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Sander Blommaert

Founder of Blommaert Ballet School

Sander Blommaert founded Blommaert Ballet School in 2016.

Sander Trained at the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp until the age of 15 before joining the Royal Ballet School in London for their final three years of training at the upper school.

Upon graduating from the school Sander was offered a contract with the Royal Ballet Company where he danced for 7 years and received promotion to First Artist.

Sander's repertory with the Company included Paris (Romeo and Juliet), Footman/Fish (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) and roles in Obsidian Tear, Scènes de Ballet, Connectome, Voluntaries, Rhapsody, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Sylvia, The Rite of Spring, The Firebird and The Nutcracker. He created a role in Woolf Works.

In 2016 Sander decided to pursue his passion for ballet teaching.

Sander's Teaching Qualifications:

- Education Course at the Royal Opera House / Royal Ballet School in 2013

- "Barreworks" Barre Workout Instructor Qualification in 2016

- Royal Ballet School's Vocational Ballet Teachers Diploma (RBS, PDTD) in 2018

- Dance Development, Teaching and Learning Diploma from Trinity Laban (DDTAL) 2018

- Progressing Ballet Technique Teaching Qualification in 2020

Sander joined Elmhurst Ballet School in September 2018 where he taught the male students in their final two years at the school.

All 18 male graduates during Sander's 3 school years at the school secured employment in the dance industry. Sander decided to leave Elmhurst to focus on Blommaert Ballet School full-time in 2021.

Who we are: About

Denise Horsley

Head of School Development and Administration and Dance Science Advisor.

Denise trained at London College of Dance, graduating with First Class Honours and recipiency of the Madge Atkinson Cup for Dance Composition, awarded for the encouragement of outstanding talent in choreography. She studied Cecchetti ballet under the direction of Victoria Chappell, Graham Technique with Anne Went and Linda Gibbs, and choreography with Kate Flatt whom she went on to complete an internship with, facilitated through Dance UK. She continued her postgraduate training, MA Creative Practice, on a programme hosted jointly between Trinity Laban/Siobhan Davies Dance/Independent Dance, studying intensively with Gill Clarke MBE. She continued further postgraduate training at Trinity Laban, completing the MSc Dance Science programme, graduating with Distinction and recipiency of the Dance Masters Highest Achievement Prize. Having completed teaching diplomas in both Imperial Ballet and National Dance with the ISTD, Denise went on to complete the two-year Teacher Training Programme at the Royal Ballet School and was awarded their Teaching Diploma and invited to teach for the school.

Denise has taught for the Royal Ballet School as Workshop Leader on the Primary Steps Programme for several years. She has also worked on the Royal Opera House’s Chance to Dance Programme as a Local Artist, mentoring teachers in delivering ballet creatively through workshops in educational settings. She was a lecturer at Coventry University on the undergraduate dance programme for almost ten years before the department closed in 2019; here she was awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy – international recognition of a commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in higher education, evidencing a practice that is aligned with the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). 

Denise is a certified Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) teacher, and delivers tailored PBT  sessions to students within Blommaert Ballet School, supplementing and supporting the refinement of their ballet practice. She is also responsible for School Development and Administration within BBS and acts as the school’s Dance Science Advisor.

Who we are: About

Silvia Jimenez

Ballet Teacher PDTD RAD

Silvia was born in Spain. She trained with Victor Ullate in Madrid, at the Ecole de Danse Classique Princese Grace in Monte-Carlo and finished her studies at the John Cranko School in Stuttgart. She competed in Prix de Laussanne in 1990 and got offered a scholarship to Maurice Bejart Mudra School.

After graduating from John Cranko School she was offered to join Stuttgart Ballet under the direction of Marcia Haydee where she stayed for 5 years. Silvia danced in many ballets by internationally acclaimed choreographers like John Cranko, Hans van Manen, William Forsythe, Uwe Scholtz, Nacho Duato, Renato Zanella, Stephan Toss, Roberto de Oliveira amongst others. She performed principal roles in Marcia Haydee’s Sleeping Beauty and “Isabella” in Sir David Bintley’s creation of Edward II for the company.

In 1996 Silvia was offered a Soloist contract with Birmingham Royal Ballet under David Bintley’s leadership. She was soon after promoted to Senior Soloist and danced many of the company’s extensive repertoire including the leading roles in many Balanchine ballets like Prodigal Son, Apollo, Four Temperaments and Agon to name a few. She also performed main roles in Sir Kenneth MacMillan (Elite Syncopations) and ‘Lady Elgar’ in Enigma Variations by Sir Frederick Ashton as well as the “Black Queen” in Dame Ninette de Valois Checkmate.  Silvia also danced solo and principal roles in most of Sir Peter Wright’s productions including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. She has also worked with choreographers like Stanton Welch or Twyla Tharp. Under Bintley’s directorship Silvia danced and created many roles of his choreographic repertoire like Carmina Burana, Edward II, Arthur, The Seasons, Hobson’s Choice, Shakespeare Suite, Nutcracker Sweeties, Beauty and the Beast amongst others.

