TH E I NTE R N ATION A L VOICE OF TH E I M PE R I A L SOCI E T Y OF TE ACH E RS OF DA NCI NG THE INTERNATIONAL VOICE OF THE IMPERIAL SOCIET Y OF TEACHERS OF DANCING
Issue 493 • September – December 2021
F E AT U R I N G
Yes, I can do it SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE 493
We speak to Mark Smith, Founder of Deaf Men Dancing, and ISTD Patron
Your voice News from our strategic review
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Members welcome Headquarters 22/26 Paul Street, London EC2A 4QE + 44 (0)20 7377 1577 istd.org Acting Co-Chairs Erin Sanchez Frederick Way Executive team Chief Executive Ginny Brown email@example.com Director of Dance Liz Dale firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Examinations Janne Karkkainen email@example.com Director of Membership and Communications Gemma Matthews firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Education Louise Molton email@example.com Director of Finance & Operations David Lyon firstname.lastname@example.org Advertise in Dance Magazine Email email@example.com Tel + 44 (0)20 7377 1577 Cover photograph: Deaf Men Dancing performing Time at the Laban Theatre Photo by Jane Hobson Design by Membership and Communications Department Printed by Gemini Print Unit A1 Dolphin Way Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6NZ © 2021 Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing exists to advance excellence in dance teaching and education. Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered No. 00392978 England. Registered Charity No. 250397
“ I applaud your resilience, creativity, and tenacity to keep going come what may.” Welcome to this edition of Dance, guest edited by council member Tom Hobden, which celebrates the people who make up our Society. I hope you enjoy reading the inspirational stories about our members, patrons and alumni, which give a snapshot of the brilliant work you all do to support and inspire the next generation of dance students. It’s clear that dance classes have been a lifeline during the pandemic – keeping your students connected with their friends, and their passion, over extended periods of lockdown. I applaud your resilience, creativity, and tenacity to keep going come what may. My priority is to continue supporting you as we evolve to meet the challenges and opportunities of the post-pandemic world. Reading this edition has reinforced my determination to ensure that we not only survive this crisis, but that we come through this testing period poised to make a significant contribution to children’s cultural education. By enabling more people to access our work, we can all re-build financially resilient and sustainable businesses and the Society can support you to play an important role in the recovery of your local communities. Towards that goal, the 360-degree review of the Society will ensure we move forward as a cohesive whole – guided by the hopes of our members, potential future members, and your students. You can read the review findings on page 28 and I will look forward to reporting how we used this feedback to guide our future plans in the next edition of Dance. Together we can ensure the Society builds back stronger and continues to be there to support you to make a difference to the lives of all those who love to dance. With my very best wishes for the new term. Ginny Brown Chief Executive
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001_DANCE_493 Ginny welcome.indd 1
News 26 Our Society think tanks We spoke to some of the people involved in our disability inclusion, gender and LGBTQIA+, and racial diversity think tanks 28 Your voice is shaping the future News for members from our strategic review
International update 30 Europe Carole Watson shares the stories of four professional dancers who have been inspired for life 32 North America Astrid Sherman shares inspiring stories from Canada and Mexico 33 Australasia Jess Walker looks at professional qualifications for the new generation 34 Asia Chua Zjen Fong reflects on the importance of the next generation of dance teachers 35 Africa and the Middle East Delia Sainsbury highlights ISTD dancers who are using their talents in varied areas of dance
What's on 82 Highlights Updates on current events and what's on in the industry 84 Join the conversation A look at what's trending online
Focus on 36 Cecchetti Classical Ballet Richard Glasstone FISTD MBE, plus an inspirational project 40 Classical Greek Dance The story of Ruby Ginner and why Classical Greek enriches dance training 44 Classical Indian Dance Profiles of inspiring Bharatanatyam and Kathak dancers 48 Contemporary Dance Antonio Borriello and Dr Ross McKim 52 Disco, Freestyle, Rock n Roll and Street Winning the Phyllis Haylor Scholarship and the joy of Street 56 Imperial Classical Ballet ISTD teachers talk about being Chance to Dance Associate Artists 60 Latin American We catch up with a student teacher and a current UK top competitor 62 Modern Ballroom Looking at ballroom dance in Japan during the pandemic and interviews with UK champions 68 Modern Theatre Training, teachers and travel – educating and inspiring 70 National Dance Young ISTD teachers' perspectives and pioneers of the Faculty 74 Sequence Dance From top competitor to teacher 76 Tap Dance A tap journey, and Helen Green shares the story of her mother, Daphne Peterson
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Issue 493 | September – December 2021
Yes, I can do it We caught up with Mark Smith, ISTD Patron, Choreographer, Artistic Director and Founder of Deaf Men Dancing.
Funding for dancers Top arts fundraiser Fern Potter shares her tips for funding your projects, plus details of annual bursaries available from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.
OT HER FE AT URE S 4
From our guest editor An introduction to this ISTD people issue of Dance magazine from Society Trustee Tom Hobden
22 Membership matters Membership updates, news and views
20 Ones to watch Five teachers reveal their unique experiences of our qualifications and training
How has the Society been using its grant? PAGE 16
Inspiring alumni Six teachers tell the story of their ISTD membership, career progression and vision for the future in light of our organisational values: quality, inclusion, innovation, passion and integrity.
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From our guest editor An introduction to this ISTD people issue of Dance magazine from Society Trustee Tom Hobden
Tom Hobden ISTD Trustee For me, dance is about people, who they are, how they move and how they can move others. Dance is the car journeys to class and competitions, the day after day of practice and perfecting, the lasting friendships made in the studio, the excitement of families at performance, the journeys from student to nurturing teacher and being part of a community that creates conversations worldwide. Dance is about local venues, different people and an endless mix of movement styles coming together. It’s the chance to learn who you are and how you like to move, and the perfect opportunity to meet others and share in your passion. It’s the humanity that surrounds dance that makes it a perfect social art form. Dance’s implicit links to community as well as healthy bodies and minds makes it ideal for recovery in a post pandemic world. Quite simply, dance brings joy in the darkest of times. It seems to me that the dances we so carefully learn are the glue between people and every rich, diverse and passionate person makes up the ‘wholeness’ of dance. Without the careful guidance and encouragement of the teacher, it’s just another complicated movement. Acknowledge the person and their unique delivery and life experiences, and 4
it becomes a wonderful dance moment the memory of which lasts a lifetime. The ISTD is an embodiment of this idea, a living, breathing ecology of students, teachers, performers and their loyal supporters, and also the starting point for our current edition. When I joined the Society in my role as trustee I had been steadily meeting person after person, carefully listening to members, the 360-degree review feedback, and leaders within the organisation to build a complete picture of the ISTD’s identity. I repeatedly heard the values of passion, diversity and energy, and was encouraged by the regular call to use dance as a tool to educate, inspire and lead us to a positive and stronger future. As an acknowledgement of the individual, this edition celebrates some of those people, highlights the ISTD’s growing diversity, shines a spotlight on new voices and hears from pioneers who paved the way. We have pulled together powerful life stories and experiences at every stage and drawn out the differences and commonalities that make up our rich and diverse membership. The cyclical nature of a dancer first sees a curious student turn into a successful examinee, followed by challenging career, years of practice, the desire to give back and finally the development of dance, which inspires that next curious student. Happy reading!
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For me, dance is about people, who they are, how they move and how they can move others. i TOM HOB DEN Tom has a reputation as an energised, smiley dance motivator who has worked with a host of leading dance organisations including Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells, Royal Ballet School, New Adventures, Studio Wayne MacGregor, Ballet Boyz, Trinity Laban and Dance East. He is a choreographer, dancer, qualified educator, mentor, and awardwinning national leader in community dance practice. He holds a BA in performing arts, an MA in choreography, is a Clore graduate and Guildhall creative entrepreneur. He is known for his enthusiasm, breadth of knowledge and infectious ability to communicate dance to everyone.
Above Tom Hobden in his role as Mentor with the Royal Opera House's Chance to Dance project to improve access to dance. Turn to page 56 to read more about ISTD teachers and Chance to Dance Associate Artists Yvonne Browne and Diana Clifford Left Sonia Chandaria Tillu, an independent Kathak artist who values the Society's emphasis on sustained dance practice (page 47) Dance | Issue 493
On the cover
Yes, I can do it We caught up with Mark Smith, ISTD Patron, Choreographer, Artistic Director and Founder of Deaf Men Dancing PAUL NICHOLAS DYKE
Mark Smith Dance teacher, workshop leader, movement director and choreographer
Right Deaf Men Dancing performing ‘Time’ at the Laban theatre in 2019 6
Dance and deafness I’m profoundly deaf in both ears. My mum caught Rubella and I was born deaf. There is no genetic deafness in the family. I communicate through lipreading and lipspeaking, and I also use SSE (Sign Supported English). I was late diagnosed as deaf. My mum kept calling my name, but I wasn’t responding to it. So, she took me to see a doctor. But the doctor – this was the early 1970s – just shook a rattle in front of my face, so of course I responded to it, and he told my mum “He’s fine.” When I had reached around three years old, my mum was not happy, so she took me to a well-known hospital in London that specialises in hearing where I had a full test and they confirmed that I was deaf. That was when I started wearing a hearing aid, which was a box with straps, and attached to my ears. From then on, I was discovering new sounds every day. My oldest sister used to go to dance school in Dagenham. My mum used to take me along, and I became fascinated watching the children dancing with the piano accompaniment, expressing themselves. I could feel the vibrations from the piano, so I used to join in at the back of the class, trying to copy. The dance teacher, Miss Hill, asked my mum if I wanted to take part, so that’s how I got into dancing, aged three years old. My mum remembers me wearing a yellow and green pixie outfit and the little girls dancing around me at Ilford Town Hall! That’s my earliest memory of dancing on stage. What I remember is that I felt that I was treated equally with the other children in the dance class, despite being the only boy.
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I am passionate about educating hearing people about deaf culture. JANE HOBSON
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On the cover
grateful for Miss Winkree’s support and encouragement because it helped my future as a dancer. As a dance teacher and choreographer, I learnt from her that it is so important to support, encourage and inspire dance pupils and students at performing arts colleges.
Above Deaf Men Dancing performing ‘Time’ at the Laban theatre in 2019
Being undiagnosed deaf, I had missed out on a lot of vocabulary and speech by the time I was three. I see babies with tiny hearing aids now, which is amazing. But I never had that, so I had a lot of catching up to do, and so I went to a school that specialised in speech therapy. I was fascinated with dance because it was another form of language that I could use to express myself and communicate freely, especially because I was late with speech. I can’t remember much about the communication side of dance class. It felt very natural. I found my way. I’d stand at the front so I could lipread the teacher. I was looking at the dance shapes. For example, with ballet, I watched her arm and I copied her to learn the exercises and routines. It was a very visual way of learning. We did tap, modern and ballet, including ISTD grade work as well as dance festivals and competitions. I remember my first solo dance was a cowboy tap dance. I loved tap dance the most because of my natural sense of rhythm. I could create a rhythm with my feet. I didn’t have to listen to the time, I could feel it. I picked up tap very quickly. Then I moved to the Doreen Winkree School of Dancing in Goodmayes, which focused more on ballet. She did ISTD grade work. So, my first dance school was focused on festivals and competitions which was great, and the second was more focused on technique, which I learned with the ISTD. My teacher Miss Winkree encouraged me to audition for The Royal Ballet School and I got accepted to become a Junior Associate! I am
Becoming a professional dancer There were two things I really loved, dance and art. When I was leaving senior school and thinking about my future, I decided I wanted to go to dance college. My mother gave me a copy of the Dancing Times and told me to have a look at any colleges that caught my eye. I saw an advert for the London Studio Centre. I thought that would be the best place to get my professional dance training. Even very early on, I already knew I wanted to be a choreographer. When I visited London Studio Centre there was no special oneto-one support, no interpreter or note taker or any of those things that we have now. But the Principal and the teachers were amazing and always took me to the side and made sure I’d got the information. They gave their time to me and were aware of me, but they could also see that I could cope fine. After all, I was already used to that kind of environment since the age of three. That was my world and I belonged to it. It has changed so much now that sign language had become so ingrained and integrated into choreography. I remember about 10 years ago, I was choreographing Iolanthe (Gilbert and Sullivan) and used sign language. At that time, it was very new, but now it is everywhere, which is great. Common misconceptions At the time when my mum found out I was deaf in the early 1970s, she didn’t know any other mums with deaf children. She was alone and followed the doctor’s advice. The school I went to didn’t teach sign language. We were encouraged to speak so we could fit into the hearing world. It worked well for me, and I am grateful. I still have speech therapy, mainly for work because I work in mainstream theatres as a choreographer. But a lot of children at that school struggled and when they left, they took their hearing aids off and focussed on sign language and rebelled. That was their choice. Obviously, they’d had enough of trying to speak like hearing people, but I felt the other way. My mum was amazing. At home she talked to me all the time. She would keep encouraging me to
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If you work hard, you’ll achieve it in the end. You’ll feel good about yourself, and you will prove it to people – yes, I can do it! learn the correct words. Even now, my partner does the same. I still have that support, which is good. People think that deaf people can’t dance in time with the music. We just work a different way, we feel the vibrations, we rely on counting, or we rely on cues with the eyes. Each of us has a different way of working because our hearing levels are so different. I’ve had to work twice as hard to achieve this. I am glad that I have worked twice as hard. I would never change it. It makes me more determined to have that drive. There are some choreography jobs that come up that I’d love to take on, though I know directors would not choose me because they are worried about the communication side of things, especially in the rehearsal space where time is so limited. There may be two or three weeks of rehearsal time and they may panic, thinking I might slow down the production process. Or they worry they’d have to learn to sign. On the positive side, when I work with a director, I like to work in silence because if I hear people talking in the background, my hearing aid picks up all sound on one level and I can’t focus on creating the work or hear what the director is saying. All the directors that I’ve worked with, after about day one or two, say “This is nice!”. Everyone is quiet and respectful of one another. If someone has a question, they just put their hand up. It’s all about giving each other space. They say: “I like that style of working. I am going to take that with me for other works.” Also, I’m very visual and focused on how people sit, walk and stand. Being so visual, directors like my input for the show. They don’t often get that so much with hearing choreographers. When I was a dancer and auditioned, I’d always get down to the final, but I’d tend to miss out when the technical team would start to worry about the health and safety side of it. What if there’s a fire alarm going off? How can we tell Mark? That is often
why I don’t get the job because they panic about the safety aspect. I think it is changing now. The theatre industry is becoming more open minded and doing a great job of making sure that everything is accessible for deaf and disabled people. We are getting there. Patron of the ISTD I was thrilled when Sue Passmore (ex-ISTD Chair) and Ginny Brown (ISTD Chief Executive) got in touch with me. I knew Sue in the past, and she’d been a follower of my company Deaf Men Dancing as well as my own work. When I received the offer, I was shocked. Back when I was 10, learning Grade 1 ISTD ballet, I would never have imagined that one day I’d become a Patron of the Society. I had a meeting with Ginny and Sue, and I felt good about their vision to make the Society more accessible for people with disabilities and from diverse backgrounds. I wanted to be on board because that is my passion. I am a teacher as well. I teach at colleges and hold performing arts workshops and masterclasses around the UK. I am passionate about education for children and adults and educating hearing people about deaf culture, covering how to work with deaf students and communicate with them. This allows people to be more open minded about deaf and disabled people in dance. I got ISTD grades as a child. Then when I was training to be a professional dancer, I wanted to learn more about teaching the work, so I went to a local dance school for mixed ability students called La Danse Fantastique, where I re-learnt all the ISTD Grade work, from 1 to 6, from a teaching perspective. I had a video tape that I used to learn the routines. This was better for me than using a book. For a lot of deaf people, what we lack is the vocabulary. Our grammar and English may be below the usual level. Academic work with a lot of writing could be a struggle. Help from a note taker can be beneficial. Deaf Men Dancing (DMD) As a professional dancer, I have had many people ask me if I was the only deaf dancer in the UK. I’d think of Denny Hayward who was in Kate Prince’s company Zoo Nation. He was in Into the Hoods and Some Like it Hip Hop and has done lots of commercial videos with stars like Janet Jackson and Madonna. I knew there were deaf dancers around, but nobody really knew who they were and where they were. So, I thought, what happens if we all get together? I contacted everybody and asked them if they fancied spending a week doing workshops and playing with ideas. They all said yes and were enthusiastic to take part. Millennium Performing Arts very kindly provided studio space for us to do workshops. I remember the very first introduction day. It was Dance | Issue 493
Above Deaf Men Dancing performing in ‘Let Us Tell You a Story’ in 2016
It is very important to make dance training accessible to the deaf dancers of the future.
so inspiring to hear everyone’s stories. We learned one another’s styles of dance. Denny Haywood’s was hip hop, Joseph Fletcher’s was lyrical jazz, Kevin Jewell’s was contemporary, Anthony Snowden’s was commercial, and mine was more of a mix and match of contemporary and ballet. Then I mixed all the styles up to create new work and I threw in sign language. I wanted to try it because using sign language is part of our identity, so why not use it in the choreography? It was a creative melting pot, blending hip hop, commercial, lyrical jazz, musical theatre and sign language and it became DMD’s style of work. I had been talking to people about it and they thought it was a great idea, asking if they could come and see the work performed. I then booked a little showcase to share the work. I invited people from East London Dance, Fuel Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, South East Dance, and Matthew Bourne came along. They loved it, so I thought there was potential. What began as a fun project then grew so much through word of mouth and bookings started coming in! DMD in the pandemic It was our 10th anniversary in 2020 and we had an amazing group of new dancers who opened my eyes to what being deaf really means, and how diverse it is. I had planned to take DMD on tour in 2020 but the pandemic came along with lockdown, and everything stopped. I created a WhatsApp group for DMD just to keep in touch. I sent them positive quotes, images, and videos from YouTube – anything just to keep them inspired and keep their spirits up. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, it is already twice as hard to get work. There was one girl who applied to 30 agents and as soon as she told them she was deaf, they didn’t want to know. I found that sad and shocking. That made me realise that I wanted to set up a social media group to create a platform for deaf dancers in the UK to have a voice. To speak about what they want and what they need for auditions or to perform. I sometimes get emails from directors and producers saying they are looking for a deaf dancer and asking if I know anyone. A social media
group where anyone can post asking for what they need would be better, and it would be a good way of being inspired by other deaf dancers or choreographers and learning from their craft, asking questions, and helping people from mainstream theatres to learn from deaf dancers and deaf culture. So far, I’ve had a meeting with One Dance UK, Equity and Spotlight and they are supporting my idea. The plan is to set up a new platform and network for deaf and hard of hearing dancers in the UK. It looks like I have got something out of lockdown after all, as that is what inspired me to set this up. Watch out for it! Work during the pandemic The Colour Purple – at Home was live between 16 February and 16 March 2021. I originally did that show about two years ago. It was a collaboration between the Curve theatre and Birmingham Hippodrome. It was exciting to be on board as a choreographer as the show has great songs and it’s a very powerful story. The Curve wanted to bring it back as an online film version in lockdown. It all happened very quickly. We only had 10 days to do rehearsal, building, and costume all at once. In normal rehearsals I don’t have an interpreter with me, but with the film version I knew that everyone was going to wear masks and I wouldn’t be able to lipread, so I had two SSE (Sign Supported English) interpreters with me throughout the day. The director wore a face shield so that I could lipread her through a clear screen. It was very exciting to be back in theatre, meeting and working with people. I felt very proud to be part of The Colour Purple – at Home. I admired what the Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome had done, keeping theatre and the arts alive and bringing culture to people at home. I also learnt so much about how the camera works and had to adapt the spacing of the choreography. It was wonderful to be back working with a cast, creative team, and new people. It was a very exciting 10 days. Then we went back home and back into lockdown. That was hard.
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ISTD Think Tank One reason why I am part of the ISTD’s Disability Inclusion Think Tank is to help look at making the ISTD grade work accessible for all children. We need to look at things like using simple wording along with videos with sign language, like BSL (British Sign Language) or SSE (Sign Supported English), to explain what you must do. Demonstrations on video worked very well for me. Interpreters and note takers may also be helpful. Another tip is to install a loop system in the studio space that cuts off the background noise, so deaf students can hear the teacher. I would like to see these changes, and I know that the ISTD is supportive of this. We are always looking for new dancers with hearing loss at DMD, including female dancers. It is very important to make dance training accessible to the deaf dancers of the future. It is good to see how the Society is open to change and looking at how diversity and access to dance for those with disabilities can be improved. Stopgap Dance Company and DMD would like to provide workshops for dance teachers to show them how to help a deaf child, or a disabled
child. We want to take away the fear or panic when they have a child who wants to join in class. I hold workshops like this all the time. I think it is something I have achieved with DMD. When people see DMD on stage, they say “Oh, actually they’re no different from hearing dancers. The only equipment they have got is hearing aids.” Deaf dancers have such a strong sense of community, they dance in time together, and they have a great sense of unity, rather than doing their own individual thing, and that’s what the audience notices. Deaf dancers have to work twice as hard to get it right. When we’re on stage we are ready, we’ve done all that work in rehearsal, and we are way ahead because that is what we must do. I always tell young people to work twice as hard. It is worth it. Practice makes perfect. If you work hard you’ll achieve it in the end. You’ll feel good about yourself, and you will prove it to people – yes, I can do it!” It doesn’t matter what your background is or what your abilities are.
New diversity and inclusion hub We aim to have an inclusive community that values merit, openness, fairness and transparency. Read more about our plans to drive positive change in dance in our new diversity and inclusion hub www.istd.org/discover/edihub plus any latest information about disability and inclusion CPD. Inclusive practice: We want to create opportunities and broaden access to dance, and we have collated resources for teachers to develop their practice and progress their career in inclusive dance. • For resources, courses, and links to useful organisations visit www.istd.org/teach/inclusive-dance-practice • For information on making Application for Reasonable Adjustments (ARA) for examinations www.istd.org/teach/quality-assurance/#candidates-with-disabilities • For information to make your social media and website accessible visit www.w3.org/WAI/fundamentals • Accessible social media are more effective because they can be accessed and understood by the widest possible audience – regardless of whether people have a visual, hearing, speech, motor, cognitive or other combination of impairments. • Accessibility is a journey. New platforms and technologies are emerging all the time, and people’s needs are always changing. But making a genuine commitment to following best practice guidance on accessibility makes communication better for everyone.
i Mark Smith Mark Smith is a dance teacher, workshop leader, movement director and choreographer. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Deaf Men Dancing (DMD). Mark was nominated Best Choreographer in the Off-West End Awards and the Broadway World UK Awards for Ace of Clubs, Call Me Madam and Iolanthe, and the Live Theatre and British Theatre Awards for Tommy and The Last Five Years. We caught up with Mark over Google Meet, where he takes advantage of the software’s free function to turn on captions to view subtitles during a video call. This is a helpful feature if you have hearing loss. @marksmith_prod @DeafMenDancing1 @marksmithchoreographer @deafmendancing
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Funding for dancers Top arts fundraiser Fern Potter shares her tips for funding your projects
Fern Potter Professional fundraiser for arts organisations
I have a confession to make – I did not set out to be a fundraiser. I was a professional dancer in New York City and just fell into it when I had to raise funds for my own dance company in the mid-1980s. So, when I am asked how to raise money and where to go for funding for dancers in training or at the start of their careers, I say, “research sources and just ask for it.” This comes from my own experience when my dance company could not apply for state funding until we had been established for three years. I had no choice but to go elsewhere – asking my nearest and dearest to support. Through hours of letter writing, phone calls and graft, we raised enough money to produce our first dance season – and all before digital communications and social media! This taught me an important lesson in raising funds – get your story right and then ask. Because if you don’t ask, you won’t get. Think of it as providing the donor with the chance to feel lucky to have been asked to share in your passion. Real fundraisers are never apologetic. Research from scientists has shown that passion-driven stories trigger an emotional response and inspire us to act. Consider the last time you were asked to support something and donated. I’m sure you probably felt good about doing it, and even better when you received a heartfelt thanks for your gift. Asking for help so a young dancer can realise their dreams using a compelling story is the first important step to achieving success. Remember your story – your case for support needs to appeal to the heart not head. Crowdfunding linked to various social media platforms
makes finding supporters and sponsors even easier. However, after approaching individuals to assist, step two is researching other potential sources. Most people default to Arts Council England as they run two programmes supporting individuals: National Lottery Project Grants ranging from £1,000 to £30,000 (average £5,000) for projects that engage the public in some way and Developing Your Creative Practice Grants (up to £10,000) supporting individuals to develop their practice for one year.
