Renaissance Arts become Partners on Re:Fresh

We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with 12 other key Dance organisations in Yorkshire, to offer a digital Youth Dance platform of events in March 2021.

The programme will run between Wednesday 24th – Saturday 27th march 2021. Workshops, performances, talks and Dance challenges can be booked and accessed for FREE on social media and via Zoom across the 4 days, with the schedule now LIVE on Yorkshire Dance’s website, to reserve your place.

Head to to find out more.

Renaissance Arts’s Musical Theatre Faculty, and professional Director, Choreographer and Performer, Jo Goodwin, will be offering a Musical Theatre workshop on Saturday 27th March at 4pm, bookable via the link above.

You can also hear more about our training offer, and put your questions to R/A Faculty and current students during the Pathways discussion/Q&A on Saturday 27th March 12-1pm.

We’ll also be taking park in the Dance Action Zone Leeds ‘Dance Challenges’ which will be featured throughout the event via DAZL’s social media – drop them a follow to check it out and get involved!

No prior experience in Dance is necessary to take part and there’s a wide range of Dance classes on offer from leading Practitioners, as well as performances of original choreography from young people and youth groups from across the region.

It’s set to be an exciting and inspiring few days, a chance to celebrate the incredible talent and opportunities in Yorkshire and come together to share our passion for movement.

Come and Join us!


Fancy your chances at winning a unique opportunity?

ENTER NOW! Head over to @renaissarts or @Howlyballet on Instagram or Facebook

R/A Director of Ballet and renowned Ballet dancer Martin Howland is offering one lucky winner an opportunity for 1-1 online training.

The programme on offer, designed to help you achieve more from your dance technique, includes:

  • x 3 private 1 hour sessions
  • x 1 consultation & strategy session
  • x 1 strength & conditioning session
  • x 1 post-training reflection session

Suitable for dancers of any ability wanting to improve levels of performance and technique.

Further details and Terms of entry can be found on social posts.

Good Luck!

How to Audition with Renaissance Arts Conservatoire

Previously, we’ve offered two ways to audition for access onto our full time, 3 year courses, in Dance & Musical Theatre.

Auditioning in person on one of our allocated dates includes workshops with our industry led faculty, a chance to tour and use our world class facilities, in the Cultural Quarter of Central Leeds, meet the R/A Directors for a 121 feedback meeting and of course, show us what you’ve got in your 121 audition slots.

Auditions in person cost £48.00 and once you’ve applied via our online form, we’ll send you a confirmation email with all the details on what the schedule looks like, what to wear (and bring with you) and how to prepare – but in a nutshell:

Dance Course: Applicants must prepare a Dance Solo (90 seconds). The content for the solo is the candidate’s choice, though we request no Tap be showcased due to the maintenance of our large dance studios and floors.

Musical Theatre Course: Applicants must prepare a Vocal Solo (approx 32 bars) & Monologue. The Dance Solo is optional for the MTC.

So, what if you can’t make it to an audition in person?

Currently, due to the pandemic, all of our audition dates in person are under review and the alternative is to submit a Video Audition.

We know this isn’t everyone’s preference, and of course we’d much rather meet you in person as well however, times being as they are, we want to keep everyone safe whilst also still enabling the opportunity to gain a place on our courses. We’re not asking for a Spielberg movie cut, neither do we expect everyone who auditions to have previous experience.

You may never have formally trained before but you absolutely love to Sing and want to find a place that can help you develop your talents, so that you can have a successful career doing what you’re passionate about.

You might have trained for years and be looking for an established Conservatoire to help you perfect your technique, combine all the pieces of your training together with Artistic intent and to provide Networking opportunities in the industry.

Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle – point is, we’re not really a one size fits all. Our focus is on the individual and we keep acceptance numbers low to enable just that. If you have the commitment and drive to take the industry on, we have the experience and knowledge to equip you and support you, not just throughout your training journey, but onwards as well, as Alumni.

