Vale Prudence Bowen
Former RAD examiner, registered teacher and life member who passed away last week.
The Academy is deeply saddened to hear the news this week of the passing of long standing and highly regarded former RAD examiner and registered teacher Prudence Bowen.
Prue was a dedicated and gifted teacher who trained RAD students for many years through her well known schools Ecole Classique School of Classical Ballet and Atelier Australia. She has greatly contributed to the Royal Academy of Dance and to dance, both in Australia and internationally.
Our thoughts are with her family and all who knew her for her remarkable work ethic, ability to inspire, encourage and motivate her students and for whom her indomitable character left a lasting mark.
Photo from the Retired Examiners Luncheon 2017. Left Prudence Bowen and right Diana de Vos.
Read more about Prudence Bowen below
Prudence Gai Bowen was born in Sydney New South Wales on the 6th January 1941.
Prue suffered from chronic asthma from a very early age. On the advice of her doctor she commenced ballet at 6 years of age. He advised her that balletic exercise would help her breathing difficulties. She first studied with Phyllis Brunt who imparted the love of ballet to all her students. Prue was educated at Abbotsleigh School for girls at Wahroonga from age 6 to 15. At 15 she commenced full-time dance studies at the “Scully Borovansky Ballet School” in Sydney where she was a day student for four years. During these years she successfully completed all the RAD major exams: Nellie Potts conducted the Elementary and Intermediate exams in 1958 and Olga Cooper examined Advanced and Solo Seal in 1960.
Throughout her years of teachers she has taught for Kathleen Daintree and received a letter from Dame Ninette de Valois inviting her to watch classes and have carte blanche access to the Royal Ballet Company in Covent Garden. She also received an invitation from the Academy to take all of Olga Cooper’s classes at the Academy while Olga was away examining.
Upon returning to Australia, she decided to open the Prudence Bowen Academy in Sydney. Her first three full-time students became soloists with internationally acclaimed ballet companies.
In 1972, aged 30, armed with letters from Dame Peggy van Praagh (founding Director of the Australian Ballet), Prue decided it was again time she travelled to the best teachers in the world to gain more knowledge and enhance her teaching ability. She went first to Bali to the Balinese School of Arts where she learned Balinese Dancing. Moving on to Moscow, Prue visited the Bolshoi School and Theatre. In Leningrad (St. Petersburg) she visited the Kirov School and Theatre (Mariinsky). The next stop was Copenhagen where she had the privilege of watching Vera Volkova teach for ten days at the Royal Danish Ballet.
After a stop off in Paris, her journey finished in London back at Covent Garden and the Royal Ballet School.
In 1980, she returned to Australia with Giulietta and started the “École Classique School of Classical Ballet” in Sydney. In the same year Prue trained as a children’s examiner in Brisbane and subsequently spent many years on the "milk run", teaching in regional areas. A few years later Prue invited Kit Lethby from London to teach at Ecole Classique. He had been an examiner with RAD for several years.
In 1980 Prue was selected to train as a Grades Examiner for the Royal Academy of Dance. A few years later she was selected to train in London as a Vocational Examiner and subsequently had the pleasure for many years of travelling the world to examine candidates in the 79 countries in which the Academy operated at that time.
In 2002 Prue moved to the Gold Coast into her “glass house” on the mountainous hinterland to enjoy the peace of the countryside. In this location Prue and Richard constructed their home and purpose built extensive studios for École Classique School of Classical Ballet, where she was able to share her love of dance with many of her students.
In the years between then and now, Prue has had students accepted into the Royal Ballet School, Royal Ballet, Staatsballet Berlin, Dutch National Ballet School, Australian Ballet School, Australian Ballet, New Zealand School of Dance, West Australian Ballet, Houston Ballet Academy, Canadian National Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet Company and the Royal Danish Ballet Company. Her students have won the biggest competition in the Southern Hemisphere, the $18000 McDonald’s Ballet Scholarship in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and been one of eight finalists in both 2013 and 2014. They have also received Gold Medals at the Genée International Ballet Competition in 2008 and 2009. She had outright winners at the bi-annual Alana Haines Awards in 2009 and 2013.
Until her death this month Prue enjoyed part time teaching and overseeing her very successful school École Classique School of Classical Ballet.