Dancers Certifications at the Royal Academy of Dance

Founded in 1920, the Royal Academy of Dance is the world’s largest and most influential dance examination board, with offices all across North America and Europe. The primary purpose of the Academy is to retain a rigorous standard for the teaching of ballet via the issuing of dancers certification to prospective ballet students and teachers. Although not technically required, almost every reputable ballet school in Canada or elsewhere requires its teachers to hold a certification after professional-level instruction at The board examines dancers specializing in all styles, but its teaching materials and techniques focus primarily upon classical ballet, with a lesser but still sizeable number of contemporary dance materials.

The Royal Academy of Dance offers three different varieties of dancers certification. The Graded Examination Syllabus Program awards certificates to children from ages 5-14 who show promise and skill in the art of classical and character ballet, and exists primarily for the purpose of prestige and education. The Vocational Syllabus, meanwhile, is meant for older teens and adults, who must complete its technically demanding ballet and pointe work to advance to the final level of instruction, that of the Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies. In Canada, the CBTS can be acquired through a tutoring program taught through email or telephone, with examinations of course taking place in person.

The Canadian Royal Academy of Dance allows membership for dancers upon completion of Grade 6, 7, or 8 examinations. Membership, which must be renewed every year, offers a variety of benefits for enrolled dancers depending on their individual level of achievement. Note, however, that membership is not technically required to participate in examinations, although the discounted examination fees, dancewear and free instruction it provides are of such quality as to prove very helpful to most dancers. In British Columbia and Ontario, coursework with the Academy may also be recognized by the Ministry of Education, who recognize achievements at the Graded Examination Level with school credit. Although support for the program is pending in other provinces, it is expected to be passed within the next few years.

Royal Academy of Dance approved studios where prospective dancers may receive certification are available in every province. Most are open year around, although some do not offer classes in the summer (examinations are still conducted, however). In addition to its students, the Academy employs hundreds of teachers and other aides, who receive competitive wages for their skills in the performing arts.