Royal Academy of Dance

RAD Overseas Scholarship from 1941 – 2002


1941 Rowena Jackson MBE

Born in Invercargill, Rowena Jackson was awarded the first Royal Academy of Dancing Overseas Scholarship in 1941.  After the war Rowena trained at Sadler’s Wells School in London, winning the Adeline Genée Gold Medal in 1947 and joining the Sadler’s Wells Ballet Company.  She was promoted to Principal Ballerina in 1954. Rowena became world record holder for performing 121 fouettés in 1940.  In 1958 Rowena married Royal Ballet Premier Danseur, Philip Chatfield, and they headed the first Royal Ballet tour of Australasia together for eight months.   The Chatfields retired to New Zealand in 1959, moving to Wellington in 1972 and Rowena then became Director of the School and Associate Director of the NZ Ballet until 1978.   Rowena and Philip now live in Queensland, Australia.

1944 Alexander Grant CBE

Born in Wellington and a student of Jeane Horne, QSM, FRAD, Alexander Grant was awarded the Royal Academy of Dancing NZ Overseas Scholarship in 1944.  From Sadler’s Wells School in London, Alexander joined the Sadler’s Wells Ballet (now Royal Ballet) where from 1946 – 76 he became a Principal Dancer, Co-Director Ballet for the All touring Company, Director and Artistic Director.  From 1976 – 83 Alexander was Artistic Director of the National Ballet, Canada, 1985 – 91 Principal Dancer London Festival Ballet, 1985 – 91 guest artist Royal Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, English National Ballet.  During his long career, Alexander played numerous leading roles on stage and in the film Tales of Beatrix Potter and was a frequent judge at international ballet competitions around the world.  In 2005, he was appointed a ‘Living Icon’ by the Arts Foundation of new Zealand.  Alexander was a Founder Member of the 14+ Dance Scholarship Foundation.  He died in England at the age of 86 in September 2011.

1946 Yvonne Cartier

Born in Auckland in 1928, Yvonne Cartier trained under Valerie Valeska and Bettina Edwards.  On being awarded an RAD Scholarship, she went to London and trained at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet School.  She joined the St James’ Company in 1948 – 49 and then performed in a revue with Audrey Hepburn.  Yvonne danced in John Canko’s first Company, the BBC Ballet Company, Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet and Royal Ballet Covent Garden.  Following an ankle injury, Yvonne turned to mime, studying and working in Paris with Jacques Lecocq and Marcel Marceau.  After television work and being assistant at the Nationale Theatre, Yvonne began teaching in 1968, introducing the RAD system to France the following year.  She continued coaching young professionals until a few months ago before her death in Paris on 11 May 2014.

1948 Donald McAlpine

Donald danced with Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet (The Royal Ballet) for four years. After working in the commercial theatre, dancing in television, films and West End shows and studying modern dance with Sigurd Leeder, he joined London's Festival Ballet where he became a soloist. He stayed with the company for seven years and later joined Harlequin Ballet as a choreographer and dancer. He and his wife Phyllida opened the Donald McAlpine Dance Studio in London in 1972.

1950 Rosina Gay

Rosina Irwin Gay was born in Bristol, England on 9 July 1932, moving with her family to Fiji as a 2-year-old, and then to New Zealand at age 9.  She attended Takapuna Girls Boarding School until she was 18, when she won the RAD scholarship and returned to England.  She also gained her Solo Seal Award.  The scholarship enabled Rosina to dance with Sadler's Wells in London for approximately 3 years, and she often performed as a soloist.  Rosina had some small parts in a couple of films, and she danced for the Paris Opera for 3 months.  Her favourite ballet was Giselle.  She was invited to dance for the Borovansky Ballet Company (now known as the Australian Ballet Company), which she accepted and performed with the company for about 2 years.  Rosina worked with Sir Robert Helpmann, and is mentioned in Barry Kitcher's From Gaolbird to Lyrebird.  She died in Scone, NSW, Australia on 4 January 2012.

