North Shields Dance School Facebook IconNorth Shields Dance School Twitter Icon

dance teacher wallsend An Overview of the Royal Academy of Dance blog image

As a dance school we are very proud to be affiliated with, and teach the syllabus of, the most respected and well-known ballet education organisation anywhere.

The Royal Academy of Dance or the RAD is one of the most important dance education organisations in the world. They have a series of exams that are seen as setting standards for classic ballet around the world and are one of the most important organisations for anyone interest in dance. But what are their exams and how do children prepare for them?

More About the Royal Academy

The RAD was founded in 1920 with the aim of setting standards for teaching dance around the UK. Today, the institute has a presence in 85 countries around the world including 36 offices and boasts some 14,000 worldwide members. Over 1,000 students are enrolled in the teacher training programmes offered by the academy and there are some 250,000 students following the syllabi for the exams. The current patron of the Royal Academy of Dance is her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

How Strict are RAD Exams?

The RAD have organised a system that includes a number of different exams and assessments as students move through their different syllabi including those suitable for a wide range of age groups. They have a graded system with a big focus on creativity and musicality with all who pass the exams receiving a certificate of achievement as well as medals in some cases.

Ballet teachers are responsible for deciding when a student is ready to take an exam and to move them through the different levels. However, there are target age groups for the different stages to help give an idea of when a child may be ready to progress.

The levels start with Level 1 and 2 of the Pre-school Dance Curriculum. These are suitable for children aged 2 ½ years to 3 ½ years for Level 1 then up to age 4 ½ or 5 for Level 2. Children must be five years old before they can start the graded syllabus. Then the following minimum ages apply:

  • Pre-Primary in Dance – age 5
  • Primary in Dance – age 6
  • Grade 1-5 – age 7
  • Grades 6-8 – age 11
  • Intermediate Foundation – age 11
  • Intermediate – age 12
  • Advanced Foundation – age 13
  • Advanced 1 – age 14
  • Advanced 2 – age 15
  • Solo Seal – age 15

To move onto the next level in the vocational graded syllabus there are certain pre-requisites that children need. For example, to move to Advanced Foundation, they must have passed the Intermediate exam. And to move to Solo Seal, they must have achieved a distinction at Advanced 2. There is no pre—requisite for the Intermediate Foundation or Intermediate courses.

Equivalent qualifications from certain other organisations are accepted to move up the grades. These institutions are the British Ballet Organisation, the British Theatre Dance Association, the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and the International Dance Teachers Association.