Grand reverence

As he retires from the RAD, Artistic Director Gerard Charles reflects on the lessons of his tenure – and says farewell in model ballet style!

Gerard Charles | Art of the matter | Issue 8 - October 2023

As I left my office for the last time I was amazed at the wave of emotions that ran through me. In an organisation that is over 100 years old, my five years at the RAD (especially with the disruptions of the pandemic) may not seem a significant span of time.

Having semi-retired after a career of over 40 years in ballet, the opportunity to work at the RAD arose. I thought it a great chance to circle back to the country where my life and career in dance began, and by returning to my roots, I hoped to help develop fertile ground for the coming generations of dancers – and hopefully to contribute to building a better tomorrow for the world of ballet that had given me so much.

I had a pretty good base knowledge of the RAD, but my years here have proven that I only knew a small part of what it is, and what it can be. I am grateful for all I have learnt by working here and for getting to know those with similar passions for our art form. It has been an adventure, a whirlwind to the very last moment, and a pleasure to work with those who have stimulated and challenged me during my time at the RAD.

‘My personal reward has always been in finding ways to help others succeed’


My personal reward has always been in finding ways to help others succeed. We cannot make a difference alone, and most of the ideas I have been working towards came from others around the world as potential solutions to their concerns. Fully aware that our world is a different place than the one in which many of us grew up, we have worked hard to lay a groundwork to build a better future and hopefully provide a solid foundation to spur the RAD forward.

Although I regret retiring at a point when there is so much more to accomplish I realise that life is continually moving forward, and there will always be more to achieve. I thought the time right for someone else to champion the vital artistic goals of the RAD into the future.

I look forward to seeing the future successes of our teachers and students as they benefit from the support they will receive from the RAD.

In keeping with our ballet tradition, I end with offering you a grand reverence to say that what you have seen was for you – and thank you.



REST OF Issue 8 - October 2023


Curtain up!

The Fonteyn, the RAD’s flagship ballet competition, returns to the live stage this year. But how does it feel to be part of this cherished event? Rosemary Waugh hears from dancers, teachers and crucial figures behind the scenes.

Big Picture post

Dancing Times archive

The Dancing Times archive has been saved – by the RAD.

Inside RAD post


The RAD is progressing its safeguarding work, for members and students.

RAD Q&A post

Susan Coles

Susan Coles was a beloved RAD teacher. Her daughter Emma Tonkin describes the RAD bursary set up in Susan’s memory.


The long goodbye

What happens when a student decides to move away from ballet? How do teachers feel when someone they have known since childhood leaves their class? Alice Robb explores how to say goodbye to ballet.

Advice Bureau post

Aditi Mangaldas

Step into the forest of dance, says the renowned Indian choreographer.


High hopes

Ballet classes shouldn’t depend on income, says Peruvian RAD teacher Marícarmen Silva. Dan Collyns visits her school in Lima to hear about resilience and turning trash into opportunity.

Why Dance Matters post

Alice Oseman

The creator of Heartstopper describes what dance has given them.



Who does the daredevil stunts for action movies – and why does a ballet background help? Veronica Horwell investigates.


Total immersion

Audiences flock to immersive theatre experiences, choosing their own path through action that happens all around them. But what are they like to perform? Writer and dancer Isaac Ouro-Gnao shares a view from the inside.

Playlist post

Sonya Lindfors

A transporting playlist from the ‘hiphop head’ and Cameroonian-Finnish choreographer.



Industrial action is rare in the ballet world – but artists from Melbourne to Paris and London are protesting over pay and conditions. Jane Albert reports on what it takes for dancers to strike.

Fonteyn bronze medallist Ed Cooley. Photo: Martin Bell

Sound of The Fonteyn

The Fonteyn – the RAD’s prestigious international ballet competition – took place in person for the first time since 2019. The final was held at His Majesty’s Theatre, the opulent London theatre that is home to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera – and Dance Gazette was there to capture the evening in sound.