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
Issue 490 • September – December 2020
F E AT U R I N G
Dancing from home Patron Drew McOnie embraces performance through technology
Exploring the obscure roots and modern day digitisation of dance
Diploma in Dance Education Italia Conti Arts Centre is offering teacher training for full DDE qualifications in Ballet, Tap and Modern Dance Musical Theatre Acting
Members welcome Headquarters 22/26 Paul Street, London EC2A 4QE + 44 (0)20 7377 1577 istd.org Chair Sue Passmore 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 Keith Stephenson firstname.lastname@example.org Advertise in Dance Magazine Email email@example.com Tel + 44 (0)20 7377 1577 Next copy deadline: Issue 491 (Jan–Apr 2021): Monday 28 September 2020 Cover photograph: Dancer preparing for online class Photographer: Kathrin Ziegler Design by Membership and Communications Department Printed by Gemini Print Unit A1 Dolphin Way Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6NZ © 2020 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. 392978 England. Registered Charity No. 250397
“ Out of adversity we have seen extraordinary ingenuity” When I reflect on the past six months, it is difficult to comprehend the amount of change the world has undergone. Innovations that might previously have taken years have happened in weeks, sometimes days. The arts sector has been at the heart of the storm – business as usual thwarted by the closure of theatres and dance teaching disrupted by lockdown. Yet, out of adversity we have seen extraordinary ingenuity and a renewed public interest in health, wellbeing and the value of culture. Should you need to persuade someone of the value of learning dance, they need look no further than this crisis. The skills we hone in the dance studio – creativity, discipline, collaboration and resilience – are exactly those that have helped us to adapt and succeed. It’s important to reflect on how far we’ve come, so I hope you enjoy reading this edition full of inspiring examples of how our members have embraced this changing landscape. But there is no doubt that COVID-19 has had a significant personal impact on our businesses and lives. You, our members, are at the forefront of our minds and we are painfully aware of the challenges you are facing. Our first priority is to support you in every way we can. We know that keeping in regular contact is essential and we have enjoyed connecting with members across the globe through 20 online members meetings and over 50 free faculty events. Buoyed by the feedback from these digital events, we planned a new digital summer school featuring 200 courses spanning all genres, taking place as this issue goes to press. None of us can accurately predict what the post-pandemic world will look like, but it’s safe to assume that it will be ever more digitally connected. As Trustee, Keith-Derrick Randolph suggests on page 10 and Sian Prime reflects on page 14 we should consider how to embrace innovation in our lives and our teaching – online and in person. At the Society we are rising to this challenge by introducing online examinations, which will enable us to keep operating regardless of any future travel restrictions. These challenging times have served to reinforce our firm belief in the value of dance for all. The pandemic has brought some uncomfortable truths about social inequality to the fore. We remain committed to becoming a diverse and inclusive organisation that reflects the communities in which we live and work. Through good times and bad, we are dedicated to supporting you, so that you can continue to help others to experience the life-enhancing qualities of dance. Ginny Brown Chief Executive Dance | Issue 490
Regulars News 75 Join the conversation Looking at the most recent highlights from our social media, over the last few months 76 Exam successes Congratulating our members who have achieved success in their qualifications
International update 26 Europe Carole Watson explores how dance and creativity have helped a continent gripped by lockdown anxiety 27 North America Astrid Sherman discovers teachers are rising to the challenge of COVID uncertainty 28 Asia Chua Zjen Fong looks at how technology impacts our perspective on dance 29 Australasia Jess Walker reassures us that it's OK not to be OK! 30 Africa and the Middle East Simone MarshallKleinenberg, Head of Tap Faculty at the Waterfront Theatre School in Cape Town, finds out what we should embrace in the new normal
Features Focus On Our faculties have adapted fast to the challenges of living with COVID-19. From creative approaches to teaching online to syllabus and competition updates, the Focus section delves into updates from each of our faculties. 38 Cecchetti Classical Ballet 42 Classical Greek Dance 44 Classical Indian Dance 46 Contemporary Dance 48 Disco, Freestyle, Rock n Roll and Street 52 Imperial Classical Ballet 56 Latin American 58 Modern Ballroom 60 Modern Theatre 64 National Dance 66 Sequence Dance 68 Tap Dance
Business 17 Insurance for your online and outdoor classes Our recommended insurer Gallagher has adapted its dance teacher insurance to keep you protected in our new teaching environment
Interview 24 The light at the end of lockdown We caught up with our Patron Drew McOnie to see how he was keeping busy during lockdown
What's On 72 Highlights Updates on current events, exam information and what's on in the industry
Reimagining inclusive dance Juliet Diener reports on developing inclusive dance practice online.
