What it’s like to study at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts: the Academy of Dance

“The environment here is fantastic, and the small class sizes allow us to receive really good supervision,” says Geir Baldersheim Leirvåg after having completed a Bachelor’s degree at the Academy of Dance. “It’s always been my dream to go to this school, always been my dream to become a dancer. The school lived up to my expectations. And now I’m ready to work as a dancer!”

Geir Baldersheim Leirvåg (22), Bachelor’s degree from the Academy of Dance

“The three years I’ve studied at the Academy of Dance have been wonderful,” Geir Baldersheim Leirvåg says. “I was incredibly lucky with my class, because we’ve created a real camaraderie. We’re good friends and we’ll remain in touch in the future. I mean, look at us! We’ve all gathered here together in the lunch room, the day after we graduated. We don’t want to leave this place!”

The young man from Haugesund in Southwestern Norway has worked the entire summer and trained with a dance company in his home town. This autumn he will be returning to the Oslo National Academy of the Arts to attend its one-year teacher training programme (PPU).

“There are some absolutely marvellous teachers here,” he enthuses. “They supervise you closely and are very caring when they work on how to improve you. You understand all the while that they want what’s best for you, and they want to make you a better dancer. The first week of classes may fool you, because there aren’t that many classes. But things get serious pretty quickly, with three to four classes a day.” 

“These three years have passed by so quickly!” he adds. “I’ve worked hard and learned quite a lot during my time here, using the Academy’s terrific facilities. And we’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into our productions!”

There is the odd pitfall or two that first-year students might want to avoid, he cautions. “I think the first thing you should do when you get in here is not to stress too much about trying to prove that you’re good enough. I mean, there’s a reason you got in! Try instead to focus on making as much progress as possible, work on preventing injuries and don’t waste the physio’s time with each little injury you suffer. Because you will suffer injuries.”

Baldersheim Leirvåg himself seriously injured one of his muscles that stretch across his shoulder blade, and his arm was put out of action. In the following semester he had to work patiently and doggedly to recover, ably assisted by the physiotherapists and doctors at Nimi (the Norwegian Institute of Sports Medicine).

“The environment here is fantastic, and the small class sizes allow us to receive really good supervision. It’s always been my dream to go to this school, always been my dream to become a dancer. The school lived up to my expectations. And now I’m ready to work as a dancer!”

PHOTO: Geir Baldersheim Leirvåg in a dance pose outside the lunch room at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts.