The Royal Academy of Dance in Malta.

The Royal Academy of Dance has been active in Malta since 1958, when Lillian Attard first introduced its dance syllabus to the islands. With the support of the Royal Academy in London, Mrs Attard pioneered dance education in Malta and staged some of the first full length ballets including Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Since those early years, Dance in Malta has gone from strength to strength with schools dotted all over Malta and Gozo following the RAD syllabus.

Lilian Attard’s prestigious association with the Royal Academy of Dance began in 1958 when she introduced the ‘Ballet in Education’ syllabus in Malta and for the first time presented eight Maltese pupils for the prestigious exam. These examinations have been held annually ever since. In 1966 she was appointed the local representative of the Academy in an honorary capacity, a post she held with distinction for twenty eight years. Awarded the President’s Award for her dedicated service to the aims and objectives of the Academy, she has striven all her working life to give the art of ballet in Malta the status it deserves.

How it All Started

In 1957 Lilian Attard had the opportunity to meet Peggy Whiteley, an Examiner of the Royal Academy of Dance, at a reception. Miss Whiteley was spending a few days in Malta visiting some old friends before returning to the UK after an extensive tour in the Far East. She was also trying to interest dance teachers in the RAD syllabus. This meeting proved fruitful and in July 1958 Mrs Attard entered eight Maltese children for the first examinations of the Royal Academy of Dancing ever to be held in Malta.

The syllabus, known at the time as ‘Ballet in Education’, guided the students through exercises in Posture, Technique, Music, Deprtment, Dance and Mime. Dressed immaculately in their white cotton tunics and pink ballet shoes, they demonstrated the skills taught to them so patiently by their dedicated teacher, Lilian Attard. Their hard work was justly rewarded as all the candidates passed their examinations and were presented with certificates by their examiner, Kathleen Oliver.