The Dance Department is currently led by Frédéric Olivieri, former Director of the Teatro alla Scala Corps de Ballet from 2000 to 2007 and from 2017 to 2020.
In the latter period, Olivieri acted in a supervisory role, leaving artistic direction in the hands of Maurizio Vanadia. In December 2020 he returned to his role as director of the Ballet School, which is the heart of the Dance Department.
Founded in 1813 by Francesco Benedetto Ricci as the “Royal Imperial Ballet Academy”, the La Scala Academy Ballet School has enjoyed the outstanding leadership of celebrated dancers and outstanding maestri such as Carlo Blasis, Enrico Cecchetti, Ettorina Mazzucchelli, Esmee Bulnes, Elide Bonagiunta, John Field, Anna Maria Prina, and Frederic Olivieri, just to name a few. It has produced artists of the caliber of Carla Fracci, Liliana Cosi, Luciana Savignano, Oriella Dorella, Roberto Fascilla, Roberto Bolle, Massimo Murru, Gilda Gelati, Mara Galeazzi, Marta Romagna, Gabriele Corrado, Alessio Carbone, Nicoletta Manni, Rebecca Bianchi, Sara Renda, Angelo Greco, Jacopo Tissi, Virna Toppi, and Martina Arduino.
The school had 12 pupils when it was originally established, now there are 198. The eight-year curriculum (ages 11 to 18) allows students to earn a dual diploma in classical ballet and modern/contemporary dance, providing them with experience in a broad repertoire, as is now demanded by major international dance companies. During their studies, students take part in various La Scala productions and also perform in other prestigious venues both in Italy and abroad.
Their terpsichorean training is complemented by a regular school curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education. Since 2017 a novel high school specialized in dance offers a curriculum specially developed for students at the La Scala Academy Ballet School.
The number of sessions and master classes with internationally famous choreographers and dancers has increased in recent years. Students will benefit from the guidance of such luminaries as Kathryn Bennetts, Davide Bombana, Luigi Bonino, John Clifford, Claudia De Smet, Paul Dennis, Vladimir Derevianko, Yvan Dubreuil, Shirley Esseboom, Maina Gielgud, Nanette Glushak, Cynthia Harvey, Akram Khan, Monique Loudieres, Piotr Nardelli, Patricia Neary, Pompea Santoro, Suki Schorer, Victor Ullate, Arlette van Boven, Francesco Ventriglia, Aaron Watkin, and Jelko Yuresha.
An essential part of the curriculum is the opportunity for the students to gain further depth in their rigorous training by interpreting the works of twentieth-century and contemporary choreographers such as George Balanchine (Serenade; Theme and Variations; Who cares?; Tarantella), Maurice Bejart (Gaîté parisienne suite; La luna), Anton Dolin (Variations for Four), Mats Ek (Sleeping Beauty), William Forsythe (The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude; In the middle, Somewhat Elevated), Jiři Kylián (Symphony in D; Evening Songs; Un ballo), Jose Limon (The Unsung), Roland Petit (Gymnopédie), Angelin Preljocaj (Larmes blanches; La Stravaganza), Matteo Levaggi (Largo) and Valentino Zucchetti (Canone Allegro, created for the La Scala Ballet School in 2022).
Associazione Genitori Allievi della Scuola di Ballo, Centromeccanica, Eredi Targetti in memoria di Anna Severini, Fondazione Rocca, Fondazione di Comunità di Milano, Fondazione Alessandra Miotto, Rotary Club Milano Leonardo da Vinci Naviglio Grande, Rotary Club Milano Villoresi, Italmondo, Wunderkammer Orchestra – Associazione ADA Danze Antiche