About The Richmond Academy
Principal, Harita Stavrou BA (HONS) FNATD
The School’s Principal, Miss Harita, began dance lessons at The Richmond Academy, at four years old, under Eileen Meacock’s tutorage. Lessons were then at the school’s old site in Richmond which has since been commercially developed but still resonates in the hearts of those who knew it with the sound of strict but nurturing instruction, and Eileen’s mother playing classical piano for the protégés.
Miss Harita is a graduate of Roehampton University, has served on the board of the NATD, is an examiner for the Association, and has been the protagonist and writer of an highly acclaimed Syllabus for Contemporary Dance. Miss Harita’s appreciation of the art form, sympathetic understanding of her pupils, is confirmed by a dedication to the very highest standards of teaching.
Over the decades of Harita Stavrou’s tutelage, students have gained leading roles in Film, Television and West End Theatre. They have attained places at the English National Ballet School, English Youth Ballet, London Children’s Ballet, Arts Educational, Northern Ballet School, Tring Park for the Performing Arts, Laine Theatre Arts, Laban, The Place, and have performed at Royal Ballet’s White Lodge and the Richmond Dance Festival.
Children’s Classes are offered from 2 1/2 years old. Teaching takes place in the heart of Richmond, at Parkshot, six days a week. All subjects are examined and the pass rate is exceptionally high. The Distinction attainment rate is very high.
The National Ballet syllabus is designed for the development of the basic skills and technique of classical ballet. There are Eight Grades preceded by Preliminary and Class Examination levels, which may be taken from the age of four years. The National Tap syllabus provides an exciting and stimulating way for pupils to develop and flourish, whether they wish to become a professional dancer or merely treat dance as a very healthy hobby. With technique that becomes increasingly sophisticated by Grades, students combine rhythm and timing to create joy from this very vigorous and rewarding art form.
Contemporary dance emerged in the 1950’s, after the Modern and Post-Modern movement, combining elements of these with Classical Ballet. The NATD Syllabus was conceived by Miss Harita and encompasses Six Grades. Students interpret, create and execute routines based on ideas emanated and evolved from the pioneering choreographers of our time such as Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon.
Miss Harita, Working Course Leader at Kuala Lumpur NATD September 2018
Founder, The Late Eileen Meacock MBE 1933-2018
Eileen Founded the Richmond Academy of Dance in 1952 and was awarded an MBE by The Queen in 2011 for services to Dance.
A career in dance commenced at the age of five. Eileen dedicated herself to Tap and won many Sunshine Dance competitions. Taking up Ballet at the age of eleven, Eileen’ s commitment to the art was demonstrable by the completion of all five grades of the RAD within a mere two years. An Advance Certificate and the Licentiate of the ISTD were achieved after continued training with Phyllis Bedells. Tom Parry and Joan Hardy were also to be instrumental to further accomplishment in Tap and Modern Dance.
A professional dancer, trained in Latin American by Dimitris Petrides, and Ballroom by Bob Garganice, Eileen taught at the latter’s famous Richmond venue and performed extensively on Television and the West End stage, before opening her own studio.
Eileen joined the National Association of Teachers of Dancing (NATD) in 1947 and served as its President for 1997-1999.
Her legacy, charitable spirit, and dedication to the Academy and its pupils continues.