The Royal Academy of Dance is one of the biggest, well known teaching organisers of the ballet dancing syllabus, and is used and known world wide today.
The Royal Academy of Dance as it is now known has its roots way back in 1920 when a group of dancers decided on forming a syllabus that could be taught to students of ballet and examined upon to ensure a proper and coherent standard was obtained.
In 1920 in England there were a lot of good dancers around, and Pavlova was one of the most popular, but most of the dancers were either foreign or ones that Diaghilev had taken up and re-named. There were not a great many good English dancers, and when Marie Rambert first came to London during the first world war, she was appalled at the poor standard of teaching in the English Schools. She visited several schools and to her amazement found small girls of three or four running about in pointe shoes with very contorted legs. Of the two thousand dance teachers said to be working in England at the time, only about a hundred were competent. The teaching profession was very disorganised and unregulated, and the art of teaching could scarcely be called a profession, as anybody could set up as a teacher. Something had to be done to make it harder for teachers to wreck the chances of young and talented dancers with incompetent teaching.
In 1916, the Dancing Times published an article called “What every teacher of Operatic Dancing. This article that was devised by Edouard Espinosa, stirred considerable interest and started the crusade against bad teaching. The ideas started to circulate, but only came to a head three years later after the war.
Edouard Espinosa in the mean time taught in South Africa and Australia and when he returned to England the moment was perfect for the set up of a society along with his allies.
A basic syllabus was put together with all the main positions of the feet and arms. It was set and agreed upon at a meeting on the 31 of December 1920 of over a hundred teachers at the Grafton galleries in Regent Street. It was there that the Association of Teachers of Operatic Dancing of Great Britain was born. The organisation was intent on the improvement of the standard of teaching of ballet dancing, and this could be gained by all teachers adopting similar teaching methods. Any teacher could apply to join and once they were approved by the committee they just had to pay their annual subscription. Soon over fifty teachers and dancers were accepted.