Ravi’s a royal standout
Ravi Cannonier-Watson returns to Britain in September as head boy of the Royal Ballet School.
The 15-year-old is in his fourth year of study at the prestigious dance academy in London.
Ravi's hope is it will lead him to his ultimate dream of becoming a member of The Royal Ballet.
For that to happen however, he has to maintain the standard that got him accepted into what is recognised as “one of the world's greatest centres of classical ballet training”.
“It was very daunting at first because in Bermuda when I did ballet I was one of the only boys in my school doing ballet who actually had a love for ballet,” Ravi said. “But when I went over to England I had 12 other boys who had the exact same passion, that same drive to do what they loved — and that was dance.”
A “massive eye-opener” that he found “really cool”, it also underscored how much work he would have to put in.
Asked if he initially had any doubts about the decision to leave the island, at age 11, to study in Britain, he said: “Definitely. I was a bit homesick. I didn't really want to leave Bermuda and my family and friends.
“But once I got past all the homesickness and missing home, I got my head screwed on.
“I realised what I wanted to do and I realised why I was there. I was there to pursue my passion in dance and become the best I could be, in that field.”
His willingness to tackle situations outside his comfort zone is how he ended up becoming head boy.
The Bermudian was one of three of the 13 male students in his class, to put his name forward for the post.
“We had to write an application letter saying why we think we are good for the role of head boy or why we think we would fit in the role,” said Ravi, who is preparing to enter his final year at the Royal Ballet's junior boarding school.
“Out of the three, I was picked and I'm very grateful that the school has chosen me, but I do know that with [being] head boy comes a lot of challenges. It's quite a step up, especially heading into my final year at school, my graduation year.
“It's gonna be kind of extra pressure on me to act as a role model as well as dealing with my GCSEs and the last year of dance before I go into, hopefully, upper school, but if not, another school which will then lead in to a company.
“So next year's going to be very pressurised and stressful, but I feel like I am ready to take on the challenge.”
Asked why he thought he was the one selected, Ravi said it was perhaps because he “stands out in a crowd”, both in stature and personality.
“I'm quite tall. But I also I feel I'm a good leader. I feel like I can listen to others and speak to others about anything.
“I feel like I can really just connect with everyone that I come face to face with. And I think that's what they've seen in me.
“As head boy you have to act as a bridge between the head teachers and the students to get messages or ideas across. You kind of have to be the vocal point in between ... to create this communication between the two groups.”
He believes he is the first Bermudian boy to attend the Royal Ballet School and hopes to achieve a similar feat in 2024.
“I've always wanted to go to The Royal Ballet company in London; ever since I joined [the school] in Year 7, I've always had my eyes on it.
“If that doesn't work out I would love to go to Holland at the Dutch National Ballet or New York to the New York City Ballet — any high-ranking company — but really The Royal Ballet is my main goal in life.”
As it stands, he feels he has as much of a chance as anyone else in his class of seeing his dream come true.
“I would say in my year we all feel we are equal to one another. We try our best to hide our competitive side, but I feel we are all equal.
“I respect all my peers and I respect all the dancers in the school — I know that people are all different.
“There are taller people, smaller people, people who have maybe longer limbs and so on.
“I just keep in mind that everyone's different and if you compare to someone, they're following their own path; you just need to stick to your own path.”
• Learn more about the Royal Ballet School at www.royalballetschool.org.uk