Get your story right and then ask! Because if you don't ask, you won’t get. It is true that raising funds from other potential sources is trickier, as most trusts and foundations only support registered charities or charitable interest organisations (CIOs). Finding out who might support individuals takes time, effort, and creativity to be successful. However, in preparing this article, my own Google efforts produced some very surprising and encouraging results. My search pulled up 21 various funds, bursaries, trusts and foundations supporting individuals with three of these: the Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship, Winston Churchill
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Memorial Trust and The WR Foundation providing grants to travel to undertake activities related to pursuing a dance career. The other sources range from those who fund dancers currently in training to those who will support dancers at the start of their careers and include: 1 Dance and Drama Awards offering exceptionally talented dancers to study at some of the country’s leading providers 2 The Music and Dance Scheme to study at specific schools and/or centres for advanced training (aged 11–19 years) 3 National Youth Arts Trust providing bursaries for dance classes for young people aged between 12–25 years who cannot afford to fund themselves 4 Agnes Allen Bursaries supporting young people and adult learners who need financial assistance to take short courses in dance 5 S D Whitehead’s Charitable Trust offering grants for children under 18 years who have special skills in dance 6 The Women’s Career Foundation (Girls of the Realm) offering grants for British women aged 16+ who are studying dance and in need of financial support 7 The Thomas Wall Trust offering grants for adults to undertake accredited vocational training up to Level 3
8 The Richard Carne Trust offering grants for young people in the performing arts either studying or at the early stages of their careers 9 Scarr-Hall Memorial Trust offering grants to students who are in education and training 10 The Prince’s Trust offering grants to help young people into education, training, and employment and/or support setting up a business 11 The Wingate Foundation providing support for charities with a record of artistic excellence including training and professional development for a talented individual who is recommended for receiving financial assistance (the individual would need to be with the registered charity institution to achieve this support) 12 Fenton Arts Trust supporting dancers who are at the start of their career and not in education or initial professional training – their focus is helping those at the beginning of their careers, not in training 13 Dance Professionals Fund supporting dancers with at least three years’ professional experience in performance, teaching or choreography in the UK There were also two funders that only support specific individuals including: 14 The Boots Benevolent Fund supporting current and former Boots colleagues Dance | Issue 493 13
in the UK, as well as their immediate relatives/dependents with grants 15 The Society of St Onge and Angoumois providing grants for young people under the age of 25 who live in the UK and are descended from French Protestants – a very targeted and exclusive group of people indeed! I also uncovered three funders who offer longterm support for UK-based dancers to undertake activity that leads to their career enhancement or new businesses. The schemes include: 16 Artsadmin Bursary Scheme offering bursaries to dancers at any stage in their career working in live art, contemporary performance, and interdisciplinary practice 17 Artsdepot: Artist Residency offering residencies to take time and receive seed funding to develop a project in Artsdepot’s Creation Space 18 Deutsche Bank’s Awards for Creative Enterprise providing £20,000 to creative entrepreneurs 18– 30 years who are driven by a mission to create and sustain social value through their work. This is an annual award and a few years ago, I sat on their panel to judge submissions and several of them included dance companies and dancers And finally, raising funds is not magic. It takes tenacity and time. Don’t be afraid to exhaust all possible sources and consider a range of approaches. You could consider taking matters into your own hands by organising a fundraising concert in your hometown, perhaps in a church, community centre, or your old school. Advertise widely on social media and in your community to let other people who might be interested in supporting, including Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, and the Freemasons know you are in need. Most people are afraid of asking because of fear of failing. I suggest being ‘open’ to failing and taking risks – you never know what might be achieved. Above right (L and R) Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Bursary Awards
i Fern Potter Fern’s expertise is in fundraising, having raised millions for arts organisations, primarily dance over more than 25 years, most recently for Birmingham Royal Ballet. Passionate about sharing her expertise with others, she teaches, trains, consults and mentors for the Chartered Institute of Fundraisers and Mercury Creatives. A full member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraisers, she regularly holds training for the dance sector. 14 Dance | Issue 493
The following annual bursaries are available from the Society Phyllis Haylor Scholarship The Phyllis Haylor Scholarship is for students who achieve Highly Commended in their Dancesport Associate within the eligible timeframe each year. Applications open once a year at specified times and successful applicants receive £2,000 to support their continued professional development. For further information, please visit the website at: www.istd.org/ dance/awards-and-competitions/ dancesport-awards
any genre. £70,000 a year is allocated to provide support where finance may be a barrier, for teaching qualifications or to take part in courses, to ensure that dance teachers can invest in their own development and progress with their teaching journey. To date, the scheme has financially supported the training of over 90 teachers from countries across the globe, including Italy, South Africa, the UAE, UK and USA.
Theatre Bursary Awards Our annual Theatre Bursary Awards celebrate the exceptional talent of the young dancers nominated to take part to represent each of the seven theatre faculties. This competition is adjudicated by industry experts and winning students are awarded a bursary fund to support their training. All nominees’ teachers also receive a bursary fund specifically designed to engage in development opportunities, community activity or to support students in financial need. For further information about the bursaries, criteria and eligibility to apply, please visit: www.istd.org/ dance/awards-and-competitions/ bursaries-funding
1 Online CPD Courses Bursary for Society Members (in place of the CPD Travel Bursary for international members for 2021). Funding upto £225 available.
Teachers Bursary Scheme Our teacher training bursary scheme benefits those wishing to become, or progress as a Society trained teacher in
Funding is available under three categories:
2 Initial teacher training (Diploma in Dance Education and Dancesport Associate), funding upto £5,000 available. 3 Higher Teacher Training (Diploma in Dance Pedagogy), funding upto £2,000 available. For further information about the bursaries, criteria and eligibility to apply, please visit: www.istd. org/teach/bursaries-funding Sue Passmore Award and Broadening Access to Dance Award New for 2021, we’re delighted to launch two new and exciting awards that invite Society members to apply
for funding to support projects that broaden access opportunities in their local community and further support our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion initiative. The Sue Passmore Award, which honours the significant contribution of our former Chair and Trustee of over 20 years, will be awarded to two newly qualified dance teachers within five years of achieving their first Society teaching qualification, while the Broadening Access to Dance Award will be awarded to two teachers who have held their Society teaching qualification for more than five years. Both awards are designed to fund creative and innovative approaches to broadening access to dance and applicants will be encouraged to identify CPD or a mentor contribution to support the successful delivery of their project. Upon completion, recipients will share the outcome of their project with members. Applications will take the form of a project proposal and will open in September – November. Specified application dates will be detailed on the website and promoted via our member newsletters. For more information about the award and criteria to apply, please visit: www. istd.org/teach/bursaries-funding/ project-funding-opportunities
Dance | Issue 493 15
Inspiring alumni Six teachers tell the story of their ISTD membership, career progression and vision for the future in the light of our organisational values: quality, inclusion, innovation, passion, and integrity. Why is dance important to you? Sergio Dancing allows me to express myself and have a sense of belonging. It gave me confidence when I most needed it. It made me realise I needed to work harder in order to get the results I wanted. It taught me focus, perseverance, discipline, and selfrespect. I learned to listen to and take care of my body and the importance of good nutrition, rest and routine. It taught me to respect and love my competitors, my teacher, my students and co-workers. Dancing gives me purpose and allows me to keep changing people’s lives, like it once changed mine. Kelly Dance has taught me confidence, selfrespect, discipline, tenacity, and grit. It has shown me that hard work pays off. As a dance teacher and dance coach, I have been able to pass on these lessons to my students, which will cross over into all other aspects of their life. Why is our charitable mission ‘to educate the public in the art of dancing in all its forms’ important? Sergio Dancing brings people from different backgrounds together; it connects them at levels that words cannot express. By making dancing accessible to the general public it not only creates opportunities for different cultures to come together but also to share different ways of feeling and moving that enrich us all. Kelly I believe the mission is important because the more exposure the various dance forms get the more we can change people’s perception that dance is only for a specific group of people. We can show the public that dance has different forms that cater for all, and that dance is for all.
I cannot imagine life without dance, and I do not know any organisation other than the ISTD that offers such high-level education in so many different styles. Natasa Georgiou
Christina Dance education has a wide range of benefits at all stages of life. The variety in the genres that ISTD offers, as well as its charitable mission, provides opportunities for life-long education. Natasa I cannot imagine life without dance, and I do not know any organisation other than the ISTD that offers such high-level education in so many different styles of dance. ISTD’s mission to educate the public in the art of dancing in all its forms has an immense contribution to the general education of the arts. Have you experienced the power of dance to transcend social and cultural divides? Sergio When I decided to compete with another male partner in mainstream dancesport events, most people were shocked and many were against it. It was clear that our partnership did not meet cultural and societal expectations. Secretly, the more rejection we experienced, the more I felt the need to educate and show our work to as many people as possible. The aesthetics may have been very different from what the majority was used to but I believe that when dancing is used to express universal emotions like happiness, anger, fear, or surprise, it knows no gender, sexuality, colour, ability or disability. Kelly I have been lucky enough to dance abroad. Dancing with dancers from various countries has helped me connect, understand, and learn from my international dance family. It has also helped me teach them about South African culture too. Regardless of our differences socially or culturally, whenever we stepped on stage, we were one. This sense of being one through dance while performing is the most phenomenal feeling. I have
16 Dance | Issue 493
S ERGIO B RI L H A N T E
K EL LY CH A NDR A PAU L
C A R A DROWER
Location: London and Orange County, California Job role: Dance Teacher and Studio Manager ISTD qualifications: Fellow (FISTD) Modern Ballroom, and Licentiate (LISTD) Latin American. Currently completing Licentiates in American Smooth and American Rhythm
Location: Cape Town, South Africa Job role: Dancer, Dance Teacher, and Dance Coach ISTD qualifications: Associate Modern Theatre, Associate Tap. Currently completing Associate Ballet
Location: Folkestone Kent Job role: Cecchetti Ballet Teacher, Tutor and Examiner ISTD qualifications: Fellow (FISTD) Cecchetti
also been lucky enough to have taught abroad. Teaching in countries where people do not speak English, students were able to follow regardless of language barriers and cultural or social differences. Cara In the recreational sector, we educate future audiences as well as promote physical fitness through the joy of moving to music. All cultures, abilities and genders can, and should, be encouraged. Christina Being an international examiner for more than a decade, I was blessed and humbled by the talent I have witnessed in different parts of the world. From Mexico, to India, from Canada to Africa and Europe, despite differences in culture, “dance is the hidden language of the soul” as Martha Graham has so wisely said. Natasa Dance is the magic tablet that people can take anywhere, anytime, for any situation because dance is not only for those who want to make a career out of it but also for those who want to dance their way through life. They say music unites and so does dance! I am blessed to be able not only to experience but also spread this unifying element of dance to others. Indeed, through dance we break down all cultural, racial, or social divides, thus my classes and my workshops are always open to everyone. How do you approach inclusion in your work? Sergio I was lucky when I moved to London to have worked in two studios that were inclusive in the way they taught dance classes. Studio La Danza run by Heather Gladding and Hadas Armon, and Kensington Dance Studio run by Ralph Schiller and Kele Baker, had adopted the terminology of
I believe that teaching qualifications are essential – a great dancer might not always be a great teacher. Sergio Brilhante
‘Leaders’ and ‘Followers’, instead of ‘Man’ and ‘Lady’. This opened up the possibility that anyone could learn either role independently of their gender or sexuality. When I founded Freedom 2 Dance with Jonathan Morrison we adopted the same framework. We encouraged our students to take the ISTD Medals in both roles. We believed it made them better dancers and also more inclusive. Kelly I am passionate about teaching children who have self-esteem issues due to being different, whether it is because of a language barrier, a gender or race issue, whether they are immigrants, or anything else that makes them feel different and possibly excluded. I have been lucky enough that my approach to help all children understand the concept of ‘we are all different and that’s ok’ has been understood and accepted. I use a lot of free movement and improvisation exercises in my classes as a way to help them accept how they may move differently from the others in the class. I also do 'follow the leader' dance exercises to help others accept their classmate’s differences and to grow respect, trust, and love for one another as a dance class. Cara Differences are not always obvious. The buzz I experience when teaching comes from the eternal quest to discover how individual students learn, and why. It is these differences that make teaching a constant voyage of discovery. Christina By bringing the best out of every individual, you provide the field for an open minded and fearless generation of artists that don’t need stereotypes or approval to evolve. Dance | Issue 493 17
CHRIS T IN A FOT I N A K I
N ATA SA GEORGIOU
M A RI US Z S TA NK I E WIC Z
Location: Athens, Greece Job role: Teacher, Educator, Tutor, Examiner, Choreographer, Dance Texture Co-Founder ISTD qualifications: Fellow (FISTD), Examiner in Imperial Ballet, Fellow (FISTD) Examiner in Modern Theatre. Examiner in Contemporary
Location: Cyprus Job role: Creative Movement and Dance Researcher/Educator, Choreographer, Dance Manager, ISTD Modern Theatre Dance Examiner ISTD qualifications: Modern Theatre Dance Fellowship (FISTD)and Examiner/DDE in Classical Ballet, Modern and National
Location: London Job role: Ballroom Dance Teacher ISTD qualifications: Fellow (FISTD) Modern Ballroom, Licentiate (LISTD) Latin American and Viennese Waltz
Natasa Throughout my professional career as a dance researcher and educator, programmer and choreographer, I have worked with cancer patients, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis patients, quadriplegics, deaf and autistic children, as well as with children with learning difficulties due to emotional and psychological traumas. For the last seven years I have been actively involved with Kofinou We Care, a platform that I co-founded for the support of vulnerable groups, residents of the Kofinou Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees and I have organised and guided several dance and art classes for the children there, many of which suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I could never accept the idea that someone might feel excluded from my dance classes for any reason. It is not enough to accept someone. The notion of acceptance implies that you have previously rejected someone. Let’s move beyond the notions of acceptance and tolerance. Let’s embrace and co-create. Children do not set barriers or labels. They only carry and express what they have been taught. It is up to us, teachers, to demolish those constructed barriers. Mariusz Dance is for everyone and it should be available for all. I am teaching same-sex dancers and I have also been competing as Follower. I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to be part of this community, especially as I am not a member of LGBTQIA+ community, the community that created same-sex ballroom dancing here in the UK and around the world.
Regardless of our differences socially or culturally, whenever we stepped on stage, we were one. Kelly Chandrapaul
Please tell us a bit about how your practice embodies our values of quality, inclusion, innovation, passion or integrity. Sergio The quality of tuition given by highly qualified fellows and examiners has always stood out for me. I believe that teaching qualifications are essential – a great dancer might not always be a great teacher. Quality has always been my top priority, which is why I chose to work with ISTD in the first place. I intend to take all my teaching qualifications to the highest level. I have always learned something new and extremely valuable from each of them. I also believe that continuous training in different areas is necessary in order to keep up-to-date with trends and developments in teaching. Kelly I teach ages 2 to 20 at a school and in a children’s home. Innovation helps me to adapt my approach and teaching style to successfully teach different children for different reasons (exams, competitions, or recreational purposes). Inclusion is very important to me. A group activity like dance can make you feel a part of something, especially if you feel like you don’t belong anywhere. Something very important in my classes is to make every dancer feel like they belong and are part of a family when they come to my class. Cara I am passionate about teaching and have been ever since the age of 13, when I began to appreciate how lucky I had been to study with those I had. I began to think about what made a good teacher. I decided a good teacher was one that went on the journey with the student. Somehow it was not enough just to tell someone what to do but to enjoy the adventure with them. Quality is something I
18 Dance | Issue 493
strive for. I hope to inspire the students to enjoy the process of learning. All too often they become caught up in the goal of an exam and ‘getting it done’. The journey to the achievement should be as fulfilling as the achievement itself. Inclusion is something I believe is instinctive in all teachers. If students are hungry for knowledge, there is nothing more gratifying to a teacher than to be able to help and guide them. Christina Integrity, inclusion and innovation are values that I am passionate about and share with my students at Dance Texture. We provide a positive, stimulating and constructive environment for individual learners to become dance experts. Our mission is to provide inspirational education for our graduates to develop long term careers. Natasa The pandemic has made us more curious and innovative, searching for ways to continue our practice. We have been forced to adapt our classes several times, complying with health protection measures, while enabling our students to continue the activities that keep them physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually balanced. Through this process we have drawn on our experience, knowledge, and love, and have put together MOVING AT HOME, a brand-new creative movement and dance programme for children from 4 to 12 years old. It is especially adapted for online classes, which may be re-adapted back to the studio when this whole adventure is over. It has helped us foster our values of inclusion, accessibility, quality, a safe environment, care, and empathy. Mariusz Most definitely passion and quality. I have been training since I was eight years old and always under the eye of strict coaches. I always loved to learn and perform. That did not change when I came to the UK and studied for my ISTD qualifications and later when I competed. What are your priorities for the future? Sergio For the near future, one of my top priorities – and I believe for many out there – is to get the business back. I am putting a lot of effort into marketing through social media, website, paid ads, and word of mouth. I am also creating new group classes to make dancing financially affordable here in Orange County. I will continue to work on my American Smooth and American Rhythm professional qualifications so I can share my experience. Kelly In the future, I would like to oversee the running of more dance classes at children’s homes. I would like to travel with my dancing again once COVID-19 is no longer a pandemic. And I would like to run a dance studio.
Above Gay-Games 2018 where Sergio Brilhante, together with his partner Eddie Alba, won the Gold Medal in the Same-Sex Latin and 10 Dance Men’s Same-Sex World Championships
Cara My priorities are to help our teachers further their qualifications. Lockdown brought the most wonderful opportunities. Until April 2020, like most people I knew nothing of Zoom. I now privately coach Fellowship, Licentiate and DDE candidates in the UK and abroad, all from home! Christina My ambition is to prepare the next generation not only for a successful career in the world of dance, but also to cultivate their artistic view, voice and texture. Being an ISTD teacher, tutor and examiner my main goal has always been to keep our Society at the standard that was so clearly revealed to me by the wonderful pioneers who have embraced and guided me. I am honoured and proud to be a member of this dance family. Above all we share the belief that Jose Limon has described with his inspirational quote: “We are never more truly and profoundly human, than when we dance.” Mariusz To continue showing passion, quality, and inclusion for the love of dance. Dance | Issue 493 19
Ones to watch
Top row (L to R) Katie Bell, Nadine Brenton, Jodie Clark
Five teachers reveal their unique experiences of our qualifications and training. KATIE BELL Principal of Bell Dance Academy, Cornwall Even though I had never been through the exam system, the ISTD team helped me find the best way to become a full member. Mid way through my DDE we were hit by Coronavirus and had to move online. We had weekly Zoom sessions. As I had already achieved my Certificate in Education I only needed to complete the Unit 4 for my exam. This was another reason for choosing the ISTD as they took my other training into consideration. I would absolutely recommend the ISTD and the DDE course, I now have such a wonderful network around me and since completing the course I have had the opportunity to take part in CPD and workshops. It has been a wonderful development in my career. NADINE BRENTON Subject Leader of Dance at The John Warner Secondary School, Hertfordshire Having the opportunity to become an ISTD teacher released a new ambition for me. I began my journey as a ballet teacher, but over time progressed my teaching qualifications in other genres. Having a wider range of dance styles opened up more job opportunities. I graduated with the ISTD Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy in February 2018. My main reason for studying on the DDP course was to allow me to apply for QTLS (qualified teacher learning and skills) status. I now work in a secondary school teaching the whole dance curriculum. Without these qualifications I would not be working in my current job, which I love. JODIE CLARK Assistant Principal at The BRIT School, Croydon I hold FISTD alongside a Master of Arts Degree in Creative Practice in Education. I am also training to become an ISTD Contemporary Examiner. I chose to train at Bird College as the Associate exams were embedded in the course. My ISTD status qualifications provided some of the experiential evidence I needed to complete a BA (Hons) Professional Practice degree at Christ
Bottom row (L to R) Laura Dudman, Martin Howland
I would absolutely recommend the ISTD and the DDE course. It has been a wonderful development in my career. Katie Bell
Without these qualifications I would not be working at my current job, which I love. Nadine Brenton
i Read the full length interviews at www.istd.org/ onestowatch
Church University College, Canterbury and then QTS (qualified teacher status). This enabled me to climb the teachers’ pay scale. I have since mentored other teachers informally, through their Licentiate, on the Level 6 DDP course as well as delivering parts of the DDE. Your professional development is an investment in your best asset – you! LAURA DUDMAN Principal of Caterpillar Dance School in Rochester, Kent I also work for a local sports partnership, delivering primary school workshops and CPD to teachers. More recently, I have become an ISTD approved tutor for DDE. I have ISTD Associate qualifications in Imperial Classical Ballet, Tap and Modern, which I upgraded through the APEL process (the formal acknowledgement, through assessment, of learning acquired from previous experience) to the DDE qualification. I also have Licentiate Tap status and am working towards Licentiate Modern and Fellowship Tap. The qualifications offered by the ISTD allowed me to achieve my goals. Being able to study for ISTD Associate qualifications at college, enabled me to teach part-time in local dance schools, giving me valuable experience. The progression route offered by the ISTD enabled me to update my qualifications to the DDE and then progress to Licentiate level and become a DDE tutor. My ultimate goal is to become an examiner, and the qualifications the ISTD offers can help me do that. The partnership they offer with Middlesex University was also one of the main reasons I chose to study the MA programme. MARTIN HOWLAND Co-Director of Renaissance Arts, Leeds I am also the founder of HowlyBallet, an online ballet training platform. I am currently an Associate member of the ISTD. I believe the Society has a great deal of authenticity, tradition and value, but also a vision to develop and progress technique and artistry, whilst evolving with the modern-day performer. Working with the ISTD will allow me to continue my journey and learn all there is to know about classical ballet and the world of dance.
20 Dance | Issue 493
Words cannot express the gratitude and relief the contribution by the Imperial Benevolent Fund has brought to us. Please express our sincere thanks to the Trustees for this help.
The Fund offers support to deserving members and their dependents worldwide, whatever their age, who need help at certain times in their lives. If you need our help, or know of anyone who does, please get in touch.
COVID-19 EMERGENCY SUPPORT STILL AVAILABLE: www.ibfund.net Dance | Issue 493 21
Happy 100 birthday th
ISTD teacher Valerie Guy celebrates her century
Valerie Guy turned 100 years old on 18 May 2021. She set up her dance school in Jersey during the German occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War. She has always supported the ISTD, teaching all genres of Classical Greek, Modern, Tap, Imperial Ballet, and National until she retired in 2014. Until COVID-19 she was still taking an over-60s keep fit class each week. Laura Reynolds, the ISTD member who took over Valerie’s school, presented her with a beautiful basket of flowers from the Society on her 100th birthday. She received over 200 cards! We wondered what it was like for Valerie setting up her dance school during the occupation. She was approached in 1941 by the De la Mare family to teach a small group of children at the Pembroke Hotel. The students wore vests sewn underneath to make leotards and borrowed or made do with
i Watch an interview with Valerie Guy courtesy of Jersey Heritage on Facebook here: https://fb.watch/5_9ycFx5DT
anything that was close to a ballet slipper. Despite the restrictions of the occupation, the school continued to grow. In 1943, Valerie put on her first show at the Opera House. The show had to pass the censorship of the occupying forces. She went on to buy her studio, which still stands today on David Place opposite the Royal Hotel. Valerie remembers the German officers who had occupied the building walking up and down and looking very miserable as they had to leave the island after liberation in 1945. Valerie trained with Noreen Bush from 1936 to 1938 and remembers taking all her ISTD exams in the building off New Oxford Street where the ISTD was upstairs for exams. Downstairs was a television showroom, where they waited and watched television before their exams. Readers may have read or seen the film adaptation of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Valerie was in Jersey, not Guernsey but the situation was the same in that by 1944 the Channel Islands were on starvation rations.
Valerie set up her dance school in Jersey during the German occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War.
AGM date for your diary Members will receive an invitation to join in our AGM. Full details are to be confirmed. A voice for dance teachers CDMT has launched an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Performing Arts Education and Training, chaired by Simon Baynes MP. Meeting regularly, the group provides a forum for discussions on: • Training, education, assessment, and professional practices across the performing arts – particularly in drama, dance and musical theatre • The Continuing Professional Development of practitioners within the creative and cultural industries • The wider benefits of engagement with the performing arts for students, practitioners and audiences. Glyn Jones from CDMT spoke about the importance of these issues at the Talking Dance Future of Cultural Education symposium, part of the Members' Monday event at this year's Summer School. You can watch highlights from this event on our website at www.istd.org Your MyISTD We want to make sure that we have the right information about you! Please take time to log in to MyISTD, where you can update your details – everything from email to your primary and secondary genres – so we know what information you want to hear about, and your DBS certificate information. As part of our commitment to safeguarding, we ask for all teachers to register their DBS (or international equivalent) information with us. To find out more about DBS visit www.istd.org/benefits
Above left Valerie Guy on her 100th birthday, with a basked of flowers presented to her by ISTD teacher Laura Reynolds Left Valerie with pupils (from a book produced when she retired)
22 Dance | Issue 493
Criminal record checks for our international members We have recently extended our partnership with DDC to bring you international criminal record checks. This allows our non-UK members to request a criminal record check through the ISTD. International checks follow a different process to the DBS vetting scheme for UK members. If you would like to request a criminal record check, please contact Liam Mills, Policy and Governance Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org Once you have registered your details with ISTD, you will receive an email from DDC providing you access to the online platform to complete your criminal record check. If you have any questions along the way please contact DDC. Their office opening hours are Monday to Friday, 09:00–17:00 (UK time). The costs to obtain a criminal record check outside the UK vary from country to country. The current fees are listed on the information sheet about the Disclosure and Barring service (DBS), which can be downloaded from www.istd.org/join/dbs Our Partners – HMCA The Society recently welcomed the Hospital & Medical Care Association (HMCA) as an affinity partner. We are working with HMCA to provide our full teaching members in the UK with access to a tax, legal and counselling helpline. The helpline is offered by ARAG, specialists who can help with complete legal matters from employment law to contract disputes. They also provide UK tax advice for business owners and individuals – with advice on matters from income tax, capital gains and inheritance tax. ARAG also provide a counselling helpline service over the phone – helping with matters such as stress, anxiety or bereavement. Visit www.istd.org/partner/affinity-partners
Make teaching your career Inspiring the next generation of dance teachers Released in September, our Prospectus provides all the need-to-know information on courses to start and progress your dance teaching career. Available online from www.istd.org/teach in September, make sure you download your copy and why not add a link on your school website? Watch out for our supporting marketing materials to promote a career in dance teaching coming soon.
