More boys take up dance thanks to RAD

Posted on: 30/1/2019 8:50AM

Royal Academy of Dance AustraliaIn 2017 the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Australia launched Project B – a range of initiatives to widen access to dance for boys and male identifying students to encourage more to take up ballet. This initiative is one of a few in celebration of the RAD’s upcoming centenary in 2020, which aims to bring dance to more people in more places globally. An initial investment of $60,000 globally spearheads further fundraising. 

 

In its first year here in Australia, Project B delivered nine separate workshops around the country with an inspiring line-up of international male faculty, including Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Lachlan Monaghan and the RAD’s Australian Male Dance Ambassador Matthew Lawrence. Guest artists and teachers from genres outside the academy’s native ballet included The Tap Pack’s Jesse Rasmussen, Sydney Dance Company’s (SDC) James Taylor, Expressions Dance Company’s (EDC) Jake McLarnon and all-male dance company Blak Grace’s David Williams, who has also danced with SDC and EDC.

 

Ranging from summer workshops for all ages, to beginners class for 7 year olds, to masterclasses for advanced students, and pop-up performances - Project B has delivered young male dancers the opportunity to embrace their dance passion and celebrate it with their peers. There has also been a commitment to reward achievement of male dancers with boys-only scholarships offered at each of the academy’s national awards events and to offer support for a global community of male dancers by screening the male dance documentary Danseur

 

Earlier this month the second Boys DANCE summer workshop saw an increase in absolute beginners enrollments, proving the Project B message is reaching out across Australia. Boys DANCE 19, the academy's boys-only summer dance workshop in Adelaide, took place over another sweltering summer in the city. Students enjoyed classes in ballet, contemporary, tap and breakdance/hip-hop, learning new skills and making new friends. Many students returned who had attended the programme in 2018 and friends from around the country were able to reunite once more in their love of dance. 

 

Four male faculty led the workshop with an emphasis on exploring something new and enjoying the chance to not be the only boy in class - as many young boys experience in a studio setting. RAD Australian Male Dance Ambassador Matthew Lawrence used sports style drills this year. He also used props to aid in transitioning the youngest boys from the sports field to the ballet studio. Whilst senior advanced students Elliot Dunn and Jeremy Hargreaves were treated to specialist coaching during a more personal coaching session.

 

David Williams and Jesse Rasmussen returned from the previous year to once again teach contemporary and tap, respectively. Both enjoyed the enthusiasm the boys showed at being given the chance to explore new themes and styles in their dancing. Joining the faculty this year, Chris Merriman added some serious “swagger and cool” to the weekend, imparting some tricks and tips for impressing non-dance friends with their break dancing skills. Parents were treated to a lively demonstration of all newly polished and acquired skills across all genres during the showcase at the end of the weekend. 

 

Whether swaying or swaggering, one thing is clear - the boys loved the opportunity to spend a weekend exploring their passion for dance with like-minded individuals! 

 

There are a number of other #RADProjectB male-only opportunities coming up throughout the year and these can be found on the RAD website at www.rad.org.au/learn-to-dance/project-b/b-involved.



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