8-year-old winner of Royal Academy of Dance art competition is congratulated by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall


  •        8-year-old Richard from Alderbrook Primary School, Wandsworth has been selected as the winner of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) borough-wide art competition.
  •        Entries were submitted from primary school students across the local borough for an opportunity to win a chance to have their art displayed in the brand-new RAD global headquarters, launching today.
  •        Richard, alongside runner up Genevieve from Finton House School presented their winning works to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, RAD’s Vice-Patron, as she formally opened the new headquarters.
  •        A judging panel of RAD President Dame Darcey Bussell and Artistic Director, Gerard Charles alongside former English National Ballet dancer, Shevelle Dynott selected the winning work and runners up. 

Thursday 10 March 2022: Today the Royal Academy of Dance awarded three budding primary school artists from across Wandsworth with top prizes for their images inspired by dance and how it makes them feel. 

Announced as part of the opening of its brand-new global headquarters, officially opened by the HRH The Duchess of Cornwall today, the competition was designed to inspire children from across local primary schools to engage with the borough’s historic and deep-rooted connection to the world of dance. 

A judging panel of RAD President Dame Darcey Bussell and Artistic Director, Gerard Charles and former English National Ballet dancer Shevelle Dynott choose Richard, aged 8, from Alderbrook Primary School as the competition winner for his colourful depiction of a dancer in motion. Not only will Richard’s work be exhibited in the new building later this year, but Richard wins a personalised dance workshop at RAD for his whole class, along with a special tour of the new purpose-built Academy. 

With 48 entries submitted to the competition, following competitive judging, prizes have also been awarded to runners up:

  •        Genevieve from Finton House School, aged 9
  •        Indiana from Sellincourt Primary School, aged 9

Richard, alongside runner up Genevieve were introduced to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and had the opportunity to present their work to her as she formally opened the new state-of-the-art RAD global headquarters today.

The RAD is a global organisation with over 100 years of experience and a mission to inspire the world to dance. The Academy is committed to making its new headquarters a home for dance, for all. The RAD’s community engagement plan seeks to make programmes, projects, and facilities physically and financially accessible to the local community, young and old - and a new 193-seat theatre will enable the organisation to share a wide range of dance performances locally.

Gerard Charles, Artistic Director, Royal Academy of Dance says: “We are delighted to announce the winner and runners up of the very first borough-wide RAD art competition for schools. With entries from pupils right across Wandsworth, we received an extremely high calibre of artworks. However, it was Richard’s work that really stood out to the panel, really capturing the sense of freedom of movement alongside a sense of light. All of which really show what dance means beyond the body”.

Dame Darcey Bussell, President, Royal Academy of Dance says: “I loved the energy and use of colours in Richard’s work, as well as how physical it felt. I particularly enjoyed how it flowed across the whole page, and the imaginative little details added to the mood of the picture”.

Shevelle Dynott, former English National Ballet dancer, says: “The judging process was very difficult given the outstanding quality of work submitted by schools. The winning work really captured the gradient from light to dark and the expressive movement of the subject that stretched across the page – showcasing the essence of joy that dancing can inspire”. 

Competition winner Richard says: “I am so happy to have won the competition. Taking part was such an enjoyable experience, and it has inspired me to want to take up dance.” 

The new RAD headquarters is an international home for dance, allowing the charity to realise the potential of the 60,000 sq. ft building to expand on its 100-year history of providing high-quality dance education, to bring the transformational power of dance to more people, regardless of age, ability, or location.

The winning artwork will be exhibited in the new building later in the year.

- ENDS -


Media contacts: 

For further information, images or interview requests please contact: 

Kallaway PR
E: RAD@kallaway.com
T: +44 (0)7796 88 11 75

Notes to Editors:

About the Royal Academy of Dance

Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is one of the most influential dance education and training organisations in the world with a strong global membership in 85 countries. 

Established in 1920 to improve standards and re-invigorate dance training, the RAD helps and encourages its teachers to perfect their teaching skills and pass on this knowledge to their students. 

There are currently over 1,000 students in full-time or part-time teacher training programmes with the RAD and each year the examination syllabus is taught to thousands of young people worldwide, with around a quarter of a million pupils per year going on to take RAD exams. 

About Dame Darcey Bussell OBE 

Darcey Bussell is a former Principal with The Royal Ballet and the most famous British ballerina of her generation. During her nearly twenty years as a Principal, she won worldwide renown for her unique combination of having a tall and athletic physique while dancing with soft lyricism.

Darcey trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined the Company in 1988. She was promoted to Principle in 1989, aged just 20, after the premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s The Prince of the Pagodas, in which she had created the lead role. Darcey retired from the Company in June 2007 with a performance of MacMillan’s Song of the Earth, broadcast live on BBC2. She came out of retirement to dance the ‘Spirit of the Flame’ at the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony. 

Darcey’s extensive broadcast work includes being a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, many documentaries for the BBC and she has presented The Royal Ballet’s worldwide cinema relays since 2014. She remains a Guest principal coach at The Royal Ballet and is Artist Laureate of the Royal Ballet School.

Her books include Darcey Bussell: EvolvedDarcey Bussell: A Life in Pictures, the ‘Magic Ballerina’ children’s series and her autobiography. In 2015 she founded DDMIX (diverse dance mix), a dance fitness charity, aimed at getting dance fitness to be a part of PE in state schools. 

Darcey became the President of the Royal Academy of Dance in 2012. 

About Gerard Charles, Artistic Director

Born in Folkestone, England, Charles received his dance training at the Royal Ballet School and returned to the UK to join the RAD after spending nearly forty years based in America. As a professional dancer, his career started at Ballet International before moving to Milwaukee Ballet and BalletMet in roles ranging from corps de ballet to Principal. Since retiring from the stage, he has served as Education Director for Ballet Met Columbus; Ballet Master for BalletMet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens; Artistic Director BalletMet and most recently Director of Artistic Operations at Joffrey Ballet.  

Gerard has choreographed and staged works internationally and received an NEA Choreographic Fellowship. He was appointed as Artistic Director of the RAD in September 2018.  

About Shevelle Dynott

Shevelle Dynott was born in London and started dancing aged seven when he was spotted at his Brixton primary school by scouts for ‘Chance to Dance’, a scheme which aimed to scout taltened inner-city children and expand ballet’s reach beyond its traditionally white middle-class base. In 1997, he was the first child to complete the ‘Chance to Dance’ training and be accepted on the Royal Ballet Schools’ Junior Associates programme.  In 2004 Shevelle won a bronze medal in the RAD’s Genée International Ballet Competition and upon completing his training in 2005, Dynott joined the English National Ballet as a company artist and has appeared in numerous productions: Akram Khan’s Giselle Nureyev’s Romeo and Juliet and Juliet Macmillan’s Sleeping Beauty. Shevelle is now a freelance artist and has recently completed a 7-month acting course at identity school of acting in Brixton.