To submit a Video Audition you need to film:

  1. Your Personal Introduction Video – no more than 5 minutes in length, telling us about yourself and why you want to pursue a career in Performing Arts. What are your Hobbies? What’s inspired you? What would be your dream role in the industry?
  2. Depending on which course you’re applying for, compile either (Dance course) Video 1 1-2 minutes demonstrating your Dance technique in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary or Modern and Video 2 1-2 minutes dance solo in your favourite dance style. Or (Musical Theatre course) Video 1 16-32 bars of a musical theatre song along with Video 2 3-4 minute Monologue.
  3. Go to our Video Submission page on the website a complete the form, including the links to your videos.
  4. Please allow up to 10 working days for a response via email.

For further help, or questions relating to Auditions, please get in touch with us at


Welcome Freshers, welcome back returning students!

It’s been a journey these last few months. We ended our academic year streaming classes full time online. Our end of year showcase was cancelled. But we decided to hold on to our 2020 leavers a little longer. A new training site for our expanding needs was introduced and we learnt countless useless facts via some much needed online social quizzes. Sound familiar?

But now we’re back! Yes, the day has come. And whilst our operations will feel a little different than before, our mission is the same – to train our young people at the very highest standard, preparing them for a career as a professional performer.

Faculty has worked hard over the summer to ensure safety is of the highest priority, with the arrangements of smaller sessions to allow for social distancing, on an extended timetable. Temperature checks on sites and year groups split into four bubbles. Yes, four year groups!

Here’s where we’re fortunate to be an Independent training establishment. Our 2020 Graduates haven’t officially graduated! You heard right. They’ve joined us back for one final term (the equivalent of what we did online during Lockdown) for that all important contact (be it socially distanced) training experience. We believe the this will not only instil confidence in our commitment as a Conservatoire to our students, but more importantly, enable these young people to more fearlessly approach their next steps, being at the top of their game.

We’re just getting started back (did we ever really leave?) and there’s so many exciting events on the horizon already. So whether you’re UK based or abroad and are considering what your next career choices will be, get in touch #jointherenaissance.

Director and Head of Ballet at Renaissance Arts Conservatoire, Martin Howland, introduces his new venture, HowlyBallet

Martin Howland was born in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, and trained at The Elwyn school of Dance. At the age of 11 Martin was accepted to the ‘Royal Ballet School’ and began 5 years of classical training at White Lodge in Richmond Park. After graduating from the lower school Martin continued his professional training at The Royal Ballet Upper School for a further 2 years, whilst continuing to work with the company in numerous productions including, Romeo & Juliet, Petrushka, La Valse and Cinderella. Martin graduated the Royal Ballet School in 1995 and spent the next 13 performing in professional roles both in the Uk and worldwide. Following a variety of teaching a coaching roles both in central London and around England, Martin co-founded Renaissance Arts Conservatoire, in 2011, The Scholars in 2014 and went on to launch HowlyBallet in March 2020.

What is ‘Howly Ballet’?

HowlyBallet is a series of videos on YouTube designed to help dancers of all levels and abilities improve technique, master advanced steps and develop a greater understanding of classical ballet. And of course, a bit of a laugh along the way!

What do you aim to achieve through Howly Ballet?

To show people how accessible, rewarding and fun ballet can be. Ballet can often be portrayed as elitist, old fashioned and rather boring, whereas I can declare that it is anything but! Also, there is so much untapped science that can be used to train young dancers and I am proud of the programme that we have implemented at Renaissance, meaning that we are the most forward thinking and dynamic training facility in the entire UK.

Why do you think your own training experiences helped you achieve a successful career within the performance industry?

Being trained at the Royal Ballet school had many pluses and minuses, but I prefer to remember the positives and the brilliant Vaganova teachings of Anatoli Gragoriev. He inspired me to achieve physical feats that I would never thought possible. I did 7 pirouettes, he wanted 8. I did 8 he wanted 9. He trained us as athletes and as a performer I always felt comfortable out on stage taking risks and challenging myself to be a better version of myself. Self-competition is hugely influential to anyone aspiring to be more.

What could future students expect from Ballet classes at Renaissance Arts Conservatoire?

Anybody who has ever taken my class, knows that I demand more from them year after year, as I demand of myself to evolve and improve as a teacher. High Octane classes full of jumps, turns, tricks but also never losing sight of the importance of technique, strength and condition. Ballet at R/A will will always feel epic and that is down to how seriously our students apply themselves to their technique.

We can see from your online videos that your choices of music aren’t what people would necessarily think of as conventional Ballet choices. Why is this?