8 Technology as a teaching tool Society Chair Sue Passmore discusses technology and innovation with Trustee Keith-Derrick Randolph 12 My relationship with online dance Sian Prime, Society Trustee and member, reflects on her relationship with dance through an online screen 16 The Mark of Quality Teaching Find out how our Mark of Quality Teaching works for you 31 TikTok versus YouTube Looking at what the sudden rise of TikTok means for dancers and dance schools and if it should affect what we do 32 Want to get found online? Helpful tips and guidance from dancers who have learned through experimentation and experience 34 Box Dance Introducing our new solo Dancesport initiative
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Issue 490 | September â&#x20AC;&#x201C; December 2020
Technology to enhance your teaching Dance teacher Nazene Danielle looks at the best ways to integrate technology into our future teaching.
Carole Edrich explores the obscure roots and modern-day practices of digital dance.
Pioneers in digital dance From the brand new to the well-established, we look at the game changers and influencers in digital dance. Dance | Issue 490
Technology to enhance your teaching Technology has always been available to help teach dance, but now more than ever it has been invaluable in keeping us dancing and connected. Dance teacher Nazene Danielle Langfield reviews the most popular online platforms and looks at the best ways to integrate technology into our future teaching
Nazene Danielle Langfield Principal and Founder Dance Dynamix
t has been a challenging and uncertain time for the dance community, but as always our love and passion for our art has shone brightly and guided us through the most difficult of times. Albert Einstein once said: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Who could have predicted that dance teachers around the world would be forced to vacate their studios (their comfort zones) and have to find other ways to connect with and train their dancers? While every dancer, dance teacher, choreographer and creative in the world has been forced to translate their work
virtually – the opportunity to connect, take class and learn from the industry’s leading teachers and choreographers has been at our fingerstips. I know I personally have welcomed the time to indulge in refreshing my knowledge from all corners of the globe and it has provided me with the motivation I so needed to inspire my own pupils in such unfamiliar settings. Breaking down the online world into our favourite platforms, we look at how technology can assist us in training our students’ virtually and how moving forward, we could integrate this alongside regular classes to enhance the learning experience.
Online video tutorials
Filming short tutorials is greatly beneficial. They don’t take much time and are a great way to focus in on developing specific skills. Film a short tutorial (roughly 2–4 mins each). This can be done quite simply using your smartphone. However, If you want to make them look polished, you can edit them using applications such as iMovie or WeVideo. For ease, upload your tutorials direct to your private Facebook group page. How can this enhance our dancers training? Providing your students with tutorials can assist with their independent learning in the development of their skills. By providing them a focus point for practice, you can be sure they are working on the correct components. Here’s how: Pick a topic such as turns then break this topic into six sections, for example: • Spotting • Core strength • Arm strength and placement • Balance • Leg strength and placement • Combinations
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Lily Whitworth, College Student of Dance Dynamix NIK PATE
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I think it is safe to say, we have all had good moments and challenging moments with Zoom, but love it or hate it, we would have been lost without it. This kind of platform is best for a more interactive teaching experience. I personally feel the most beneficial training on this platform is technique and conditioning based classes. Taking things back to basics and working on placement and alignment has been hugely beneficial. Although choreography classes can be done on Zoom, once dancers start to pick up pace you start to loose the clarity of the movement, then of course there is the delay! Advantages: One of the best ways to get an interactive teaching experience with instant feedback and corrections. Disadvantages: Internet connection plays an integral part, poor connection from one or more pupils can disrupt the whole class. Tips: Use the spotlight feature to highlight students (with their permission). This is useful if you wish to use one of your students as a demonstrator.
