What is RAD?
The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is one of the world’s most influential dance education organisations. It is every dancer’s dream to attend such a prestigious institution to progress their dancing career. Their exams set standards in classical ballet, worldwide and they are a global leader in dance education and Continuing Professional Development for dance.
RAD was founded in 1920 to set standards for dance teaching within the UK. Today they have a presence in 83 countries, more than 8,000 registered teachers and about 230,000 students are being examined on their syllabi every year!
If you are lucky enough to be accepted into RAD there are strict criteria concerning what you should wear during ballet classes. . This article will help you understand what uniform you will need for ballet classes Grades 1 & 2 and 3-5.
For more information on RAD visit www.rad.org.uk
Why do you need to wear a specific uniform for RAD?
A uniform is considered very important by many dance teachers because it helps create unity amongst dancers. This is particularly important to all dancers as working as an ensemble is a crucial part of any ballet dancer’s career. Different uniforms for different grades allow teachers and dancers to quickly identify the ability of the dancer by their uniform, whilst also providing a reward by allowing more choice as the dancer’s ability improves.
What should my child wear for Grades 1 & 2?
The Royal Academy of Dance has very strict requirements when it comes to regulation uniform. With so many different requirements for so many different grades, it can be very difficult knowing what dancewear you need to buy for each grade.
If your child has attended Primary or Pre-Primary ballet classes, they will then progress to Grades 1 & 2. Alternatively, if your child is starting ballet classes at a slightly older age, they will start to learn at Grade 1. For both Grades 1 and 2, there is a greater variety of colours and styles which teachers may choose to use for their uniform. Girls may be allowed to continue wearing their short sleeved leotard in the Pre-Primary and Primary colours, but if the teacher prefers, they’ll be allowed to wear a plain tank leotard in Pastel Blue, Lavender, Navy, Pink or White. Alternatively, they can choose to wear a short sleeved leotard in Navy, or a tank leotard with a ruche (gathered bust line) in Mulberry, Navy or Red. Check with your teacher whether you require a matching belt.
Skirts in colours which match your leotard are also worn and are useful for children at this stage.Wearing a skirt means your arms are placed in different positions and this help with poise.
On their feet, girls are required to wear pink ankle socks or pink ballet tights with pink ballet shoes. Alternatively, they may choose to wear black ballet shoes depending on what is preferred by the teacher.
In addition to ballet shoes, the student will also be required to purchase a pair of low heel canvas syllabus character shoes, and a character skirt that matches the colour of their leotard. This is because Grade 1 requires the student to learn the basics of character work. The length of the character skirt should be mid-calf but if you have any questions your dance teacher should be able to help you out.
What should my child wear for Grades 3 – 5?
Once the student has passed their Grade 2 exams, they will progress to Grade 3. Girls may be allowed to continue to wear the same short sleeved leotards that they wore for Grades 1 and 2. However, as this piece of dancewear is also a requirement of the Pre-Primary and Primary uniform, the vast majority of dance teachers prefer to implement a different uniform at this stage.
The footwear required for Grades 3 – 5 is very similar to the footwear requirements of Grades 1 and 2. It’s unlikely that you will be asked to wear ballet socks at this stage because students of Grades 3 – 5 are usually slightly older and socks are considered inappropriate. Instead, you are likely to be asked to wear pink ballet tights with pink ballet shoes unless your teacher prefers black ballet shoes which they may ask you to wear instead.
The most marked difference in footwear is found with the Character Shoes as you may now be allowed to wear a pair of Cuban Heel Syllabus Character Shoes rather than the low heel ones you will have worn for Grades 1 – 2. These will be accompanied with a character skirt though you should check with your dance teacher which colour ribbons you are required to wear with this as different dance schools have different requirements.
Where can I purchase a RAD regulation uniform?
It’s always best to purchase your RAD regulation uniform from a specialist dancewear retailer. If you’re not sure where to find one, it’s worth looking in your local phone book as it’s quite likely that there’s one in your local area. Or you can shop for your regulation uniform on-line as there are a wide range of specialist dancewear retailers offering uniform at very competitive prices. If you decide to shop with an online retailer, just make sure that they have a simple returns policy in case you want to try a different size. It’s also worth checking out their their terms and conditions, and of course their prices and delivery too, to ensure you get the best possible service.
Visit www.dancegeardirect.co.uk for a selection of branded RAD approved uniform.