History

From 1970 to Now!

Urdang HistoryWhen Leonie Urdang started her school of dance in 1970 her vision was to break through the glass ceiling in the dance world, which at that time, only accepted a particular type of person, with a certain look. Miss Urdang looked beyond the surface and saw the individual: this laid the basis for the founding ethos of her school.

The only thing that has changed since then is that the theatre world has caught up with that vision. Increasingly shows are about characters and personalities – dancers that can sing or singer-actors that can dance  – and the performers in demand are those whose personality (combined with talent) shine out.

Urdang Academy, with Miss Urdang’s daughter Solange at the helm since 2001, has stayed true to the founding vision. It is now recognised as one of the UK’s finest performing arts colleges with an international reputation. Over 95% of recent graduates are working in the industry, many in lead West End roles.

We spot potential performers and give them a training and environment that develops and refines their technique and performance skills.

Solange Urdang, MD

Urdang is accredited by the Council for Dance Education and Training (UK) and was awarded ‘Outstanding, Grade 1’ by Ofsted in their latest report.

Move to The Old Finsbury Town Hall

In January 2007 Urdang moved into a beautiful landmark building, The Old Finsbury Town Hall, just down the road from Sadlers Wells.

Urdang spent two years restoring this beautiful landmark to its former glory, ensuring it met the needs of students and their training and allowing full disabled access. Its rich Victorian heritage, provides an inspiring backdrop for students to train, right in the heart of London and a ‘stone’s throw’ from the West End.

Spacious studios and well-equipped facilities make it the venue of choice for a wealth of production companies who regularly use it to hold professional castings and rehearsals.

New contemporary building Urdang2

Urdang’s latest development is the addition of the new contemporary building, known as Urdang 2, which opened its doors in 2014. The premises provides state-of-the-art training facilities in an innovative and contemporary environment, reflecting the modern side of Urdang.

The building has been specifically designed to create inspiring and stimulating spaces for Urdang’s students to express themselves. Located in Islington, and less than a ten minute’s walk away from the Old Finsbury Town Hall, Urdang 2 has an urban and current feel.

The new location aims to represent the whole ethos of the academy and will help us to express both sides of the Urdang personality. This building is designed to represent our up-to-date and fresh position whilst we will still embrace our established traditional London credentials demonstrated in our history and our Old Finsbury Town Hall location.

Solange Urdang, MD

Visitor book

Seeing the industry in action provides constant inspiration and an invaluable insight to our students.

Urdang has hosted  ‘We Will Rock You’,  ‘Hairspray’,  ‘Thriller’,  ‘Priscilla’,  ‘The Lion King’,  ‘Dirty Dancing’,  ‘Billy Elliot’,  ‘Matthew Bourne’,  ‘Sister Act’,  ‘Les Miserables’,  ‘Wicked’,  ‘Oklahoma’, ‘Phantom of the Opera’, ‘ENO’  ‘Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance’,  ‘X Factor’,  ‘Flawless’, ‘Universal Studios’, ‘Disney’ and ITV’s South Bank Show. This is in addition to fashion shoots, TV productions and music videos, industry meetings and community events.

Notable performers who have used Urdang studios for casting, rehearsals, video shoots and master classes include, Jason Derulo, Florence Welch (of Florence and Machine), Ellie Goulding and Kylie.