Use the breakout rooms. This is useful if you have groups of different ability or if you are working with a combined grades class. You can have one group working out a rhythm or free combination in one room whilst you work with another group in the other room. The teacher can switch from room to room, but the dancers remain in the assigned rooms. This needs to be done with caution and with appropriate age groups. It is advised to ensure dancers have someone at home with them in case of an emergency. Ask dancers to turn their screen off when you are watching things in groups so you can clearly see the dancers that are working without being distracted by the other people on the screen. Again, this is only advised with older age groups.
I personally use Facebook as an additional support tool for admin. Alongside having a public page and a private studio page I create private groups, where you can add and remove members easily. I use it to post timetables, timetable changes, Zoom codes, and my short tutorial videos. Another great feature is using the live video button to do real time videos for your members. This could be a monthly Q&A video were parents and pupils pre-send questions and you answer them in a live Q&A or a follow-along class. Advantages: Some dancers prefer this type of class as they enjoy the uninterrupted energy and can enjoy the class without feeling self-conscious. You can also save the video to your feed, meaning dancers can revisit the class whenever they wish. It also works for those that cannot attend the class at the set time. Disadvantages: You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see the dancers, so content needs to be kept as safe as possible. Tips: Invite dancers individually to join you on screen. This adds a really fun element and an opportunity to watch individual dancers and provide feedback.
Fay Tennant, College Student of Dance Dynamix NIK PATE
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This is not really a platform that enhances teaching, in my opinion. This is mainly for promoting yourself or your studio through images and videos. The live feature is great if you want a wider audience to be able to take your class. I have been using this feature to offer a dance conditioning class on a Saturday to my followers as a way of giving back. I have had such great feedback and it has been so enjoyable, I may very well keep this as an Instagram feature moving forward. Advantages: Just like Facebook Live, you can bring dancers on screen one at a time. The comments are also a fun way to communicate and particularly popular with the younger generation – great if you want to grow your following.
Tips: Research the optimal times to post to your audience for maximum engagement.
Recording large videos requires a lot of patience due to the conversion and uploading. If you feel you don’t have the time (or the patience) there are links available from choreographers who have taken the opportunity to branch out during lockdown and create amazing pre-recorded links. One of my favourite resources for this has been Emily Goodenough and Adam Denman, AKA Studio to screens, Musical Theatres pieces. The links are super affordable and the dancers absolutely love the routines and the delivery of them is impeccable. On the Latin and Ballroom scene, Clare Williams of Dance Passion has created some fantastic online courses which can be found at dance-passion. co.uk/courses. Both of these companies use YouTube to upload their content. Tip: If you don’t want your videos to be public, be sure to make them unlisted.
The Dance Life App If recording your own content is appealing to you as opposed to doing Lives or Zooms then you may be interested in The Dance Life App. This is available for free on iTunes and practically gives you your own dance app. This is particularly useful for those who are not on Facebook or for the younger dancers who are not yet old enough to have an account. A great place to upload your content and communicate with your students and you don’t have to worry about your music being muted! Epidemic Sound If you are someone who does like to create content or enjoys doing Lives on Facebook or Instagram be sure to check out Epidemic Sound. This has some really great royalty free music so you don’t run the risk of having the sound removed. (You might even find some good, out of the box, options for exam/competition dances)
Disadvantages: There are no additional private features for Instagram, so a live stream will reach all of your followers. This is great if that is what is intended, but if you are looking to only deliver content to a certain few you would have to set up an entirely new account just for those people.
Pre-records on YouTube
Right Emily Goodenough in Wonderful Town Below Adam Denman in Chicago
Whether you decide to embrace technology or not, do not miss out on the incredible opportunity to take a class yourself. Build, refine and enhance your own knowledge while so many creatives are offering the opportunity.
