Boys take centre stage in Royal Academy of Dance’s drive to attract more male dancers
The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) this month announced the launch of Project B – a range of initiatives to widen access to dance for boys and encourage more to take up ballet. In celebration of its upcoming centenary in 2020, the RAD aims to bring dance to more people in more places and will be initially investing over £30,000 to further support male dance provision over the next three years. This will be ahead of further fundraising.
Project B launches with a focus on four key strands:
Following a successful collaboration as part of The Patron’s Lunch last year, the RAD is again partnering with fellow Patron’s Organisation Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to launch a six week pilot scheme in primary schools. The project aims to promote the strong connection between dance and sport, and challenge traditional stereotypes of both cricketers and dancers.
In a bid to inspire a boys ballet boom, RAD Male Dance Ambassador, Iain Mackay, has created choreography that will challenge stereotypes surrounding male dance, and ballet in particular, and celebrate boys who dare to dance. The choreography, which is simple, fun and suitable for all ages and abilities, will be free to download via the smartphone app Seenit. From 18 June (Father’s Day) users will be encouraged to use video to document their dance journey.
To date, the RAD has seen an increase of over 20% in the numbers taking part in its boys’ ballet activities in the UK in the last year. However, only 1.8 per cent of all global RAD exam candidates are male – the proportion rises to around 4-6 per cent at the higher vocational graded levels. By investing over £30,000 over three years, the RAD will further its commitment to male dance. It will reach boys at a grass roots level by providing more Boys Only! workshops and Boys Ballet Masterclasses throughout the UK, as well as providing additional bursaries and financial support.
As part of their investment plans, the RAD will provide financial support to male students enrolling on RAD teacher training programmes in a drive to recruit more male dance teachers and increase the number of positive male role models. New CPD courses will be provided free of charge to RAD Registered Teachers to support them in engaging more male students in their dance schools nationwide.