Discover more – visit www.istd.org Not only have we been making some improvements to the navigation and searchability of the website over the last few months, we have also been working to provide you with essential resources, to support your teaching and your businesses. Raising Standards Hub: Advice and guidance for members and parents on how to ensure safe environments for children learning to dance. Log in to access policies and guidance on safeguarding, governance and duty of care and the latest CPD courses to support you with these issues. Diversity and Inclusion Hub: Our mission is to educate the public in the art of dancing in all its forms, to be a truly inclusive Society for all and encourage diversity in our dance community and beyond. Visit the hub for resources including advice on creating accessible dance spaces and inclusive teaching as well as the latest events and talks. COVID-19 and Business Support Hub: Continues to provide updates and resources on the latest regulations and guidance as released from the Government, as well as advice and tools to help your teaching. From tips for online teaching and exams, to Box Dance syllabus and the Mark of Quality campaign – to help you share why your teaching stands out from the crowd. Don’t forget to use your Registered Member logo – available to download in MyISTD Dance | Issue 493 23
Cultural recovery How has the Society been using its grant? In March, the Society received its first-ever public subsidy in the form of a grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund. Historically, we have always maintained a financially sustainable operating model, funding all new development through examination income, membership fees, student events, teachers’ CPD and resource materials. But ability to maintain our usual services has been severely compromised by the pandemic. We responded by supporting members with regular information, advice and resources; offering free online member meetings and events; curating digital summer schools; providing calculated grades for learners who would have taken gateway qualifications; developing a digital examination solution to facilitate remote exams and launching new on-line products to support teachers with engaging and motivating their students to keep dancing from home.
We applaud the huge efforts you have made to support your students throughout the pandemic.
Right Layton Williams, one of our monthly Membership Matters guest speakers. These free events will continue for members throughout the year.
Despite these innovations, we know that both our members and their students have been severely affected by national lockdowns and social distancing. We are painfully aware of the challenge teachers have faced and are full of admiration for the way you pivoted to online classes, embracing new technology and teaching methods with creativity and resilience. We applaud the huge efforts you have made to support your students throughout the pandemic. Inevitably, the knock-on effect of these restrictions is that students aren’t ready to take dance exams in the usual cycle, resulting in a 50% drop of income for the Society in 2020. We took decisive action to reduce operating costs by out-sourcing services, utilising the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and releasing two floors of our refurbished building for rental. But, despite these actions, the Society is facing a significant loss – rendering us
unable to fund essential business development work. We therefore applied for a Cultural Recovery Fund grant to make up the projected shortfall in revenue between April-June 2021 (the period covered by the grant); to re-establish a financially sustainable business model by undertaking a strategic review and planning process (see page 28) and to support our members to do likewise by upskilling teachers to broaden access to their classes. At the Society we are committed to improving equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and believe that, by enabling more people to access our work, we can re-build a financially resilient and sustainable business model for both the Society and our members. This will also enable us to make a significant contribution to cultural education and to support children’s health and well-being. Towards this goal, we curated a series of awareness raising and training events for dance teachers across and beyond the Society, including over 10 free member talks and CPD events, with more to follow. In March, we launched monthly Membership Matters – a programme of topical talks discussing issues relevant to our members and their teaching practice. These free events have included speakers Layton Williams, Parable Dance, and Kenneth Tharp CBE, and the cultural recovery grant funded these events in April–June. The free events will continue for members throughout the year (see page 82 for details of forthcoming events). We ran an intensive training programme to upskill teachers to reach new audiences and initiated a cross-sector symposium, Talking Dance: Improving Racial Equity. This online symposium was
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By enabling more people to access our work, we can re-build a financially resilient and sustainable business. hosted on 29 June in partnership with the TIRED movement (Trying to Improve Racial Equality in Dance), bbodance, IDTA and RAD. Attended by 300 delegates, this unique event aimed to raise awareness, agree tangible short-term action and long-term goals for improving racial diversity in the graded examination sector. Made possible by the society’s grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund, the event brought together leading organisations to discuss the roadblocks to achieving diversity in dance education and training and how these can be dismantled at every level of dance teaching. Led by Kenneth Tharp CBE, FRSA, with guest speakers including Sharon Watson (MBE DL, CEO/Principal of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance) and Karina H Maynard (Director for Representation and Social Impact, and Board Member at Urdang) and several guest panellists, over 300 delegates attended what was a successful beginning to the new Talking Dance series. Read more about the symposium on our website at www.istd.org/ talkingdanceracialequity and keep an eye out for details of our next Talking Dance events. The Broadening Access to Dance for Children CPD course with Anna Olejnicki and guests held on 1–13 June was a great success, with 100% of participants giving full marks on their feedback forms for the lecturer subject knowledge, and the teaching style and delivery. Comments included: “I have more confidence now to move my work into the community. At a time in my career when I was feeling a bit lost, this has reignited my passion and love for what I do, reminded me of how important the work is and how precious the gift of dance can be.” And: “From this course I have developed a passion to bridge the gap between the private and public sector to help to make the arts more accessible and inclusive in my area.” As an international Society of dance teachers, we are known for the quality of our syllabi, teaching methods and examinations. The role our syllabi play in nurturing the next generation of creative artists is clearly illustrated by an outstanding track record of alumni working as dancers, choreographers, rehearsal directors, teachers and dance leaders in the commercial, competitive and funded dance sectors. So we know that it is essential that we continue developing our syllabi so that they keep abreast of the latest innovations.
Tu e s d a y 2 9 Ju n e 2 0 2 1 1 0 :0 0 a m
Suppor ted by the Cultural Recovery Fund
At the Society we share a common passion for dance education and want all children and young people to experience the life-enhancing qualities of dancing. However, we know that opportunity to establish and sustain a creative career is unfairly dependent on personal background. Many of our teachers already work in partnership with local schools and other arts providers to reach a broader range of participants and we firmly believe that broadening access is not only desirable, but essential for our members to re-build their businesses and remain relevant in the post-pandemic world. Using the findings of the strategic review, we are now working on a new 5-year plan that will support you, your business and the Society to recover from the pandemic so that, together, we can continue training and inspiring future generations of young dancers.
Above The first in our series of ‘Talking Dance’ events
i Strategic review Read how members' voices are shaping the future of the Society on page 28. Dance | Issue 493 25
Our Society think tanks We spoke to some of the people involved in our disability inclusion, gender and LGBTQIA+, and racial diversity think tanks. It is essential that we understand where barriers to learning dance exist and how these might be addressed. Our think tanks are an important part of this process. They bring together people from across and beyond the Society who have lived experience or empathy for under-represented groups. We caught up with some of the people involved to find out more.
Above ISTD Trustee, Sho Shibata
Trustee, Sho Shibata, is part of our Disability Inclusion Think Tank Why did you join the Disability Inclusion Think Tank and why is it is important for the Society? Disabled people have historically struggled to access mainstream dance education, and as the Executive Producer of an inclusive dance company, I am keen to see how we can make positive changes through ISTD. The Think Tank is important for the Society because it brings together some leading D/deaf and disabled dance practitioners and leaders together
Above Malcolm Hill, Head of Faculty Development for our Modern Ballroom, Latin American and Sequence faculties
with trustees, teachers, examiners and management team of ISTD, and a lot of interesting discussions and testing of ideas takes place. It’s a hub that can help us navigate our way forward. What sort of change would you like to see in the world of dance? Not be too fixated on who can do what kind of dance. Innovation happens when something gets done differently and it can open up all sorts of new and exciting possibilities. I see the value of keeping up traditional artforms, but I think we shouldn’t be afraid of allowing people to branch out. Why do you think a focus on disability is important for the dance industry in particular? Disabled dancers can help the industry unleash new creative potential by offering us different ways of doing dance. Disabled people are of course, ‘people’ and some of them have just as much creative potential as non-disabled people. It would be a shame to stifle their potential just because they are not able to follow the syllabus in a certain way. There have been a lot of self-taught disabled dancers or those who developed through inclusive companies like Stopgap and Candoco, but if ISTD can open their doors further by tweaking our existing provision, just think how many more would emerge to make our industry more vibrant. Welcoming disabled learners also makes huge business sense for dance schools and ISTD. It’s widely reported that disabled people and their
households are worth £245 billion per year to businesses, and many disabled children and young people get given local authority allowances to access leisure and learning activities. If dance schools and ISTD become more inclusive, we can be tapping into new sources of income. It’s a credible way to help financial recovery post-pandemic. Do you think the dance industry has adequate structures in place to uplift and encourage disabled dancers? There are a handful of inclusive companies like us, but there’s a limit to what we can achieve on our own. I sit on the advisory board of Arts Council England as well, and their most recent diversity data report for the subsidised arts sector was pretty disappointing. Disabled people only made up 5% of the workforce of core funded dance organisations (this is the lowest percentage against all other artforms), and only 3% of this workforce are artists. Only 7% of their grant applicants for dance are disabled. This is compared to 11% and 12% in theatre and visual arts respectively. This is only taking into account the subsidised sector, but I can’t imagine the private dance sector doing any better. A part of the reason why there’s a lack of disabled people at the top end of the industry is because there is a lack of representation at the grassroots, and ISTD and its members have a huge role to play in changing this landscape. Inclusive dance companies like Stopgap are ready and waiting to work in partnership to share our insight and knowledge.
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as well as organisational) a reflection of how our societies now look. For all those who could and should be sitting in an audience it would be inspiring for them to see themselves represented on stage and know that they can be up there, too. I don’t mean tokenism where ‘one of each’ is on stage, but a true microcosm of the societies and world in which we live today.
Head of Faculty Development, Malcolm Hill, is part of our LGBTQIA+ Think Tank Why did you join the LGBTQIA+ Think Tank and why do you think the Think Tank is important for the Society? Equality within dance is something I am very passionate about and combining that with my passion for the Society seemed a natural and easy decision. I have been involved with same-sex dancing for a number of years and this is a great opportunity to feed in my knowledge and experience to the organisation. What sort of change would you like to see in the world of dance? Freedom. Dance is a passion that should be enjoyed. Everyone should therefore have a choice to dance their chosen genre in the way that best represents them as an individual. Why do you think LGBTQIA+ inclusion is important for the dance industry in particular? For many years dancesport has allowed this within examinations and I feel this is something which should be made available for everyone in all forms of dance, from examinations to competitions and performances. Do you think the dance industry has adequate structures in place to uplift and encourage LGBTQIA+ dancers? The industry is slowly changing, I am part of the ballroom world and that is mostly accepting now, and some same gender partnerships are now competing in open competitions as well as the equality competitions which is great to see, although, this has been the case for a number of years now a few more are starting to express an interest. Read more www.istd.org/discover/ news/2021/june/lgbtqia-think-tank Membership
Visit our Diversity and Inclusion Hub for updates, resources and teaching tools. www.istd.org/discover/edihub
Above ISTD Trustee, Keith-Derrick Randolph
Trustee, Keith-Derrick Randolph, is part of our Racial Diversity Think Tank Why did you join the Racial Diversity Think Tank and why is it important for the Society? The new EDI policy (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) of the ISTD offers the society the chance to look at the organisation in a new light. But it also presents the opportunity to be critical and reflect on how the ISTD serves its members and the public those members teach, develop, and inspire to be dancers and possibly the teachers of the future. To facilitate this growth, it is important to hear from all the different bodies that make up the Society. Being on the ISTD board I felt (like my fellow board members) that it was important to engage in this conversation and be active in changes that will affect the Society for years to come. Being a gay African American male all three points of the EDI touch me. I thought about which of the tanks would I be able to better lend my voice and share my experiences and that in the end was the Race and Diversity Think Tank. What sort of change would you like to see in the world of dance? There are so many changes that could be, should be and are already happening within the dance world. For me, the most important one is that what we see on stage and in the companies (artistic
Why do you think a focus on Racial Diversity is important for the dance industry in particular? One of my beliefs is that the dance community will be so much more enriched by having different voices and viewpoints being represented and presented. When we tap into all the diverse communities within our society we truly start to open up the pool of talent that is out there. That only happens when we think beyond established racial boundaries and embrace diversity. Do you think the dance industry has adequate structures in place to uplift and encourage dancers from diverse backgrounds? Resources such as money, support, and facilities, to name but a few, are important. These help to construct structures and opportunities for those who have not in the past had the chances to participate. In that sense there must be more done to make those structures work and accessible in different communities. That starts with effective dialogue and addressing the imbalance. Do you think the dance industry is currently reflective of society? Yes and no. In certain dance genres to an extent yes, but in ballet it is not where it could be. That said, it is good to see more and more people of colour in ballet companies. Social media has given dancers the platform to promote themselves and it will be interesting to see how this will influence the future decisions that companies will make. What does diversity in dance mean to you? It means that any dancer can dance in any company and on any stage with the feeling “I belong here.”
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Your voice is shaping the future News for members from our strategic review Thank you to our many members who completed the online survey in April of this year as part of the Society’s strategic review. The survey was a vital part of our research phase and this article shares some of the main findings from the survey and other areas of research, which we are now using to inform and shape the development of a new five year strategic plan.
i The research was led by Sarah Chambers of Sarah Chambers Consulting and Jo Marsh at Winster Marsh.
Who did we consult? We conducted an online survey, sent to all members, in four languages. We received over 721 responses, which included respondents from all dance genres and professions and was proportionally representative of our membership. This gave us a confidence level of 99% with a 4.72% margin of error. We also conducted a series of focus groups with members, non-members and students to widen our consultation and gain a deeper understanding of the current dance sector and gauge how well people knew the Society. The third component of our research included one-to-one interviews with key stakeholders, including sector bodies, national funders and higher education organisations. What did we learn? The research revealed a picture of contrasts, with many strengths and opportunities the Society can build on, as well as some areas for improvement and some immediate priorities, which the organisation needs to address. Business recovery The overwhelming research finding and priority cited by members for the future of ISTD is supporting members with business recovery, with 43% of survey recipients selecting business recovery as an immediate high priority. Recruitment, stabilising finances and keeping schools open were identified as real challenges. This is a very clear message that our members need support with business resilience following the devastating impact of Covid-19.
Quality and inclusivity ISTD is perceived and understood as a world leading dance examination board with robust safe-guarding procedures. Members told us standards in teaching and maintaining quality are paramount and integral to ISTD, with 48% selecting this as a priority for the Society. Despite the ‘gold standard’ positioning, there were questions about how inclusive we are as an organisation. In the survey 25% of members selected being ‘inclusive and welcoming to all’ as an immediate priority and 31% said the priority is to support a new generation of teachers. A voice for dance Members have also called for the Society to develop a clear, visible voice for dance. The public benefit of dance is at the heart of the Society’s charitable purpose – to educate the public in the art of dance – and it’s clear that the passion for dance and its wide-ranging benefits is an important belief for many members. Going forward the Society will need to reinforce the projects, actions and strategies that underpin and deliver that mission.
Focus on inclusion and diversity. Competitive and agile The breadth of our dance genres and syllabus is perceived as a strength and ISTD is seen as an early adopter in a number of dance genres, but there were questions about the flexibility and creativity of the syllabus and how it can accommodate new dance genres. Members also cited the competition and how important it is that the Society keeps up with the times and utilises digital technology more effectively. We need to ensure we are agile and competitive, not just for our UK members, but to ensure we are reaching and serving the needs of our international membership.
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Connect more with younger members.
Widespread use of ‘ISTD’ As part of the strategic review, we are also evaluating the strategic fit of our name. Members have clearly told us that the use of the initialism ISTD is very widespread, with 87% of respondents saying they refer to the organisation using the initialism, rather than the full name and 58% of recipients use the post nominal letters after the name. In terms of the full name, opinions are divided with 22% selecting the word ‘Imperial’ as the most important word in the name, whilst the majority selected ‘Teachers’ or ‘Dancing’. However, what is clear from the research is that the priorities and activities of the Society are a more important concern for many members, especially given the negative impact of COVID-19, as cited above. The focus groups commented that questions about the Society’s name have been on-going for some time, but that any change must relate to future strategy.
Promote dance for all.
Engagement Over 47% of survey respondents said they feel ‘emotionally invested’ with ISTD. We feel very privileged that so many members feel closely connect to the Society. This doesn’t mean we are complacent, as we also acknowledge that 25% of survey respondents said they are less engaged and in the open-ended section of the survey there were some areas for future-focus highlighted and we have made sure these are taken forward as part of the strategic planning process. The results also demonstrated the need to keep listening and reaching out to our membership, wherever we can and act on the priority issues on their behalf.
Be open to new ideas.
What’s next? During the summer we have been building on the findings and views from members and stakeholders in a series of strategic planning sessions to identify and agree the priorities for the future of the organisation. We urgently looked at immediate priorities, especially how we best support our members with critical business recovery and development. We are bringing together work already underway through our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion think tanks to ensure we prioritise strategies and activities that ensure ISTD is more inclusive going forward, and crucially how we build on our ‘gold standard’ positioning of quality and excellence. We need to work harder to also ensure we are reaching and communicating with our community while keeping an eye on the competition and ensuring our membership offer is current and relevant. We look forward to updating members about these developments in the next issue of Dance magazine and via our e-newsletters and through regular member meetings.
i Supporting your business recovery • Resources, tools and training for business development, safe and inclusive practice can be found on our website hubs: Diversity and Inclusion, Raising Standards and Coronavirus Guidance and Business Support. • Don’t forget to check out our free monthly Membership Matters talks and CPD training from leading practioners on topics that help your dance teaching practice and well-being. • In the coming months we will be developing marketing collateral to help you promote your business. Providing you with social media assets, in-studio resources eg posters, and supporting advertising. We will also be developing business guides to support you at every step of your business journey and be reinvigorating our Find a Dance Teacher service. To find out more about what we are doing turn to membership matters on page 22. Dance | Issue 493 29
Europe Carole Watson shares the stories of four professional dancers who have been inspired for life.
Above Daniele Silingardi, Stuttgart Ballet
Carole Ann Watson International Representative for Europe email@example.com
Members of our worldwide family have been promoting the Society and preparing children and students for examinations, keeping up with syllabus changes and continuing professional development. But what makes our members so special and the work worth promoting? I spoke to four professional dancers to find out. All four dancers agreed that the Society’s wide choice of dance styles and music gives a complete and inclusive education that prepares students for various walks of life. I spoke to each of them about their journeys, which show just how varied dancers' professional paths can be. Ricardo Cervera Ricardo has always been committed to dance learning and performing. Training in Imperial Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre, and Tap gave him the possibility to try various styles of dance and music from a very young age. He took many trips to London to participate in the Senior Ballet Awards, winning his section and the Joyce Mackie Boys’ Cup many times. He also enjoyed recording the original version of the Advanced 2. At 16, Ricardo went to The Royal
The ISTD work that has been passed down over the years is invaluable, the syllabi are constantly updated to mirror the latest developments in dance, helping dance teachers fire up the passion for performing in their students. Ballet Upper School and, after two years, he joined the company. He became first soloist, known for his Lescaut in Manon, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and Hans-Peter in The Nutcracker, often partnering with his great friend Laura Morera from Madrid. For several seasons he had worked as one of the ballet masters of the company. He is now teaching the boys’ graduate class at the Upper School, which he greatly enjoys. He cares about interpretation to bring out the most in the dancer, and loves teaching individuality and artistry for Repertoire as well as coaching students on how to be distinctive enough to get a job. Emma Mardegan Emma was inspired by the Port de Bras and Adages. “The music matched so perfectly the enchaînments. Exams were fun – not like any other exam. It was just myself and the music; they gave me a way of expressing myself and a sense of freedom. This helped me grow, encouraging me to be more versatile, and not just technically. For example, arms and hands can express everything, from being vulnerable, to being in love or sad. Thinking of interpreting
a particular character on stage made things even more inspiring and helped me give my personal interpretation to the enchaînements. I was honoured to have been chosen for the recording of the Advanced 2 Port de Bras.” Emma won the Advanced 1 Imperial Classical Ballet Award and the award for musicality. The ISTD Bursary Award was “the beginning of my professional journey,” she acknowledges. This gave her the opportunity to take up two scholarships, the first one for Stuttgart’s John Granko Schule and the second one for Amsterdam’s Dutch National Ballet Academy. “I am so grateful to the Society for this bursary.” In 2019, Emma joined the Dutch National Ballet Academy as a guest student for the final year and was then offered a contract with the Junior company. “I started performing with the Junior company at the Linbury Theatre in London as a replacement for a female dancer, who injured herself. The same year I had the chance to dance Paquita’s part on the main stage at the Dansers van Morgen Academy show, an experience I will never forget! Right after that show, I made the cover of Dance Europe and the magazine mentioned me as a name to watch.”
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Above Gianluca Raponi, ISTD dance teacher and choreographer
Above Emma Mardegan, Dutch National Ballet Junior Company
Above Ricardo Cervera, teacher at The Royal Ballet Upper School
In examinations, performing the ballet solo gave me the opportunity to develop my artistry from a young age, portraying something unique and special as a dancer, even in a simple enchaînement.
Emma has just signed a contract with the main company for the next season at the age of 19. Gianluca Raponi Gianluca is a choreographer and a former professional dancer. He decided to become a dance teacher during his later years as a performer. “I found the modern and tap work fascinating – the more I saw, the more I wanted to learn! The way the syllabi are structured creates an interesting and inspiring journey for the children and students.” I asked him how it was to learn all that as a student? “It took me some hard work to go through all the exams from Intermediate,” he admits. “I took my Advanced 2 and DDE exams at the age of 50!” Gianluca began his training in the early 1980s and by 1986 he was first dancer in Carlo Tedeschi’s theatrical company. He performed in various musical comedies at Teatro Sistina in Rome, with the Renato Greco Ballet, with the Teatro Verdi company of Trieste, and with Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera (under Carla Fracci’s direction). Gianluca also worked in television on several Rai and Mediaset productions. He has appeared in two films, Che meraviglia, amici! (a
musical film) and had the leading role in La verità di un ragazzo, a videoclip by Italian singer Edoardo Bennato, interpreting the role of Mister Geppetto. He has collaborated with Carlo Tedeschi as a choreographer since 2003. Gianluca is now enjoying teaching his own students and preparing them for ISTD examinations. He says he feels constantly fascinated and enriched by the work and in 2019 began a new journey learning the contemporary syllabus. Daniele Silingardi Daniele has always loved performing. As a student, he found the solo variation at the end of the exams inspiring. “The variation gave me the opportunity to perform and encouraged me to give my own personal interpretation. To me, it was something unique and personal, which really helped me going into the profession.” “The modern work helped me to experiment with movement and I found it extremely useful at a later stage, when I studied contemporary. Studying the vocabulary steps wasn’t easy. However, I found it so useful when I went into full time training at The Royal Ballet School, as I could memorise the enchaînements much faster.”
After winning the Joyce Mackie Boys’ Cup in 2008, and the Phylliss Godfrey Award in 2002 and 2009, Daniele joined The Royal Ballet School in 2011. After graduating in 2013, he joined English National Ballet. “There I learnt a lot about dance and life. Now I am with the Stuttgart Ballet’s corps de ballet, a more diverse company.” Daniele also enjoys teaching as a means to put his passion and artistry to the service of young dance students. As a teacher, he always aims at passing onto his pupils something unique and special. Daniele has always had a keen interest in photography, but during lockdown he was able to dedicate more time and delve into his additional passion. “Being a dancer, I can appreciate the lines, but I try to capture the moment and eternalise the emotions of the dancers.” Daniele has recently been given the opportunity to photograph the artists alongside another member of the company.
PHOTOGRAPHERS' CREDITS (ABOVE L TO R): ROMAN NOVITZKY, PIERLUIGI ABBONDANZA, ALTIN KAFTIRA, JOHAN PERSSON
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Astrid Sherman shares inspiring stories from Canada and Mexico that celebrate our values of quality, inclusion, innovation, passion and integrity. how she embodied every musical nuance that could be explored in the artistic delivery of the syllabi. Kara is grateful for the technical and artistic foundation of her ISTD formative training years.
Above Nomi Wiersma
Kara Chan, Vancouver, Canada Kara gained her Advanced 2 in Imperial Classical Ballet and Modern Theatre. Upon graduating from Juilliard she joined the Mark Morris Dance Group in The Hard Nut and appeared with the Merce Cunningham Trust, Kathryn Posin Dance, Gleich Dances, and MorDance. Before the pandemic, she was touring with Twyla Tharp Dance and Pam Tanowitz Dance. Kara is also an alumna of Springboard Danse Montreal, the Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Programme, and a Youth America Grand Prix finalist. She was a recipient of the Juilliard Career Advancement Grant (2015), Chrystal Dance Prix, Judy Dennis Emerging Artist Award, and BC Arts Council Scholarship. Known in media reviews for her “astonishing musicality” and “exuberance,” Kara’s ISTD teachers will also tell you
International Representative for North America firstname.lastname@example.org
Nomi Wiersma, Ontario, Canada Nomi completed her Advanced 2 exams in Modern Theatre and Tap before going on to train professionally at Bird College and then at AMDA in NYC and LA. Nomi relates how these years were a tough personal journey: “I had this deep passion for dance and performance, but at the same time I struggled so much with self-esteem” “It’s almost as if all the training I received with ISTD, both as a child and in college, was lying dormant, waiting for me to be ready to use it. I really started to feel this way when I went back to the ISTD syllabus to prepare for my Associate exams.” “The more I teach, the more I continue to learn, and it feels like an archeological dig within myself. I realise I’ve known how to be the best dancer I can be for a long time… I just couldn’t access that knowledge until recently.” She never expected to teach, yet: “Here I am, loving it.” Nomi is also currently dancing for Dancetheatre David Earle and Vintage Taps (an all-female tap company).
