The Royal Academy of Dance was started in London in 1920 by a few teachers who wanted to improve the standard of classical ballet and the teaching of it. At that time anyone could say they were a ballet teacher and operate as such. As a result there was a very poor standard of dancer being turned out, along with a lot of unnecessary injuries.
The Operatic Association as it was called then was surprisingly taught in South Africa as early as 1922, but only really established in 1927. In 1920 Madame Ravodna visited South Africa and performed at the Empire Theatre in Johannesburg. Madame Ravodna ended up staying on, and this was the beginning of the teaching of real technical classical ballet in South Africa. She held annual concerts which aroused interest among dance lovers, and she got rave reviews in the newspapers for her good solid technique, which was never seen in Southern Africa at that time.
Ivy Conmee and her sister Mary, were the first to teach the syllabus in SA. Ivy Conmee took it upon herself to go to London to study and was the first teacher in South Africa to bring back the teachers diploma at the ripe old age of fifteen.
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