On Sunday 8th of May, the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) opened its doors to the public for a housewarming event to celebrate the opening of their brand-new location.
The Royal Academy of Dance, which has its headquarters in Battersea, Southwest London, was founded in 1920 and has been teaching the world how to dance for over 100 years. It was granted a Royal Charter in 1935. In 1953 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became the Patron of the Royal Academy of Dance. Ever since, they have established offices in 36 countries around the world making it one of the world’s leading and most influential dance education organizations globally. They teach children from as young as three years of age up to the Master and Postgraduate Diploma.
The philosophy at the RAD is that “everyone” and “everybody” should be able to dance and given the opportunity to do so. According to the HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, Vice Patron of the RAD, who was present at the official opening of the new studios in April 2022, “the RAD is such a happy place. I think dancing makes you happy.” How very right she is.
I feel privileged that I was able to report about this first-hand on Sunday. You could feel the high standard and professionality of this school from the first moment you step through their doors and are greeted by a welcoming and friendly staff member.
Gerard Charles, who is RAD’s Artistic Director since 2018, opened the doors to the community and made everyone feel welcome and at ease. His charismatic and energetic presence on stage brought an excellent taste of what the Royal Academy of Dance has to offer. It was an incredibly successful opening to the public and with performances by some of his outstanding dance students.
The day was filled with pure excitement all around, from refreshments, auditions, free workshops, dance inspired arts and crafts, scavenger hunt, and face paintings to live music.
The Academy was able to present itself in all its grandeur, inspiring all visitors of different ages, and bringing the beauty of dance closer to everyone. I could see the sparkly eyes of very young children when watching the performances or attending their age-designed workshops. They were carried away and kept their focus and admiration when watching those representing the Royal Academy performing on stage. I could notice how some turned to their parents, asking to be enrolled into their weekly classes. Dreams were just made right there.
One of my personal highlights was an incredibly inspiring drumming workshop. They were able to bring and connect closely with West African culture and carried away so many spectators present in the main hall.
There were some stunning ballet solo performances from RAD A-Level students, such as contemporary dance, street dance, hip hop routines, and a performance by students from the local Thomas’s Battersea School, just to name a few. The RAD offered free workshops throughout the day to the visitors, in order to bring the community closer to some of their courses they offer. Children and students attending the RAD are truly lucky to be able to be taught dance from this leading world school.
Before leaving the packed hall, I had to smile when I noticed the name of my seat “Audience dreamers to dancing dreamers.” It could not have been truer…
This day might have been the foundation for a newly inspired generation who dares to dream through art. We all need to create and see the word through more beauty, more passion, more hope…
A video of the event can be watched here.