Ballet: The Next Step – Launch of the Grades 1-3 Syllabi

ballet grades at RAD

Ballet: The Next Step – Launch of the Grades 1-3 Syllabi

ballet grades at RAD
Grades 1-3 Photograph Elliott Franks

The new Grades 1-3 Syllabi were launched by the Royal Academy of Dance on 3 January 2012 in front of over 500 delegates at the Mermaid Conference & Events Centre in London.

Royal Academy of Dance Chief Executive Luke Rittner opened the proceedings with a welcome note giving an overview of the past year, update on Academy matters and a look ahead to what 2012 has to bring for the Academy.

Guest speaker Dame Monica Mason DBE, Director of The Royal Ballet, spoke about the importance of valuing teachers: ‘”dance teachers play a hugely important role by inspiring, energising and guiding the young people that they teach.”She also stressed the importance of teachers encouraging young dancers to appreciate music and also to enable them to see live theatre performances of dance.

Artistic Panel Members, Lynn Wallis and Jonathan Still introduced the main event of the day: the unveiling of the new syllabi in a theatrical setting.

RAD Artistic Director Lynn Wallis highlighted the importance of the syllabi as being relevant to the child of today, by promoting ‘feeling before form’ and ‘learning environments that are open, dynamic and compelling.’

RAD Music Development Manager Jonathan Still spoke of the inspiration behind the music which complements the syllabi, and the reason behind the decision to record the score using a full orchestra: “For a lot of the music, a small ensemble would be fine. But what about the really big stuff for grand allegro? Now we had an orchestra, we could really fly!”

18 students from schools across the UK then put words into action by taking to the stage to demonstrate a range of exercises from the syllabi, across the three grades. Paula Hunt, Chair of the Panel of Examiners talked the students through the demonstrations, explaining the creativity and musicality underpinning the choreography and key assessment features for each exercise.

The programme was brought to a close with a live coaching session led by Royal Ballet Principal Dancer, Steven McRae, teaching Lachlan Monaghan, graduate year student at The Royal Ballet School who appeared by kind permission of Gailene Stock AM. Steven coached Lachlan on the Princes Variation from The Nutcracker, the same solo that he himself had been dancing at the Royal Opera House just hours before.

Ballet notes

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is an international dance teacher education and training organisation with approximately 13,000 members in 79 countries. The Academy promotes the knowledge, practice and understanding of dance internationally through the education and training of teachers. The Academy is also the largest international ballet examinations board. The RAD is a Registered Charity in England and Wales No. 312826.

The Grade 1-3 examinations constitute Level 1 of the RAD’s Graded syllabus provision in the performance of ballet. They are the first three in a suite of eight grades from Grade 1 to Grade 8. An entry pathway to Grade 1 is provided by the RAD’s Primary in Dance syllabus.

Grades 1-3 are offered as an Examination, Class Award and a Solo Performance Award. Only the Examinations are included on the Register of Regulated Qualifications.

The next RAD syllabi to be launched are: Advanced Foundation Male & Female and Advanced 1&2 Female, in September 2013 and Grades 4 & 5 in January 2014.