Olivia Chang Clarke and Edward Truelove triumph in annual Phyllis Bedells Bursary


The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) today announced that the Phyllis Bedells Bursary has been awarded to British dancer 16-year old Olivia Chang Clarke, trained by Denise Whiteman at Elmhurst Ballet School. Phyllis Bedells Bursary is an annual event established to encourage talented young dancers to further their career in classical ballet. Olivia’s winning performance was for the Swanhilda variation from Act I of Coppélia and a self-choreographed variation entitled Enigma.

As part of Phyllis Bedells Bursary, candidates performed Dancers’ Own, a variation of their own creation or one designed by their teacher or a peer. This year’s choreographic award was presented to British dancer 16-year old Edward Truelove for his self-choreographed piece Vagabond Soul.Edward was trained by the Dance Faculty at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.

Candidates were judged on their performance in a non-syllabus ballet class, classical repertoire and Dancer’s Own by Valerie Aitken ARAD PDTC dip, and Joseph Caley, Lead Principal at English National Ballet (also a Genée silver medalist and former Phyllis Bedells Bursary winner). Past winners of Phyllis Bedells Bursary have gone on to perform with professional companies the world over including The Royal Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and Estonian National Ballet and past winners include Errol Pickford, Lauren Cuthbertson and Anna Rose O’Sullivan.

The bursary, named in honour of the RAD founder member and Vice-President and supported by the Mary Kipps Bequest, is awarded annually and has a value of up to £1,000 to be used to further the winner’s training. The Bursary is open to members of the RAD who are under 17 years of age and have passed the RAD Intermediate and the Advanced 1 Examination (Advanced 1 with Distinction). At this year’s competition, the Academy was delighted to introduce a monetary prize of £250 for the Choreographic Award. This donation is thanks to a bequest from the estate of the late Dr Ivor Guest and will continue to be awarded for a further nine years.

Gerard Charles, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance, said:

“It is wonderful to be able to provide an opportunity to highlight younger dancers who aspire to the highest standards of ballet and to also encourage the creative voice in these younger dancers. It was exciting to see the wide range of inspired ideas in the Dancer’s Own pieces and was delightful to get to know the young talents at Phyllis Bedells Bursary.”