The Duchess of Cornwall at Active Elderly November 22, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo courtesy of the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs)

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) today announced that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is to become Vice-Patron of the Academy, effective immediately. She will join Her Majesty The Queen, who has been Patron of the RAD since 1953. The announcement was made in a special video call with Dame Darcey Bussell DBE, who is President of the RAD, and RAD’s Silver Swans Ambassador and broadcaster Angela Rippon CBE.

The Duchess was joined by Dame Darcey and Angela Rippon to discuss RAD’s initiative to keep older learners moving to the music at home through free, online Silver Swans ballet tutorials. They discussed how beneficial dance is for maintaining mental and physical wellbeing, at any age, with The Duchess explaining how taking part in RAD’s Silver Swans classes has positively impacted her personally. Dame Darcey also had the opportunity to discuss the Academy’s mission to inspire the world to dance through excellence in teaching, even under lockdown conditions.

As part of HRH’s commitment to championing active ageing, The Duchess previously visited RAD’s Headquarters in 2018 where she met a group of Silver Swans, and observed a class in action with the initiative’s ambassador Angela Rippon. She has since visited a group of ‘Swans’ in New Zealand in 2019, as well as participating in classes herself.

The RAD developed Silver Swans in response to a growing demand for ballet classes for older learners, drawing upon research into dance practice for older participants from RAD’s Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing project. Silver Swans classes are ballet classes specifically designed for over 55s, delivered exclusively by Silver Swans Licensees who have trained to adapt ballet-teaching techniques for the needs and safety of older adults. Initially launched in the UK and USA in 2017, Silver Swans is now truly global, with classes also available in Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico. There are over 1,000 Silver Swans Licensees across the world offering classes in their local community.

The Duchess of Cornwall at Active Elderly November 22, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo courtesy of the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs)
The Duchess of Cornwall at Active Elderly November 22, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo courtesy of the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs)

The Royal Academy of Dance received its Royal Charter from King George V in 1936. The following year, the RAD was awarded its coat of arms by the College of Arms. The Academy is proud to have Her Majesty The Queen as its Patron, and to now extend its relationship with the Royal Family with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s Vice-Patronage.

The RAD is currently offering free online Silver Swans exercise classes every Wednesday at 1pm BST on their website and social media channels. This forms part of the RAD@Home initiative, designed to bring 100 years of dance teaching expertise to your living room through a range of online content for all ages. Find out more at www.royalacademyofdance.org/RADathome

To find your local Silver Swans Licensee via the RAD’s interactive map, visit www.royalacademyofdance.org/SilverSwans