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The Royal Academy of Dance hosted an exclusive, invitation-only gala luncheon on Thursday 26 April to honour the retirement of Dame Antoinette Sibley DBE, after 21 years in her role as President of the Academy.
Commemorative slideshow of Dame Antoinette Sibley's career
The tribute luncheon, held in the Genée studio at Academy headquarters, attracted a star-studded guest list from the dance world, including Dame Antoinette’s legendary dance partner Sir Anthony Dowell, Dame Monica Mason DBE, Dame Beryl Grey DBE, Sir Peter Wright, Wayne Sleep OBE and Kevin O’Hare.
Video from the gala luncheon in honour of Dame Antoinette Sibley
Guest speakers included RAD Chairman Kerry Rubie and long-time friend and dance critic, Clement Crisp, who delivered an insightful citation. Dame Antoinette ended the proceedings with a heartfelt speech expressing her gratitude to the Academy and her guests for their support and loyalty throughout her career and Presidency.
The highlight of the event was the unveiling of a bronze bust, specially commissioned by the Academy thanks to donations from Members and Friends, to commemorate Dame Antoinette’s tireless dedication to the service of the Academy. The bust was created by Frances Segelman, an established sculptor whose recent subjects include Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip.
A special surprise was the awarding of the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Coronation Award to Dame Antoinette, by the RAD Board of Trustees. Established in 1953, the QEII Award is the highest honour to be offered by the RAD and it is given to Dame Antoinette in recognition to her outstanding service to dance.
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