Francesca Filpi, ARAD, FISTD, Royal Ballet 1997 – 2011
Born in Malta, Francesca trained at Stonelands (Devon), the Paris Opera Ballet School and the Royal Ballet Upper School. Throughout her training, she was the winner of several awards including the RAD Phyllis Bedells Bursary, all the Imperial Ballet Awards, including the Stella Mann, Baines Hewitt, and Eileen Reed Choreographic Award. She was also the recipient of the Paul Clarke Bursary, the Margot Fonteyn Award, and the winner of the Grandison Clarke National Awards, the Ruby Ginner Greek Awards, and the Junior and Premier Janet Cram Awards. She was an All England winner in several categories, and also competed in France, where she was honoured with the Danser Journalists’ Cup for best foreigner in Grasse, La Jeune Danseuse Mediterranee and the Chausson d’Or in Paris.
She danced the Pas de Quatre and solo from Swan Lake at her Royal Ballet School graduation performance, joining the Royal Ballet, as the youngest Company dancer, at the age of 16.
During her fifteen year career with The Royal Ballet, Francesca danced numerous soloist roles, including Fairy Godmother (Cinderella), Arabian and Dancing Mistress (Nutcracker), Principal couple (La Valse), Winifred Norbury (Enigma Variations), Prayer (Coppelia) Lead Hungarian (Raymonda), Katia (Month in the Country), Lead Swan and Spanish (Swan Lake), the Nurse (Onegin), Benvolio’s Harlot (Romeo and Juliet), Hermia (The Dream), Red Girl (Les Patineurs), Valerie (Mayerling), Now Nothing (Penguin Café), Nacho Duato’s Por Vos Muero, and Mats Ek’s Carmen.
Francesca has always had a keen interest in young dancers and teaching. Whilst with the Company, she was involved with Royal Opera House outreach events, teaching both in London and during tours to the USA and Hong Kong, and giving class to Royal Ballet School students performing with the Company in Swan Lake and Nutcracker etc.
She is a Fellow of the ISTD, for which she co-founded the Imperial Ballet Scholars programme, and has choreographed examination variations. She is invited to teach at vocational schools and courses worldwide, and to adjudicate many dance events including the All England Finals, RAD Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition, the Imperial Ballet Awards, Ruby Ginner Greek, and Grandison Clarke National Awards, and the Cecchetti International Competition.
Francesca is Founder and Artistic Director of The Wells Ballet Courses, holding prestigious masterclasses at the Royal Opera House, London, and summer schools at Dar Danse, an international dance retreat on the coast of Morocco, where she is joined on the faculty, by her colleagues from The Royal Ballet.
She is Course Director for Dar Danse, where she runs The Wells´annual summer retreat, along with Adult Ballet Retreats and coaching weeks. She has also embarked on a completely different project – co-founding an animal sanctuary; The Four Legged Orphan Sanctuary!
Francesca now has her own private studio near Arundel, where she coaches students (and adults of all ages!) privately.