The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives Robert John Meehan Dance | Issue 490
Technology as a teaching tool Sue Passmore asks Keith-Derrick Randolph how technological innovation is influencing and inspiring the world of dance
Sue Passmore Society Chair
e are fortunate to have KeithDerrick Randolph MA on the Board of Trustees. Throughout his career he has focused on promoting equality in our dance world and he continues to do so in his current role. Born in the USA he attended the prestigious Alvin Ailey School in New York and as a result focused his ambitions on the diverse opportunities offered at acclaimed multicultural dance companies in Europe. Keith-Derrick has lived in Netherlands for 33 years, achieving a successful career as a principal dancer, choreographer, and is currently a senior tutor at Codarts in Rotterdam. I was fortunate to meet him 25 years ago at the Opera House in Lucerne, Switzerland. He was a principal dancer with Scapino Ballet Rotterdam and was mounting a piece choreographed by Ed Wubbe for the Company. It was inspiring to watch the process and the dancerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s response. In conversation we exchanged views on creative teaching and his innovative ideas on how technology, soundscapes and movement combined to make work that was not seen in the UK. This was a new creative dimension that I wanted my students to experience. He subsequently became a frequent visitor to the UK and a valuable part of the Bird College summer schools when I was Principal and we shared many years of collaborative work.
Technology needs to help us, not dictate, or hinder the process in teaching or learning
Keith-Derrick has always been involved in so many aspects of technology in dance, and in Europe the creative production, choreography and communication has always demonstrated technical innovation that is more advanced than that seen in the UK. The current pandemic has seen an escalation of technical awareness by all our Society teachers who have embraced online teaching. So I asked him what are his thoughts about the future of technology as a teaching tool? Keith-Derrick's response to Sue Technology needs to help us, not dictate, or hinder the process in teaching or learning. We need to be part of the discussion and facilitate in the research and development in how technology can work for us as a dance community. It can open doors to new ways of thinking, but at the same time create frustration and walls to battle against (firewalls and all). We are asking ourselves more than ever what has the computer come to mean for us? Technical innovators have gained even more importance in our lives as teachers of dance. In talking to colleagues within dance education the discussion suggests that this is the moment to embrace new forms of teaching dance using technology to help us. Students seek knowledge and they have responded positively to new methods of practice that dance institutions have offered them during this pandemic period. One of my students explained to me how he found it odd during this period that we were trying to offer an equivalent of what they were offered in a normal
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world. He found it more stimulating to embrace dance knowledge in alternative ways that spoke to his interest, body and goals. It is not that he said we were wrong, on the contrary he understood there was an opportunity to expand teaching methodology in the learning environment. I think this is a crucial point. When we work with the young, it is clear that they have different desires and needs than we had when we were ‘the young’. Our knowledge and traditions are extremely valid, important, tried and true. But are we (institutions, schools and organisations) able to deliver, support and guide our clients who are far more ‘unconsciously’ connected to this digital world? In one of the many caps I wear I am part of the core team of a Master’s in Choreography. We have developed and run this degree as a part time masters, which means that we are physically face to face only three times a year with our international cohort. The nature of this set-up means that the bulk of the degree is done on various digital platforms. Especially during this period, it was the only way to connect through workshops, classes, lectures, meetings, presentations, schedules, artistic research, and evaluations. And in the other cap I wear teaching, rehearsing/coaching, auditioning, exams, graduations, giving out awards-diplomas and saying good-bye. As things are slowly going back to what we would traditionally call normal, do we want that? Is this a chance to explore and fully embrace something new and untried, but daring? Can we be brave, grasp new possibilities in how we teach, coach, create, sell, fund, perform, evaluate,
document, evolve, revolutionise and experience dance? Can we create a hybrid of what we knew and what we have learned and experienced? This is crucial – we have proven during this period that as a dance community we can do it and though by the skin of our teeth we can survive. Eight hours a day in a studio with a wall to wall mirror does teach you something if not resilience! We are now in a moment where we have all had to stop and think. Imagine a group of students can be given technical training to work on at home. They can video or live stream their progress where the teacher can through an annotation app give corrections. That student can work alone and come the next week to the studio having worked on those corrections through feedback and feedforward. Of course, there will be concerns that training practice takes place in safe places and issues of privacy must be address.
