Urdang Academy

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The Urdang Academy
Rosebery Avenue


Coordinates51°31′37″N 0°06′29″W / 51.527°N 0.1081°W / 51.527; -0.1081Coordinates: 51°31′37″N 0°06′29″W / 51.527°N 0.1081°W / 51.527; -0.1081
TypeIndependent further and
higher education college
Established1970; 51 years ago (1970)
FounderLeonie Urdang
Local authorityLondon Borough of Islington
SpecialistPerforming arts
Department for Education URN50029 Tables
DirectorSolange Urdang

The Urdang Academy, commonly known as Urdang, is an independent performing arts academy based in Islington, London. Founded as a ballet school by Leonie Urdang in 1970 and has been under the direction of CEO Solange Urdang since 2001, the academy now provides specialist vocational training in dance and musical theatre at Sixth Form, further and higher education level.

The academy is accredited by the Council for Dance Education and Training and offers Qualifications and Curriculum Authority-recognised qualifications validated by University of Birmingham, Anglia Ruskin University and Trinity College, London. It was rated "Outstanding" by Ofsted in 2011[1] and again in 2015[2] as well as being named one of the best places to study degree level musical theatre by The Stage in 2015.[3] The academy was also shortlisted for School of the Year in The Stage 2017 Awards.[4]


The old Finsbury Town Hall has been the academy's home since 2007

Urdang Academy was originally based in a church hall in Golders Green until 1978, when it moved to studios in Covent Garden. The old Finsbury Town Hall in Clerkenwell, Islington, has been the home of the Urdang Academy since January 2007, when the school relocated from its Covent Garden premises.[5]

The newest development is the addition of the new contemporary building Urdang 2, which opened in September 2014. Located in Angel, Islington.[citation needed]


Urdang started life as a ballet school in 1970,[6] founded by Leonie Urdang, who was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1939 and trained at the University of Cape Town with a particular focus on choreography.[7] She immigrated to the UK in 1961.[7]

Urdang rented space in two church halls to teach ballet students.[7] She later relocated to an old warehouse school in Covent Garden, which was then converted into the Urdang Academy.

After Leonie Urdang's death in 2001, her daughter Solange has overseen the Academy. It is recognised as one of the UK's finest performing arts colleges, rated Outstanding by Ofsted and accredited by the Council for Dance Education and Training (UK).[8] In 2015, The Stage named Urdang one of the best places to study degree level musical theatre.[3]


Full-time courses[edit]

Urdang Academy offers degree and diploma courses in dance and musical theatre, which both lead to Qualifications and Curriculum Authority-recognised qualifications. The degree is validated by the University of East London (Anglia Ruskin University for students starting in 2016 onwards) while the diploma is validated by Trinity College, London. The academy also offers a one-year foundation course.

  • BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre
  • Level 6 Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre or Professional Dance
    • Track A: An equal emphasis in all Musical Theatre Genres
    • Track C: A greater emphasis on acting and singing
    • Track D: A greater emphasis on dance to produce versatility
  • Foundation Course in Dance and Musical Theatre[citation needed]
  • ATT Course in Dance and Musical Theatre[citation needed]

Part-time courses[edit]

Urdang runs Urdang Accelerate for students aged 10–21. It runs twice a month and provides students with an opportunity to train at Urdang on a part-time basis, they can choose whether to attend once or twice a month.

The academy also offers pre-audition courses for prospective students aged 14–21 years, who are interested in auditioning for professional vocational colleges. It is an intensive five-day course which culminates in a mock audition, where students are prepared in audition technique with solo songs and acting monologues alongside classes in ballet and jazz.[citation needed]


Urdang Academy is an Accredited School of the Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT) and is an Approved Dance Centre by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD). Its Diploma course is validated by Trinity College, London[9] and its Degree course by the University of Birmingham.


Entry to the academy is by audition only. Applicants are expected to attend an audition where they will be assessed in a jazz class, an acting workshop, a ballet class, a solo song presentation, a physical assessment and an interview. Students from the age of 16 may apply for the diploma and foundation courses, but the BA (Hons) degree course requires 80 UCAS points on entry from A-levels, BTECs or other equivalent qualifications, which are usually completed at age 18.

Urdang Academy is part of the UK Government's Dance and Drama Award scheme, which awards funding to most deserving students.[10]


In their third year, students perform in three full scale shows: a dance production, a musical presentation and a graduate revue showcase. First and second year students also take part in an end-of-year show and some smaller in-house productions during their training. Urdang have previously used the Bloomsbury Theatre, the Shaw Theatre, the Hackney Empire and the Pleasance Theatre for performances.[citation needed]

Link Talent[edit]

Third year students of the academy are represented by the in-house agency, Link Talent, which helps students gain placements on shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor and auditions for West End shows. Students can be represented by Link Talent for up to six months after graduation allowing students the best opportunity in transition from student to professional.[11]


Notable alumni[edit]

Graduates from Urdang regularly perform in musicals in the West End and on UK tours as well as dancing on shows such as The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. Some have also choreographed and danced for pop artists including Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, Little Mix and Take That. Other graduates go on to work as part of cruise ship entertainment.[12]

Notable alumni include:[13]


  1. ^ "Home Page - One Dance UK". One Dance UK. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  2. ^ http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/files/2520809/urn/50029.pdf[bare URL]
  3. ^ a b "Dear West End Producer: Where is the best place to study degree level musical theatre? - Advice - The Stage". 24 April 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  4. ^ "Shortlist revealed for The Stage Awards 2017 - News - The Stage". 22 December 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-12-19. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  5. ^ enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk, Ofsted Communications Team. (1 January 2018). "Find an inspection report and registered childcare". reports.ofsted.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  6. ^ BWW News Desk. "Andrew Lippa Brings Broadway to Urdang Academy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-05. Retrieved 2014-09-14.
  7. ^ a b c "{title}". Archived from the original on 2014-09-03. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  8. ^ "{title}". Archived from the original on 2016-09-24. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  9. ^ "Trinity College London - Level 6 Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre". www.trinitycollege.com. Archived from the original on 2017-12-04. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  10. ^ "Dance and Drama Awards: funding for students". Archived from the original on 2014-09-14. Retrieved 2014-09-14.
  11. ^ "HOME". www.linktalent.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2018-09-05. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  12. ^ "Student Success - Urdang Academy".
  13. ^ "{title}". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2018-10-25.

External links[edit]