News

Happy 90th Birthday bbodance! Est. 1930

12 May 2020

This Saturday, 16 May is the 90th anniversary of bbodance, formerly known as the British Ballet Organization (BBO). To celebrate, bbodance are giving away free memberships. These will allow teachers to access all bbodance syllabi and educational resources online until 1 September.

Founded in 1930 by the renowned teacher, Edouard Espinosa, and his wife, dancer Louise Kelland, bbodance is one of the UK’s major awarding organisations, providing syllabi, Government-recognised examinations, teacher training, and inspiring events for everyone who loves dance. In 1920, Edouard Espinosa was one of the founders of the Association of Operatic Dancing (AOD), which later became the Royal Academy of Dance. Passionate about teaching, Espinosa wanted to standardise the progressive learning of dance through syllabi and examinations, and, to achieve this, he founded bbodance 10 years later. Espinosa used to travel the world to examine students. His tours were so popular that, in 1936, he created branches in Australia and New Zealand to manage exams locally.

Espinosa loved Theatre Dance, the precursor to modern Musical Theatre, and later the organisation expanded to include other genres. Under the stewardship of John Field, CBE and his wife, Anne Heaton, bbodance syllabi received professional recognition by the Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT; formerly, CDET). Sadly, Mrs Heaton-Field passed away earlier this month, before bbodance’s (and her own) 90th anniversary.

Currently, bbodance provide syllabi and Government-recognised examinations in Musical Theatre, Contemporary, Tap, Classical Ballet, Modern, and Jazz. These syllabi are fully digitised and accessible online, as text and video, to all bbodance teachers. To reflect this range, the organisation rebranded from British Ballet to bbodance four years ago and now delivers an in-depth teacher training programme consistent with Espinosa’s vision. Inspired by his strong pedagogic mindset, bbodance Teaching Qualifications help teachers develop techniques they can apply to teach any genre, in any context.

Given current studio closures, this online Dance Teaching Qualifications programme is ever more popular and relevant; however, bbodancers can’t wait to return to class. There’s something about being in a space together, exploring movement, that inspires a love of the art form like nothing else. With the support of Patrons, bbodance’s dedicated team are hard at work to reschedule their biggest annual event in the UK, Dance Days, which, for the first time in its history, was postponed this year due to COVID-19. However, bbodance remain hopeful that Dance Days will take place as planned in Australia and New Zealand, marking the first onsite celebration of 90 years of bbodance.

“In its 90 years, the organization has touched the lives of millions of people, introducing them to the joy of dance, and has been responsible for starting the careers of many of the most prestigious artists in the world of professional theatre. What a fantastic organization — Compact, Friendly, High-quality, Ahead of its time, and Fast to react. Sounds a bit like its founder, Edouard Espinosa!” —Nic Espinosa, bbodance Chairman