Founded in 1920, the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is one of the world’s most influential dance education organisations, with more than 250,000 students working towards its qualifications.

The Academy’s exams set standards in classical ballet and it is a global leader in continuing professional development for dance. Alumni have gone on to work with the most prestigious dance companies and to become the best teachers.

As part of its social responsibility remit, the Academy – which is supported by the Pureland Foundation – takes dance into a growing range of communities and schools.

Its portfolio of charitable activity currently includes the Genée International Ballet Competition, which provides a world stage for talented and aspiring young dancers; bursary support to young dancers; RADiate, offering highly specialised dance and movement classes to young people with special educational needs and Step into Dance, a major London-based outreach project bringing dance into more than 200 secondary and special schools.

It is also working with Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing, a project that brings dance classes to older adults, activities and projects targeting the engagement of boys and men in dance, plus student support for those studying the Faculty of Education’s portfolio of initial teacher training programmes.

Moreover, RAD offices throughout the UK and the world also offer a range of local bursaries and scholarships that enable young people to further their own dance aspirations.

With Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as patron, the Academy has found support from the leading ballet dancers and choreographers of the past 90 years including Dames Margot Fonteyn, Ninette de Valois and Antoinette Sibley. Celebrated prima ballerina Darcey Bussell CBE is the current president.

In 2016, Sir Matthew Bourne, one of the most talented choreographers of all time, was honoured with the Royal Academy of Dance’s most prestigious award: the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation (QEII) Award, presented by Her Majesty the Queen in person.

The award was instituted in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and was first bestowed in 1954 to Dame Ninette De Valois. Since then it has been awarded nearly every year to personalities in recognition of outstanding services to the art of ballet. This occasion however, was the first time that the award has been presented by the Queen herself.

Previous recipients include: Sir Frederick Ashton, Rudolph Nureyev, Lady Sainsbury and Sir Kenneth MacMillan.