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For many dancers, you begin at a good local dance school, like Jade Harrison School of Dance, and if things work out, you continue to progress. For some this might mean heading to a college or university to expand on your dance skills, theatre skills or a combination of both. For others this is simply a lifelong love of dance.

If you have real dance passion and the ability to match then for a small number of students, progression might mean attending one of the greatest dance schools in the world – here are a few of them to inspire you.

Paris Opera Ballet School – France

Top of most lists of the greatest dance schools in the world is the Paris Opera Ballet School in the French capital – yet originally, this was not a school for children. Founded back in 1713 by King Louis XIV, the school was for adults and it wasn’t until a few years later that children were first admitted. For the last three centuries, the school has been one of the best in the world.

Vaganova School - St Petersburg – Russia

Russia is famous for its dance schools, particular for ballet, the Vaganova School is no exception and has seen many changes through its long history but remains one of the best. It was established in 1738 as the Imperial Theatrical School with an intake of 12 boys and 12 girls. It received its current identity in 1957, named for Agrippina Vaganova who was influential in the development of contemporary Russian Ballet.

The Royal Ballet School - London – England

The Royal Ballet School is ranked in the top three dance schools in the world. Originally called the Academy of Choreographic Art and was founded by a ballet dancer named Dame Ninette de Valois. Later Lilian Baylis became her partner, she bought the Sadlers’ Wells Theatre and the school became known as the Vic-Wells Ballet Company. Eventually it found its home at the Royal Opera House and changed to its current name in 1946.

Juilliard School of Dance - New York

The Juilliard School of Dance is another world famous education institution that opened in 1905 and quickly created the high standard in artistic education. It opened its dance division in 1951 and is known to accept only the best – and only a few of them at a time.

Sunhwa Arts High School – Seoul - South Korea

Although a relative newcomer to the stage, the Sunhwa Arts High School has quickly gained a reputation for producing the highest quality ballet stars. It was founded in 1974 and uses Russian dancing techniques paired with unique stretching systems with many graduates going on to the Korea Universal Ballet.

University of North Carolina School of Arts - Winston-Salem

Not everyone wants to pursue ballet as their chosen dance career and the University of North Carolina School of Arts offers a wider range of dancing courses. As well as ballet, there is also contemporary dance courses and the university has a track record of producing the highest standards in dancers such as Susan Jaffe, the current Dean of Dance.

New York University - New York

The Tisch School of the Arts in New York University offers a very modern approach to dance education, learning students about how to move to the beat of the music, how the body moves and even the production crew side of the art. It also has campuses across Asia in addition to the US site.