RAD's Project B for boys
The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Australia held its first ever Boys Only! summer school over the weekend of January 5 and 6 in Adelaide. Sixty boys, aged seven to 17, took part in the event. They were taught by an all-male faculty headed by the Australian Male Dance Ambassador Matthew Lawrence (who is a regular columnist for Dance Australia).
The initiative was part of an RAD global project called Project B which is designed to widen access to dance for boys and encourage more to take up ballet. The RAD has invested an initial $60,000 in the project. It aims to reach boys at a grass roots level by providing more Boys Only! workshops and Boys Ballet Masterclasses throughout the world, as well as providing additional bursaries and financial support to ensure that, regardless of geography or financial situation, a diverse range of boys have the chance to participate. Other male dancers acting as role models are classical dancer Iain Mackay (UK), professional tap and hip hop dancing brothers, Jesse and Joel Rasmussen, and contemporary dancer David Williams.
"I think Project B is an exciting initiative by the RAD, and a cause I am proud to support," says Lawrence. "Often young male dancers are - as I was - the lone boy in class. So, by creating these opportunities for boys to mix with other boys and male figures in dance, they will hopefully not feel so alone, but inspired to further pursue their passion for dance."
In the UK the RAD is collaborating wth Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to launch a six week pilot scheme in primary schools. The project aims to promote the strong connection between dance and sport, and challenge traditional stereotypes of both cricketers and dancers. The pilot will comprise of a series of workshops to be held in primary schools within two miles of Lord’s Cricket Ground in St. John’s Wood. Classes will be delivered by both an RAD Registered Teacher and a MCC coach. Australian-born Royal Ballet Principal Dancer and cricket enthusiast, Alexander Campbell, has been named as the RAD’s Ambassador for the project.
Further workshops and courses are planned throughout Australia in 2018. More information can be found on the RAD website www.rad.org.au/learn-to-dance/project-b/b-involved.