Art at any price

Gerard Charles, the RAD’s Artistic Director, argues that arts education is being undervalued.

Dance Gazette | Art of the matter | Issue 5 - Oct 2022

As we age, all generations seem to reflect that things were different in their youth. Indeed the speed of technological advances has allowed our world to move much faster, but human achievement and creativity still need to work on a human time scale. Great ideas do not develop overnight nor can they be fully expressed in 280 characters.

Art encourages freedom to make choices, to bring ideas to the fore, to stimulate debate, to challenge and rechallenge and to present alternate views, providing options but not absolutes. This leads to creativity and progress, but can be uncomfortable and scares those who wish to control free thought. Sadly so much art has become co-opted for profit, and original works have become a commodity with skyrocketing prices and reduced accessibility.

As people we have become more conformist: you see the same fashion choices predominate on all continents, our personal expression dictated by what we are told we should look like. Even those who desire to show their individuality tend to follow the same worldwide trends of rebellion.

Coincidently, arts education is disappearing from mainstream schooling, whether in the name of priorities, financial restraint or puritanism, a range of intelligences are now missing opportunities to develop. As a result we produce students who can pass tests in narrow areas of expertise without being able to put that knowledge into context, to really question and develop the ability to think creatively, and to put what they have learnt into practice.

‘As teachers we must inspire the next generation onwards and remain creative. The rewards can be priceless’

Gerard Charles

We can celebrate that access to arts education has been helped by a rise in programmes in dance, music, visual arts and more, offered by large arts institutions. But for many these are also helpful profit centres to bolster the finances of the parent entity with healthy fee structures that can prove to be a barrier to access. Artistic integrity can also be subordinated by the need to attract and retain students.

Falling government support of arts institutions means that those institutions are ever more pre-occupied with the preservation of their organisation leaving less time and resources to deliver the art they are there to promote.

In order to preserve earned income safer artistic choices often have to be made. The charge that the arts should act more like a business is a scary one to me, who has for my entire life seen creative and affordable solutions grow from artistic necessity.

We all have it in our power to give space for the creative mind to develop, to set aside commercial concerns and reap the rewards of seeing an inspired young mind blossom. To not teach to the test but to teach the person to be the best that they can be, and to express themselves in their voice and not ours. The future of art is literally in our control. As teachers we must inspire the next generation and thus refresh ourselves as to our purpose and to remain creative. The rewards can be priceless.

Why Dance Matters post

Kathryn Morgan

Dance Gazette

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REST OF Issue 5 - Oct 2022

Queen Elizabeth ii and Prince Philip, London June 2017- Trooping the Colour parade Queen Elizabeth, prince philip (Duke of Edinburgh) parade for Queen Birthday (Prince Philip last trooping retired)

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died on 8 September aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. She had been Patron of the RAD since 1953.


Ambassadors assemble

The RAD has been part of dancing life for both Céline Gittens and Steven McRae, from early steps to becoming principal dancers. Now, as the RAD’s new ambassadors, they share experiences.


Happiness. Inc

What makes a happy organisation? As the RAD asks its members how they feel about the Academy, Ella Satin explores what makes for a happy company or workplace.


Home and away

Teaching is a portable skill, one that can carry you across the world. Jane Albert meets RAD teachers who have made new lives in completely new countries.


Safe spaces

Isaac Ouro-Gnao meets ballerinas and young dancers from Ukraine who have fled the Russian invasion and building new lives.

Big Picture post

Open city

RAD Japan has collaborated with Toshima International City Of Arts & Culture on a vibrant new photo project.

Inside RAD post

Stepping out

Step Into Dance held its first festival for three years at London’s Cadogan Hall.

Advice Bureau post

Freddie Opoku-Addaie

Say no with the same conviction as yes! Freddie Opoku-Addaie of Dance Umbrella shares his best advice.

Playlist post

Charlotte Darbyshire

The artistic director of Candoco chooses music with special memories for her.

Why Dance Matters post

Kathryn Morgan

American ballerina Kathryn Morgan on ballet, body shaming and the joy of dance.


Permission to dance

K-pop’s high-concept dances have conquered the world from their native Korea. In Seoul’s dance studios, David D Lee meets both tourists and students determined to break into the industry.


Dance on prescription

Can dance help both patients and healthcare professionals? Rosemary Waugh investigates.

RAD Q&A post

Lizeth Leonhardt Avalos

Lizeth Leonhardt Avalos won the RAD Members’ Photo Competition with a picture of her daughter. The Mexican ballet teacher discusses her journey into teaching, the RAD teachers who influenced her and starting a new life in Canada.