What is the RAD and How Do Their Exams Work?

Posted: Sep 22 2016

RAD Ballet Uniform | RAD Leotards | Leotards | Ballet Leotard | 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?

A little about the RAD

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.

What are the 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.

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.

Graded and vocational graded syllabus

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.

Where do exams take place?

Normally, exams will take place in the teacher’s own studio.  However, there is the option to join with another local teacher or to hold exams at the RAD headquarters depending on the circumstances.

Ballet Uniform for RAD

The RAD also sets its own ballet uniform requirements which is fully stocked at Tokyo Monster dancewear – Click here to view the RAD Uniform Range – if you have any questions about which uniform is appropriate for you, you can discuss this with your ballet teacher or contact Tokyo Monster – as baller teachers themselves they always give great advice!

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