Pacific Arts Dance welcomes Royal Academy of Dance examiners


The Pacific Arts Dance Center recently hosted international Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) ballet examiners Gillian Davis and Angela Watkin at the Carmel Valley studio for a week-long RAD Ballet Intensive. The two examiners are among 180 worldwide that travel around the globe three times a year to perform evaluations of dancers in the Royal Academy of Dance curriculum. Davis came to the Carmel Valley studio fresh from exams in Hong Kong and Italy.

“It’s a very unique opportunity to get two international examiners in one workshop,” said Marie Arts, artistic director of Pacific Arts Dance Center. “It gives our students an incredible chance to improve their techniques and learn what the master teachers are looking for.”

Pacific Arts has a RAD program for students as young as 5 to begin following the ballet syllabus. The exams and assessments motivate students of all ages and abilities with a focus on creativity and musicality, providing opportunities for students and parents to track progress and achievement.

“With RAD, every child is rewarded,” Davis said, noting that the same standard is applied by examiners to dancers all over the world learning the same techniques and working toward the same goals. “As they do the exams through the levels they build confidence and self-discipline.”

Davis and Watkin have known each other “forever,” since they first danced together in 1959. Davis, who danced professionally at the Royal Ballet in London and the Rhodesian National Ballet, has been an examiner for RAD since 1977 and now lives in Hawaii.

Watkin, a native of South Africa, has been an examiner since 1992 and now serves as the director of the RAD program at Pacific Arts and will teach three classes a week at the studio in the fall.

“This is the only studio in San Diego that has a vibrant RAD program,” said Watkin of the program that also has certified RAD teacher Christina Biggins on staff.

The master teachers had a lot to offer the dancers in the ballet intensive as the students were about to begin a new season of the RAD ballet syllabus, learning ballet pantomime, pointe work and classical ballet variations.

In addition the RAD program, Pacific Arts Dance also offers Ballet Academy, which is a more progressive, faster pace track getting pre-professional students ready for a career in ballet and the dance world. The Ballet Academy is also very performance based. To learn more, visit