Top and above Keith-Derrick Randolph Pictured dancing with Scapino Ballet in Perfect Skin Part I, 1992
As things are slowly going back to what we would traditionally call normal, do we want that? Is this a chance to explore and fully embrace something new and untried, but daring? Finally, what are the benefits learned and gained during this period? Will the equipment of the dancer, dance student and teacher change? How have technological advances past and present changed the dance world? I am looking forward to being a part of the discourse around these topics. Dance | Issue 490
Pioneers in digital dance
Akram Khan Born in south London, 1974, to Bangladeshi parents, Akram Khan began dance at the age of three, taught Bengali folk dance by his mother, and at seven started Kathak with teacher Pratap Pawar. A natural collaborator, he has worked with world-class artists of a wide range of cultures and disciplines. He was the first person to create a digital dance work with Sky, and his reputation has been built on the success of imaginative productions such as XENOS, Until the Lions, Kaash, iTMOi (in the mind of igor), DESH, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees. akramkhancompany.net
Paradigm shifters, game changers, experimental thinkers. From the brand new to the well-established, Carole Edrich presents the biggest creatives and influencers in digital dance JULIAN COLE
Charli D’Amelio launched her TikTok channel in June 2019 and already has over 76 million followers. This 15 yearold from Connecticut USA rocketed to TikTok first place in just a few months with the choreographies she performs to existing tracks. She left TikTok’s content house ‘HypeHouse’ because it became more about money and ‘less fun’. tiktok.com/@charlidamelio
Artistic director, choreographer and drone choreographer Nina Kov is a pioneer in human-flying machine choreographic interactions, and created the first ever duet between a dancer and mini helicopter. Now a freelance drone choreographer, she worked with and was featured in many institutions and festivalsfor her work choreographing robots, drones and dancers. ninakov.com
Multi award winning content producer and international choreographer, Marc Antoine, who started dance at the age of four, dances ballet, contemporary, gynnastics, acrobatics, salsa, capoeira hip hop and wire work and holds a degree in Visual and Performing Arts. His cutting edge creativity has won a host of awards including Best experimental film at ARFF International 2019. antoinemarc.com
Born in Brazil, Jean Abreu moved to London in 1996 after receiving a scholarship to study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance. His first choreographic piece Hibrido was awarded the Jerwood Choreography Award in 2003. His work examines how people are changed by the technology they use. jeanabreudance.com
Tim Casson Tim Casson trained at The BRIT School and Bird College before completing an MA in Contemporary Dance at London Contemporary Dance School. Tim is a choreographer, educator and performer, creating for theatre, public, unusual and online spaces. His company, Casson and Friends, creates unique, accessible, interactive and joyful performances in unusual places including shopping centres, libraries, hotels and offices. cassonandfriends.com
Wayne McGregor CBE Wayne McGregor CBE is a multi award winning British choreographer and director, internationally renowned for innovations that have radically redefined dance. With commissions and works in the repertories of what looks like a list of the best dance companies in the world, he is Professor of Choreography at Trinity Laban and part of the Circle of King’s College London’s Cultural Fellows. waynemcgregor.com
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Adam Murray British director and choreographer Adam Murray was an original company member for Wicked London and went on to work as the UK Associate Choreographer on both the West End and touring productions. He has worked alongside and for creatives including Steven Spielberg, Wayne Cielonto, Matthew Vaughn, Arlene Phillips, was choreographer for Elton John’s musical Rocketman, Disney’s Cruella, Ready Player One, Children in Need, the BAFTA Awards and more. adam-murray.com
Supple Nam Supple Nam has pushed boundaries, using his unique perspectives in dance, culture and stylised movement across TV, theatre, film, music and advertising to win multiple awards. He was Creative Director for Got to Dance, worked with leading brands and is well known for his CGI choreographies, including his 2017 CGI Christmas choreography for the BBC. supplenam.com
Matt Steffanina Matt Steffanina is the YouTube dance king, born and raised in Vancouver, he changed from competitive snowboarding to dance, which he taught himself. He is the most ‘followed’ dancer in the world, with over 11.9 million subscribers and over 1.5 billion views on his YouTube videos. youtube.com/user/MattSDance
Alexander Whitley London-based Alexander Whitley’s stage productions are technologically innovative and thought-provoking explorations of the creative possibilities of digital dance. He trained at The Royal Ballet School before moving to contemporary dance alexanderwhitley.com
Klaus Obermaier One of the first to do so, Klaus Obermaier has spent over 20 years creating mind-blowing digital work that combines dance, performing arts, music, theatre and new media to high critical acclaim. He now lectures worldwide with permanent roles at universities. exile.at
Yuen Woo-ping Born in Guangzhou, China, Yuen Woo-ping is a Hong Kong martial arts choreographer and film director and one of the most influential figures in the world of Hong Kong action cinema. Although not a dancer, he is listed here for choreographing Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and the Matrix fight scenes. imdb.com/name/nm0950759
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My relationship with online dance Sian Prime, Society Trustee and member, reflects on her relationship with dance through an online screen
Sian Prime Trustee and Member
have not taught dance for 20 years and not taught the Society’s syllabi for a lot longer – I lecture at Goldsmiths, University of London where I develop students’ creative and entrepreneurial potential – however, one thing I probably have in common with many of the readers of this article is that until a year ago I had not taught online, and until four months ago I believed that it was not possible to take my practice fully online. Today I have re-written programme documents to enable my work to be taught online, offline or a mixture of both. Surprisingly, when lockdown was announced, my teaching increased, rather than stopped, and I have had the privilege of working with students to learn how to deliver content best. All the while with them looking to me for support, guidance and leadership, while I was as panicked as everyone, about teaching, world health, the economy, and indeed my appearance reflecting back to me while teaching – I had to be the archetypal swan – paddling away under the surface and not making much of a splash while those taking class with me trusted I knew what I was doing and could relax into a safe space for learning.
