12 October 2020 15:38

Royal Academy of Dance takes centre stage as government announces grants for the arts

The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden visited the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) today to announce a grant of £606,366 from the Culture Recovery Fund. This significant grant will go towards the Academy’s lost income because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Culture Secretary Olivier Dowden with RAD President Dame Darcey Bussell and RAD CEO Luke Rittner. Photo by David Tett.

During the tour of the RAD’s current headquarters in Battersea, The Culture Secretary also had the opportunity to visit its library and to view plans for its new global headquarters, which will open in summer 2021. The RAD is home to one of the largest dance archives in Europe and is preparing to mark its 100th birthday on 31st December 2020.

There was also the opportunity to observe RAD’s BA in Ballet Education and PGCE in Dance Teaching classes in action. A recent Ofsted inspection found the RAD to be an ‘outstanding’ provider of initial teacher education, and the Faculty of Education has been quick to adapt in the face of the pandemic. 

Due to Covid-19 measures, the RAD is now offering all of its higher education programmes via a new hybrid model of delivery, a mix of in-person and digital learning allowing distinct bubbles of students to access their lessons in the studio and at home simultaneously. Students from these programmes once qualified will go on to inspire and empower the next generation of dancers and dance teachers all over the world.

Luke Rittner CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Dance said:

"We have been teaching the world to dance for 100 years and during that period we have faced many challenges, but none as daunting nor far-reaching as this pandemic which has threatened our ability to remain self-sufficient. We are therefore incredibly grateful for this government grant. It will go some way to replacing the significant loss of income that the Academy has sustained due to Covid-19 and enable us to continue to deliver the high-quality dance education and training that we are renowned for.

Now more than ever, arts organisations at the grassroots, like the RAD, have an important role to play in rebuilding our communities. Our next 100 years depends on the success of raising significant funds as we get set to open our new global headquarters in 2021. This grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund is an endorsement of our empowering work and gives strength to our future fundraising."

Dame Darcey Bussell, President of the Royal Academy of Dance said:

RAD Students with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and RAD President Dame Darcey Bussell. Photo by David Tett.

“We sincerely welcome the support from DCMS and are very grateful to receive this significant grant from the Culture Recovery Fund. It was my pleasure to welcome the Culture Secretary to the RAD today, in this our Centenary year, and introduce him to our students who will go on to join our network of RAD teachers, who empower young people in the UK and worldwide with our leading ballet training. We cannot overestimate the value of arts and culture in our lives, and its ability to build community, resilience and bring joy.”

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport commented:

“This morning I saw first-hand how The Royal Academy of Dance is touching the lives of thousands of aspiring dancers of all ages. Their new coronavirus-era strapline is: It’s time to renew, review and rebuild. It’s receiving £606,000 in its 100th year to allow it to continue its education programmes, nurturing the next generation of internationally renowned dancers but also allowing Londoners to enjoy and understand the joy of dance, for example through its Silver Swans programme for older people”

The RAD has started a phased reopening to its headquarters in London, with robust Covid-secure measures in place to create a safe learning environment. Throughout lockdown, the Academy sought to keep everyone inspired and active through RAD@Home, including regular live-streamed Silver Swans classes for over 55s, dance exercises for students of all ages as well as webinars, resources and insightful content.