Silvia has been invited as a guest dancer to Japan, Spain, Taiwan and Italy and has danced in most of the main theatres in the world. She has also had the opportunity to train with a vast number of teachers and experience many teaching styles.

After more than 18 years as a professional dancer Silvia retired in 2008 and has been teaching students and professional dancers since.

Her teaching qualifications include:

  • RAD Professional Dancers Teaching Diploma (PDTD) Rad

  • Level 3 Mat Pilates Instructor

  • Progressing Ballet Technique Instructor (PBT)

Teaching in an educational setting:

  •  Master Classes at the Conservatorio Profesional de Danza de Puerto Llano, Ciudad Real and Fortea Madrid, Spain.

  • Experience in education workshops with the Education Department at Birmingham Royal Ballet, teaching ballet classes and BRB’s repertoire.

  • Years of experience teaching adult ballet classes as well as the CADT Programme for young people aged 11-18 years at DanceXchange.

  • The Hammond School, Chester.

  • Elmhurst Ballet School 2017-2021. Teaching Upper School men and women. Gaining a promotion to Head of Elmhurst Ballet Company in 2019. In charge of ballet classes, repertoire, rehearsals, mentoring, fittings and mock auditions.

Teaching in a professional setting:

  • Guest with Company Wayne MacGregor.

  • Graz Oper Ballet, Austria.

  • Weekly classes with Stuttgart Ballet, Germany.

  • Guest teacher on several occasions with Birmingham Royal Ballet under David Bintley and Carlos Acosta’s directorship.

  • Private coaching to male and female soloist and principal dancers in preparation for a performance.

Who we are: About

Laëtitia Lo Sardo

Ballet Teacher M.A. PDPTC (RAD)

 Trained in Marseille, France, Laëtitia won the Prix de Lausanne in 1996 and received a scholarship for the Royal Ballet School. She joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1997 where she spent her whole dancing career, going through the ranks to First Soloist.

She danced many soloist and principal roles including ‘The Sugar Plum Fairy’ and ‘Clara’ in the “Nutcracker”,  ‘Swanhilda’ in “Coppélia”, ‘Aurora’ and ‘Bluebird’ in the ‘Sleeping Beauty’, the ‘Young Girl’ in “Two Pigeons”, ‘Waltz ’ in “Serenade”, and ‘Calliope’ in Balanchine’s ‘Apollo”.

Laëtitia has been teaching ballet for over 20 years. Whilst dancing, she completed an M.A. in Applied Studies in Dance with Birmingham University and taught ballet for Elmhurst Ballet School, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Department of Learning and the Centre for Advanced Training. In 2013, she assisted Ballet Mistress Marion Tait to rehearse Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of “Giselle”.

Laëtitia became a freelance ballet teacher in August 2014 and taught for BRB’s Department of Learning, the Centre for Advanced Training, DanceXchange, and private ballet schools. In 2019, she graduated from the RAD’s Professional Dancers’ Post Graduate Certificate with Distinction. In 2020, she also became a certified teacher for Progression Ballet Technique.

From September 2018, she taught ballet at Elmhurst Ballet School for 3 years, teaching both Upper and Lower School and on their associate program.

Laetitia is now freelance again. She has a program of online classes and teaches regularly for Birmingham Royal Ballet, Denada Dance Company, Kings International Ballet Academy and British Ballet Organisation (BBO).

Who we are: About

Donatien Ravet

Donatien Ravet

Donatien trained at the Mediterranean Academy of Dance in Marseille, with internationally renowned teachers such as Cyril Atanassof, Charles Judes, Elizabeth Platel, Eric Quileré and Attilio Labis; before joining Ballet Méditerranéen three years later. Here he danced roles created specifically for him by the director, including roles in Colomba, Dialogue of the Carmelites, and Portrait of a City amongst others.

He participated in the Prix de Lausanne and from there, began his professional dance career and danced with ballet companies in France including: Ballet National de Nancy, Opéra de Marseille and Opéra de Bordeaux under the direction of Pierre Lacotte, Charles Judes and Eric Vu An. He danced many roles in different ballets including Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, La Bayadère, Diana and Actéon, Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Raymonda and many more and was named Danseur Étoile (Principal Dancer). Donatien also performed roles specifically created for him in both ballet and contemporary works.