Militzen López Yuen, México City Militzen is an ISTD ballet and modern teacher In México City teaching students from both Mexico and the USA. During these pandemic months, she came up with an innovative teaching tool. Together with her husband, she has developed a new podcast series in Spanish, Ballet PodClass. Each includes an extract of dance history, significant ballet music and topics range from dance injuries, to dance mums, and the importance of finishing the school year. One especially poignant podcast was an investigation with Adriana Negrete Ponce de León about the mood of the dance students in México during the pandemic. A survey was sent out and questions covered the difficulties students encountered with virtual classes, how they were feeling after so many months online, how they kept motivated, and whether there were positives that had come out of the experience. Students reported not having the space, barre, or flooring to dance at home and spoke about the frustrations of repeated internet failures. However, dance students are resilient, and many adapted to this new environment. A positive and motivating development was the ability to attend courses from around the world online, entering ISTD events and competitions. Some of Militzen’s students have entered the Above Kara Chan ISTD Dance Challenge 2021.
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Left Associate students, Chloe Diprose and Isobel Caldwell, correcting each other in physical practice
Jess Walker International Representative for Australasia email@example.com
Australasia Jess Walker looks at professional qualifications for the new generation.
We are all ISTD people! We need our past, current and our future teachers to grow from strength to strength. The ISTD work is exceptional on its own, but without the passion of the Society’s teachers, it wouldn’t be able to progress. A teacher can make an incredible impact in someone’s lives – in ways that you may not even know or even see till many years later. Here are some real-life stories about the journey from ISTD student to ISTD teacher from both the perspective of the teachers and the students. Imperial Classical Ballet Teacher, Lorraine Bennett With three associates to prepare this year, I had underestimated how gratifying sharing teaching methodologies and strategies would be. I have found that
guiding a teacher is a whole reorganising of learning to date. The process is developing a keener eye, a more progressive approach, greater autonomy and an even deeper respect for their craft, their students and their own dance journeys. The certitude and resilience these young associates are demonstrating as they take over the classroom is heart-warming, what wonderful traits to develop for wherever their lives take them. I welcome the ISTD’s recognition of diverse approaches to learning and teaching and continue to advocate the positive impact here in Australia. Supporting the longevity of sound teaching and safe dance practice is a win-win for all. Imperial Classical Ballet Associates Beth, Elaine and Grace Having finished our Advanced 2 exams, we wanted to explore different avenues through which we could keep ballet in our lives. The associate gives us the opportunity to pursue ballet
in a professional capacity and gain a deeper understanding of classical ballet in a rewarding environment. Our greatest hope is that we are able to pass this joy and love of all that dance entails onto our future students. We recall the impact our ballet teacher had and continues to have on us, and we hope to help people enjoy dance as a passion; dancing for themselves, not necessarily with the intentions of pursuing a career. Modern Theatre Teacher, Teresa Geraghty I am from Sydney, Australia and I have been a qualified teacher for almost 30 years thanks to my own great teacher, Carol O’Connell. I have always found teaching the ISTD syllabus to be incredibly rewarding. Over 30 years, I have taught some dedicated students from Primary all the way through to Advanced 2, and then on to becoming professional, registered ISTD teachers. I am currently working with three students who have just finished high school, and due to the COVID pandemic, have not been able to go travelling like many Australian school leavers. We filled their days with working towards their Associate examination in Modern Theatre to keep them feeling productive, giving them the opportunity to gain a professional qualification in the syllabus that they love. It has been a really positive move to have something to work towards, something that can be taken anywhere in the world (when we can travel freely again). It has been great to learn the new Musical Theatre Amalgamations – the inspirational and updated work continues to ignite their passion for the syllabus and their desire to continue to teach to the next generation.
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Chua Zjen Fong International Representative for Asia firstname.lastname@example.org
Asia Chua Zjen Fong reflects on the importance of the next generation of dance teachers and influencers. Above Marilyn Hannah Lau Jay Yi
I spoke to three incredible young teachers who did not turn to dance as their full time career out of the blue, they were inspired by someone. Dance is so much more than the steps or the techniques we learn. Dance challenges the resilience, perseverance, discipline and adaptability of whoever it meets. It connects us to others through this universal language that we all share and allows us to see beyond ourselves. Marilyn Hannah Lau Jay Yi 22-year-old Marilyn started dancing aged aged 6. She received her training in classical ballet, modern theatre, jazz, contemporary, street dance and completed her Advanced 2 examinations in classical ballet, modern theatre and Associate teaching certification with ISTD. She has competed internationally, and is in her final year of completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) in Melbourne, Australia, where she trains full-time in contemporary dance. Many teachers and dancers have inspired her but she cites one of her biggest inspirations as her very first dance teacher, Cyn Dee Too, who taught her for 14 years. Marilyn never thought of pursuing dance as a career and only decided at the end of high school. Dance was something she could see herself doing for years. She felt that teaching dance required a lot more than simply being a good dancer because it requires an additional
We build confident younger generations through dance. skill set. Learning to teach dance has made her a better dancer, challenged her relationship to music, increased her awareness of the specificity of her movement and set the foundations for being able to describe and communicate to others through dance as a language. Chan Tyng Tyng Having established the Tyng Dance Academy in 2006 and receiving her ISTD Licentiate in Latin American, Chan Tyng Tyng (34) was included under the ‘Successful People in Malaysia’ section of the Encyclopedia Britannica (second edition 2020). She is a Malaysia State Dancesport Adjudicator who has coached over 70 champions in various genres of dance. A strong multi-genre dancer who started dancing at the age of seven, she has obtained professional qualifications in dancesport, classical ballet, Chinese classical and modern jazz. ISTD examiner Jill Bush inspired her a lot in her dance education. Being an introvert at a young age, she seldom
socialised and only talked to her best friend. Her parents sent her to a dance studio nearby even though repeatedly felt the urge to run away from the class. After months of participating, performing, and watching her own reflection in the mirror; she learnt how to stand, walk, and hold her poise with confidence. Tyng Tyng now has a sense of belonging on stage. Dance built her confidence. Her father sadly died in 2011, but thanks to her loving and supportive dance family, she regained her confidence and hosted one of the biggest charity concerts in her region in 2012. Her internationally recognised ISTD certificate made her stand out. Ooi Say Onn and Chong KarMan Ooi Say Onn and his wife Chong KarMan have been dancing together for eight years. They first met on the dance floor. They are Malaysia Latin champions and first runners-up in Ballroom for the Malaysia Dancesport Federation (MYDF), with Associate certificates for both Latin American and Ballroom. Their biggest inspiration came from their main coaches, Chua Zjen Fong and his wife, Evon Chong. When they first saw the 15 times Malaysia Latin Champion perform for the first time, they fell in love with this sport. While Onn took an interest in dancing after his first encounter with his coach’s performance, KarMan’s interest in dancing started after trying out in a group lesson with her friends. The dynamic duo loved dance, so they made it their career.
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Delia Sainsbury International Representative for Africa and the Middle East email@example.com Above Nicki-Ann Rayepen
Africa and the Middle East Delia Sainsbury highlights ISTD dancers who are using their talents in varied areas of dance. Hope Maimane Hope initially felt that ISTD training left little room to add your own personality but once the training became second nature, he was able to put his personal stamp on it and use the method to develop his own style. Upon graduation, he appeared in several films such as Scorpion King 2, Rise of a Warrior and Lost in Transmission. He went into musical theatre and toured internationally with many productions. Hope has held workshops in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He now runs Hope School of the Arts in Johannesburg where he focusses on choreography for dance companies, international competitions and developing dancers to explore their individuality. He says: “Whilst my style is unique to me and that is a crucial ingredient to becoming a choreographer, it was the discipline of the ISTD training and method that has influenced my journey.” He retains his passion for Africa and combines his unique style with his roots.
Nicki-Ann Rayepen During her final year of training, Nicki-Ann was offered a teaching post at the American International School in Cape Town, as well as the chance to be a ballerina in the world tour of Phantom of the Opera. She pursued the latter, travelling extensively in Asia and the Far East. After returning to her home of Port Elizabeth, Nicki-Ann embarked on a youth development programme in the disadvantaged communities and her skills combined. She led a project called Mandela Bay’s Top Dancer and furthered her academic studies at the Nelson Mandela University, where she is currently working on her Master’s degree. She has carried on with her performing career, choreographing television adverts and acting in films, including opposite Orlando Bloom. NickiAnn recently partnered with Dane Hurst from London from the Moving Assembly Project, working on a piece called Love in the Time of Revolution for which she won a South African Encore Ovation Award. Utilising her ISTD training, Nicki-Ann now produces and directs full length productions and corporate events.
Owen Lonzar Owen joined Delia Sainsbury’s first studio in Johannesburg in 1983. He is now one of South Africa’s leading event coordinators and choreographers. What appealed to him most about ISTD training was the use of rhythms and the versatility of styles in the Amalgamations and Combination steps. Owen was exposed to a plethora of West End show choreography by Keith Galloway (trained originally by Mary Archbutt) and Delia Sainsbury (Bush-Davies School). He says one of his greatest strengths is to be able to count and analyse work for his dancers as a result of his ISTD training. He acknowledges the necessity of repetition and attention to detail and says his ability to choreograph on the spot, if necessary, comes from the emphasis on listening to music and improvisation that is part of the ISTD syllabi. He is currently Creative Director for an online arts festival in Sydney, Australia. Owen is also creating tap routines on his, "upside-down dining room table,” for a South African Dance Festival, and has developed a company called Waiting in the Wings, producing many shows online, including a show at Johannesburg Airport, with planes and hangars at his disposal. He also created a feeding scheme for unemployed artists during the pandemic, which is continuing as this article is being written. He says: “Even now, during very uncertain times and facing long term unemployment, my ISTD training kicks in and the discipline I was taught rears it’s beautiful head and gives me ways to create and survive.” Kelly Chandrapaul Kelly heads an outreach programme at Lawrence House, a children's home in Cape Town. She is working alongside Joshua Fowler, who was recently the first ISTD candidate with Asperger’s to complete both Modern and Tap Associates. See www.istd.org/discover/ news/2021/may/student-teacher-journey Read our interview with Kelly in our feature about amazing alumni on page 16. Dance | Issue 493 35
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Cecchetti Classical Ballet Richard Glasstone FISTD MBE Committee member Julie Cronshaw looks at Richard Glasstone’s formative influences over a lifetime of dance.
For members in the Cecchetti Faculty, Richard Glasstone MBE needs no introduction. He has been teaching Cecchetti classical ballet for decades both in the UK and internationally and has enjoyed an extensive career as a dancer, choreographer and author. In 2022, the Cecchetti Society will celebrate its centenary. As the Cecchetti Society looks towards another 100 years, the current Cecchetti Committee would like to thank Richard for his inestimable contribution to teaching and promoting Cecchetti Classical Ballet in
this country and abroad. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (historically Zaire), Richard trained under Dulcie Howes and Cecily Robinson at the University of Cape Town’s Dance Department (UCT) in South Africa. After graduation he went to study further in London with Marie Rambert and Audrey de Vos. His first professional engagement was with the Scapino Ballet, based in the Netherlands and not long afterwards he was invited back to join the UCT as a junior lecturer, continuing there as a dancer and choreographer. From 1965–1969 he was resident choreographer and principal teacher to the Turkish State Ballet of Ankara, a company with strong Cecchetti connections, the Turkish State Conservatoire having been founded by Dame Ninette de Valois, in 1942. Cecchetti teachers Molly Lake and Travis Kemp were training the students in the State Conservatoire whilst Richard was there and he mentions that he was understandably curious to see how the Cecchetti Method had an influence on the dancers of the company at that time.
De Valois invited Richard to teach at The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge in 1969, where he worked for 18 years, holding the posts of senior ballet teacher for boys and director of the dance composition course. During that time Cecchetti Method classes formed part of the school curriculum and Richard worked alongside the much-respected Nora Roche. Among his many talented pupils emerged several future principal dancers and teachers of The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet such as Viviana Durante, Darcey Bussell and Philip Broomhead, David Yow and Sara Gallie, also, Royal Ballet Director, Kevin O’Hare, and independent modern dance choreographers Michael Clark and Matthew Hawkins. Richard went on to teach and lecture at Laine Theatre Arts and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance as well as regular guest teaching at the Cecchetti Centre, which he helped to found and develop. He has taught internationally, including in China at the Beijing Dance School (now Beijing Dance Academy) upon invitation from the Cecchetti trained director Dai Ailian. Richard has contributed innumerable articles on teaching to The Dancing Times and Dance Now magazines, to the International Encyclopaedia of Dance and published several books, including two memoirs: Congo to Covent Garden, A Life
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Philippa McMeechan Head of Faculty Development for Cecchetti Classical Ballet
Left Richard Glasstone receiving his MBE from the Queen, 20 October 2013
Right Richard Glasstone with Dame Ninette de Valois
Linked by Languages in 2015 and more recently, My Lifetime of Dance in 2020. He has also published two biographies on Chinese dance pioneer Dai Ailian and the South African dancer David Poole. Richard was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2013. He is married to designer Heather Magoon and their son Ben is a composer. Richard says: “Three women were to exert significant influence on my professional development as a dancer, choreographer and teacher – in South Africa it had been Dulcie Howes and Cecily Robinson, and in Holland, my new Mentor was Hans Snoek, the founder and director of the Scapino Ballet Company. “For much of my time as a student, Cecily Robinson was one of the university’s most important ballet tutors. A truly inspirational teacher, she was also the custodian of some of the Fokine ballets in which – as Cecilée Zonova – she had danced in one of the émigré Russian ballet companies. Although Dulcie Howes and Cecily Robinson had both been schooled originally in the teaching method of the great Italian maestro, Enrico Cecchetti, Cecily’s approach to teaching this work was fundamentally different to Dulcie’s technically very precise but somewhat prosaic manner of imparting this material to us. “Cecily could take the simplest combination of basic ballet steps and, with the unexpected tilt or turn of the head, the unconventional use of an arm, or the imaginative timing of a musical phrase, she was able to make everything she taught us seem special.” Dulcie Howes was the founder of Cape Town’s University ballet company, school and degree course. Back then, in South Africa, the whole concept of what ballet could and should be was carefully nurtured by her.
Richard comments: “One of the most valuable elements of Cape Town University’s Teacher Training Course was the amount of time allocated to the ‘hands on’ interaction between the student-teachers and those children of many different racial backgrounds attending classes at the University’s Junior Ballet School.” At Scapino Ballet Richard danced professionally and developed his skills as a choreographer. He says about Hans Snoek: “An imposing, handsome dark-haired figure, always energetically searching for new ideas and challenges, this remarkable, pioneering woman had played a major role in the gradual establishment of larger, better-educated audiences for ballet throughout the Netherlands. As early as 1945, Snoek had founded the nucleus of her Scapino Ballet Company in Amsterdam. My first two years with Scapino certainly gave me a realistic insight into some of the rigours of life in a touring company, as well as an understanding of the value of being able to try out my choreographic ideas on a wide variety of audiences.” Many years later, in Turkey, Dame Ninette de Valois now became his mentor, honing still further the skills he had acquired earlier from Dulcie Howes and Hans Snoek. Eventually, she invited him to teach at The Royal Ballet School White Lodge for the academic year beginning 1969. During his 18 years there, he formed some lasting friendships with several colleagues. He recalls how the Academic Principal Helen Kastrati and Ballet Principal Barbara Fewster helped develop the vision that Dame Ninette de Valois had for the school, which was to provide talented young dancers with a rigorous ballet training allied to a sound general education. Dame Ninette advised Richard thus: “Always respect and honour
the past but keep an open mind about changing circumstances and the need sometimes, to move with the times.” Richard says: “That is also the advice I would give to new Cecchetti teachers.” Wise advice indeed!
i Julie Cronshaw RBS Dip. TTC FISTD Julie is a member of the current Cecchetti committee. She was accepted onto The Royal Ballet School’s Teacher’s Training Course under Valerie Adams from 1983–86, and studied Cecchetti Method first with Jocelyn Mather attending Richard Glasstone’s Saturday morning Cecchetti classes behind the rising stars of the school, Viviana Durante and Darcey Bussell, amongst many others. Over several decades, between a career as a professional ballet dancer in Germany and the United States and founding her own ballet school in 1995, she continued to study Cecchetti Method with Richard Glasstone wherever possible, inviting him to teach master classes and courses at her own school in Highgate, London. One of the unique collaborations was a weekend of classes and lectures in April 2012 called A Glimpse into the Spanish World, bringing together Cecchetti, Bournonville and the Escuela Bolera together possibly for the first time in history and reuniting Richard Glasstone with Dame Marina Grut (née Keet), a former fellow student from UCT.
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Cecchetti Classical Ballet ~ continued
Ballet’s Secret Code Committee member Julie Cronshaw FISTD released a thoughtprovoking documentary about six physical principles of classical ballet as they apply to the Cecchetti Method on YouTube in January. We catch up with Julie about the creation of her inspirational project.
What promoted you to make this wonderful film? Back in 2010, I was discussing some principles of classical ballet with a friend, namely aplomb and épaulement, when I had what you might call an ‘Eureka!’ moment. I realised, suddenly, that these principles underpinned two days of Cecchetti’s Method according to his Days of the Week and that the other days had also their own physical principles, each one linked to the particular steps and step qualities of each day. I put them down into an essay called The Six Physical Principles behind Cecchetti’s Days of the Week and shared my realisations with family and friends. They agreed that these fundamental physical principles applied to their other activities and sports as well and the idea for a documentary was born. First, I began to incorporate these principles into classes at my ballet school and decided to create a website for Cecchetti resources called TheCecchettiConection.com. I included not only the Days of the Week essay but also several others I had written for charitable masterclass events in Paris for the société Auguste Vestris between 2007–2013. Their director, Katharine Kanter, initially gave me a donation to get the film started and by chance she discovered former Royal Ballet
soloist Muriel Valtat, who was studying Cecchetti Diploma in Canada, and who agreed to join the project. A former pupil of mine now a filmmaker, George Massey agreed to co-direct and edit the film and in 2015 we were fortunate to be able to use the historic Hamlyn studios in Florence to film some more Cecchetti work with one of their former students, Salvo Nicolosi. My Highgate Ballet School accompanist Morta Grigaliūnaïte completed the team. By 2018, we had a version that premiered at the Hamlyn School and after revising it extensively, the YouTube film was released on 20th January 2021. Your film starts with footage of Fonteyn and Nureyev, why did you choose this footage? It was a combination of personal, philosophical and artistic reasons. George found the film of Fonteyn and Nureyev, it just fitted perfectly. When you embark on a project such as this, the first images you release need to engage your audience and make them think. When I look at images of Fonteyn and Nureyev, the poses are usually perfect in every way, balanced, harmonious, intensely artistic, like an Old Master’s painting. You got the feeling that these artists were dancing to show humankind a higher vision of itself, they knew or felt that they had a
huge responsibility on their shoulders to communicate something of great intrinsic worth or spiritual import, if you like, to their audiences. It had, as I say in the film, little to do with basic technique, which was only a tool for them and not the final goal of their performances. There is a clear message that modern day requirements for extremes of movement, represents a shift from an art to a sport. What do we as an audience lose as a result? The audience does not know for the most part what it is missing! We have become so accustomed to leg kicking, multiple pirouettes and pretty muscles that any actual artistic performance would not register as sensational enough to please. Therefore, the art of classical ballet as a means to communicate those higher ideas of humankind, which cannot be expressed in any other way, is becoming irrelevant and may become obsolete for the next generation. Who could you highlight as having had the most influence on your career as a dance student, teacher and historian? As with most dancers, I am deeply grateful to more than one master teacher, but over the past two decades I have worked with Roger Tully (who passed
38 Dance | Issue 493
Far left Ballet’s Secret Code Team at Hamlyn School, Florence in Aug 2015 (L to R): Salvo Nicolosi, Julie Cronshaw, Morta Grigaliunaite and George Massey Left (L to R): Muriel Valtat and Julie Cronshaw
Taking online classes with your peers is a great motivation and a sense of support; the fact that we are going through this together. away in 2020) and whose philosophy behind the basic principles of classical ballet were the direct influence for my realising all Cecchetti’s physical principles. As a student, I trained in Cecchetti at The Royal Ballet School under Jocelyn Mather and Richard Glasstone. As a professional dancer, I worked alongside my then husband, former New York City Ballet and American Ballet theatre principal John Prinz, in the USA and became familiar with those techniques. Then I was lucky enough to work for a brief time in Russia alongside Vaganova teachers from the Bolshoi Ballet and this experience has left me
with a desire to return to Russia and study this system, particularly because of its historic links to Cecchetti through Preobrazhenskaya. I am very enthusiastic about studying further the schooling and choreography of Bournonville as well. Are there particular people practicing in the dance world today whom you greatly admire and why? I am an admirer of Alexei Ratmansky. He is not only an inventive choreographer, but he and his wife learned to read the Stepanov notation. He has mounted reconstructed versions of the Petipa Ballets across the world, with a visionary approach that combines a respect for the original choreography, mime, and classical ballet technique alongside his own high artistic standards. Do you have any plans for a follow-up film? Not at the moment. George and I continue to post short films about ballet technique related to the Cecchetti Method called Tips from a Ballet Teacher on YouTube and there is another series on My Take on Swan Lake too. Meanwhile Ballet’s Secret Code is free to view on YouTube.
What advice do you have for members around how to actively encourage equity, diversity, and inclusion? If you respect yourself as an artist who has value in society and whose purpose is to live and work with honesty and integrity in the community then you will have no problem interacting with all those around you and making their lives better, along with your own, in everything that you do, or say. How we conduct ourselves in regard to each other and making our shared experiences equitable improves all our lives and on all levels. There is that maxim my mother told me: ‘Do as you would be done by!’ It is a good start.
i Ballet’s Secret Code, a YouTube documentary about the principles behind Cecchetti’s ‘Days of the Week’ produced and directed by Julie Cronshaw and George Massey, was released in January 2021. You can watch here: https://youtu.be/ ZGT4g7FHSvA More on our Cecchetti Classical Ballet Faculty at www.istd.org/dance
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Classical Greek Dance Freedom, imagination and the sheer joy of Classical Greek dance Joanne Fletcher, adjudicator and teacher, tells us why she thinks adding Classical Greek to the timetable can enrich a child’s dance education. Classical Greek is a beautiful creative dance genre, which is so often overlooked these days as a wonderful addition to the dance school curriculum. Rich in history from its founder namely Ruby Ginner, who was a British dancer and dance educator and founded the Association of Teachers of the Revived Greek Dance. The benefits Classical Greek can enrich a pupil’s dance education both technically, artistically and theoretically. As a dance form, it encompasses all the techniques of the better-known genres from ballet, modern and contemporary and tap to acting and drama and it offers those who participate so much more. Pupils can gain improved balance through footwork progressions and exercises for strength and articulation of the feet and ankles, to support their ballet class. Through the parallel alignment, it can be a little kinder to the average body and can encourage flexibility throughout the whole body. The many progressions that are learnt for the individual skips and hops provide scaffolding when building up to improved elevation, as well as travelling and spatial awareness.
Carriage, ports de bras and line assist in graceful and strong movements, which are all generously explored with improved arm line and use of body spiral. This can be linked to assisting movements and fluidity in our modern and contemporary classes to once again highlight the link across the genres. With its rhythmical quality and use of various styles, seven to be exact, Classical Greek Dance can improve timing and an understanding of varying melodic patterns to support our tap classes, too. Improvisation that involves pupils responding to the pulse beat and then the melody, when so much current music can have a very repetitive beat, encourages learners to listen and gives them a better understanding of musicality and phrasing. Above all, I think that those who study it experience most improvement from Classical Greek Dance’s encouragement of performance, quality of dance, freedom of movement and creativity. Many people are unaware that there are seven styles of Classical Greek Dance that are included within the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing’s syllabi. They include lyrical, athletic, pyrrhic, bacchic, choric, ritual and tragic. These form a wonderful teaching tool for
stage movement and dramatic arts in the dance form. Memories of Classical Greek dance As a child I remember my mother, Margaret Haviland, introducing her first Classical Greek class to her local dance school. We had all been attending our usual Saturday morning ballet, modern and tap classes, which are quite exhausting for a large group of eight-year-olds. However, that day we were all excited to join a new “Classical Greek” class, scheduled after lunch. We were allowed to remove our ballet shoes and dance barefoot for the first time. Enthusiastically, we learnt the varying skips, hops, runs and frieze lines. With improvisation always encouraged, we worked in groups and pairs and took on varying imagery from nature, myths, legends, Greek gods and goddesses; the Rain Fairy, Pan and the North Wind, Pandora, Hermes, Icarus and Pegasus to name but a few. The freedom and fun that class allowed us to experience amongst friends and peers stays with me. We continued to attend our Greek class and went on to take exams with the society and enter solos and groups in local festivals, all such fun.
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Pippa Cobbing Head of Faculty Development for Imperial Classical Ballet, Greek and National firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking into the future Running my own school in a highly technological world where we are constantly having to think of new ideas to encourage children to continue with hobbies like dance, I decided to reintroduce Classical Greek into my school. At the time I had experimented with street, disco, acrobatics and other genres to encourage new members to attend. The uptake for the Greek class has been very promising, with improvement in footwork, arm lines and freedom of movement, musicality and expression noticeable and extremely rewarding.
Classical Greek dance appeals to dancers of all ages and abilities, it is very inclusive.