1954 Jill Powell

Jill Powell won the Royal Academy of Dancing NZ Scholarship in 1954 at the age of 14.  The following year she left for England, accompanied by her mother, to train with the Sadlers Wells School.  Jill remembers that during her time there she demonstrated the new RAD syllabus to teachers from over the world.  She also remembers being one of the 4 little swans in the BBC TV programme Monitor.  After leaving Sadlers Wells School Jill free-lanced, dancing in some ballets filmed by Margaret Dale and also in a Northern TV production of La Boutique Fantasque then decided for personal reasons to give up dancing completely.  Jill has been living in Lausanne, Switzerland for over 20 years, during which time she has been very involved in the Prix de Lausanne.  She has been on the board since 1995 and on the artistic committee since 1997.

1956 Geoffrey Corser

If you have any information or photographs of Geoffrey Corser or you know of someone who can help, please contact the RAD at

1962 Cherylanne Gillam

If you have any information or photographs of Cherylanne Gillam or you know of someone who can help, please contact the RAD at

1964 Donald Kirkpatrick

After gaining the RAD NZ scholarship Donald Kilpatrick studied at the Royal Ballet School in London, graduating in 1966 at age 17.  He joined the Royal Ballet, Covent Gardens and danced as a junior soloist in the UK, Europe and USA.  He has worked internationally as ballet master, guest ballet teacher, choreographer, coach and teacher at the International Ballet Competition.  Donald has staged ballets for Scottish Ballet, Ballet Gothenburg and Malmo Ballet where Ragtime was his choreography debut.  He began his employment at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in 1983 on the invitation of the then Head of Gosta Svalberg and has taught in secondary schools since then. 

1968 Mary Jane McDonald (O’Reilly) QSM    

Mary Jane O’Reilly trained at the National School of Ballet in Wellington and was the RAD Scholarship winner in 1968.   She was a founder member of the internationally renowned Limbs Dance Company in 1977.   Mary Jane continued her involvement with Limbs as a dancer, choreographer and Artistic Director from 1978 to 1986.   Mary Jane choreographed the opening and closing ceremonies of the XIVth Commonwealth Games in Auckland in 1990 and also that year created the full length evening work, Jean, the Ballet of Jean Batten for the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company.   She continues to choreograph her own work as well as numerous collaborations such as with the Pacific Island Theatre Company, working with children and intense exploration of the relationship between dance and camera in making film and video dance.

1970 Elizabeth Alpe

The 1970 NZ Overseas Scholarship winner, Elizabeth Alpe of Wellington was a student of Deirdre Tarrant, attending the Silverstream branch of the Tarrant Schools of Ballet.   Elizabeth used the Scholarship to train at the Royal Ballet School and after graduating joined the Royal Ballet Company.   Elizabeth, who continues to live in London, has completed the Academy’s Professional Dance Teachers’ Course and is a free lance teacher occasionally working for the RAD on its Summer Schools programme.

1972 Sherilyn Kennedy

Born in Auckland, Sherilyn later trained at the National School of Ballet.  She created the role of the Snow Maiden for the New Zealand Ballet Company.   In 1973 with the Royal Academy of Dancing’s Overseas Scholarship won in 1972, Sherilyn joined the Royal Ballet School, graduating to Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in 1974.  She was promoted to Soloist in 1978 and to Principal in 1980.  Her major roles included The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Giselle, Les Sylphides, The Nutcracker, Petrushka, Raymonda Act III, Theme and Variations, Paquita and Symphonic Variations.   Sherilyn returned to New Zealand in 1999.

1974 Barbara Allan

Barbara Allan of Papakura won the Royal Academy of Dancing Scholarship in 1974.   Barbara was a member of the NZ Dance Centre Company under the tutelage of Russell Kerr.   Barbara studied at the Royal Ballet School in London before returning to New Zealand.

