Royal Academy of Dance opens their new HQ with Harlequin flooring in all seven studios and the performance space

12th May 2022

Earlier this year the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), opened their new international home for dance – their headquarters in Battersea, London.

Harlequin installed over 1200m2 of flooring which included seven large dance studios with Harlequin Activity sprung floor and Harlequin Cascade vinyl performance floor with BioCote antimicrobial protection. Each studio also has bespoke Harlequin ballet barres and mirrors.

As well as the seven dance studios, the RAD’s new home for dance has a 193-seat performance space, The Aud Jebsen Studio Theatre, which is equipped with a Harlequin Activity sprung floor and a black Harlequin Cascade with BioCote vinyl performance surface to showcase the RAD’s dancing talent.

The RAD’s Artistic Director, Gerard Charles, said: “It was really easy to decide to use Harlequin Floors because I’ve worked with them for decades and they’ve always done an amazing job for us. Besides all the technical details that make a great Harlequin floor, the most important aspect is that it is safe for our students.

The floor is a dancer’s main tool other than our bodies so we wanted to know that the floor would be reliable. The students can come into the studio and just focus on their dancing without thinking about whether they might slide or if they will suffer with an injury. They are here to create dance and enjoy! Harlequin allows them to do that safely.”

Each studio has bespoke ballet barres and mirrors. The RAD required bespoke colours so the ballet barres matched other RAD furnishings. Harlequin water cut the mirrors to fit the wall mounted ballet barres directly to the walls to create a seamless and neat finish.

The new building has a shop where students can test out their new dance shoes on the same floor as to what they will be dancing on in the studios.

As part of the opening, Camilla, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, toured the building and was introduced to RAD students as well as a Silver Swans ballet class for learners ages over 55. They were joined remotely by a class in Perth, Australia.

The new HQ will enable the RAD to bring the transformational power of dance to more people, regardless of age, ability, or location.

Harlequin’s Technical Development Manager, Jamie Stirling, said: The process of installing the floors went very smoothly once we got on site. It was really all about collaboration and communication with the RAD, the main contractors and the architects. 

We’ve got a great relationship with the RAD so it was easy to make sure that we had everything in place. This is a real flagship project for us and is something Harlequin is incredibly proud to be part of.”

Harlequin has worked with the RAD in the UK and Australia for over 30 years, with the new HQ being the biggest project so far. The next project for Harlequin is in Darlinghurst, Sydney where the RAD building will have Harlequin flooring – Harlequin Liberty and Harlequin Cascade.

RAD gallery
Photography: David Tett

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