Clare Wilders

Graduate – Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma

Three years ago, I embarked on the RAD’s Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma. As a former professional dancer, I had taken a detour and had spent the previous eight years working as a diving instructor in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.

I chose the PDTD as it acknowledged the experience that I had gained in the course of my own career. I was also able to complete the entire programme over an intensive three months at the RAD in Battersea. So, feeling slightly apprehensive, I bid a temporary farewell to my husband, and the cat, and hopped on a plane.

Over the next three months I found myself under some fabulous RAD tutors guiding me through the syllabus, as well as learning about modern day teaching approaches. I was also given career advice on the different avenues available to me, such as teaching in primary and secondary schools, working with older adults, and bringing dance into the wider community.

Shortly after graduating, we returned to the UK, where I was invited to join The Right Step Dance Company. There I further developed my teaching skills to include their Active Armchairs programme (seated classes for older adults in care homes) and their Cross Curricular dance programme (bringing dance into the classroom to enhance learning). A month later, I was also offered a ballet teaching position at the Hasland Dance Studios in Herne Bay. There I have taught the RAD syllabus at Primary level all the way up to Advanced Foundation and have had the opportunity to really put into practise so much of what I learned on the PDTD programme.

I recently teamed up with a fellow dance teacher to set up the Bridge Academy of Performing Arts in Rochester, bringing RAD classes to local children. I continue to teach across the genres, bridging both community dance and private dance schools. Each venture brings its own rewards, and every day brings a new challenge.