My music choices are slightly different to your average ballet class, using Hip-Hop, Dance, R&B etc. Through my training in strict Vaganova Ballet the music helps my students attach themselves to their soundtrack and discover hidden narrative and artistry along the way.

What are you most proud of in your professional career?

Ask me that question 10 years ago and I would have told you the various roles and shows that I have performed in. Now I would say the students I have trained who are out there living their dreams, knowing that their Ballet training played a significant part in their journey. Also, when I first started teaching the Billy Elliot boys, I worked with a certain Tom Holland during his training. One of the hardest working students I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and he’s doing alright now eh?

What is your best advice to young dancers?

It’s one thing to be talented and to be provided with certain gifts, it’s another to be the person who gives 100% in every class. In my experience the people who train the best have a relentless thirst for knowledge and who apply the tiniest amounts of detail to every class, who fail and then try again. Success is earned not given. Listen to your teacher and never mark your arms!

Head over to HowlyBallet on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below and follow HowlyBallet on Instagram and Facebook for more online Ballet theory and technique.

You can read a more detailed biography of Martin’s career on our Faculty page and check out R/A’s upcoming events, where Martin will be teaching, on our Apply page

R/A Students talk about their inspiration and future ambitions

Wondering what type of people choose to study with R/A? Well wonder no more! We asked some of our student body to tell us about why they decided to train with Renaissance Arts Conservatoire, amidst the many other options available, and what they defined as key moments from their training so far:

Why did you choose to study with R/A?

“Before I auditioned for R/A I never really liked Ballet, however at the audition I didn’t feel pressured and had a ton of fun, completely forgetting it was an audition at times. I learnt so much in such a short lesson. I pushed myself more than I ever did before and overall felt like the directors were going to help and push me to become a professional dancer.” Ceri Bullock, First Year Dance Course

“In all honesty I had already made my mind up and fixed a place at the training institution I wanted to go to before my R/A audition. HOWEVER, I was not prepared for a huge spanner in the works when I completely fell in love with Renaissance and the teachings there within the first hour of my audition! The professionalism combined with honest care and passion from the faculty really drew me in. The atmosphere from the students was so welcoming, I already felt a part of the pack! Above everything, it was the solid technique that sold it to me, no cheat routes and just about looking good, but solid focus on being 100% employable regardless of your ‘preference’ in style.” Lucy Richardson, Second Year Dance Course

I was an R/A scholar for two years prior to starting college here and in those two years I felt that I learnt so much. I also found that the personalised training Renaissance Arts could offer was the right route for me. R/A is also good for me financially because studying near home means that I save on accommodation costs and don’t leave college with lots of debt. Lola Kinard, Second Year Musical Theatre Course

I started out on the scholars program, which was something so different that I hadn’t experienced before, especially the strength and conditioning side. The teachers were so encouraging and I really saw their teaching start to give me results. It just goes to show that what they tell us really does work, which is what attracted me to apply for the college. Alex Middleton, First Year Dance course

Tell us about a moment from your training experience with R/A that stands out?

“One moment that stood out for me was the day that I had just come out of my first ever assessments at R/A, I was in my first year. Everything felt so empowering and professional. The drive from not only the directors but the people training with me gave me a sense of purpose. I was confident on a great journey ahead of me.” Lucy Richardson, Second Year Dance Course

One stand out moment from my training at Renaissance arts so far was when we got the opportunity to work with Black Box Creative in a dancing on camera class. This is a stand out for me as it taught us skills that we could use in the future whether it is for professional tv work or filming our show reels. I have been lucky enough to work with Black box again during the filming of “Howly Ballet” and I feel this class really helped me in understanding how to achieve the best images. Lola Kinard, Second Year Musical Theatre Course

I Managed to lift 100kg at the gym during student combine week, this is something I hadn’t predicted at all and it really shows me my progression since starting college as I wouldn’t have been able to do that before. Alex Middleton, First Year Dance course

Who Inspires you professionally?