1976 Kerry Anne Gilberd

Principal dancer, Kerry Anne Gilberd is one of New Zealand’s leading dance talents.  She gained a tremendous following with her fine performances in many productions including her favourites, La Sylphide, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle and Romeo and Juliet.   Kerry Anne studied at the National School of Ballet in Wellington and after successfully winning the Royal Academy of Dancing Scholarship, she furthered her training at the Royal Ballet School and was later invited to join the Royal Ballet of Flanders with which she spent four years extensively touring Europe.  Kerry Anne rejoined the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company in 1981.  She was awarded the MNZM for services to ballet in 1997.

1978 Marli-Ann Gregory

If you have any information or photographs of Marli-Ann Gregory or you know of someone who can help, please contact the RAD at

1980 Simone James

If you have any information or photographs of Simone James or you know of someone who can help, please contact the RAD at

1982 Cora Bos Kroese

Born in Amsterdam, Holland, Cora was a student of Lynne Harrison, Wellington.  After winning the NZ RAD scholarship, Cora studied at the Royal Ballet School in London then completed her dance schooling with the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haag.  In 1986 she joined the Netherlands Dance Theater, junior company and continued into the main company.  During her time with NDT, she created many pieces of her own and worked with many great choreographers.  In 1993 she received the ”Aanmoedigings Prijs” from the Dansers Fonds.  Cora joined Ballet Frankfurt, working for William Forsythe for two years.  Recently she has worked as a rehearser for Netherlands Dance Theater main company, has helped set works from William Forsythe & Kylian internationally, and is also working as a freelance dancer/choreographer.

1984 Nicola-Jane Searchfield

Born in Auckland, Nicola trained under Valerie Murray at the South Auckland Ballet Academy and after winning the 1984 RAD Overseas Scholarship, studied at the Royal Ballet School.  She joined the Royal Ballet Company in 1986 and was promoted to First Artist in 1989.  She was a Professional Level prize-winner at the 1986 Prix de Lausanne, and created roles in Cyrano and the Planets.  Nicola  retired after 13 years in the Royal Ballet dancing in all Repertoire, and is now a trained Pilates instructor with her own studio.  

1986 Anneliese Gilberd

Anneliese was born in Wellington and trained with the Lynne Harrison Dance Academy.   At age 15yrs she was accepted into The National School of Ballet in Wellington. After winning the RAD overseas scholarship and AGC Young Achievers Award Anneliese studied at The Royal Ballet School in London where she graduated at Covent Garden and was a finalist of The Adeline Genée International Competition.  After returning home to join The Royal NZ Ballet Company she performed and toured with the company in NZ and worldwide performing many soloist roles. After dancing with the RNZBC for 13 years Anneliese is now living and teaching in Christchurch and has developed a full time pre professional Ballet training programme starting 2011 to prepare students who are wanting to audition for full time professional schools.

1988 Vivian Ip

Vivian Ip took up her RAD Scholarship at Elmhurst Ballet School in London and gained her Solo Seal in London in 1990.  After deciding not to pursue the professional dance track, Vivian returned to studies in New Zealand and graduated from Auckland University in 1995.  Vivian went on to serve nine years in the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, working in the field of international relations including three years as Vice Consul in Hong Kong.  In 2004 Vivian left the Ministry to pursue a masters in environmental studies at Naropa University, Colorado.

At Naropa, Vivian has also studied Contemplative Dance—a form pioneered by Barbara Dilley) and which she hopes to be able to use one day as a vehicle for introducing non-dancers to embodied movement.

1990 Sophie Beever

Aucklander, Sophie Beever trained with Philippa Campbell and later Valerie Murray and Caroldene Blair.   She won the RAD Overseas Scholarship in 1990 and an AGC Young Achievers Award in 1991, and then entered the Academie de Danse Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo.   After graduating in 1994, Sophie joined Les Ballet Monte Carlo, followed by a short contract with the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company in 1997, before joining Landetheater Coburg Germany in 1997 and Ulmer Theatre  from 1998 – 2003. Sophie retired from ballet in 2003 returning to New Zealand where she completed a 2-year intensive Interior Design Diploma course.

1992 Julia Aldridge

Originally a pupil of Carole Speirs in Tauranga, Julia Aldridge used the Royal Academy of Dancing Scholarship to undertake full time training at the Australian Ballet School.   After graduating she danced with the Royal NZ Ballet Company for a number of years.  

