Boston Conservatory at Berklee Announces Partnership with Royal Academy of Dance—First of Its Kind in North America

August 23, 2016

Boston Conservatory at Berklee will become the first performing arts institution in the United States to offer students a ballet teaching qualification in partnership with the Royal Academy of Dance, a global leader in dance education and training. The program is designed to transform students into deeply knowledgeable dance instructors with a pedigree to teach virtually anywhere in the world.

The Royal Academy of Dance is renowned for setting international standards in classical ballet training and dance teacher education. Beginning in May 2017, the new partnership will allow students at Boston Conservatory at Berklee to become eligible for Royal Academy of Dance Registered Teacher Status (RTS) once they complete both online coursework and a practical module.

The new partnership combines the strength of Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s renowned contemporary dance program with the peerless ballet pedagogy of the Royal Academy of Dance, which is one of the largest and most influential dance education and training organizations in the world. The program is designed to expand a student dance instructor’s thinking, and ­has a strong emphasis on the evolution of movement, age and developmentally appropriate pedagogy, and movement theory.

Cathy Young, dean of dance for Boston Conservatory at Berklee, called the new partnership an incredible opportunity for students to grow and impact the breadth and depth of dance instruction for generations to come.

“I think it is fair to say that the Royal Academy of Dance is the most widely recognized dance teacher certification organization in the world, known for the excellence and depth of its pedagogy and teacher training,” Young said. “This gives our students not only access to a great wealth of knowledge about teaching dance, but also a recognized teaching qualification that will allow them to find work anywhere.”

A world-class teaching credential can also be a powerful asset to a dancer’s career as a performer. While most Boston Conservatory at Berklee students will secure opportunities as performers once they graduate, like most professional dancers they will also supplement their income through teaching. The Royal Academy of Dance certificate opens the door to teaching in 80 countries and graduates will also be given access to the RAD International Jobs database.

The seeds of the partnership were sown three years ago when Anne Hogan, then Director of Education for the Royal Academy of Dance and a former dancer with Boston Ballet, sought out Young and began a series of discussions about merging the strengths of the two programs. Hogan, a Harvard graduate who performed with the Boston Ballet, believed it was a natural fit since she was aware of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s reputation in contemporary dance and the Royal Academy of Dance was expanding its teacher training beyond the classics.

Michelle Groves, Director of Education for the Royal Academy of Dance, expressed the importance of this partnership to the Academy and its global business model.

“I am delighted that the Royal Academy of Dance is partnering with such an established and respected institution as Boston Conservatory at Berklee. The opportunity to train and support RAD Registered teachers throughout North America is an exciting prospect for the Royal Academy of Dance and as such we are committed to nurturing and developing this partnership for the future.”

The program takes two years to complete and is an addition to the students’ Boston Conservatory education. Students on the Royal Academy of Dance Access Route to RTS will complete the online portion of their coursework during the school year. The practical module will be taught starting in May by instructor Gemma Williams, a Royal Academy of Dance tutor who is now a part-time faculty member at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In the future, Young hopes that some students will also have the opportunity to complete the practical module in London at Royal Academy of Dance headquarters.

“I really believe that to be a great teacher, you must be continually learning,” Young said. “Teaching requires that you investigate, explore, and communicate, which are also necessary skills for great performers. Giving our students the opportunity to train as teachers through the Royal Academy of Dance will deepen and expand their work as performing artists, just as their skills as performers will enrich their teaching. It is a unique opportunity for our students.”

About the Royal Academy of Dance

With about 14,000 members spread across 83 countries, the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is one of the largest and most influential dance education and training organisations in the world. Established in the 1920s, to improve standards and re-invigorate dance training initially within the UK, the Academy 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 Academy 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 our exams.  For more information visit

Learn more about dance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

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