“Someone who I’m inspired by professionally is R/A Graduate Dani Hampson because when I leave college I really want to dance for celebs in music videos, tours etc and Dani has accomplished this, so I look up to her, wanting to achieve what she’s achieved.” Ceri Bullock, First Year Dance Course

Someone who inspired me professionally is Sutton Foster who has appeared on Broadway in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Anything goes, Little Women, the Drowsy Chaperone, Young Frankenstein, and more. She is an incredible singer and actor however she also dances in her roles. This is something that I really admire because when I graduate I would love to perform in a role in which I get to use the vocal, acting, and dance training that I have received at renaissance arts. Lola Kinard, Second Year Musical Theatre Course

Although I’m a Dance course student, I would say that people like Dianna Ross and Whitney Houston Inspire me because of the soul and passion they give to their performance. It’s something I want to add to my dancing in the future. Alex Middleton, First Year Dance course

After previously studying the work of Lester Horton and the Alvin Ailey American Dance company. I got really inspired by the power that story telling has on their performance and how they portray raw emotion through resistance through movement and connecting to real life situations. Lucy Richardson, Second Year Dance Course

What are your ambitions for the future?

My main ambition is to tour as a Dancer when I leave college and artists such as the Spice Girls have such good choreo, which i can see myself doing! I’d also like to feature in music videos as a Dancer. Ceri Bullock, First Year Dance Course

My ambitions for the future are ultimately to be working on London’s West End in Musical Theatre. The dream is to be doing something where I can showcase the dance, vocal, and acting training that I have received over three years here at R/A. One particular role which really would be a dream for me is “Satine” in Moulin Rouge the Musical which is coming to England next year. The movie on which it is based is one of my favourites and the soundtrack is really powerful. Lola Kinard, Second Year Musical Theatre

After graduating from Renaissance arts, I would love to travel the world as a backing dancer for recognised artists. I also would like to experience life on a cruise ship for a while. Lucy Richardson, Second Year Dance Course

Naturally I’m drawn to the showgirl cabaret style but hen guest teachers come in to teach commercial dance I’m just excited to see in the next couple of years where I’m going to be and how that’s going to lead me in to the industry. Alex Middleton, First Year Dance Course

Thinking about studying Dance or Musical Theatre after your GCSE’s or A-Levels?

Get to know us series: First up, Musical Theatre faculty Luke Fredericks

What a key moment for an online presence to speak volumes about who you are and enable you to continue your communication with the world.

So we’re doing just that with a series of Biographies and Interviews from R/A Faculty, Graduates and Students.

Kicking things off is Musical Theatre faculty Luke Fredericks, who has been teaching at Renaissance Arts now for …..

Luke, what are you most proud of in your professional career?

I don’t know if I could pick one thing as it has been so varied and mixed and to choose one aspect of my career would mean ignoring other things within it. Having worked on stage, back stage, front of house, as director, producer and tutor, I have learnt and grown from everything I have done. I have been fortunate to play a wide variety of roles both abroad, regionally and in the West End and subsequently direct productions and work with amazing creative teams to stage some of the best material out there.
If I was pushed to say one thing, I would say the thing I am most proud of is that I work every day in the field and profession I love and get to work with the best people. Be it on stage, or off, this industry is tough and you have to be resilient, work hard and use the knock backs to push you forwards. So actually spending my career in rehearsal rooms and studios creating work with both professionals and students, is the most rewarding! There is no other job like it.

Why do you think your own training experiences helped you achieve a successful career in the performance industry?

I trained at Rose Bruford College and was fortunate to study acting and music in such detail that I still refer back to my student days when I work now. Your training is what you make of it. You can do the bare minimum and scrape by hoping to find professional work, but my passion for theatre meant I could not rest. I trained at college before the days of youtube and wikipedia so I used every opportunity to read plays, see theatre and hit the library to study and research around the performance work I did. This hunger for knowledge combined with a really intense, focussed training meant I have taken this drive and motivation into my career. I trusted my tutors and the work and results they got from me was one of the reasons I was driven to grab every opportunity and ultimately work in the industry.

What key things do R/A students learn in your MT classes?

