Courses on Demand, and offers Primary Steps on Demand, a complete primary school dance programme.
On top of this, the School has continued its pioneering work in recreational dance teacher training and professional development. The School offers dance teachers several programmes, including the Diploma of Dance Teaching, the Affiliate Training and Assessment Programme, Enlighten webinars, and Inspire seminars.
Almost 100 Years of The Royal Ballet School
Rodrigues’ priority over the next three years will be to secure the artistic and financial future of The Royal Ballet School as the institution moves towards its centenary in 2026.
Founded by Dame Ninette de Valois DBE in 1926, the School has spent nearly 100 years educating and nurturing young dance talent and contributing to the rich heritage of the art form. The School has produced generations of exceptional, versatile dancers and choreographers of international acclaim who have enjoyed careers with The Royal Ballet, The Birmingham Royal Ballet, and other leading dance companies worldwide.
Royal Ballet School alumni include greats like Margot Fonteyn, Kenneth MacMillan, Anya Linden, David Wall, Anthony Dowell, Marguerite Porter, Jonathan Cope, and Darcey Bussell. Ballet stars and former students from more recent years include Lauren Cuthbertson, Edward Watson, Steven McRae, Francesca Hayward, Vadim Muntagirov, Christopher Wheeldon, and Marianela Nuñez.
About Christoper Rodrigues CBE
Alongside a successful international business career spanning many decades, Rodrigues has served as the chair of multiple UK institutions, including:
- The British Council.
- The Almeida Theatre.
- The Port of London Authority.
- The Maritime & Coastguard Agency.
He has also served as a council member of the National Trust and an ambassador for the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Rodrigues has a Master of Arts from Cambridge University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. The University of Surrey awarded him an honorary doctor’s degree in April 2013.
In 2007, Rodrigues became a Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for his services to British business interests and his charitable works in the UK and the U.S.
About The Royal Ballet School
Students who attend The Royal Ballet School perform on some of the world’s greatest stages and receive quality training from some of the best instructors. The School selects students through an audition process that considers only a young dancer’s talent and potential in classical ballet, not their academic ability or personal circumstances.
On average, 88% of students currently receive financial support to attend the School’s eight-year, full-time training course. The course offers a carefully structured dance programme, a broad academic curriculum, and extensive pastoral and healthcare provisions (including the pioneering Healthy Dancer Programme) to invest in students’ long-term health and well-being.
Beyond full-time training at the School’s White Lodge and Upper School sites, children and young adults can experience a first-class ballet education through The Royal Ballet School’s Associate Programme, Intensive Courses, and Primary Steps Programm. They can also access a wealth of educational resources on the School’s video-on-demand platform.
The School continuously seeks to expand access to its classical ballet training expertise, with dedicated offerings for young dancers, dance teachers, and the public.