Duchess of Cornwall opens new Royal Academy of Dance headquarters in Battersea

The Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to the Royal Academy of Dance yesterday, to officially open their state-of-the-art global headquarters.

Camilla was given a tour of the new building by RAD Chief Executive, Luke Rittner, and President, Dame Darcey Bussell.

The Duchess of Cornwall was then introduced to students at the Royal Academy of Dance, who are training to become teachers. She heard how each student is committed to shaping and influencing the future of dance.

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The Duchess of Cornwall observes a Silver Swans class with Dame Darcey Bussell in Linbury Studio, part of the new facilities unveiled at the Royal Academy of Dance’s new global headquarters (© David Tett)

The Royal was given a look at how a Silver Swans ballet class for learners aged over 55 are carried out, with Silver Swans Licensee, and the Duchess’ own teacher, Sarah Platt, delivering a class in the studio.

Camilla is also herself a ‘swan’, as part of her ongoing commitment to championing active ageing. She is known to be a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing, and even took part in a Christmas special in 2018.

The class were joined remotely by a class in Perth, Australia and their teacher, Jamelia Gubgub, for the occasion.

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Speaking during the visit, Camilla said: “As the very proud Vice-Patron of the RAD, I would like to congratulate everybody who has made this wonderful new building possible. Having had a very short tour of it, seeing its complete magnificence, it’s just doing so much for so many young people and – old people like me.”

Queen Mary was the organisation’s first Patron. The Queen has held the role since 1953.

“As a Silver Swan myself, I was inspired by my first visit here to try it out and I have been doing it ever since. I’d also like to say a huge thanks to Luke who has done such a wonderful job over the years.

“Thank you all very much for making this possible. I just want to say again how proud I am to be part of it all.”

As part of the visit, the Duchess also met participants from the RADiate programme, which provides inclusive dance classes designed to develop the physicality and boost the self-esteem of children and young people with additional learning needs.

Camilla also took the time to congratulate the winner of the RAD’s art competition for primary schools in Wandsworth South West London. KS1 and KS2 students from across the borough were invited to submit a piece of artwork inspired by how dance makes them feel.

Winner Richard, age eight from Alderbrook Primary School, was introduced to The Duchess of Cornwall and had the opportunity to present his work to her, alongside the work of runners up Indiana and Genevieve.

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As a token of appreciation for her visit, The Duchess of Cornwall was presented with a posey by Dance School student Mia, aged 11. Mia is a student from the local area, who takes regular dance classes at the RAD’s headquarters.

To conclude the visit, HRH unveiled a a commemorative plaque made from solid oak, officially opening the new Royal Academy of Dance headquarters.

The Duchess of Cornwall is presented a posy by local dance student
Mia aged 11. © David Tett

Luke Rittner CBE, RAD Chief Executive said: “I am delighted to welcome our Vice-Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to help launch our new global headquarters. Destined to become a home for dance, this exciting new chapter in the Academy’s 100+ year history symbolises our commitment to excellence in all aspects of dance education and teaching.”

In 2018, Camilla celebrated the academy’s Silver Swans programme. The Duchess of Cornwall was taught some basic ballet techniques and mastered a tendu, the action of stretching the leg and foot out from one position to another, while keeping it on the floor.

The Duchess of Cornwall and Natalie unveil the commemorative plaque
marking the opening of the Royal Academy of Dance’s new global
headquarters in Battersea, London (© David Tett)

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