I trained as an actor before working quite a bit in MT. Also, having directed musical theatre, I bring that focus to my MT classes and work with students to encourage them to engage in material, develop a meticulous approach to character and, most importantly, find their own voice and creativity. Students are encouraged to articulate their responses to the work we do. I want to make students push themselves beyond their comfort zone. All to often, MT training is about making something polished and shiny. This is great when working towards a performance, but training is about taking risks, exploring material and becoming fearless. Ultimately the industry needs this type of performer.
Be it an exercise, a scene or an acting through song class, the ability to analyse the self and grow from this is essential. Students are taught the approaches to character that allow them to deliver truthful, developed characters. They study style and technique. Students are taught Shakespeare as a way of bridging the gap between spoken word and song. Audition technique is also continually drilled and developed so not only are students equipped in their craft but also present themselves as professional and motivated individuals with strong artistic integrity.

 What advice would you give a young person looking for a course to study musical theatre?

Grab every opportunity. If you look at a song in class, go home and find out about the composer, the show, the previous productions. Learn the world you want to go into. It’s more than a soundtrack or a diva belt note. Ultimately you want to work in an incredible industry so find out how it all works and who works within it. 
Be consistent. Never miss a class, always give 100% and push yourself to always deliver the best you can at any particular point. The work we do involves nothing more than the bodies and brains we have. The more we challenge that and develop, the stronger and more resilient we become as performers.

Thrive & Succeed with R/A – Talking Fees, Study outside London and why we won’t offer degrees

At R/A, our unique selling point is our aspiration to deliver uncompromised teaching, ensuring that students receive inspiring and engaging experiences, with professionals who have been and are still working at the levels many aspire to. It’s a unique selling point.

But are we fighting against a culture of academic routes and funded study? 

The government no longer offering professional career development loans, to support those seeking an alternative route. How will our students afford their training fees and does heading to University to study for a Degree offer a more certain career path?

As an Independent vocational training conservatoire, Renaissance Arts offers almost exclusively practical tuition, across 4 days a week, 38 weeks a year. Our unique, industry lead courses are aimed at those wanting a professional career in the performance industry.

Full Fees to study a three year Dance or Musical Theatre course at R/A are currently £7450.00 per year. Study with some of our main competitors, and you can expect to be paying nearer to £14,000 per year. We take students from 16 years old, expecting them to graduate at 18/19 years old and go straight into work, cutting out a further 2 years of study if choosing to take the more traditional route of University, following A Levels or a Diploma.

So, why choose study elsewhere?

One of the key reasons is the ability to receive a government funded loan for degree courses, but how much you receive is very much dependent on your household income, and then there’s the interest that gets added on later down the line.

Why don’t R/A change courses to a degree level?

In short, we’d have to double course fees and reduce practical training by around 35%. This would undoubtedly diminish the standard of the courses and hugely compromise the employment success of our graduates. What we did do this year however, is took the unusual decision to become financially regulated, so that we could responsibly offer flexible payment options for fees.

It’s also worth considering that performance jobs in the entertainment industry are awarded based on practical talent and not where you’ve studied or what grade you received. For students applying to study towards a higher education qualification, in some establishments this could end up costing an additional amount on top of your fees. R/A students leave with a level 4 Teaching Qualification with the ISTD, meaning that between jobs or following professional work later down the line, they are already qualified to formally teach classical dance. They are also able to apply for funding bursaries towards their ISTD qualification.

Does studying outside London really offer value for money and a competitive route into the industry?

Finalist on the BBC’s ‘All Together Now’ and currently playing the role of Dustin in ‘Starlight Express’, 2016 Musical Theatre graduate, Ben Lancaster put it well, saying “The common myth and stigma around the necessity of training in London is incorrect and outdated. The training I received was impeccable and tailored so I could be the best I could possibly be, gaining experience in different styles and genres from a faculty who are at the top of their game in the industry.”

Last year’s data from the Institute of Fiscal studies found that Creative Arts Graduates had the lowest employment figures. 93% of 2019 R/A graduates have worked professionally since leaving their studies with this figure set to rise come the end of this academic year. The conversion speaks for itself.

Health & Wellbeing at R/A – Pastoral Care with Director Neil Rigg

Today we mark #TimeToTalk and wanted to explain to you how amidst providing a safe space to listen, we’re also taking preventative action.

For many students at Renaissance Arts Conservatoire, training is the next step and provides the route towards being a professional performer.

In the professional industry performers are often away on tour or have to work away from home which can constantly bring about social, cultural and emotional challenges. Student life during training can mirror some of these experiences.