As an Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing modern, tap and ballet examiner and BIFFA dance adjudicator, I am keen for pupils to take exams and be involved in the festival movement. Many of our children are now participating in solo and duet performances, with a group in production for presentation at future festivals. A few years ago, during my time as an adjudicator at Guernsey Festival, I witnessed an incredible professional Classical Greek group production in the athletic style. I was blown away by the theatre production, staging and technical accuracy and commitment of all the dancers; it was inspiring and rewarding, and a tribute to the teachers and pupils. This is when my renewal and passion for Classical Greek dance was once again awoken. These days, many people in the dancing world and general public are unaware of what Classical Greek entails. To me, it represents freedom of movement, simplistic and pure in its delivery. It does have a strong technique all of its own, but one that encompasses threads from all of the other genres. Appealing to dancers of all ages and abilities, it is very inclusive, and through
musicality and improvisation it helps with communication skills and focus, helping to build confidence amongst the quieter and more reserved members of the class. Forward thinking teachers can now experiment with a plethora of available ideas and musical choices that bring this dance form rich in history and give it a contemporary feel. With use of musical accompaniment or percussion and suggested ideas from the learners, it can be a fun and valuable addition to any dance school timetable. Planning ahead, I am also looking forward to commencing an adult Classical Greek class. For further information on Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing courses, please contact Pippa Cobbing email@example.com
Above Classical Greek dance students of ISTD teacher, Joanne Fletcher Dance | Issue 493 41
Classical Greek Dance ~ continued
Her encouragement and vitality promoted enthusiasm for this form of dance and the opportunity to develop one’s own movements.
A British pioneer of dance Life Member Susan Mitchell-Smith tells us the story of Ruby Ginner MBE and discusses the origins of the Ruby Ginner Method. Ruby Ginner MBE (1886–1978) was called a “British pioneer of dance” by Cyril Beaumont on the cover of her second book, Gateway to the Dance. Born in Cannes, France, Ruby Ginner was sent to boarding school in England at the age of 11 on the death of her father. After leaving school at the age of 15, she attended classes at the Royal Albert Hall. Elsie Fogerty encouraged Ruby Ginner to develop her own method of dance, initially through training for the ancient Greek plays that Elsie was keen to produce at that time. During this time, Ruby Ginner grasped the opportunity to study all aspects of life in Ancient Greece at the British Museum nearby and progressed from training the chorus to performing herself. Her hard work paid off, allowing her to eventually own her own dance and drama school with Irene Mawer, who founded the Institute of Mime. Ruby Ginner was invited to take a group to Greece to perform in Athens, where the performances were very well received. Her productions were seen more widely, too, through open air performances beginning in 1926 in Regent’s Park and Hyde Park under the auspices of the League of Arts, and in the Royal Albert Hall in 1936 when
she produced over 400 dancers there. Today, the Ruby Ginner Method of dancing provides immense enjoyment and opportunity for creativity. Ginner’s aims were simplicity, serenity and sincerity, with exercises and movements for the whole person therefore involving the body, mind and spirit. This made her basic technique suitable for all ages from infants to senior citizens, amateur to professional. There is evidence, too, that her method was used in hospitals as it was considered therapeutic. Students were encouraged to study ‘Nature’ and endeavour to replicate its movement. I attended her school, sadly in the last year of its existence, although I had been previously taught by a Ginner Mawer-trained teacher and was personally trained by Ruby Ginner for my first major Classical Greek dance examination. Her encouragement and vitality promoted enthusiasm for this form of dance and the opportunity to develop one’s own movements. Her own experience of performing professionally began in 1904 with the Frank Benson company based in Stratford-upon-Avon, where she composed her own dance for the first time in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
In 1905, she married Alexander Kydd Dyer, who always supported her. In 1910, she was one of 36 dancers in Marie Brema’s production of Orpheus at the London Savoy theatre and led dancers in a further season, appearing as Mirth in Handel’s Allegro with her own choreography. In 1913, Ginner and her Grecian Dancers appeared at the Tivoli Theatre. 1914 saw her begin teaching for Elsie Fogerty and develop her own classes. She met Irene Mawer in 1915, when they wrote and appeared in Et Puis Bon Soir, which had over 100 performances in the west End between 1915 and 1925. 1916 saw Irene Mawer join her school. The first Summer School at Stratford-upon-Avon was given in 1918. Her first book was published in 1933. She was a member of the Technical Committee of the Congres International de la Danse in Paris in 1938. In 1949, she was made a Freeman of Amphissa, Greece. The Association of Teachers of the Revived Greek Dance (ATRGD) was formed in 1923 at the instigation of Philip Richardson, then editor of the Dancing Times, who felt that an association should be formed to standardise Ruby Ginner’s work. By June
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Far left Ruby Ginner in Classical Greek Dance pose Left Ruby Ginner Awards, November 2019
The Ruby Ginner Method can underpin all forms of dance training as it nurtures dramatic expression, develops musicality and encourages creativity.
1924, ATRGD boasted 22 members, and the first public examinations for teachers took place in May that year. Examinations set by the ATRGD were developed for students and then for children, the latter being administered by the Association of Teachers of Operatic Dancing (later Royal Academy of Dance) until 1951. The ATRGD became the Greek Dance Association in 1937 and in 1986, the Classical Greek Dance Association (CGDA). In the official Agreement, it was stated that the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing should deal with the examinations, but other events would be organised by the Branch Committee. Ginner retained her position as Chair of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Greek Dance Branch until 1964 when she finally retired. The Ruby Ginner Awards were established after her death in 1978 and take place each year. They take the form of a class for each age group, incorporating a Nature Rhythm and musical interpretations, which were two things close to Ginner’s heart. The awards are usually followed by a performance of one of the set sequences applicable to the candidate’s grade. In today’s world Classical Greek
dance, the Ruby Ginner Method can be of benefit in so many ways. It can underpin all forms of dance training as it nurtures dramatic expression, develops musicality and encourages creativity. Its link with the natural world is relevant to today’s interest in the subject, and knowledge of Ancient Greek civilization can foster connections with its literature, art and philosophy. As Ginner herself said, Greek dance offers “that participation in an art which the Greeks made the root idea of all their education.”
i Keep an eye on www.istd.org/events for information about the next Ruby Ginner Awards, which will take place on Sunday 7 November 2021.
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Classical Indian Dance
Dancing with destiny Dance teacher Chrada Sheoratan explains how she is developing and professionalising Classical Indian Dance in the Netherlands. Making dance your profession is a dream for many dance students. At the age of six, I started classical ballet classes. After my mother showed me a videotape of a Bharatanatyam dancer, my interest in Classical Indian dance was awakened. Filled with fascination, I watched the tape over and over until it finally wore out. My mother recognised my interest in Bharatanatyam, and at the age of nine I subsequently made the transition from classical ballet to Bharatanatyam. After my former dance teacher left for India in 2003, I started running the dance school. I was just 19 years old and had hardly any didactic experience. When you start teaching, you soon discover that giving dance classes comes with a lot of responsibilities and obligations. A whole new world opened to me that turned out to be bigger and more exciting than I had ever imagined. You are always creatively busy. When teaching, you can touch people, let them develop and enjoy the most beautiful art form there is. After a year of teaching, I felt the urge to further educate myself in Bharatanatyam. I visited several dance schools in Chennai (India). But given the logistical challenges, I could only go to India once a year. My curiosity and urge to deepen my knowledge led me to new paths closer to home, namely in the United Kingdom. I came into contact with Nina Rajarani, MBE, and Y Yadavan from Srishti – Nina Rajarani Dance School. This meeting was the beginning of a long, inspiring, ongoing journey. My new mentors allowed me to develop a broader dance vocabulary. I
44 Dance | Issue 493
Lisa Harrison-Jones Head of Faculty Development for Modern Theatre and Classical Indian firstname.lastname@example.org Left Dance class in the Netherlands with Chrada Sheoratan Right Jahnavi Sheth
was introduced to various concepts that were previously unknown to me. The training and refresher courses that I followed with them have had a lasting influence on my work in the Netherlands. By developing myself didactically, personally and technically, I could give the best of myself to the students in the Netherlands. Under guidance of my guru Nina, I have completed all the ISTD vocational grades and since 2008 my dance school in the Netherlands offers a training for talented students. There is a lot of talent in the Netherlands. Not everybody has the opportunity to go abroad to learn to dance. That is why we wanted to create that possibility here. A learning environment is created in which knowledge is offered in a broad artistic context and in which practice and theory go together. The difficult Indian dance techniques are taught diligently and in an enjoyable way, making it very accessible for children and young adults. During the training, students learn how to dance technically and with the correct use of muscles and postures to perform the dance steps. The dance training is complimented with training in theoretical background, rhythm (‘thalam’) and music (‘carnatic’ vocal). I have worked hard to keep up with developments in the world of dance with the aim of developing and professionalising Indian dance in the Netherlands. To fulfil these aims, I work with a syllabus from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, which serves as a key building block for the education
programme at my dance school. We have built a long-standing association with the ISTD. Every year, the exams are conducted by a London-based examiner from the Society. To become a dancer, one should sacrifice oneself to this art. It is a difficult art, but if you have chosen to live for the dance, you feel an irresistible urge to dance and you accept all the difficulties of the discipline and its training. It is heavy and tiring but not impossible. I work 40 hours a week for the Dutch Government. There is little free time, but every minute of my time outside my job, I try to fill with dance. It remains a learning process because the more you know, the more you see that there is still so much to learn. Dancing is life and life is dancing! To keep renewing my dance classes and to deepen my own process, I have already started the DDE trajectory through dance school Srishti - Nina Rajarani Dance School. It is a long road to travel, but I keep going.
i Chrada Sheoratan is an ISTD teacher based in the Netherlands who successfully runs her own school and regularly hosts ISTD exams. Chrada completed her advanced Bharatanatyam training and all her vocational grades with Nina Rajarani. She is currently in the process of training for her DDE.
My encore Jahnavi Sheth reflects on her journey to combine Bharatanatyam with her life as a chemical engineer. Dance has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I began my journey in classical dance at the age of four in Kenya learning Kuchipudi. At the age of seven, we moved to the United Kingdom, and though I was not sure what the next stage of my life would be like, one thing I knew was that I would be dancing. While looking for a suitable place to start dancing again, I remember my parents taking me to watch a Bharatanatyam dance show, which is where I saw Nina Didi performing. I was completely captivated and decided I had to go to learn from her. Dancing at Srishti Dance School soon became part of my daily routine. Growing up, I have always been very shy and introverted, but dancing and performing on stage was where I felt confident and empowered. I was always looking forward to going to class, learning new items and getting to perform on stage. Though dancing has been my creative outlet, through learning with Nina Didi, I was shown the mathematical aspects of Bharatanatyam, which intrigued my logical mind, provided a key connection for my dance life and working life as a chemical engineer Dance | Issue 493 45
Classical Indian Dance ~ continued
and showed me that both of my passions could be easily integrated into my life. While at Srishti, I was also introduced to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing exams, through which I learnt many valuable life skills including working under pressure, determination, problem solving and a need to perform well, which helped me to successfully complete my degree. These are still key skills in my current working life. At university, I wondered what my future with dance would be. This is when Nina Didi provided me with the opportunity to perform professionally with her touring group. In addition to continuing my training with Srishti, having the opportunity to work with other professional artists has helped me continuously develop as a dancer and push me to constantly improve. I was provided the opportunity to take part in the development and participation of the professional show Jham in 2015 and in December 2019, I was able to complete one of the items on my bucket list since I started learning to dance; which was to perform in India. This was a dream come true. In addition to performing, I also began tutoring at Srishti. Through this, I have been able to understand another key area of dance. By teaching the younger students I found that in addition to helping me further develop as a dancer, it also provides me with a lot of pleasure watching them learn and display the same excitement I had when I was their age. I am always thankful to my parents for introducing and supporting me through my journey in dance and I am grateful to Nina Didi for seeing my capability and worth, knowing how to cultivate my skills and push me to achieve my best. She also showed me that I could achieve my dance dreams while I continued my career as an engineer, and I hope this encourages other artists to know that it is possible to follow a traditional career path while continuing with your arts journey.
Above Rakhee in training with Nina Right Sonia Chandaria Tillu
My day job to dance Rakhee Taank, a mature student, explains how she resumed her dance practice at a later age to develop a dance arts career. ‘Good luck and keep smiling’ are the encouraging words from my earliest memory of Nina Rajarani MBE at the age of six, at my first dance performance at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in London, where I learnt from Shri Prakash Yadagudde. My parents and brother would travel every weekend for three hours with me to the Bhavan Centre so I could learn Bharatanatyam and additional Karnatic vocal classes from Smt Sivasakthi Siveanesan. My ‘arangetram’ (solo dance debut) took place on 10 October 1998 at the age of 19. Nina was very well known within the community for her meticulous technique, vivid facial expressions and commitment. I remember when Nina received the scholarship to train in India under the Dhananjayans. I was in awe of her determination and passion, especially having passed up her academics in medicine. When Nina returned to the UK, she would teach us at the Bhavan and I remember her telling us about her time in India, of the long days learning
Bharatanatyam, music, Sanskrit and Tamil. In the following years, I qualified as a dispensing optician working in the city and got married, all the while trying to fit dance into the busier schedule of work, married life and later on, being the mother of two daughters. During this time, I tried various dance styles from street dance, ballroom dancing and Bollywood to Kathak. My elder daughter, Arushi, was fascinated by my dance background and expressed an interest in learning Bharatanatyam. I knew immediately that I’d want her to learn from Nina at Srishti – Nina Rajarani Dance School (Nina’s touring company). We reconnected over Facebook in 2016 and met for a coffee where I introduced Arushi and my younger daughter Esha, who would later also join the dance school. Nina mentioned that she also held advanced adult classes on Wednesday evenings. I signed up immediately. To begin with, I was quite nervous, having not danced Bharatanatyam for almost 19 years, but Nina was extremely patient and helped me channel and develop what I had learnt in the past. Her determination to get the best out of us was inspiring and she encouraged the class to perform at the semi-annual student show cases. Returning to dance made me curious about how the classes were organised and the planning involved behind the scenes in the dance school. I also felt there was much I would like to know about Srishti and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Watching my daughters learn at Srishti and sitting the Society gradings made me aware there was a lot about this industry of which I was unaware. I continued working as a dispensing optician and took on many challenges, from working in eye surgery to management. However, there came a point in my career where I just knew that this was not my passion anymore and that my future lay in the arts and Classical Indian dance. At the time though, I kept these thoughts at the back of my mind. It was in March 2021 that a chance conversation between Nina and I, which started off as a friendly catch up, turned towards how I was no longer feeling fulfilled in the optics industry anymore. Following an off-the-cuff remark about
46 Dance | Issue 493
wanting an administrative role away from optics, Nina revealed that she was looking to hire for just that role within Srishti – Nina Rajarani Dance Creations and asked if I would consider taking it up. I was taken aback. It would be a big step, leaving my safety net as a dispensing optician, the only career I had known for 20 years. Nina was aware of this
leap that I was taking, changing careers, and was prepared to fully support me and provide guidance. After discussing the role of company administrator in more detail and seeing Nina’s drive and passion for this art, I knew that this was something of which I wanted to be a part. I feel extremely lucky to be able to work with someone like Nina, who is not
only my teacher and friend but also my mentor. I believe I will gain an insight into the arts industry and broaden my knowledge. I also hope this encourages the younger generation to pursue a career in the arts. I know that this change in career will be a success and I cannot wait to see what the future holds!
A journey in Kathak Sonia Chandaria Tillu, an independent artist working in dance, choreography and education, reflects on the importance of training foundations. Looking back a decade, I feel my experience as an ISTD vocational student (Intermediate Foundation to Advanced 2) facilitated structure and vision to my Kathak journey. The rigorous training combined with theoretical knowledge and musical sensibilities that I continue to develop at Sujata Banerjee Dance
School are proving to be an excellent foundation for my professional career. My present work includes performing/creating solo classical and contemporary Kathak. I particularly enjoy performing work that evokes an emotional response in the audience. In 2018, I founded Sona Lisa
Dance Company (SLDC) and joined the Board of Trustees of UK New Artists, an Arts Council funded National Portfolio Organisation. Through SLDC, I enjoy delivering rhythm-based workshops both in the UK and abroad. I also love collaborating and performing Kathak with live musicians. These inclinations are directly attributable to the solid foundation in rhythm I have developed through training with Sujata Banerjee MBE. Pre-lockdown we were lucky to have had musicians often playing in class and I presented all my ISTD exams solo, with live music accompaniment. Consequently, I find that I communicate and collaborate effectively with musicians during company projects. I value the Society’s emphasis on sustained dance practice including warm up, cool down, strength training and awareness of body alignment. It is these skills that bring out the best dancer in me, both for my company work and while freelancing with other dance organisations. Having just birthed a baby boy, I will be applying these principles to help safely revive my dancing body and continue my Kathak journey.
i You can find out more about Sona Lisa Dance Company at www.sonalisa.co.uk Dance | Issue 493 47
Contemporary Dance Meet Antonio Borriello, Contemporary Teaching Team member Italian born Antonio trained in the Netherlands at Codarts Rotterdam – University of the Arts, graduating with a Bachelor of Dance. He has danced professionally with Phoenix Dance Theatre (England), Florence Dance Company (Italy) and as an apprentice dancer with Scapino Ballet Rotterdam. Antonio has worked with internationally renowned choreographers including Sharon Watson, Richard Alston, and Regina van Berkel. He is now based in Leeds, England, and works as a contemporary technique teacher, choreographer, and rehearsal director across the UK and in Italy. Antonio is a member of the society’s Contemporary Teaching Team, having helped research and develop the society’s Contemporary Dance syllabus alongside Dr Ross McKim. Antonio talks to our Head of Projects and Strategic Events, Michaela Ellis about his career so far and his links with the Society’s Contemporary Dance syllabus. As a child I was very shy, so my parents took me to lots of after-school activities, but nothing would stick. My older brother joined a rock n roll dance programme and when home from his lessons he would often teach me the steps. My parents noticed how much I enjoyed it, so they took me to classes when I was about eight. I loved it and trained in rock n roll and boogiewoogie until I was 17. I did a lot of competitions, and I particularly enjoyed the energy, musicality, and athleticism. Dancing felt right from the very start. It came quite naturally to me, and it really built up my confidence. My dance teachers, family and friends often suggested I should pursue a career in dance. At around age 13 I saw professional dancing on television: it was the first time I saw ballet, jazz and lyrical modern 48 Dance | Issue 493
Michaela Ellis Head of Projects and Strategic Events email@example.com
The more I danced and taught the work the more empowered I felt, and I saw this in my students as well.
and I thought ‘that’s what I want to do’. A couple of years later, a contemporary teacher came to our small town in Sardinia and started a dance course in Graham Technique. At the time my flexibility was very limited, I was not used to deep stretches or to dancing while sat on the floor. My teacher was very encouraging, and I connected with the work straight away. I recognised some of the movement language I had seen on TV, and it was clear to me I was on the right path to develop as a young dancer. At 17, I decided to focus solely on Graham Technique. My parents let me clear a room in the basement of their hotel and turn it into my own dance studio. I laid down a big rug to do the floorwork, the window became my barre, my teacher gave me a yoga book and that was it. I would study yoga on my own and do two private lessons a week. My teacher connected me to a school that had a youth company in Cagliari. Their work had a strong physical theatre approach, and it was often site-specific. Working with a choreographer, performing in
different venues and in front of large audiences for the first time was inspiring and very much shaped what I did next. I moved to Florence after graduating high school to begin a BA Hons in Biology, but I missed dancing so much, I dropped out after three months to focus on dance training. At Florence Dance Center, I studied ballet for the first time alongside contemporary dance. I also joined their professional company, Florence Dance Company. It was a formative experience and a transition between training in Sardinia and Codarts Rotterdam – University of the Arts, which was my next step. My contemporary dance teacher in Florence knew Codarts were holding auditions in a city nearby. I applied and loved the audition. In Italy most of my dance colleagues were classically trained from an early age, instead I started ballet lessons when I was 18 years old. I loved ballet training, but I was very aware I had a lot to catch up on. The contemporary style I studied in Florence very much focused on my individuality as a young dancer, my energy, and my interpretation of choreographic material. All the way through my training, I sought a balance between the technical side of dance and the emotive and profound connection with the art form. I experienced this balance at both the Codarts’ audition and during my time as a student there. We had classical training every day and various contemporary techniques including Graham, Limón, Cunningham, Countertechnique, improvisation. Lots of guest artists came to work with us too. We performed around the Netherlands and in some European cities. Choreographers and artistic Directors would often observe rehearsals and watch performances. That was the main difference between my training experience in Italy and the Netherlands: suddenly, there was a plethora of dance lessons,
performance opportunities, shows, networking with colleagues from all over the world, and different approaches to dance and performance. Upon graduation I felt comfortable on stage, working with choreographers and colleagues, learning and developing movement material, because I had been given access to so many opportunities while training. In my final year at Codarts, I completed an apprenticeship with Scapino Ballet Rotterdam and started auditioning. Phoenix Dance Theatre were looking for one male dancer; I had seen the company online and I really liked the physicality and athleticism of their choreographic works. I took a train to London, auditioned, and got the job in 2012. I danced with the company for a year. I had a back injury in 2013 and decided to take a break from performing, which was a real career low for me. I loved working at Phoenix Dance Theatre alongside Sharon Watson (then Artistic Director) and the rest of the team. Unfortunately, my body had lost its balance and there was no quick fix. I was very committed to my job, but the injury felt unpredictable; not having full control over my body and career in that period was very hard to deal with. I went back to Sardinia for a few months and then moved to London. I worked in a restaurant while I figured out what to do next. I studied personal training, and occasionally I taught company classes and rep workshops for Phoenix. After a year, I gradually returned to daily dance lessons. In 2014, I was teaching company class for Phoenix Dance Theatre while they were performing at the Linbury Theatre in London, and at the end of that week they asked if I wanted to go back to Leeds to take over co-ordinating Phoenix Youth Academy. Back in Leeds, I gradually built up my freelance teaching around that job and I have been here ever since. Dance | Issue 493 49
Contemporary Dance ~ continued it is an ongoing journey; you are progressing, you are seeing where you can go within its movement language. Young people that connect to this syllabus not only get great training, but they will also be well prepared for vocational training. For many aspects it introduces students to a professional approach to dancing. As a professional dancer you often learn choreography, but in my opinion the most interesting, satisfying and sometimes demanding part of the job is finding yourself in the work, ‘making it yours’, and this syllabus really prepares dancers for that.
It is phenomenal that something that Ross developed at Rambert School over many years as Artistic Director and teacher is now available to dance teachers globally.
The Society, the contemporary syllabus and working with Dr Ross McKim I was introduced to working with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing after delivering a class for a Cecchetti event in Birmingham. I was told that the Society was creating a contemporary syllabus with Ross McKim, and I could not pass up such an opportunity. I loved learning the work and felt a connection with it straight away. Ross creates a special atmosphere and safe space in the studio, for everyone to understand themselves within his movement vocabulary whilst creating a strong connection with the rest of the group. For me, each session in the studio with him and the teaching team was a deep personal and spiritual experience. We had the time to explore each exercise in detail, its purpose both individually and within the syllabus system. The more I danced and taught
the work the more empowered I felt, and I saw this in my students as well. As they learned the work, they understood that there was room to find themselves within the movement; when students gain the confidence to do so and start connecting with the intangible layers of the work, it is special to watch. In my opinion the power of the contemporary syllabus is in the quality, experience, and communicative aspect of performance. The benefits of the ISTD contemporary syllabus The ISTD contemporary syllabus encourages dancers to find themselves in the work, infusing the movement language with their own energy, and their ‘voice’. I also appreciate how it brings dancers back to the roots of contemporary dance. Ross’ work has a connection with history while still looking forwards:
The future of the contemporary syllabus I hope that we can continue expanding the work and bring the syllabus to mainstream education and vocational colleges. We have experienced the beauty of this, and hopefully people who will learn and teach will feel the same way about it. It is phenomenal that something that Ross developed at Rambert School over many years as Artistic Director and teacher is now available to dance teachers globally. It is a special and valuable opportunity.
Above left Antonio Borriello
i Want to find out more about teaching contemporary? Keep an eye on www.istd.org for the Advanced 1 syllabus course.
50 Dance | Issue 493
Finding contemporary dance Contemporary dance is a hidden thing within the traditional dance of any period. Rather than being the future, or even the present, it clarifies what remains ‘becoming’.
Contemporary dance came to me as the Red Army Chorus and Dancers visiting Vancouver in the early 1960s. I had politically aware parents. I understood that these men were fighting, hugely successfully, with their bodies and voices. Their weapon was deep physical and musical power. They purveyed delight and exuberance within their ‘cold war’ with the decadent superficial West. They built up to a gentle roaring fortissimo as they swayed, side to side, one count to each steady step, in perfect unison, as if marching. They swayed less and less and stopped… the last note suspended, high and pianissimo. A grave authentic force dressed modestly for military parade that rocked. I went to The Royal Ballet School. It, at that time, did not rock. There has never been a Royal School of Contemporary Dance of course. But it was 1965. We were going to change the world. I wanted dance, if it could not display raw power, to possess something like religious significance, like yoga maybe. So, while with the National Ballet of Canada, I became celibate and an imitation Hindu saint. Ballet class became a religious practice. I lost weight. Fortunately, a man called ‘Grotowski’ explained in a book that yoga was about perfect stillness that might exclude rough, active theatre. In the Royal Danish Ballet I met just one ballet dancer (Erick Bruhn), whose expressivity was contemporary. He quietly saw to my future. That he
was wholly a ‘dancer’ not only a ‘ballet dancer’ was hidden by his perfectness. Then in the 1970s, while sitting on the floor in London, I found contemporariness in the beat of a drum that took me into the earth. I could not yet dance this contemporary dance knowledge. It was very old and growing within me. I was with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre then. Class became more important than the always flawed show. It remained that way even though performance might seem more exciting and is what they pay you for. After that, with my own company, and while teaching, I have thought of technique as, ‘the work’. It must serve performance by serving itself first and without reservation. The work is the pursuit of ‘being as becoming’. You never arrive. When you stop dancing you must teach the work if you learned enough of it. You provide for students, who can give enough to engage in it. The work teaches not technique but the source of it.
i Ross McKim MA PhD NBS (IDP) is a dancer, choreographer, philosopher and creator of the society’s Contemporary Dance Syllabus. He was the Artistic Director of the Rambert School (1985–2015).
