Columbia Native Wins Honored Award from Prestigious Dance Academy

Cooper RustColumbia, S.C. – The Royal Academy of Dance in London, UK awarded Columbia, SC native Cooper Rust their Community Engagement Dance Teacher Award. Cooper Rust was selected out of a pool of nominees from all over the world. Nominees came from places from Mexico to South Africa.

Rust is not only is a S.C. native but also a former professional ballet dancer in the United States. She took her love for ballet with her to East Africa. Where she cofounded Dance Center Kenya in Nairobi in 2015 to provide top-level dance training to interested students from any economic background. Rust founded and serves as executive director of the US charity Artists for Africa which provides funding for free arts classes, including ballet, drama, music and creative writing, to the children in Kenya. Rust has impacted the community with an enrollment of 600 students at DCK and 1200 students in the A4A program. She is living her personal dream by touching the lives of all of her students using her passion for dancing.

The Royal Academy of Dance is one of the world’s most influential dance education and training organizations, with its global headquarters in London. The RAD’s patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Their higher education programs are regulated and a recent Ofsted inspection found the RAD to be an ‘outstanding’ provider of initial teacher education.


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