Musical Director

The varied Pastoral care we offer helps manage these dynamics and gives strategies to work through them, aiming to equip students with the skills to independently manage their health & wellbeing.

‘By providing pastoral sessions I have found that when students talk through issues, they can often overcome them. All sessions are impartial, and not retention based, dedicated for the individual at that specific time. Student happiness and welfare is our top priority.’ Neil Rigg, Director

Sebastain Binns, Third year Renaissance Arts Student

Health & Wellbeing at R/A – Nutrition for the performer

Whatever your profession, in order to perform at your best, your body needs to be well fuelled and this is especially prevelent for aspiring professional performers.

R/A aims to provide it’s students with a well rounded education, to prepare them for the realities of the performance industry. We invited Nutritionist Josh Dyson, of Nutrition JD, to come in to R/A and talk to our students about how to make the best choices to suit their individual needs, considering a lack of time, space to prepare, and limited finance.

Second year Lucy Richardson felt she’d been struggling with time on a morning to eat substantially enough for her intense training days, and Josh suggested some specific food options and recipes to tackle time saving, whilst enabling the right nutrients, for example overnight oats, which can be prepared in advance and then eaten on the go.

First year Charlotte Marsh found something in Josh’s lecture particularly clicked with her, in regards to her training at RA; ‘Move more, fuel more’ (adjust what you eat depending on training, dance heavy day vs a more static vocals day). ‘It made me realise why sometimes I don’t have as much energy.’

And what other advice did our students take from Josh’s lecture, to develop good habits with regards to their nutrition…?

Here are Josh’s 3 Top Tips:

(1) Plan Out Your Week

Take 10 minutes at the weekend to plan out your nutrition for the next week. Incorporating this planing time will allow you to ensure that you are fuelling to optimise your development, meeting your performance and recovery needs, whilst aiding your health. 

For example during your planning time you may identify meals and snacks that are to be prepared for the week. To save time you may even identify opportunities to bulk prep certain meals.

Some key nutrition behaviours to consider integrating within your nutrition plan:

  • High quality protein sources consumed every 3 to 4 hours to aid muscle growth and repair.
  • Carbohydrate consumption to aid performance and recovery. Fuel for the work required. If you move more, fuel more.
  • Healthy fat sources to aid health, for example: avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, fish, dairy, red meat and eggs. 
  • Fibre sources to aid health, for example: vegetables, fruit, salad and wholegrains.
  • Ensure nutrient density by opting for a variety of food sources. Consider including a minimum of 2 to 3 different colours within a meal for a variety of vitamins and minerals. 
  • Maintain hydration throughout the day. 

(2) Snacks: Your Bag Is Your Tool Box 

With the expenditure of frequent classes throughout the day it is important that you have access to easily consumable snacks to maintain performance.

The bag of the performer can therefore be viewed as their tool box. 

With time sometimes limited between class it is important to opt for low fibre foods to minimise the risk of gastro-intestinal issues (e.g. stomach cramping, nausea, bloating). 

Example snacks could include:

Granola, granola bars, home-made flapjack, home-made energy balls (dried fruit), rice cakes, oat cakes, Ryvitta, fresh fruit, trail mix, dried fruit bar, fruit loaf and fig rolls.

Want to prepare your own snacks? Here are some example recipes:

(3) Develop Your Food Knowledge and Practical Skills  

Nutrition is a life skill, not just something to support your training or performance. It is also of great importance that you enjoy your food!

For R/A students it is therefore important that they consider:

Increasing your food knowledge: Your understanding of foods and how to integrate these into your diet. With the nature of the performance industry, domestic and international travel may be frequent, which could mean a restriction upon food options available. It is therefore important that you can put your knowledge of food in to practice and meet your health and performance needs.

It is also of great importance to avoid nutrition myths, as this can cause unnecessary restriction upon dietary choices.  Below is an evidence-based nutrition guide created by Josh regarding the most common nutrition myths.


Improve your cooking skills:  It is important to put your nutrition knowledge and plan in to action. Students should therefore put an emphasis upon improving their cooking skills to be able to create nutrient dense meals. Josh challenged our students to expand their cooking repertoire by coming up with five new meals, and having a go at making them! Did you spot any reposts on our social media stories of our budding #masterchefs?

You can find out more about Josh Dyson and his Nutrition consultancy business on his website