I have thought of technique as ‘the work’. It must serve performance by serving itself first and without reservation. The work is the pursuit of ‘being as becoming.’ Above Dr Ross McKim with the ISTD (left) and earlier in his career (right) Dance | Issue 493 51
Disco, Freestyle, Rock n Roll and Street
52 Dance | Issue 493
Amanda Tapp Head of Faculty Development for Disco, Freestyle, Rock’n’Roll and Street firstname.lastname@example.org
On winning the Phyllis Haylor Scholarship We speak to Amy Morrison, our Phyllis Haylor Scholarship winner. Based in Calne, Wiltshire, Amy runs a dance school in Devizes. She spoke to us about the application process for the scholarship and told us how it helped her on her dancing journey.
I would recommend that everyone who is able to should apply for the Phyllis Haylor Scholarship. I thought I would give it a go, though I never expected to win. I just thought it would be good experience and would mean meeting new people and getting to know a few different faces! The application process was simple, I had to explain why I wanted to apply for the scholarship first before being told I was through to the next stage and asked to prepare my presentation. The presentation was given over Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions, which worked well.
I love the events that the Society puts on, with exams and competitions for dancers and specific events for teachers. It is important to keep our passion alive so that we can pass the love of dance to our students. I chose to explore the theme ‘Dance is for everyone: how a good dance teacher can embed inclusivity to everyday practise’. I really enjoyed working on this project and exploring all the different subjects that come under the heading. I prepared a PowerPoint presentation, practicing several times before the real thing. I had a time limit
of 8–12 minutes, which I found difficult. Once I started to explore the subject, I realised there was so much to cover. When I practised my presentation at home for the first time, it didn’t feel right sitting at a computer desk. I decided I would be more ‘Amy’ if I stood up in front of the computer camera instead, which hugely helped in presenting with my own personality. I also practised giving the presentation to several people over Zoom so that they could give feedback, which was useful, as I did end up tweaking a few things. I made sure that the presentation was aimed as the subject as a ‘whole’, rather than just about my school, but I was also keen to factor in how I make sure dance is for everyone in my own practise. I covered important subjects including age, gender, ethnicity, confidence, and disability. One of my favourite subjects was ‘ethnicity’. I spoke about my honeymoon, when I taught a Tanzanian school class a dance routine. The children had never danced before, and their smiles were fantastic. This was a great talking point after the presentation when the panel asked me some questions. I would recommend the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing to other dance teachers. I am lucky enough to have a fantastic dance teacher who works for me, but I can appreciate that
sometimes, being a school owner can feel quite lonely. It is important to be part of such a great community. I love the events that the Society put on, with exams and competitions for dancers and specific events for teachers. It is important to keep our passion alive so that we can pass the love of dance to our students.
i The Phyllis Haylor Scholarship scheme began in 1982 and is awarded annually to an individual who achieved Highly Commended in their Dancesport Associate during the eligible timeframe. A scholarship of £2,000 is awarded to support further dance training, for example higher qualifications, such as Licentiate, an Associate qualification in another genre, or towards any relevant CPD to enhance the recipients career as a new dance teacher. Find out more about the Phyllis Haylor Scholarship and other annual Dance Sport awards at: www.istd.org/ dance/awards-and-competitions
Dance | Issue 493 53
Disco, Freestyle, Rock n Roll and Street ~ continued
Anyone can dance with the ISTD, you don’t have to be a Darcey Bussell or a member of Diversity!
The joy of street Kaitland Baker is a DFR pupil who has danced and competed since the age of five. She has taken both DFR grades and medals. Now in her final year at Trinity Laban whilst studying for her Street Dance Associate, Kaitland tells us why DFR and street is for her. I started dancing at the age of three, taking weekly ballet, tap, modern and freestyle classes. When I was around seven years old, Amanda Hughes, ISTD Fellow and Examiner, took over the classes I used to attend. With her, Jessica Ward and Nicola Hughes, I continued to learn disco freestyle, street, rock n roll and also ballroom and Latin. I started competing around nine, attending friendly DFR competitions. I then moved onto the regional and national DFR competitions, which I competed in yearly until I was nearly 18. After that, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to run some of my own private lessons for those competing in the DFR competitions. It was great to use my own experience as a competitor to guide those just starting their competition journey and help them win medals and trophies. There are many things from my dance journey I am proud of, big and small. I took a lot of exams with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. I completed all my DFR and rock n roll medal tests and I took my Bronze level exams in ballroom and Latin. I also completed my Grade 6 DFR exam and
took multiple exams in ballet, tap and jazz, completing all these medal tests too. With the ISTD, my biggest achievement has definitely been winning at Grand Nationals in the rock n roll category with my dance partner Zoe, and being a runner-up in the set dance category for multiple years running. I was also incredibly proud when my private lesson students got recalls and even made finals at the DFR competitions. Currently, I am finishing my third year studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, on the BA (Hons) Contemporary course. I’ve managed to make it through three lockdowns during the pandemic, dancing in my dining room at home, and I have just submitted my dissertation. I hope to be qualified as an ISTD Street Dance Associate so I can spread my dancing knowledge onto others. The Society has played a huge role in my dance journey so far, pulling me out my comfort zone as a young person, and exposing me to new dance styles all the time. The DFR competitions taught me how to perform, or ‘fake it til you make it’. My teachers were influential, and they knew when to push me, especially during
those long hours of competition practice. The Society is just so accessible, especially to training dancers like me. It is so easy to take a class, whether it be for fun, or to improve your technique. Anyone can dance with the ISTD, you don’t have to be a or Darcey Bussell a member of Diversity! The ISTD works to your strengths as an individual, you can take it at your own pace and it’s a great way to get out, socialise and meet new people. There are also so many opportunities to keep improving and pushing yourself, including examinations and competitions. The ISTD offers so many styles, there really is something for everyone to try, whether it be street dance, ballroom, or folk dance. This makes dance so much more accessible for everyone because let’s face it, not everyone can love ballet. It’s so hard to pinpoint what I love about street dance; I just know there is no better feeling than having a boogie to good music and feeling like you’re free. The serotonin release is unreal!
Above Kaitland Baker has danced and competed with the ISTD since she was five years old
54 Dance | Issue 493
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Imperial Classical Ballet Chance to Dance ISTD teacher Yvonne Browne gives her viewpoint on being a Chance to Dance Associate Artist with an Associated School and how her experiences during this time have affected her teaching style throughout the pandemic.
I joined the Royal Opera House Chance to Dance in 2019, as an Associate Artist teaching dance to Year 3 students at Tudor Court Primary School. The Ongoing CPD training and support we receive from Ruby Wolk and our mentors gave me so much confidence to adapt to new challenges I experienced as part of the Chance to Dance programme. The training we received from the Royal Opera House gave us an insight into The Royal Ballet School way of thinking, providing us with a completely new outlook on dance, which made me question the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ behind what I was teaching. The training 56 Dance | Issue 493
Pippa Cobbing Head of Faculty Development for Imperial Classical Ballet, Greek and National email@example.com
Right Yvonne Browne Far Right Yvonne Browne with student
allowed us to discover what we wanted the children to achieve from the sessions and workshops and how ballet could be adapted to help children create dance. The best part about the programme was seeing how the children, many of whom had no prior engagement with dance, found their passion for dance, culminating in their moment to perform their very own version of The Firebird on stage at the Linbury Theatre in Covent Garden with Dame Monica Mason and the dancers of The Royal Ballet. I’m sure it will be an experience that will stay with them forever. One of the most valuable aspects of my Royal Opera House training was my mentor, ISTD trustee and guest editor of this issue, Tom Hobden, who helped guide me through the training process, helping me grow as a dance practitioner. Our mentors not only helped us, but they also genuinely believed in us. COVID-19 not only had a massive impact on my second year as part of the Chance to Dance programme but also on the dance world as a whole. The pandemic meant we could no longer continue teaching in the schools. However, I was still able to use this time, learning from as many online training sessions as I could, many of which were continuations of our CPD training. I also booked onto some of the ISTD courses on Zoom. I then realised
how much times had changed and the importance for teachers to constantly adapt and move forward online was going to be with us for longer than anyone could have anticipated. I began to think how I was going to keep my students engaged and focused whilst participating in online classes, especially when they had online classes at school all day. I also worried about my students’ well-being and how much they and their families were missing dance. I used my experiences in the Chance to Dance programme to set up workshop style Zoom sessions, where my students worked through various ballets, stories and concepts, as well as costume and scenery designs over a few weeks. The children would get excited each session to add their input, which was a great way to get them talking. They also designed and created their own stage designs, costumes and choreography, which they presented at the end of the workshops. We then adapted this for other dance genres, which worked well, as the children learnt so much more about dance other than just the steps and exercises. We also held Zoom workshops with performers from various musicals, including We Will Rock You, Wicked, Cats and Grease, which the students loved as they got to experience dancing with someone from a West End show
and gain valuable insight from these industry professionals, learning what it’s like to work in the industry. Now we are back in the studio, we plan to keep these workshops going alongside our usual classes and build even more creative work into their classes. Working on the Chance to Dance programme has made me think about the direction I want my school to move in and how I can work within the community more and provide opportunities for children to dance and perform. We are now striving to set up a creative dance programme at Dance2Drama. Alongside the bursaries provided by the Royal Opera House for students to attend Dance2Drama, we also provide six other bursaries to students.
i Yvonne Gillian Browne is the Principal and lead creative visionary behind Dance2Drama Performing Arts Academy. She was over 25 years of experience in the dance world, in both teaching and performing.
Dance | Issue 493 57
Imperial Classical Ballet ~ continued MARK ANTHONY
Fellow and teacher Diana Clifford gives her perspective on how being a Chance to Dance Associate Artist and Associated School has challenged and informed her teaching before and during the pandemic. When I saw there was an opportunity to apply to be part of the Royal Opera House’s Chance to Dance project, I thought how worthwhile it was and that it fitted in well with our school’s ethos of getting everyone dancing. I worried a little that the time and hours would be difficult to fit in to my schedule, but Ruby Wolk and the team at ROH were anxious to help us meet our existing commitments and through feedback, we found ways of working that worked for everyone’s busy teaching lives. I mistakenly thought at the outset that the ‘outreach’ was all going to be one-way, as in the Royal Opera House supporting ISTD ballet teachers to give our time and the resources of our schools to the children selected. In return, our school would have opportunities to attend Royal Ballet School matinees and watch classes. I was totally unaware what a collaborative experience the whole project would be and how it would be equally about the Opera House ‘outreaching’ to us as recreational dance teachers and helping us to grow, evaluate and access new ways of working creatively. It’s possible that we teachers have gained as much, if not more from the experience as the children themselves and I can honestly say that applying was one of the best decisions I’ve made within my career.
The CPD days were a highlight for me both in person, accessing the wonderful building facilities and tuition of the Royal Opera House, but also during our most resent CPD’s, which were all totally ‘Zoomed’. I felt part of a group that really shared their knowledge and love of teaching ballet openly, and who valued my contribution and opinions in a totally non-judgmental way. This was refreshing and inspiring before the pandemic during our first project, but then when the second project had only just started, the pandemic hit. I felt truly supported as an individual and valued as a member of the team even though everything was brought to an abrupt halt teaching-wise. This spurred me on to support my own teaching team as I searched for solutions to keep our school going and we managed to keep the school community very much alive on Zoom, growing much closer as a family as a result. The CPD days gave us as ‘associate artists’ time to experiment, to play and to reflect on our own practice. This was a time to give back to one another and be in a healthy place, really ‘unpacking’ what creativity is and evaluating our teaching values, and why it is we do what we do. Chance to Dance has made me consider branching into new areas and reaching new markets, rather than purely relying on recreational dance. As a school
Chance to Dance has made me consider branching into new areas and reaching new markets rather than purely relying on recreational dance. we have always tried to be as inclusive as possible, catering for children and adults of all ages and backgrounds in multiple genres, both theatre and dancesport. We train teachers and competitors, as well as complete beginners, hobby and advanced dancers, yet we have always expected
58 Dance | Issue 493
Far left ISTD teacher, Diana Clifford with her Chance to Dance students and Mentor Liz Foster Above DIana's Chance to Dance students in performance
to advertise our classes and then let the public to come to us, whereas the Chance to Dance project made me realise that in order to reach new audiences we need to take ballet and dance to them! Being mentored by Liz Foster and the team of lead artists has also been a wonderful and therapeutic experience for me and has helped me as a tutor to add another layer of ideas for my DDE students. The CPD courses and mentoring process from such knowledgeable and respected artists, has been rejuvenating. My husband remarked on how I would come home from each Chance to Dance day literally buzzing, and still have the energy to teach a full evening on top. This was simple really, as the process recharged my own batteries when usually I spent my whole time just giving my energy. Now I was receiving some back! Chance to Dance has opened my mind to additional ways of working creatively and asking what creativity actually is, showing me its value within a syllabus class. I hope I was already teaching with creativity and imagery threaded through my syllabus classes, but the opportunities to watch the Junior Associates and Mid Associates being taught at The Royal Ballet School was inspiring, as was being able to train and learn in such a wonderful building. I try now to incorporate creative opportunities within each class I teach
so the children can flex their imagination muscles. The evaluation forms that Chance to Dance gave the children at the end of each workshop have now been adapted and taken on board at the end of our school term. The children’s comments are always honest, sometimes entertaining, but they have made me see just how much all children love creating and performing their own movement, being able to stretch their creativity without fear of judgement and expectations to measure up to others! Those last week of term ‘make up a dance’ lessons are just as valuable to our children as the teaching of technique. We are still teaching when we allow our children to do this, we just change to being facilitators and directors perhaps, but we are still truly and valuably teaching. The possibilities in working regularly within primary schools as well as with other community groups has also been an eye opener. I was lucky enough to join in with a Dementia Dance class on one occasion before the pandemic, which was based on ballet repertoire themes and music, and I also attended a Parkinson’s Symposium. Both these experiences opened my eyes to our own school’s outreach possibilities, and during the pandemic our school has started working online with a retirement community group who beam our classes into their residents’ homes via
their televisions rather than on Zoom. Of course, I feel these new avenues will not be instead of what we already do, but will become ‘as well as’ and complement the school’s mission for everyone to access dance. My school, Warren Primary, has been so appreciative of the Chance to Dance classes and the amazing experience that performing on the Linden Opera House stage gave them. We were even asked by the Head Teacher to do an encore performance for the rest of the school and parents during school time. This resulted in several sign-ups to our dance school from children not even part of the initial Chance to Dance cohort. All in all, the Chance to Dance experience has been extremely positive and I look forward to continuing to collaborate and include its ethos within ACS Dance Centre.
i Diana Clifford is Principal and joint Director of ACS Dance Centre in Romford with her husband Mark. ACS is an ISTD Theatre and Dancesport Faculty Studio and DDE Approved Centre, as well as being Overall Winner of Dance School of the Year 2020. Dance | Issue 493 59
Latin American New voices Our Latin Faculty committee members Michelle Postlethwaite and Richard Still caught up with a student teacher in training and a current UK top competitor
Lilly Pendle is a student in training for her ISTD teaching qualifications. At what age did you start dancing and how did you start your dance career? I started dancing when I was six years old, training at many different local dance studios, working my way through the medal tests and dancing at ISTD competitions as well as NATD. I then began competing on the open circuit, training in Reading with Richard Still and Morgan Hemphill as my main 10 dance teachers and I’m proud to have achieved some great results during my junior and youth career. When I turned 18, I decided I wanted to take my teaching qualification and pursue a career passing on my passion to others. 60 Dance | Issue 493
Malcolm Hill Head of Faculty Development for Latin American, Ballroom, Sequence firstname.lastname@example.org
Never stop learning, never give up and be honest with yourself.
Why did you feel the ISTD qualification was the right path for you to take? Growing up, I always felt the ISTD to be an organisation of the highest calibre. My exam reports always gave a thorough critique and made me work harder to be the dancer I wanted to be. I felt comfortable taking my teaching qualification with the ISTD as it was a society that I was already familiar with. My teacher, Michelle Postlethwaite, is also highly qualified and an examiner for the Society, and assured me that it is one of the world’s leading examination boards. I was comfortable that the ISTD could guide me to become the teacher I aspired to be in a range of genres. How are you finding the training for your professional qualification? I am currently studying for my Modern Ballroom Associate exam taking the route of the modular system. There is so much to learn, but I feel the in-depth technical training has greatly improved my approach to teaching and I am thoroughly enjoying the process. I have also had the opportunity to attend masterclasses with the Society and leading professionals to further my knowledge and this has been a pleasing addition. I am excited for what the future brings.
I want to pursue a career passing on my passion to others.
way and influenced my career such as my first Icelandic teacher but overall, I would say Richard Porter (former British Champion and top six in the world during the 1990s) has been and still is the main influence in my dancing.
Gunnar Gunnarsson is reigning British National Professional Latin Champion and Open British, World, European Semi Finalist.
What advice would you give to a medallist dancer to help them become the best they can be? My advice would be to study the fundamentals the best you can. Once you’ve mastered them you can add your own individual style and flavour to it. Then beyond that, never stop learning, never give up and be honest with yourself.
How long have you been dancing? I’ve been dancing for 30 years, from juvenile all the way through to professional. What is your favourite competition and why? My favourite competition is Blackpool for the venue, so of course the Open British has the best feeling due to the venue and music, giving it the overall best atmosphere. The British National is great as well as the same venue and music but in a slightly calmer atmosphere and environment. Who has been the greatest influence on your dancing? There have been many people that have helped me along the Dance | Issue 493 61
Modern Ballroom Dancing despite COVID-19 in Japan Registered teacher Atsuki Inoue gives his perspective on the Japanese ballroom dance industry during the pandemic.
The vitality of ballroom dance is so strong. This is my honest impression. As an ISTD dance teacher, I would like to illustrate how Japanese ballroom dance has survived the unprecedented turmoil of COVID-19 that has lasted for over a year. Following the spread of the new infection from the beginning of the year, on 13 March 2020, the Japanese government enacted a special measures law. This meant that the Prime Minister issued a state of emergency, specifying the period and areas that should take urgent measures due to a risk that the rapid nationwide spread would have a significant impact on people’s lives and the economy. So far, three ‘state of emergency’ declarations have been issued (7 April to 25 May 2020, 8 January to 21 March Above Atsuki Inoue (right) with Hiromi Kaneko 62 Dance | Issue 493
MODERN PUBLISH INC
Malcolm Hill Head of Faculty Development for Latin American, Ballroom, Sequence email@example.com
Left Dancers wearing the Dance Maskman, a transparent mask developed in Japan by Modern Publish Inc
2021, 25 April to 20 June 2021), and the activities of the people have been severely restricted. The dance industry was also greatly affected by this, forcing us to shorten our business hours and cancel various scheduled events. As far as I can see and hear, some teachers said about 80% of the students have already returned compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. Many dance teachers and students are beginning to get used to dancing with masks and undertaking thorough disinfection. Vaccinations for the elderly have begun and many teachers and students should be asking for returning to dance without masks and gloves as soon as possible. From the first half of 2020, the ballroom dance world decided to cancel big annual competitions and dance events. After that, branches in various places have proceeded through trial and error, including online competitions. In May last year, the Hokkaido branch of the Japan Ballroom Dance Federation (JBDF) and Hokkaido Pro Dance Instructors Association (HPDIA) decided to exempt the membership fee for the year and pay 20,000 yen per person as a consolation. This encouraged many dance teachers. After that, both associations held competitions on 20 September and 11 October, observing government policies. Neither could be held in a core city, but in a local city, Otaru in Hokkaido. The event was held after taking various measures, including temperature measurements and interviews covering eight items for all officers and competitors. It was mandatory to wear masks and mouth shields, switching from posting examination results up on the wall to calling them out, social distancing, thorough disinfection, regular ventilation
and a significant increase in break time. The most important point was that all non-participants were required to leave the venue, and for the multiple heat sections, participants sat in the chairs prepared in the venue and waited. Also, in consideration of keeping competitors away from each other, we set the floor to be twice as wide as usual so that a maximum of six couples could dance per heat. On 25 April 2021, the largest competition was held in this way. At the venue, we rented a large gymnasium owned by the city. A total of 210 players participated, and the number of management staff exceeded 60. The audience was close to 400 people. The management staff prepared on the afternoon of the previous day, then gathered from 7am on the day itself and cleaned up after the competition until 9pm. In addition to transporting many chairs and tables and posting information about the venue, we called on spectators and competitors to refrain from conversation and keep their distance. Despite small reward, all the staff worked devotedly on the operation. In addition to masks and mouth shields (clear masks with chin rests), some competitors wore the newly developed transparent mask ‘Dance Maskman’ for competition, a transparent mask developed by Modern Publish Inc (publishers of Danceview magazine since 1988) to make it easier to breathe during competitions and to make facial expressions visible. In between the rounds, ‘walking lessons’ (these are done by a walking intstructor and not limited to ballroom dance) and ‘dance time’ (where an amateur band performs and participants can dance) were set up to entertain the spectators.
In this way, various events have been held based on possible measures. Some issues need to be improved, such as the inflated working hours due to the increased break time and the fact that the management staff had to work from early morning to late at night with small reward, but the Japanese dance world is certainly in the process of building an event model against COVID-19. The President of the Hokkaido Pro Dance Instructors Association (HPDIA) said: “We dance teachers have devoted ourselves to creating a ‘densely crowded’ situation. The more people gathered and the more lively, the better we teachers were able to perform. Unfortunately, the spread of the new Coronavirus denies this head-on and poses the greatest challenge to us. However, despite this situation, it is a great encouragement for us teachers that many dance lovers enjoy dancing while wearing masks. Let’s be closer to the students who are attending the classroom now than ever before. And let’s cherish the connection of the heart more and convey the fun and splendor of ballroom dance.” (2021 New Year speech by Hirofumi Shimizu). The HPDIA and JBDF have decided to continue the free trial lesson initiative, ‘Let’s Try Dancing’, that started in the spring of 2018. In addition, they have decided to work with 179 educational institutions in Hokkaido to develop activities to popularise ballroom dance in elementary, junior high, and high schools. This is a story about the region of Hokkaido in Japan, but similar efforts are being made all over Japan. For ballroom dance to find a more secure place in Japanese society, teachers’ associations need to convey the appeal of dance to society more than ever. Dance | Issue 493 63
Modern Ballroom ~ continued
Being a top competitor in the UK Committee members Warren Boyce and Vernon Kemp spoke to UK stars Stephen and Yasmin Arnold, and Glenn Richard Boyce and Caroly Janes about what it takes to be a champion.
Stephen and Yasmin Arnold Stephen and Yasmin have moved rapidly upwards in their results and achievements since they first danced together. Some of these highlights include United Kingdom and British Open rising star finalists, International, British Open and World Championship quarter finalists, and British National finalists. How long have you danced and how did you get into dancing? Yasmin: I started when I was five years old. My mother who did ballroom and Latin exams as a child wanted me to go to ballet classes, which my older sister was enjoying. I didn’t like it! My mum tried me with ballroom and Latin, which I loved. I soon went on to take exams and then joined the school’s Formation Team. I enjoyed dancing in a team of friends, and I think it was a great introduction to the world of ballroom and Latin. Stephen: I was also five. My parents danced socially, and I had three older sisters who did medals around that time. I think I was just taken along when it was their lesson but decided to join in. Of course, the teacher was delighted to have another boy in the school. I started with disco freestyle rock n roll and progressed to ballroom and Latin doing medals, dancing in the Formation Team, medal competitions and then the open circuit. What kept you in the dance world? Yasmin: My older sister won medals at competitions and so I kept going until
I beat her! I liked the competitive side but also the fun and social side, too. I danced in Formation as a Juvenile at Blackpool, and this motivated me to do more. Seeing the Junior Blackpool competition going on at the same time made me want to be a part of it. Stephen: I didn’t realise how similar to Yasmin my Juvenile path was! We had two juvenile formation teams in my school, an 8-couple and a 4-couple. I was really proud to be chosen for the 4-couple team instead of the 8 and this gave me a boost of confidence. At Blackpool I watched the juvenile open and decided I wanted to dance out there with those competitors. Many give up at 16, at the end of Junior. Was this a difficult time for you? Both: We were both lucky enough to be chosen to dance for our country in the Juvenile and later in the Junior British teams. These were milestones for us. We also used to look in Dance News at the ranking system to see whether we had gone up or come down relative to our competitors. Yasmin: My day school backed dancing because there was a strong performing arts side. I did well at school but was able to prioritise, I would have been happier to give up school rather dancing! Stephen: Moving to Youth at 16 was not a problem. I already knew I wanted to be a dancer and dance teacher. School allowed me time off when needed to attend competitions. At 15, I won Junior British Closed and my school saw this
as important national recognition. Age 13/14 years was a harder time, with negative peer pressure as a boy who danced, but in the long term it makes you more determined and is a good motivator. When I went to university, I was well into my dancing at major championships and so didn’t dance on the university circuit. How long have you danced together? Almost nine years – it’s the longest partnership for both of us, and as we are married now it will be the only partnership we ever have again! How did you meet and why did you want to dance together? Stephen: We were both without partners, I always thought Yasmin was a good dancer and there was something exciting and special about her dancing that encouraged me. All her previous partners were shorter than me, so I thought she was shorter than she actually is – when we tried it wasn’t a problem. We gelled quickly. Yasmin: We knew of each other because of competitions, but because we had always been in different age categories I had never really imagined we would dance together. When the opportunity to have a trial arose, I thought he would be too tall, but it clicked straight away and went from there. What keeps you enthused to dance? Yasmin: I like having something to work towards. Normally, outside of lockdown, the competitive year is very structured and I really enjoy that. I guess we’re also
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It would be rewarding to be able to help other young dancers along this path.