In 1994 Donatien was engaged by the Ballet de l’Opera de Marseille and in 1995 he joined the National Ballet of Nancy and Lorraine under the direction of Pierre Lacotte. From 1996 to 1998 he became a soloist of the Ballet du Grands Théatre de Reims, dancing alongside Elisabeth Maurin, prima ballerina of the Paris Opera. From 1998 to 2002 he held the position of soloist at the Grands Theater of Limoges, dancing alongside Xiomara Reyes, Principal soloist of American Ballet Theatre. In 2002 he returned as leading soloist to the Ballet Méditerranéen, and was named Principal Dancer in April 2005 after his performance in La Sylphide at Palais des Congrès in Marseille.

He obtained his Ballet Teaching Diploma in D.E and has been teaching for more than 20 years. He has been invited to teach in many schools around the world – United States, France, Japan, Malta, and the United Kingdom, teaching for different schools including Kings International ballet school and Natalia Kremen Ballet School.

His teaching experience includes:

2003-2004:      Director and teacher at Atelier Choreographic Ballet School

2007-2010:      Directir and teacher at Rond Point de la Danse Ballet School

2010-2012:      Guest teacher for Bouc bel Air Ballet School

2012-Present: Vice President/Teacher/Choreographer with Malta Youth Ballet Foundation

                        Teacher at Brigitte Gauchi Borda Ballet School, Malta

                        Teacher at Mary jane Bellia Ballet School, Malta

2018:               Artistic Director of MCC Theatre Dance Showcase, Valetta

2019-2020:      Ballet teacher and choreographer at Kings International Ballet School

                        Ballet teacher at Derby Associates

                        Ballet teacher at MTB Ballet School

                        Ballet Teacher at Natalia Kremen Ballet School

                        Ballet Teacher at Dexterity Dance School

                        Guest teaching for ballet schools in Japan

Who we are: About
Iain Mackay.jpeg

Iain Mackay

After finishing his training at The Royal Ballet School Iain joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet rising to the rank of Principal Dancer in just 4 years. For 20 years he performed leading roles in all of the company’s repertoire, working with an extensive list of international choreographers. Iain was also a Principal dancer with Angel Corella's company in Spain as well as performing as a guest artist at the invitation of various companies and at ballet galas around the world including National Ballet of Japan, National Ballet of China, Ballet Dortmund, Hamburg Ballet, Dresden Ballet amongst others. 

In 2017 Iain became Director of the Yorkshire Balet Seminars and since December 2021 has been the International Artistic Manager for The Royal Ballet School. 

In recent years Iain has regularly been invited to teach at The Royal Ballet School, Elmhurst Ballet School and English National Ballet School as well as being invited as a panel member at many auditions, assessments and competition evenings. 

Most recently Iain has been invited as a guest coach and teacher at The Birmingham Royal Ballet, Matthew Bournes New Adventures, National Ballet of Japan. 

Iain is passionate about helping students of all ages and abilities be the best that they can be, using his extensive knowledge and personal skills to make that happen. 

Iain was the first Male Dance Ambassador for the Royal Academy Of Dancing, an RAD Trustee and was also a Governor of The Royal Ballet Companies.

Who we are: About

Nat Sweeney

Nat began dancing at Sparkles School of Dance. He competed locally and was getting fantastic results and then successfully auditioned to play Billy Elliot in the West End. On his return from playing Billy, Nat joined Elmhurst Ballet School on a full scholarship. Whilst training at Elmhurst Nat has been a Can You Dance Star, Move it Champion and the face of Move it, he has worked with top West End Choreographers as well as Dane Bates and Insane Dancewear to name a just a few. More recently Nat appeared on The Greatest Dancer as a part of the The Brothers working with Cheryl Cole. Nat is the current World Champion after winning 3 gold solo medals at the prestigious Dance World Cup. Nat is the contemporary teacher to our full time students at Blommaert Ballet School.

nat photo.jpg
Who we are: About

Luke Abnett

Ballet Physio

Luke Abnett, The Ballet Physio, worked at the Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden, London for six years. It was during this time that Luke developed his passion for helping ballet dancers achieve their true physical potential.
In addition to managing student injuries, Luke also drove the development of elite-level healthcare at the Royal Ballet School through:
Injury prevention prehabilitation classes
Co-founding the Royal Ballet Science & Medicine Advisory Group
Overseeing healthcare provision at the upper school
An integrated Physical Conditioning curriculum
Launched the upper school's first start-of-year physical profiling programme
Regular accredited academic classes in injury prevention and anatomy for dancers

Now working exclusively in private practice, Luke truly enjoys the challenge of bringing world-class healthcare to young dancers outside of major institutions. As well as treating injuries, he also enjoys identifying issues that are limiting a dancer’s potential. In fact, Luke often receives reports from teachers praising how quickly their dancers turnout, posture, extensions and allegro have improved after attending a Ballet Physio programme.
Luke’s areas of expertise include ballet injuries, ballet facility enhancement and accelerating physical progress, hypermobility, scoliosis, bone stress rehabilitation, joint impingements.

For more information, please visit

Who we are: About
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