I think a lot of that last paragraph is something that many of you may recognise. In those weeks I looked with pride and amazement – and worry for their livelihoods – as the arts sector responded to the need for creative input, as artists moved their practice online, as dance artists such as the Society’s patrons, Drew McOnie and Oti Mabusi offered classes to many via Instagram or YouTube. I took full advantage, danced for the first time in many years, and with a range of teachers, including Benet Gartside and other Royal Ballet artists. I loved ‘being in my body’, I loved the lack of judgment of my age and my physique, that may have only ever been my own judgement. Nevertheless, I’m still dancing.
I loved 'being in my body', I loved the lack of judgment of my age and my physique
As we all adjusted to huge life changes and knowledge that lockdown was not going to end swiftly, more classes emerged using a variety of platforms that enabled teachers to see their students and more teachers resumed their classes via Zoom, Teams and other platforms; I saw teachers driven by a desire to not just support their own schools and livelihoods, but to keep providing all the benefits dance gives. Teachers were clear about online safeguarding and where the responsibility for physical safety rests. And the remarkable appetite for dance content was evident in the numbers of people tuning in to stream repeat and live performances. Although I am very used to dancing with a mirror as a practice tool to support learning precise movements and the abstract emotions that accompany them, I am not sure how I would have responded to online teaching as a self-conscious teen – seeing myself on screen while being taught – would that have created a double form of criticism? Would my teacher have been able to see well enough on screen in a small or larger class? How would they have been able to manage with seeing themselves online too?
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Many teachers and choreographers have used video and film to catalogue, critique, and promote existing dances as well as create
Left A selection of screen shots taken from films of Bonnie Bird demonstrating Martha Graham Technique on the concrete stage of the Greek Theatre at Mills College, California 1938–1939. The films were taken by Betty Lynd Thompson using 10mm film (colour) and 8mm film (black and white). To watch the films on YouTube.com search for Martha Graham Technique 1938–1939.
