Royal Academy of Dance to provide fun and fitness with free online classes

RAD's Step it Up. Photo by Foteini Christofilopoulou.
RAD's Step it Up. Photo by Foteini Christofilopoulou.

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is on a mission to keep everyone moving and motivated from home through a range of accessible and free online classes in a range of dance styles. The global dance education organisation recently launched a host of online classes to keep young people active during lockdown, as well as the return of a weekly series of online ‘Silver Swans’ ballet exercise classes, designed to get the older generation moving to the music at home.

In a bid to beat the lockdown blues, the RAD has launched ‘Step it Up’, based on classes offered as part of the Step into Dance programme. Aimed at secondary school students, this initiative will bring a range of dance styles direct to your home, delivered by expert practitioners. The RAD and Step into Dance will release a free online class every Tuesday and Thursday for four weeks. Each class is 30 minutes in length, offering the perfect opportunity to inject some fun into your daily routine, as well as stay active indoors.

Ali Golding will delight Strictly fans every Tuesday as she takes viewers through an American Smooth-inspired routine in her jazz/musical theatre class. Teacher Chris Bean will deliver a high energy class drawing on a variety of street styles each Thursday, providing you with some new moves to share with your friends post-lockdown. Whether you’re dynamite on the dance floor or you’ve never set foot in a dance studio before, these classes are the perfect break from your desk, or a great addition to the home schooling schedule.

Step into Dance is the largest inclusive dance programme in the UK, reaching over 6,000 secondary school students annually across London and Essex, in a normal year. Thanks to the support of the Jack Petchey Foundation, the RAD and Step into Dance are able to share classes more widely online as part of their mission to empower young people and provide greater access to dance.

RAD Silver Swans. Photo by David Tett.
RAD Silver Swans. Photo by David Tett.

The RAD will also continue to support older learners during the pandemic with the return of online Silver Swans tutorials. From experienced dancers to those who don’t know their plié from their pointe, older learners of any ability are invited to try out free Silver Swans ballet exercises. The classes have even been granted the royal seal of approval, with RAD Vice Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall announcing last year that she was a Silver Swan. The RAD will be showcasing classes from around the UK and beyond through manageable bitesize videos, delivered by a different Silver Swans Licensee each week, each with their own take on ballet exercises adapted for older learners. Viewers can also revisit the Silver Swans taster classes taught by RAD Teacher and Silver Swans expert Sarah Platt in the first national lockdown, which are still available online. The RAD will release the renewed series every Wednesday at 1pm via its website and social media channels.

RAD President Dame Darcey Bussell DBE says,“The Royal Academy of Dance is committed to promoting a love of dance in everyone, of any age and of any ability, wherever you are across the globe. As the word-renowned home for dance, what a perfect way at this time to bring our expertise and passion to you wherever you are. Dance is such a creative, artistic activity that helps us all express our emotions while boosting positivity, wellbeing and keeping us fit.”

RAD’s Artistic Director Gerard Charles says:“We saw the positive impact our online Silver Swans classes had on our community around the world in 2020, and we are so pleased to be able to continue to support older learners again as many of us continue to stay at home. However, we know that this pandemic has also been hugely challenging for children and young people, particularly with regards to physical and mental wellbeing. We know that the benefits of dance extend beyond the physical to promoting mental health and, by engaging the mind, expands creative thinking and has proven to be a beacon of hope and encouragement during these testing times. Therefore, we are delighted to be able to offer ‘Step it Up’ classes for free and for all, thanks to the support of the Jack Petchey Foundation. I hope that these classes provide a source of fun into your routine, and maybe even introduce you to a new dance style!”

The RAD will also keep the performance going by offering followers the chance to ‘Ask a dancer anything’ with famous dancers through live Q&As, regular motivational tips and exclusive behind-the-scenes content. RAD Teacher Jane Tucker has also created conditioning exercises for young dancers, to help them maintain their fitness from home, which will be available on the RAD website every Friday.

The RAD has a network of qualified teachers in 92 countries around the globe, many of whom are currently offering online classes in support of their local communities during COVID restrictions. To find your local teacher for online classes or in preparation to a return to face-to-face teaching, visit www.royalacademyofdance.org/classes/find-a-rad-teacher, or find your local Silver Swans class at www.royalacademyofdance.org/classes/silverswans

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