Royal Academy of Dance Awards Day: an International Celebration for Student Graduation
The annual Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Awards ceremony took place on Wednesday 11 July at St Mary’s Church, Battersea on the banks of the river Thames.
The graduation was an international celebration with over 179 students and guests travelling from 32 countries to collect their certificates, from as far and wide as Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Mexico and USA. The students, who were graduating from one of the seven Faculty of Education dance teacher training programmes, will now go on to start their professional careers as dance teachers all over the world.
RAD Chief Executive, Luke Rittner, began the proceedings by introducing the award categories, which were presented by Director of Education, Dr Anne Hogan and Chairman, Kerry Rubie.
The guest speaker was Julia Farron, OBE, Fellow of the RAD. An iconic dancer and teacher, Julia is the youngest student to have gained a scholarship to the Vic Wells Ballet School under Dame Ninette de Valois and went on to enjoy a 25 year career with The Royal Ballet, during which time she created roles in ballets by Frederick Ashton, Ninette de Valois, John Cranko and Kenneth McMillan. The distinguished artist and teacher, celebrates her 90th birthday this year and offered some inspirational words of wisdom and invaluable advice to the newly qualified dance teachers:
‘How different are things now [since she was teaching] – you have so many courses for both teachers and dancers. I do hope that you will have as much enjoyment as I had as both dancer and teacher: Let me give you a little advice, given to me by Dame Ninette De Valois, who said, “As you finish a class, leave them laughing!” She did it, I tried it, and it worked!’
The event was also attended by a host of VIP’s including the Mayor of Wandsworth, Wayne Sleep OBE, Vice President of Royal Academy of Dance and Sean Williams, Director of Council for Dance Education and Training.
The President’s Award was presented to Miss Kathleen Burdon, Mrs Harriett Croft and Mrs Irene Hand, for their dedication to the service of the Royal Academy of Dance over and above the call of duty. With a unanimous vote from the board of trustees, The Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Dance was awarded to Professor Joan White CBE (posthumous), former Director of Education of the RAD, for outstanding and exceptional service to dance in general and to the Academy in particular.
Following the ceremony, afternoon tea was enjoyed in the courtyard at RAD headquarters, accompanied by music by the Java Saxophone Quartet from the Royal College of Music.