Left to right Top UK competitors Stephen and Yasmin Arnold
lucky in that we dance together whilst being married to each other as well. Stephen: Competitions give us something to aim for. I’ve never felt bored with dancing. You can push yourself mentally and physically and always find something to improve. I really enjoy trying to pull more people into our performance, that’s very satisfying. The highlights of amateur and professional career so far: Both: As amateurs we were regular British National and UK Closed finalists, also, European semi-final, British Open Rising Star finalists and UK Open Rising Star finals. As professionals we’ve been International and UK Open Rising Star finalists as well as, British National and UK Closed finalists. What do you feel are the main changes in your careers since turning professional? Yasmin: Other avenues have opened – we both enjoy judging and doing lectures. Stephen: Judging teaches you so much about what is important and not important. You see things from a different perspective, this then filters into your dancing. It helps you know what you want to say as you go onto the floor. You must believe in what you are doing – this also applies as a lecturer. How did you become involved with the ISTD? Both: As children, we both started in schools where we took medals in another association and then went onto the
open circuit. As adults, we started doing some teaching in schools and then in a school that was very involved with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, with regular examinations as well as competitions. This is where we discovered the technique books and studied with the Society for our ISTD qualifications. We have also been lucky enough to be invited to lecture and do workshops for the ISTD on multiple occasions, and we have really appreciated being given this platform. As ballroom competitors, understanding the history of ballroom dance is of great importance. Knowing the history of the ISTD with names such as Alex Moore, Bill Irvine, Anthony Hurley and Bob Grover meant it had a strong appeal for us. How has the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown affected you? Yasmin: It has given us time to focus and clear our heads. However, it’s very frustrating not knowing when we can return to the floor. We’ve worked to keep our fitness up and to keep structure in the day. We want to come back stronger than ever. We have also had the chance to study performers in different arenas to look at what they do that is interesting, and hopefully use that in our own dancing. Stephen: Initially it was complete panic! No work, no practice, no competing. As a competitor and coach, you are rather on a treadmill. You go from one major comp to another. It has been a massive benefit having time to think about how we want to present ourselves on the competition floor and have a bit of a restructure. Hopefully this will make a
big impact on our performance when we return. Using the experience we gained from judging and lectures, it was a good time for this to happen to us as we had all of this new knowledge to process. It must be particularly frustrating for juniors who have restricted time in their age group and the same for juveniles or under-21s. At first, we thought we would be redundant as teachers but were surprised how many of our pupils wanted to continue online. It was very rewarding to realise how they wanted to support us and the tremendous sense of loyalty they showed. It was a new challenge teaching online and it will never be the same as live, but it has kept us, and our students involved in dance. Where do you see yourselves in 10 years’ time? Both: In the short term, we would like to get as far as we can in our competitive career, and then hopefully more judging and lectures. Later it would be great to set up children’s classes, which we don’t have enough time in our schedule for at the moment. We would love to lead them through a similar path to our own, putting them through medal tests and for those that are interested to develop them into open competitors. When we started dancing, our parents knew very little about competitive ballroom dancing. We were lucky to have their support and were able to receive guidance from great teachers from the beginning of our careers all the way through to being professionals. It would be rewarding to be able to help other young dancers along this path. Dance | Issue 493 65
Modern Ballroom ~ continued
Glenn Richard Boyce and Caroly Janes During 2019, Glenn Richard Boyce and Caroly Janes won six World Championship titles in a single year: the WDO Amateur Ten-Dance, WDCAL Amateur Ten-Dance, WDO Youth Under 19 Ballroom, WDCAL Youth Ten-Dance, WDO Youth Under 21 Ballroom and the WDCAL Youth Under 21 Ballroom. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly forced a new way of life upon the globe, and our beloved dance world. Fast forward to 2021 and the fourth stage of the roadmap set by the government to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions signals the return to indoor events. Glenn and Caroly compete in both ballroom and Latin and in all federations, so their schedules are incredibly busy. What changes have taken place during the pandemic and how have they prepared their dance goals for the return of major events? How have you found the lockdown, was it difficult or there was something beneficial for your dancing? Glenn: I think it is easy to see the negative impacts lockdown had on dancing. However, looking back it gave us a very good opportunity to improve our dancing. During the lockdown there were fewer competitions, which allowed us to practice more without having to get ready for the competitions and we didn’t waste any time travelling internationally or domestically.
Caroly: I think it was nice to have some more time to think more deeply about dancing and learn about conditioning our bodies, find some healthy habits and I think lockdown really gave time to improve in every aspect. What is the best thing to come out of lockdown? Caroly: Lockdown really gave us time to appreciate the lives we used to have, and I think we started to value every chance to dance at competitions on a whole new level. Very few competitions took place but when they did it was in countries that were in the green zone. When it became permitted, we were able to compete in Turkey, twice in Egypt and Ukraine and we even did online competitions together, winning the Amateur Championship of the Blackpool Dance Festival online, which we filmed live at Nice n Easy Dance Studios in Bournemouth, competing with couples from five different continents. Glenn: The best thing in these times was Zoom, it made the world your dance studio, bringing us closer to dancers and teachers around the world. What was the hardest thing about lockdown? Caroly: I think to keep a positive mind and not to lose the belief that one day it will all return to how things once were. You have always been used to doing so many competitions back-to-back, how did you fill the time in different ways? Glenn: Oh, very easily, just practicing.
Caroly: Naturally we practiced a great deal and intensely, but we also had time to do workouts and go for runs, which has been very nice. I have also been experimenting with some healthy cooking. I would say I have always been health-conscious but now that I have had time to research this on a whole new level. I love cooking myself and hopefully I can keep that up even when we return to our busy schedule because I have found that nutritious food plays an important part in life. Is there a specific diet you follow to make you a better or fitter dancer? Caroly: Well, I believe we are what we eat, and we all know which foods are healthy and which are not. It’s just the choices we make. I don’t like to call it a diet because I believe that it’s rather a lifestyle that needs to be consistent. It’s about fuelling your body with foods that will help you perform your best. Why do you dance? Glenn: Dancing gives me the opportunity to express myself and create something beautiful, the feeling of being able to leave your own personal mark on the dance floor is comparable to no other. The reason why I compete is because I love the feeling of winning. Which dancers at present inspire you? Glenn: I think you can get inspiration from every dancer, and it doesn’t matter the age or level, you can learn something from everyone.
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Left to right Ballroom champions Glenn Richard Boyce and Caroly Janes
Do you have any strict routines to give you confidence that the competition will be successful? Caroly: I think it’s important to be prepared before the competition so that you feel confident with your dancing, and it’s also important to get organised the day before so you have as little stress as possible on the day of your event. It is useful to get a good night’s sleep before the competition, eat and stay hydrated so that you can perform at your best. On the day of the competition, I like to get ready early so that I have enough time to concentrate and think about my dancing. Glenn: I view confidence as our inner trust and belief in ourselves, we can either create it or destroy it. Of course, it isn’t a quick process and requires many successful practices in the lead up to a competition, but ultimately, it’s all in our mind. How do you feel about learning from different styles of teachers? Caroly: I think you need to try everything and find your own style but try to add different skills. Glenn: Learning from different styles of teacher can be extremely beneficial but also dangerous at the same time. Therefore, I believe it’s more important to understand the reasoning behind what you are being taught, as this will allow you to develop your own system and understanding, which you can use to develop your dancing in your preferred style.
If you could give advice to young dancers, what would it be? Caroly: Practice like you’ve never won and perform like you’ve never lost. Glenn: I would say you need to be a lot harder on yourselves, it is not productive to place the blame on your partner or teacher, therefore once you understand that your success is dependent upon the work you put in, you will begin to see great changes in your dancing. What do you think was the biggest danger of lockdown? Glenn: A loss of perspective; when you are by yourself it becomes very easy to obsess over small details. Therefore, it’s important to step back and look at your dancing as a whole. Any further advice? Glenn: I don’t think we are good enough to be interviewed about that yet. I’m not at the stage where people should be taking advice from me. Perhaps when I’m happy with my dancing, I will feel comfortable with being asked. I know everyone says that you will never be fully satisfied with your own dancing, but without the belief that it’s possible, you won’t have the mental strength to keep trying. Every so often, there are days where you’ll catch glimpses of the kind of dancer you wish to become, and those moments are golden, they give you the reassurance that it’s possible.
The best thing in these times was Zoom. It made the world your dance studio, bringing us closer to dancers and teachers around the world.
Dance | Issue 493 67
Modern Theatre Training, teachers and travel – educating and inspiring Siblings and ISTD trained teachers, Rachael and Vikki Flynn, spoke to us about their varying experiences and pathways taken from the start of their dance education.
Vikki After growing up dancing in the Annette Hynes School of Ballet in Ireland, I knew from a young age I wanted to be a dance teacher. I successfully auditioned for The Deborah Capon college in 2008, after hearing about the college through my teachers in Ireland, and started my teacher training that same year. Teachers Training in the Deborah Capon College was like a dream come true. I was lucky enough to not only be taught by Deborah herself but also the wonderful Kathryn Wiggans, Elizabeth Harrison, Tereza Theodoulou, and Debbi Parks. The individual attention that each student received was exceptional, and ultimately helped mould me into the teacher I am today. The devoted support that each teacher gave to me was remarkable and I can only hope that I can do the same for my own students. I knew I would learn a great deal technically, but this was just the start! I learnt how to structure classes, create choreography for various age ranges and delve into the depths of training my future students. These vital tools have paved the way for all my teaching to date. I received my ISTD teaching qualifications and took vocational graded examinations in three genres: Imperial Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre and Tap. I also took LAMDA acting exams, performed in annual shows, choreographic competitions and was awarded ‘Most Promising Pupil’. I was incredibly lucky to have had such inspirational mentors in college and I am
honoured to still have them to this day. After graduating from college, I had the wonderful opportunity to teach in the prestigious South London Dance School, which is an ISTD school. I trained students for dance examinations in Imperial Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre and Tap. I had the opportunity to choreograph and coach on an individual basis for the festival team and prepare children for auditions with The Royal Ballet School, West End shows and various performing colleges in the UK. Student achievements Some of my previous students have starred in West End shows such as Matilda, The Lion King, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Railway Children. Others have featured in TV adverts, modelling campaigns, performed in London Children’s Ballet, English National Youth Ballet and have trained in the Junior and Senior Associate programmes in The Royal Ballet. I had the fantastic opportunity to choreograph for many of the school’s productions, including the chance to cochoreograph the original ballet Windvale Sprites based on the novel by Mackenzie Crook and composed by Debbi Parks. Some of my past students have gone on to full time training in The Royal Ballet School (White Lodge), Tring Park, Bird College, Laine Theatre Arts, Arts Ed, Elmhurst Ballet School, Central Ballet School and The Matthew Bourne Company. Whilst working in South London Dance School, I was presented with a Jack Petchey Award as an outstanding teacher in 2015. During this time, I continued to travel back to
Whitstable to continue my training and keep up to date with all the ISTD syllabi. Going global After five brilliant years in London, I moved to Vancouver, Canada in January 2017. Here I took on the role of Head of ISTD exams at the Landing Dance Centre, training students from the advanced division, half day professional programme and recreational division. I was so thrilled to see that the society was so present in Vancouver, and even more delighted that my qualifications could take me to the other side of the world. As this school was predominantly a contemporary school, I could see firsthand how the students experience with Horton Technique complimented their ISTD Modern Theatre work. It was an incredible experience to learn and see the Horton fortifications being performed and explore the roots of some of the current and old modern syllabus work. During my time in Vancouver, I was lucky enough to be a guest teacher in many dance studios for workshops, masterclasses, summer intensives and drop-in classes, as well as continuing my own training in the popular Harbour Dance Centre. I still remember my first tap class there; I had never experienced a North American tap class before. I was too afraid to blink in case I missed a step! I also had the opportunity to attend specialist courses for dance educators, delivered by a dance physiotherapist who trained with the ISTD. These courses were hugely beneficial to gain further understanding of the mechanics of the body when we dance.
68 Dance | Issue 493
Lisa Harrison-Jones Head of Faculty Development for Modern Theatre and Classical Indian firstname.lastname@example.org
Above Vikki and Rachael
Above and right In class
Since moving back to Ireland, I have been attending regular ISTD CPD courses and events in both Ireland and the UK. In order to take my education to the next level, I also began training for my Licentiates, travelling back and forth to the UK for tutoring. Although the pandemic put a halt to these trips, the world of Zoom meant I could continue to attend these classes virtually.
Training I always knew that I wanted to perform once I graduated, but my years in college also ignited my passion for teaching. Completing both vocational and teaching exams with the ISTD allowed me to understand so much about myself as a dancer and where my strengths lay. Everything had a purpose, an intention. Thanks to my teachers and mentors, I became educated in both the science and art that is dance. When I graduated from college, I moved to London where I began freelance performing, working in Showgirl and Cancan troupes at high profile events in the UK and Europe. During this time, I was also lucky enough to teach in some wonderful schools and colleges including South London Dance Studios, D&B Academy of Performing Arts and Performers College. Alongside this, I began to broaden my skill set by training in aerial silks and taking open classes in different dance styles in studios around London.
My own school One of my biggest career goals was to have my own school, and in late 2018 I fulfilled this by opening my own dance school in county Wicklow: Vitality Dance Academy. This has been a dream come true for me, and I hope to ignite the same love and passion for dance to my own students as my teachers and mentors passed onto me.
Rachael From a young age, I had an enormous passion for dance. During my teenage years I trained with Katie Morea, who inspired and encouraged me to pursue a career in dance. Following in the footsteps of my sister Vikki, I attended Deborah Capon College from 20112014, where I completed my Advanced 2 examinations in Imperial Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre and Tap. I also had the opportunity to complete my teacher training and DDE exams in the same three genres under the wonderful guidance of Deborah herself along with Kathryn Wiggans, Elizabeth Harrison and Tereza Theodoulou.
Auditions and exams In 2016, I successfully auditioned for Choreography By Gail, Inc (CBG). It was the most comfortable I had ever felt in an audition, and the choreography seemed like it was made for me. It was no coincidence that the director, Gail Davies, also comes from an ISTD background and completed vocational and associate exams under the mentorship of Judith Hockaday. Travel Since 2016, I have been lucky enough to perform in shows as a production dancer, adage dancer and magic girl all
over the world, from Las Vegas to Japan, to cruise ships. I then began working as a dance captain with CBG, which enabled me to bring my teaching skills to a new level. Working and training with other professionals is a dream come true, and thanks to my teaching experience, the role of dance captain has come naturally: the perfect way to combine my passion for both performing and teaching. In early 2020, I returned home to Ireland when all performance work ground to a halt due to the pandemic. I used this time to focus on personal growth and became a qualified BarreConcept instructor. Alongside teaching workshops in Ireland, I was also invited to be a guest teacher with Morea Performing Arts, which was an incredible opportunity to teach aspiring dancers, thanks to technology, in a variety of countries. In the summer of 2020, I was chosen to be an ambassador for Dance World Ireland, which has given me the chance to connect with the thriving dance community here in Ireland and hopefully inspire young dancers to follow their dreams. In 2021, I returned to Japan where I have continued to follow my own dreams and have been fortunate enough to return to the stage, performing every night to live audiences, premiering new shows and pursuing my passion for entertainment.
i Feeling inspired? Learn more about our progression routes, qualifications and training at www.istd.org/teach Dance | Issue 493 69
70 Dance | Issue 493
Pippa Cobbing Head of Faculty Development for Imperial Classical Ballet, Greek and National email@example.com
The joy of national Four young ISTD teachers from Canada and the UK share their perspectives on why national dance is important, wherever you are in the world. Nagisa Inoue I have been teaching national dance since I became an ISTD Associate. I teach at The Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement and Canada’s National Ballet School Teacher Training Programme in Toronto. I am an immigrant from Japan and now have my family here in Canada. As a parent, I am trying to keep my heritage and to pass it on to my son. Cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding are vital concerns. Learning national dance is a great educational tool for that purpose. Students also learn many other aspects of the culture that created the dance, such as customs, music, food, costume, geography, history, politics, religion and society. By studying national dance, we can learn to value our own culture and others.
I believe national dance has the power to bring people together. At the Pia Bouman School, I teach primary to youth level. Students come from different backgrounds, and they like to introduce their culture to the class. I sometimes provide opportunities for their parents and grandparents to get involved. They always proudly discuss and share their culture and the information is very relevant to the dance. Children find that in many countries, dance plays an essential role in the living culture of the people. It is also a fun way to communicate and learn about one another. In the Teacher Training Programme at Canada’s National Ballet School, I teach
vocational-level students. In contrast to the ballet and pedagogy classes, I make this class more social and cultural. The students smile, make eye contact and dance together. I try to emphasise the importance of the unique style of each dance, which is affected by costumes, customs, climate and music. I encourage my students to visit cultural groups and their festivals. Luckily, in Toronto, we have many different centres where dance classes and performances are offered. Students find the interesting floor patterns and steps from national dance useful for choreographing in other genres. I find the more opportunities people have to use national dance, the more they feel its possibilities. National dance plays an important role in bridging old and new generations and, by learning the importance of understanding their own and others’ cultures, national dance furthers cross-cultural communication. I believe national dance has the power to bring people together. Jenna Rushton Within my teaching career I am able to promote the genre, educating children about the value of national dance and sharing my feelings about how it enriches people’s lives and heritage. For me, national dance provides an escape, an insight into the beauty and variety that the world has to offer without leaving your own dance studio! With vibrant traditional music, the compelling variation of steps, rhythms and combinations is underpinned by a fascinating study of European styles and costumes – it is truly engrossing. I am now lucky enough to have had experience teaching national dance
to college students training for their DDEs, and local dance schools in weekly classes. I have travelled to other schools offering national dance workshops and taught in primary school settings as part of their geography and history studies. I have also enjoyed teaching national dance to groups of the older generation as a recreational and social activity.
National dance provides an escape, an insight into the beauty and variety that the world has to offer without leaving your own dance studio. National dance rejuvenates the rituals of community dancing. What makes it so special is how accessible the study is. Regardless of age and ability national dance can be adapted to suit all. Students love how they get to interact with friends and work with a partner – I don’t think I’ve ever taught a national dance class where not everyone was smiling from start to finish. During lessons, other teaching methods I’ve used include inviting parents to participate so the whole family can get involved. Students also love to incorporate props into their classes when learning about traditions from different countries. National dance is fantastic to bring into primary school settings. It can aid cognitive and social development of the younger, less experienced dancer, both through the different patterns and figures, and the social interaction with peers. National dance can provide a huge sense of personal achievement and physical and mental well-being. National dance can offer students joy of movement and music without necessarily the technical challenge of other dance forms. With its roots in community and celebration, national truly is inclusive and accessible to all. Dance | Issue 493 71
National Dance ~ continued
Kristie Seeley At our school, we offer students from the age of five years the opportunity to learn national dance. Many parents have never heard of the style. I explain we learn different styles of folk dance from all over Europe and not only does it offer an historical, cultural and geographical aspect to learning, but it also develops so many important physical skills that will help support and develop the other styles they learn such as ballet, modern and tap. The first class the children take, they come out absolutely thrilled having had so much fun. From there, we build the skills, we talk about costumes, we engage in creative projects and once they start, they are hooked. National allows everyone to shine as it is such a social way of dancing.
National allows everyone to shine as it is such a social way of dancing. Over the pandemic, we were limited to what we could do with a partner due to social distancing and being on Zoom. Therefore, we had to find new ways to promote the fun of national without dancing with a partner, which is usually the selling point. We encouraged parents and siblings to join in at home, we used objects round the house to make patterns on the floor, to practice weaving, transitions and patterning, and we used teddy bears as our pretend partners to practice direction and change of hands. In class, we use two metre ribbons, hoops, spots on the floor and bean bags to help.
The incorporation of all these props and different ways of moving together, albeit in a socially distanced way, has strengthened the students’ love for national even more. It has helped lighten the atmosphere and create such fun and laughter. For anybody who doesn’t teach it in their school, I urge you to consider it – it gives so much to the students and you can be so much more creative with rhythms, patterns and spacing. And the most important part is it comes with lots of fun and laughter. Stacey Tordoff When enjoying some of our greatest traditional ballets, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, you will often find some wonderful character dances. Bright vibrant music, intricate rhythms, partnerships and group dances. If only we could recreate this in class…. Fortunately, as ISTD teachers, we can. Our brilliant national dance syllabus offers our children and students a wonderful opportunity to explore the dances and traditions of many European countries that have featured in our favourite performances. It is a clever way to expand their knowledge (and your timetable) and grow your school. In our classes we love to explore, and most importantly, have fun! The national classes at our studios usually take place after the child’s ballet class. We learn about other cultures, traditions and histories of the wide range of countries that the syllabus offers. Children love to dance with their friends, the excitement of partner work is always well received, plus whole group dancing is popular too.
It is very inclusive, which can help with our children’s mental health. Exam day is also very exciting at our studios. The children love to bring their projects to show what they have been learning about. Although marks are not allocated for these, it is a really important part of the preparation and the children really get creative. It’s also another way to work with your buddy or little group. They also love to find out about food. In Grade 2, we study Denmark – the pastries are always a hit. I did notice that I found none of the children were interested in trying snails whilst studying France in Grade 1!
The children gain so much from knowledge and friendship, and it is another way to expand your teaching and grow your business. I teach at Tina’s Dance Studios, in Wigan. During the lockdown I was overwhelmed by trying to work out how I could carry on our lessons online. I was very grateful that each grade has its very own solo that we could work on at home. We also took time to look at individual steps, for example the Scottish and Irish steps for our older students. Of course, we had fun creating our own solos at home, including an Italian dance and even a quick paced Russian number. We had quizzes and family members partnered-up too. If you haven’t tried the national syllabus I urge you to give it a go, the joy it can bring is immeasurable. The children gain so much from knowledge and friendship, and it is another way to expand your teaching and grow business. It certainly is very popular in our school and long may it continue.
72 Dance | Issue 493
Left Pioneering examiners of the National Dance Faculty at an event with Imperial Classical Ballet examiners. Back line from left to right: 1 Joan Hardy, 2 Margaret Benson, 3 Drusilla Duffill, 4 Cynthia Carr, 5 Mavis Butler, 6 Elizabeth Hodgson, 7 Alex Barnes, 8 Rosemary Woodd, 9 Jean Frecker, 10 Margaret Dixon, 11 Barbara Coales, 12 Judith Hockaday, 13 Elizabeth Harrison, 14 Hilary Say, 15 Patricia Prime. Middle line: 1 Patricia Plaisted, 2 June Rycroft, 3 Yvette Sargent, 4 Marjorie Barton, 5 Joyce Percy, 6 Doreen Bird, 7 Ivy Baker, 8 Jean Campbell, 9 Margaret Ward, 10 Marianne Mansell Edwards. Front Line: 1 Suzanne Hobbs, 2 Eunice Walton, 3 Leigh Bushnell, 4 Anne Winter, 5 Cherry Lloyd, 6 Jayne Taylor, 7 Gillian Farr, 8 Mary Cooke, 9 Heather Fish
Pioneers of the National Dance Faculty Barbara Simons, Lead Examiner and committee member talks about the people responsible for our National Dance genre. From the 1950s onwards, the stalwart pioneers of the National Dance Branch (as it was then) who first taught and examined the syllabus abroad were Robert Harrold, Joan Lawson, and Helen Wingrave. These wonderful teachers helped to create the syllabus together with Mrs Grandison Clark as Chair of the committee. New generations were, and continue to be, inspired and influenced by these pioneers of the genre.
We are fortunate to have a generation of young and inspiring national dance teachers with fresh and innovative ideas to promote the national syllabus, keeping it alive and relevant for future generations. They all wrote extensively, sharing their knowledge and providing background information on style, music, and costume. Therefore, they were the primary source for teaching the syllabus abroad and then subsequently examining the work. Irene Grandison Clark and Joan Lawson founded the National Dance Branch in 1952 and since then it has developed as both a theatrical and an
educational form of dance. A theatre approach demonstrates how various dance styles can be used as the basis for choreographed presentation and an educational approach allows students to study the culture around the dances, including the music, customs, and costumes of many countries. In 1972, Helen Wingrave conducted the first overseas examinations, which were held in New Zealand. There was great enthusiasm for the work, and it subsequently spread to other countries such as Canada, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Mexico and South Africa. Another pioneer was Miss Patricia Crail, whose best and most devoted love was that of the overseas development of the ISTD. This she started in 1972 during a period of searching for new ventures. Following an invitation to teach in Calgary, Canada, she knew she had found her chosen path and she continued to promote the work throughout the world. She always spoke with pride and generosity of the faculties she had been so deeply involved with: National, Modern Theatre, Imperial Classical Ballet and Tap, and was a true exemplar of the qualities that have been the hallmark of the teaching of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing worldwide. Like Patricia Crail, June Rycroft and Yvette Sargent also spent many months out of the UK examining, encouraging and supporting teachers in other parts of the world. These three women did so much to inspire teachers worldwide
and to encourage them to strive for better standards and they leave us with a treasure trove of memories. Building on the solid foundations laid down by these wonderful people, we are fortunate to have a generation of young and inspiring national dance teachers with fresh and innovative ideas for ways to continue promoting the national syllabus, keeping it alive and relevant for future generations.
