The Royal Academy of Dance Ballet method is a world-wide codified ballet syllabus and training program that has been around for many years. While it's popularity first started in the United Kingdom, many studios in the US and beyond also use the syllabus with the varying levels of their ballet students. Though some may be unfamiliar with the method, R.A.D.'s popularity has been steadily increasing in recent years. This week Angela D'Valda Sirco, former Chairman of the R.A.D. Committee Board sheds some light on this highly-regarded and successful program and the benefits to introducing it into the private studio sector.
1. Angela, can you provide a little background about your involvement with the Royal Academy of Dance Method?
I first started training with the RAD method when I was 3 years old in England and my teacher was Dorothy Watkins, I continued my studies in Hong Kong with Carol Bateman and then went to Arts Educational Trust at Tring in England until I completed high school. From there I went to Arts Educational in London. I completed examinations up to Intermediate Level. When I became a studio owner I completed course to get my teacher certification and have been teaching the Royal Academy of Dance syllabi ever since.
2. Can you explain a little about what the Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.) Ballet method is?
The Royal Academy of Dance has been in existence for over 80 years and has an extremely comprehensive syllabi for students from 3 years old to professional. The method has to be taught by trained and registered teachers which ensures that the standards set by the Academy remain high. The majority of the syllabus for each level has recently been totally revamped and provides great ballet training for today's students along with music that they can enjoy and relate too, It includes both classical and character work and enables you as a teacher to be able to help all of your Ballet students to progress whether they are beginner one a week students or ones that want to make dance a career. It is a safe method which is so important for the demands that are required for today's dancers. from various countries.The syllabus includes both classical and character work.
3. What does the R.A.D technique curriculum/syllabus entail?
You need to be a registered teacher to teach the RAD Syllabi. It is a graded syllabi and consists of age appropriate levels from beginner pre-school to professional. It is a comprehensive body of work that not only puts the emphasis on excellent technique but also helps to develop artistry in all dance students.
4. How is R.A.D different from other ballet training methods?
I think that the RAD work is different to other systems in that it permits the average student to develop a love and knowledge of ballet but can also prepare an outstanding student to excel in the professional world. As most studios have many average students and few outstanding ones this system is invaluable to any classical ballet teacher who works with varying levels of talent.
5. How are the levels broken down?
The levels are broken down into graded levels from Pre-Primary to Grade Seven and then the Major levels from Elementary to Solo Seal which are for serious Ballet students.
6. What are the exams associated with R.A.D.?
Examinations are held in every country where there are registered RAD teachers. The examinations are sometimes held in a location where different teachers can take their students to be examined or at the studio itself if the teacher has enough entries. The benefit of the exams is that it demonstrates that the student knows the syllabus and can perform it well and it also demonstrates that the teacher is upholding the standards for teaching Ballet that the RAD has set. The syllabi has been carefully developed to provide safe and healthy training for the students and the teachers who teach it know that if it is taught correctly the students will not only have sound technique but also a lesser risk of injury. There are different levels of proficiency established with the exam results ranging from a Pass to Honors. It is also extremely helpful for the parents of the students to see that their child is advancing with not only their knowledge of technique but also their level of performance. It builds confidence and self esteem in the students something that is so important in the development of young people.
7. What are the benefits of teaching a codified technique such as R.A.D. within the studio sector?
The benefits of teaching with any syllabus are huge because it gives any dance teacher a sound system that is in place to use in their classes. The RAD system has been tested over decades and has produced many excellent dancers who have gone on to work professionally but it has also enabled dancers who were not suited to dancing professionally a wonderful, thorough way to learn Ballet. This can only benefit any dance studio because the reality is that unless you are associated with a Ballet Company or you are one of the few schools who only accept the best dancers available, you will definitely have all types of children wanting to learn how to dance and every dance studio needs the dancers who are average in order to stay in business. It is possible to make those students look fantastic if you are able to give a complete ballet training to them where they are challenged to keep moving up the ladder in a fun and nurturing way.. If you are a studio owner and you have young teachers it is a great investment to help them to become registered teachers with a system that is recognized worldwide. If you are a teacher who is independent it can be extremely beneficial to you because once a teacher is a registered RAD teacher there are job opportunities that can open up to them in over 70 countries in the world where the RAD system is taught. It is a win win situation for all!
8. How do ballet teachers interested in teaching R.A.D. become certified and/or continue their professional development in the USA and abroad?
Any teacher interested in learning the Royal Academy of Dance system and becoming a registered teacher should contact the RAD at www.rad.org.uk or if they are in the States contact Patti Ashby at www.radusa.org and they will be able to give them all the details as to how they can become a registered teacher. The Royal Academy of Dance also will be exhibiting and presenting master classes at Dance Teacher Web Live to be held at the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut this coming August 3-6 2015.