1994 Ivan Thorley

Ivan Thorley has been involved in the performing arts industry since graduating with a Bachelor of Dance and a Post-Graduate degree in Animateuring (Hybrid Theatre Practice) from the Victorian College of the Arts Melbourne.  He has also completed a Masters Degree in Digital Performance at Brunel University, West London.

Ivan, who is at present based in London, is a performer who specialises in dance, performance, puppetry, choreography, technology, digital multimedia and animateuring. He has received commissions and funding for his independent work and has performed and collaborated with various performing arts companies and projects locally, nationally and internationally.

1995 Meika McHardy

Meika used her 1995 RAD Scholarship to train at the Kirov Ballet School in Washington DC under the famous dancer Alla Sizova.  As a student, she had the opportunity to tour with artists from the Kirov in the Russian production of Nutcracker.  After a tour of Europe, she was given a scholarship to train at the Heinz Bosi Ballet School in Munich, Germany and after graduation danced with the Bayerishe Statsoper.  She danced with Semperoper Dresden for 6 years, with solo roles including the lead in Stefan Toss’ ballet Altera Pars, the lead in Ein Nachmittags Einen Faun and soloist in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. After retiring in 2006, she returned to NZ and embarked on a law degree at Auckland University.

1996 Lisa Bayliss

If you have any information or photographs of Lisa Bayliss or you know of someone who can help, please contact the RAD at

1997 Anita Hutchins

Anita Hutchins used the RAD Scholarship she won in 1997 to assist her to study at the Royal Ballet School where she graduated Top Female Student.   Whilst at the school she performed with the Royal Ballet and worked with the RAD, dancing on its Solo Seal video.  At the Margot Fonteyn Memorial she danced Fonteyn’s first solo.  Anita won the Silver Medal at the 2000 Adeline Genée Awards.   From 2000 to 2003 she danced with Bayerisches Staatsballet Munchen and from 2003 to 2004 with Netherlands Dans Theater II working with Jiri Kylian and others.

After returning to New Zealand, Anita undertook a 6-month course with Avalon Film and Television School in Lower Hutt and danced for Michael Parmenter.  In June 2006 Anita was the very popular winner of the hugely successful So You Think You Can Dance TV show.

1998 Stacey Gardner

If you have any information or photographs of Stacey Gardner or you know of someone who can help, please contact the RAD at

2000 Abigail Boyle

A pupil of Delphine Burkett at the Auckland Ballet Academy, Abigail grew up in Milford on Auckland’s North Shore.  She won the New Zealand nationals and received the Royal Academy of Dance scholarship in 2000, and in 2001 was the recipient of the Sir John Logan Campbell Award. 

Abigail joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet at the beginning of 2006, after graduating from the International Ballet Academy in Christchurch.  She also trained at the New Zealand School of Dance. One dance writer noted her polished technique was a perfect mix of control and freedom.

2001 Katie Hurst-Saxton

From swan maiden to mermaid, one of Juliet's offsiders to a pirate, Katie Hurst-Saxton has enjoyed performing a variety of roles since joining the Royal New Zealand Ballet in mid-2002. Katie's prizes include the 2001 Royal Academy of Dance Scholarship, second runner-up in the 2002 New Zealand National Ballet Award, and in 2003 she was awarded the RAD Solo Seal. She is a former student of the International Ballet Academy in Christchurch.

2002 Anya Kouzminova

Anya Kouzminova won the Royal Academy of Dance Scholarship in 2002.   Anya, commenced her ballet training at the age of five years in Moscow, Russia.  In 1994 she and her family immigrated to New Zealand where she continued to study in Auckland with Melinda and Heather Palmer as well as Philippa Campbell and Joye Lowe.  In 2000 the family transferred to Wellington where she studied with Elayne Cherry. She then studied full time at the NZ School of Dance before continuing her education at Victoria University, Wellington.

Winners from 1941 to 2002 with photos Winners from 1941 to 2002 with photos (1005 KB)