Above Members, including Robert Harrold; to his left Heather Rees, to his right Marjorie Barton, June Rycroft and Joyce Percy
i Visit: www.istd.org/discover/ news/2021/september/pioneersof-the-national-dance-faculty to read the full story of our national dance pioneers. Dance | Issue 493 73
From top competitor to teacher Committee member Alexandra Costi explores Liam Pywell’s journey from competing to teaching with the Society. Beginnings Liam started dancing at the tender age of three when he tagged to his local dance school with his older brother. Liam learned Sequence, Ballroom, Latin and Freestyle, and at the age of eight was encouraged to enter his first competition. Soon after, he found his first competitive partner, Ellie, and they started out on the Open Competitive Sequence circuit. Amateur competitive career It was through Robert and Louise Aldred that Liam was introduced to his Amateur partner, Alexandra Stainton, and together they enjoyed huge success, winning the British National Sequence Championship four consecutive times (the only couple to do so). They also received the Carl Alan award for Outstanding Classical Sequence. Partnership in 2019 as well as four ‘Le Classique de Danse Awards’. 74 Dance | Issue 493
Malcolm Hill Head of Faculty Development for Latin American, Ballroom, Sequence firstname.lastname@example.org
Above Alex and Liam
Liam’s teaching journey Meanwhile, Liam gradually became more involved in partnering at ISTD medallist events, enjoying the sense of team spirit and the opportunity to support other dancers. As time went on, Liam’s ambition grew and whilst continuing to enjoy more competitive success, his thoughts also turned to teaching. No doubt this was in part due to his participation in the ISTD medallist days; the process of practicing with the students he was partnering, having a part in their progression and often sharing in their success as they reached a Final was something Liam realised gave him great satisfaction. When his partner, Alex, emigrated, it signalled the end of their special partnership. This seemed the right time for Liam to turn his attention towards studying and gaining his teaching qualifications, taking his dancing career into its next phase. Nowadays, Liam particularly enjoys coaching Open Classical Sequence competitors of all ages, working to a high level of detail and imparting some of the knowledge and experience he was fortunate enough to gain through his own competitive career. He recognises that teaching also became a way to invest the energy and passion which he had previously used as a competitor into his students. Liam feels that this has been a key aspect of his
Above A line up of Blackpool award winners, including Liam Pywell
professional development, constantly reflecting on how to improve his own dancing in order to enhance the dancing of the student he is partnering. Looking to the future Liam is a huge advocate for Classical Sequence and his sense of energy, excitement and drive towards elevating the genre is infectious. Whilst celebrating its unique history and technical roots, he feels it is incredibly important for dancers to continue to be experimental and evolve the Classical style, so that Sequence will continue to sit proudly in a Blackpool Ballroom for decades to come. Passionate about preserving the beauty of the technique which underpins Classical Sequence, from Liam’s point of view, areas of exciting and continued development are to explore the evolution of dynamics, frame and hold which have emerged over recent years to produce more volume, as well as to encourage dancers to bring far more performance and expression into this particular genre. The introduction of new music alongside the traditional is also key in appealing to new audiences. Liam is incredibly grateful for the support the Society has shown him so far in his career, through opportunities to demonstrate at Congress and Grand Finals as well as his nomination for Carl Alan.
Particular thanks go to Louise and Robert, whose guidance and mentorship has led him to this point in his career. Liam strives to follow in their footsteps; to become a leading professional in the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing is a key ambition, choreographing innovative new dances and supporting professionals across the society to embed Classical Sequence in their schools. He cannot wait to throw himself into all aspects of the Society’s events, particularly where there is an opportunity to support the ISTD Sequence faculty in demonstrating, lecturing, promoting, sharing ideas and celebrating Classical Sequence.
It is incredibly important for dancers to continue to be experimental and evolve the Classical style, so that Sequence will continue to sit proudly in a Blackpool Ballroom for decades to come. Dance | Issue 493 75
After nine years in the US, rhythm tap was second nature to me, but this was so different to what many teachers in the UK had experienced. Alison Forrester
76 Dance | Issue 493
Jason Di Mascio Head of Faculty Development for Tap email@example.com
Rhythm routes Alison Forrester’s tap journey would be used as bodies for Paddy’s own examiner training, and that gave me the desire to eventually go on to become one.
Whilst much of tap’s history and development in the US is attributed to men, Alison is one of several female teachers based in the UK who is at the forefront of continuing to celebrate, develop and enrich the education of tap dancers and teachers. She sat down with fellow examiner and committee member, Nathan James, to share some stories about her background and training as a young tap dancer in the UK. What was your background as a young dancer? I started dance classes at age four with Miss Jeanette for ballet, but she recommended that I go to Paddy Hurlings at the age of seven to study all subjects. Tap sparked an interest and has stayed with me ever since. Because I didn’t have the flexibility and facility, I leant towards tap more. I was always interested in music through my grandparents, and I was exposed to a wide range of music styles. At Paddy’s school, we were exposed to so much freedom in playing with rhythms and steps. My first tap solo, which I won, was to Stéphane Grappelli’s version of Honeysuckle Rose. At the age of 12, we
Who within the ISTD inspired and nurtured you? Paddy Hurlings (who is also an ex-Artistic Director and Chair of Theatre Faculties at the ISTD) was a great inspiration in my early years, and then I went to London College of Dance. I had already achieved my Advanced Level examinations in tap, so Tereza Theodoulou used to coach me in her lunch hours with other work. Carol Ball, Roy Castle, Bill Drysdale and Petra Siniawski were also huge inspirations as they saw me as young competitor at ISTD tap events. I still use one of Bill’s combinations in my own teaching today, it’s eight counts with a turn that I have never forgotten. What was it about tap dancing that gave you such a passion? Initially it was because I didn’t have the physical facility for other forms of dance, so I immersed myself in the music and wanted to emulate the other older students within my school. It was my love of jazz music that really engaged with the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson and Nina Simone (I now have two cats named Oscar and Ella). I was good at tap, it felt natural, and so that was my calling. It took me until I was 13 to win a tap solo, that was a struggle. I didn’t have the confidence or performance experience as a young child and so that came with age and practice. What was the tap dance scene like in the UK during your time as a professional dancer? Non-existent really. Derek Hartley was the only teacher at Pineapple Dance Studios, but after finishing college, and trying to take an advanced level class, there were no open classes at that standard available. At that time, it was so expensive to travel to the US and there
were few rhythm tap dancers coming to the UK. The 1994 production of Tap Dogs really helped develop an interest in rhythm tap. It was a revelation, the first tap show that was so different from musical theatre, and featured an all-male company doing something so exciting and percussive. It really opened minds as to what scope there was for tap beyond the more commonly featured films and stage shows that were more widely available. Why did you relocate to the United States? After working as a dancer, returning to the UK at 28 I felt I was too old to be a dancer in this country. I went to Las Vegas to study at the Las Vegas Tap Festival and got the chance to study with Lynn Daly, Chester Whitmore, Sam Weber amongst many others for the first time. It really opened my eyes to the flexibility and creative possibilities that can be afforded to tap, rather than being bound by one particular technical approach and vocabulary. In April 1997, I moved to Vegas with one suitcase and stayed in a motel. Within two days I had an apartment, rented furniture, gas and electric. It took four months to get my work permit and first audition. My first job was in the La Cage show at the Riviera Hotel. Whenever I had the chance, I would travel all over the US to festivals to take classes including St Louis Tap Festival with Professor Robert L Reed, Los Angeles and Chicago. I started classes with tap master Henry Le Tang (he choreographed several tap films and stage productions) who had a studio in Las Vegas. On the first lesson he asked me to show him some steps. I was terrified, so did something that was fast and close-work themed. His method was to have a series of 22 routines. Upon ‘assessing’ you, he would assign a routine (ranging in levels), and you would work on this routine throughout the lessons – every dancer would be working on a different one. He would always jump Dance | Issue 493 77
Tap Dance ~ continued
I would like to continue to open the eyes of young teachers and tap dancers as to what happens outside the UK. on the piano and play a section of each routine so you would jump in and dance the section you were working on. My first routine was Blue Skies. After two years I learnt all 22 of the routines as I would watch other dancers practising them. He would call me ‘English’ and when a new student came who asked for counts, he would call me over and ask me to count it as he only scatted the rhythms when he taught. Many famous dancers would drop by the studio when they were in the city, including Maurice Hines. What did you find different about the style of tap dance between the US and UK? The amount of syncopation, the rhythmic complexity, and the wider vocabulary that they had. There were so many more steps that I had never seen, and there were so many different variations of technique for the same step. Whereas in the UK you did a step a particular way. As a performer, it was the use of the body and the signalling of where an audience’s attention should be directed to. Master teacher and dancer Brenda Bufalino used to say that,
generally, tap audiences are not widely experienced in the form, so a simple look or change of eye line would be used to indicate that this was a particularly intricate or challenging step/section to garner some appreciation and applause! The variety of music utilised was much broader, so I would spend evenings in record stores listening to music and spending what money I had left. The highlights of tap festivals would be going to the Jazz Bakery to watch the teachers perform and see someone like Gregory Hines turn up to dance. He was very down to earth and just part of the community – he would never take payment for his classes, the money we paid would be kept by the tap company to invest back into training. At my second St Louis Tap Festival, I assisted Henry. He was using pieces from the 22 routines and would take sections from each one, piecing them together like a jigsaw. I would have to jump around each section as I demonstrated for him. Peg Leg Bates watched me assist Henry and paid me a nice compliment at the end. The festival circuit gave the opportunity for new tap teachers, such as Brill Barrett, the opportunity to be showcased as well. Did you find it difficult to adapt? Initially yes, in this country I was considered to be advanced as a tap dancer. Then you go to the US and realise that you really need to go away and practice the footwork. Sam Weber’s first class gave some real challenges, and it took two years before I could go back, as I needed to work on his technique. In the community, everyone would help and support people where they could. There were no issues with age and experience, people always pulled together. When she was 12/13 years old, I used to stand behind Michelle Dorrance because she always knew what she was doing. Years later we both taught at the same convention in Vegas, so everything comes full circle.
Why do you think tap dance is so recognised and supported in the US? Because they have respect for their history, and there is a respect for the tap masters and dance as an art form. They cherish and prize the legacy of work being passed down from masters to students. Teachers and dancers such as Leon Collins, Henry, Peg Leg, didn’t have videos of their work, so they passed the baton on to their students. They respect their repertory; they teach the young children about the influences from their teachers and careers. They are very proud of it. We don’t talk about the UK tap background; who knows anything about Tom Parry? People rarely acknowledge (or until recently) don’t really know to what extent African American tap dancer Buddy Bradley influenced tap technique when he was in the UK in the 1920s and 1930s. How did you get involved in the ISTD Tap Faculty work? When I was living in Vegas, I would come back to the UK and was asked by the Tap Faculty if I would teach free classes at our Residential Summer School in Chichester. I did this for a few years and was eventually asked to work on technical exercises for a new Grade 6 that was being produced. When I moved back to the UK in 2006, I was then asked to be involved in the development of the new work as it is today. Tracey Lee and I worked together, as part of the tap committee. We were able to go out to the US to see approaches to teaching and to take part in classes. This experience helped form a plan of the new grades on the plane home. What was your aim in approaching the new grades and then Intermediate? Tracey and I decided that we needed to bring certain technical steps much earlier in the grades. Americans couldn’t believe that we didn’t do paddles until Advanced level, yet it is one of the rudiments of
78 Dance | Issue 493
COLLECTION OF THE SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE (PHOTOGRAPH BY DIAZ & ROGERS)
Left Henry LeTang
What advice would you give young tap dancers today? Get on YouTube and research tap dancers. There are many festivals in Europe now that are internationally recognised, and so getting to experience different teachers doesn’t have to be so expensive. Syllabus is an amazing technical tool, but it’s not where it stops. What are you hopes for tap dance within the UK? In the beginning of creating the syllabus my hope was to improve tap technique within the UK, that was my motivation. Now, I hope that we can continue to push the approaches to technique and rhythm to support and nurture young tap dancers and teachers.
rhythm tap. So, paddles, crawls, close work had to come much earlier in the training to be able to develop the tap technique. It was important to me that there was a clear structure and that it had a natural development in order to then help the training of teachers. Did you find it difficult to make changes in terms of introducing new rudiments and concepts to the work? Why do you think it was possible in the 2000s? It was hard to convince some people on the number of changes you wanted to make. After nine years in the US, rhythm tap was second nature to me, but this was so different to what many teachers in the UK had experienced. I was always told “oh the kids won’t do that”, but I kept saying “but I’ve seen them do
it in the US!”. Other styles of dance had really progressed, but tap, at that time, had not. I was also keen to move with the times and vary the range of musical styles that we used. The music has now identified with a much wider audience of tap dancers and has opened up the creative and rhythmic opportunities. What do you hope to continue to develop for the future? I want to be able to continue to push and expand the vocabulary within the UK and ISTD syllabus. I would like to continue to open the eyes of young teachers and tap dancers as to what happens outside the UK and how much more your students can benefit if you look outside the syllabus.
If you could spend an afternoon with one tap master, who would it be and why? I couldn’t pick one, so I would want to sit at a table with some of the following guests: Brenda Bufalino, Leon Collins, Sammy Davis Jnr, Gregory Hines, Henry Le Tang and Dianne Walker. I’d love to hear the stories they had to tell which encompassed not only the rich history of tap, but also the chance meetings with some of the great jazz legends, such as Henry Le Tang meeting Fats Waller when he was a kid. What question and/or step would you most like to ask of a tap master? There are two steps that I can’t do that I’m trying to perfect now – a reverse paddle on one foot and flips – I still can’t do them, but I don’t give up trying. Dance | Issue 493 79
Tap Dance ~ continued
Daphne Peterson Committee member Helen Green shares her memories of her mother. Daphne Peterson was a senior examiner and long-term committee member for the modern theatre and tap faculties, during which time she was involved in creating various aspects of the syllabus for both faculties. Growing up, I have so many wonderful memories of my mum, who had Russian heritage. As a child I remember her bright, co-ordinated outfits complete with chiffon scarf and matching earrings, she filled the room with her presence, and she had such a positive impact on my life. She instilled a sense of purpose and the belief that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I found out many years later how true this was of her own life. Everyone knew her as a teacher, examiner, adjudicator, and choreographer. However, not many people know that as a child, she had great success in both the Character and Tap categories of the 1939 All England Sunshine Dance Competition and was placed first in the Duet with Song section in 1943. She had the honour of being the leader of a troupe who performed a selection of Romanian dances at the Royal Albert Hall, which even reached the national press with a full page spread in The Daily Mirror. She also gained her RAD Solo Seal, The Enrico Cecchetti Diploma and was a Cecchetti examiner. She even danced in cabaret with Lionel Blair! At the age of 18, mum joined the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), an organisation established in 1939 by Basil Dean and Leslie Henson to provide entertainment for British armed forces personnel during World War II. In 1945 she toured with them to Reykjavik
in Iceland and then travelled up the west coast to Africa. It was whilst dancing in Gambia that an abscess on her lungs changed everything. She was one of the first people to receive penicillin, which saved her life, but she was told by doctors that she would never dance professionally again. Although devastated, she made the decision to teach, which changed the course of not only her life but everyone who was lucky enough to be taught by her, including me. Even receiving a clean bill of health two years later didn’t change her mind; she had found her true vocation. With Mum, it was never about the money but seeing her students improve and reach their full potential. She gave so much of herself and expected nothing in return. I think my twin sister and I were the ultimate test for her teaching skills, we were certainly the worst behaved pupils in her Grade 2 modern class! When Bush Davies in Romford closed, Mum continued her teaching career at Charters in East Grinstead. She originally went for a day, then two, and eventually stayed all week. Luckily, we had an amazing dad who not only had always cooked but ran the entire household. At this time, she also helped create and update the vocational modern and tap syllabi, much of which is still in existence today. The highlight was of course Congress, where everyone would squeeze into a tightly packed Victoria Halls and later Cecil Sharp House not only to watch a demonstration of the new work, but also to participate in a variety of masterclasses. Mum was a brilliant lecturer but used to get very nervous. I remember on many occasions we would have to stop the car on the way for her to be sick. She cared so much about everything she did and never stopped perfecting her craft. She loved to choreograph, and it was the only time that I ever saw her smoke
a cigarette! Her dance numbers were legendary, and Knights Battle was even performed in front of the Queen, which again was at the Royal Albert Hall. To this day we still have the outfit she wore when she had tea with the Queen afterwards. Her support and encouragement helped my sister and me through so many challenges and she gave us the confidence to achieve more than we could ever have imagined. We miss her terribly, but she leaves behind a legacy and her memory lives on with every single lesson that we take. She was known affectionately as Miss Daphne and Miss Peterson but to Amanda and me she will always be our much-loved mum.
Above left Helen Green Below Daphne Peterson in Spanish costume
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Above Daphne Peterson dancing at the Royal Albert Hall Left Daphne Peterson
She was one of the first people to receive penicillin, which saved her life, but she was told by doctors that she would never dance professionally again. Dance | Issue 493
What’s on Dates for your diary We are maintaining our programme of online events, exams and courses in line with government guidelines. The most up-to-date information is on www.istd.org/events
What’s on in the industry Most performances are subject to restrictions or closures at the time of writing. Check online for updates. S EP T EMB ER 30 Looking for some glitter and glamour? Head to the Royal Albert Hall in London on September 30 for the prestigious International Ballroom Dancing Championships. Amateurs and professionals will compete, showcasing some of the best dance talent from across the world. Find out more at: https://bit.ly/IntBallroom
© MARCUS GINNS
28 Sep–6 Nov Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman brings the emotive Play ballet to Opéra National de Paris from September 8. Combining dance, theatre, music and song, hundreds of coloured balls and stag-like costume help to bring this eccentric performance alive. Original score by Mikael Karlsson. Palais Garnier, Paris, France. Watch the trailer at www.operadeparis. fr/en/season-21-22/ballet/play
OC TOB ER 1–2 HELLERAU, European Centre for the Arts are proposing an Atelier in the context of the festival Dancing About. Featuring 10 new dance productions by artists from Saxony and a programme for professionals in cooperation with regional, national and international networks. Dresden, Germany. Check the European Dancehouse Network website for more information at: www.ednetwork.eu/news/edn-atelier-dresden 21–23 Co-commissioned by Dance Umbrella and Sadler’s Wells, Dimitris Papaioannou returns to Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London in late October 2021. Exploring existential themes with inspiration from the natural behaviour of moths to seek light, Transverse Orientation is adventurous and provides a thought-provoking experience. Find out more at www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2021/ dance-umbrella-dimitris-papaioannou-transverse-orientation NOV EMB ER 3–7 Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, Ballet Black brings two impressive new works to the Linbury Theatre, London, for a short stretch in November: The Waiting Game by Mthuthuzeli November (supported by The Linbury Trust) and Then or Now by Will Tuckett, a co-commission with the Barbican. Find out more at: www.roh.org.uk/tickets-and-events/ the-waiting-game-then-or-now-by-ballet-black-dates DECEMB ER 04 Dec Fancy a bit of voguing? Voguing is a stylised modern house dance developed in the 1980s and a movement that came out of the 1960s Harlem ballroom scene in New York City. Join the community as they make their own space at the Curious Vogue Ball 2021. Attendees must be over 18. Dance City, Newcastle upon Tyne. Find out more at www.dancecity.co.uk/ performance/119901/curious-vogue-ball-2021-18 A LWAYS ONL I NE Behind the Scenes of Scottish Ballet From watching a ballerina’s entire costume swapping process, to full-length tours and productions in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, visit Scottish Ballet’s website for a range of eye-catching, insightful videos that give you a glimpse into the lives of ballerinas. Find out more at www.scottishballet.co.uk/tv/channel/behind-the-scenes Jiva! If you haven’t already watched this Netflix series released back in June, then tune in now for some dramatic watching. Based on a talented street dancer from South Africa, sit back and enjoy this introduction into South African street dance. With just five episodes, each under an hour long, we can’t promise you won’t binge watch the lot but we can promise you’ll want to dance along to the beats. Available on Netflix
Left Albert Memorial and the north entrance to the Royal Albert Hall 82 Dance | Issue 493
Our events Sep–Dec 2021 Check www.istd.org/events for the most up-to-date information on all our events.
I MPERI A L CL A SS IC A L BA L L E T
CECCHE T T I CL A SS IC A L BA L L E T
13 Aug Event booking opened 13 Sep Event booking closes and exercises shared with teachers 30 Sep Video submission deadline 29 Oct Results and showreel shared online
The Cecchetti Malta Awards Online 01 Oct Applications open 30 Oct Applications close 20 Nov Deadline for submission of videos TBC Dec Adjudication Cecchetti Vocational Awards, Children’s Awards, and Mabel Ryan Awards – further details to follow. CL A SS IC A L GREEK Ruby Ginner Awards 2021 03 Sep Booking opens 15 Oct Booking closes 07 Nov Live online event with adjudicator and class teacher CL A SS IC A L I NDI A N Second session on Karanas in October half term TBC. CON T EMPOR A RY New Adventures Nutcracker! Masterclass Online 21 Sep Tickets available to purchase 21 Nov 10:00–11:30 (13–16 years); 11:45–13.15 (17+ years) Masterclasses will include the opportunity to learn repertoire, explore creative tasks, plus a Q&A with the New Adventures artists.
Our Latin American, Modern Ballroom and Sequence faculties are excited to present
Junior Ballet Awards Online
MODERN BA L L ROOM , L AT I N A MERIC A N A ND S EQU ENCE The October Medallist Tournament 2021 10 Oct Bracknell Leisure Centre The event will include solo events in Latin American, Modern Ballroom and Sequence as well as optional add-on two-dance events.
The October Medallist Tournament 2021 Sunday 10 October Bracknell Leisure Centre Bagshot Road, Bracknell RG12 9SE The event will include solo events in Latin American, Modern Ballroom and Sequence as well as optional add-on two-dance events. For more details and a programme of events please visit www.istd.org/events
N AT ION A L DA NCE National Faculty Awards 2021 Online 03 Sep Event booking opens 01 Nov Event booking closes 26 Nov Results and showreel shared online TA P DA NCE 2021 Bursary Awards Selection Event Online 21 Sep Ticket release date 16 Nov Video entries to be submitted by 23:00 17 Dec Results announcement video This year we have sponsorship from IDS and Dance Direct for prizes.
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What’s trending online
Join the conversation on social media
Bringing you the most recent highlights from our social media over the last few months. To join the conversation, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. @istddance #TeachDance Talking Dance: Improving Racial Equity June saw us host our first ever Talking Dance event. This industry wide online symposium was an opportunity for dance organisations and artists to come together and discuss the roadblocks to diversity in dance. Thank you to all who attended, you can read a full report here www.istd.org/ talkingdanceracialequity
Join your faculty Facebook group Each of our dance faculties has its own Facebook group. Up-to-date, paid members and student teachers (those registered as studying towards an ISTD qualification) are welcome to join these online communities, and engage with other Society members and teachers from around the world. Group members use these online spaces to discuss genre specific topics or ask any questions they may have surrounding our syllabi, courses, events, and examinations. We have faculty committee members ready to help and give you advice you can trust, plus gain exclusive insight and be the first to hear about our faculty-led events, competitions and awards. Join today – www.facebook.com/ISTDdance/groups
Membership matters Being a member of the Society means being part of a global community. Through our monthly Membership Matters webinars we are giving teachers the opportunity to learn from industry experts and gain the support and knowledge they need to excel in their profession. So far we’ve heard from Parable Dance, Terry Hyde from Counselling for Dancers, and the multi-talented Layton Williams. Keep an eye on our website for more events coming soon.
Your stories and exams We love seeing all your posts, pics and videos about your dance classes and recent exam successes. Don’t forget to tag us so we can reshare onto our main channels and stories. #TeachDance #ISTDdance #ISTDExams
International Dance Day 29 April marked International Dance Day; how did you celebrate? We are proud to be an international organisation and support so many members, dancers, and educators around the globe.
Proud to be… Pride is every day, but to celebrate Pride Month in June we wanted to shine the spotlight on LGBTQIA+ dancers of the present. Visit our highlights on IG to see the full series. Plus readers can learn more about our LGBTQIA+ think tank members online here www.istd. org/discover/news/2021/june/lgbtqia-think-tank and the discussions we are having to ensure that inclusion and diversity are prevalent in the dance industry.
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Dance education for all From Student to Full teaching membership, we offer a broad range of membership levels and support more than 6,000 members in over 59 countries around the world. Membership provides our teachers with the best advice and training in dance education with access to courses, teacher training and qualifications.
Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing 22/26 Paul Street, London EC2A 4QE istd.org @ISTDdance
Discover more at istd.org/teach
THE INTERNATIONAL VOICE OF THE IMPERIAL SOCIET Y OF TEACHERS OF DANCING
SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE 493
12:27 16/07/2021 1 ISTD.pdf