The RAD started life in 1920 as the Association of Teachers of Operatic Dancing in Great Britain.

It was born out of a meeting of leading dance professionals arranged by Philip Richardson, former editor of the Dancing Times. With Adeline Genée chosen from among her peers as its first President, the Association launched its first syllabus in the same year and held its first exams in 1921.

1928 saw Queen Mary become the Association’s first patron and in 1936 it became the Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD) after receiving its Royal Charter from King George V. The following year, the RAD was awarded its coat of arms by the College of Arms.

You can also download The First 75 Years, an anniversary brochure published in 1995 which details our history to that point. A detailed history and chronology of the RAD will be available here shortly.

90th Anniversary

In 2010 the RAD celebrated its 90th anniversary. To mark the occasion we created two e-books celebrating the most important milestones in the history of the Academy. These included photographs and other archived material from the RAD’s Wolfson Library which were published – in many cases – for the first time.

The RAD Today

Now in our 99th year, we continue to promote and develop excellence in dance. Our syllabi are taught around the world and thousands of students are enrolled on our many dance courses and study programmes. Our alumni have gone on to work with the most prestigious dance companies and to become the best teachers. And, as part of our social responsibility remit, we continue to bring dance into a growing range of communities and schools.