Royal Academy of Dance portrait competition

This competition is now closed.

The Royal Academy of Dance invites entries from artists from across the UK for our portrait competition, launched to celebrate the opening of our brand-new global headquarters in Spring 2022.

Entrants are asked to submit a portrait proposal of founding RAD President and ballet pioneer Dame Adeline Genée. Sponsored by historic dance shoemakers Freed of London, the winner will be announced in January 2022 and will then receive a commissioning fee of £4,000, with an additional £1,000 for material costs, to create the final painting  – which will hang prominently in the new building when launched next year.

Dame Adeline was, in her day, an extremely famous dancer and a royal favourite but she was also a force to be reckoned with, a strong personality with drive and focus. The RAD already owns two portraits of Genée (one by Wilhelm Funk from 1904 and another by Ahlefeldt Laurvig, 1932), however, the idea behind the competition is for her to be seen through a modern lens, hopefully, to portray something new. She was not only the RAD’s founder and first President, she was a pioneer who shaped modern British ballet as we know and love it. The competition will ensure that she is seen and admired by staff, teachers and dancers alike as part of their working day.

About Dame Adeline Genée

Find out more and be inspired by Dame Adeline Genée's life story.
Read more

Meet the judges

Find out more about the judging panel.
Find out more

How to submit

  • To enter, artists are invited to submit a closeup of the face, any sketches of the full portrait and a description of how the portrait in full will be approached. Please upload a photograph of any preparatory sketches via the online submission form. Images must be in JPEG format and no larger than 5MB.
  • A winner will be selected anonymously by our panel of judges, with the winning entrant commissioned to create their final artwork in January 2022, to be unveiled at a later date in Spring 2022.
  • Artists can enter between now and 17:00 GMT on Friday 14 January 2022. The competition is free to enter and open to artists aged 16 and over.


  • Any artist over 16 may submit.
  • All artists must be based in the UK only.
  • Artwork proposals submitted must be comprised of a traditional portrait format. Acceptable proposal media includes oil, acrylic and watercolour.
  • Maximum of six artwork proposals submitted per applicant.
  • All works must take inspiration from Dame Adeline Genée to be considered for the competition.

Important dates

  • Submissions open: 8 December 2021, 10:00 GMT
  • Submissions close: 14 January 2022, 17:00 GMT
  • Winner notified: early February 2022
  • Winning artist commissioned to create artwork: early February 2022
  • Finished artwork unveiled in brand new RAD Headquarters: Spring 2022

Read the full terms & conditions.

Dance Makes Me Feel: RAD Primary Schools Art Competition

The portrait competition coincides with the launch of a dance-inspired art competition for primary schools from Battersea and across the Wandsworth Borough.
Find out more