Dance in the 21st century has evolved from skill acquisition to a demanding mix of technical abilities, artistic expression and creative ability (Leijen et al., 2008). Research shows that dancers develop best with not only a teacher’s training and expertise, but also peer support. How do you maintain young and developing dancers’ belief in their ability to master complex new work online outside of the group support and energy that creates? The informal moments of conversation on the way in and out of class are hard to recreate online, though maybe WhatsApp groups are the new replacement for this. Reviewing my relationship with online dance sparked the memory of a film I coproduced with Anthony Bowne, Not just a somersault. The film followed Bonnie Bird and Thea Barnes talking about Graham technique – Bonnie was the first person to teach Martha Graham’s technique, and had been filmed demonstrating it, and Thea was the person Martha last entrusted her technique to. The images in the film of Bonnie demonstrating Graham technique are incredible, both in 1938 and 1991 (when she was in her 80s). The archive of her demonstrating the technique is
powerful, in part because of Martha's and Bonnie’s part in the history of dance, and because it shows us not only a snapshot of technique and dance physiques at the time, but also the intention of the movement captured, the precision as well as aesthetics of the technique. It was the post‐modern dance movement that led much of the development of creative technology and technology in performance – from Graham’s recording of her technique to the work of Wayne McGregor. Many teachers and choreographers have used video and film to catalogue, critique, and promote existing dances as well as create. Others use it to connect globally with performers and artists, creating a new approach to the creative process and developing inclusivity. In common with much of the work being taught digitally now, the initial recording of Bonnie Bird dancing in 1938 was not a class for posterity, but a demonstration, and much like this amazing archive, 2020 has produced a new living archive of work for us to reflect on and create from. I wonder what we will take forward from this moment, and what will be of more value. I believe that face to face and live
will become even more valuable as we have to and should continue to develop our practice through technology with a key concern that we ensure, “that these technologies extend rather than constrain practice” (Chappell 2006, 221). Crucial to the development of dance pedagogy and all teaching is how we ensure that we are not bound by technology, but creatively engage with it to improve our practice, and our young dancers’ experiences. I am confident, as a product of the Society’s teaching, that you have the creative skill and heart to do this. I look forward to seeing what happens, as in your hands and feet dance education is evolving and safe. Siân Prime (she/her) Academic Lead: Enterprise Deputy Director: Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship Goldsmiths, University of London. Trustee and Member of Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing
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The Mark of Quality Teaching Your Registered Member status highlights that you: Are a Qualified Teacher • With a recognised teaching qualification • You take the time to find out about each child in your class Teach in a Safe Online Environment • You are in control of who enters the class and classes are by invitation only • With a limited number of participants per class Uphold High Quality Teaching • Provide warm–ups and cool–downs and plenty of reminders about safe working space • Provide positive and encouraging delivery
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The Mark of Quality Teaching Are you using yours?
ockdown saw a huge increase in the amount of online dance classes on offer. While there were many excellent sources of advice for being safe online from agencies such as CEOP and NSPCC, there was no guidance for children attending dance classes online. Our Mark of Quality Teaching campaign was developed to address this and help parents know what to look for when selecting an online dance class provider, allowing our registered members to stand out from the crowd. As we safely return to our dance studios, teaching online may still be an option many of you wish to continue to offer, therefore our promotional campaign will continue to advocate for quality teaching both online and offline, highlighting to parents the importance of their child learning with a qualified dance teacher. This ongoing campaign will demonstrate the expertise and quality teaching of our registered members and we need you to join the conversation by using your Registered Member logo and demonstrating your qualified status.
Core Registered Member logo Full colour logo on a white background with blue keyline. For general use
Dark Registered Member logo Full colour logo on rich blue background with a white keyline. To be used on materials where a dark colour will help to ensure proper contrast. Greyscale Registered Member logo Greyscale logo on a white background with a black keyline. To be used on materials where production techniques don't allow us to display colour.
Download your digital assets from your MyISTD profile and start promoting your qualified status online.
Visit us at: istd.org
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Insurance for your online and outdoor classes During lockdown Gallagher adapted its dance teacher insurance offering for digital class delivery
i To download your in-depth and outdoor classes factsheets visit istd.org/ coronavirusguidance
ith a boom in online dance classes during the pandemic, insurance broker Gallagher expanded its public liability insurance for dance schools to include the delivery of virtual classes. With premises being forced to close as a result of social distancing measures outlined by the Government, and many dance teachers turning online to continue their classes, Gallagher worked closely with insurer partners to secure an extra level of cover for clients, and to accommodate the changing risks that teaching virtual dance classes brings. Even when dance teachers are holding their classes virtually, they could still be held liable, where there is proven negligence against them, for injuries that their students, and anyone accompanying them, sustain during classes – from tripping over mats to slipping on water spillages, or by a piece of equipment breaking. As a result, Gallagher has adapted the public liability insurance it offers to provide cover against claims that are made against instructors when teaching remotely, as well as covering legal fees, which can potentially run into thousands of pounds, even if a claim defended by insurers is ultimately unsuccessful. To minimise any risks during classes, instructors are asked to ensure that the activities they teach are suitable for a virtual class and that they provide clear advice to all participants in either live or pre-recorded sessions to check their space is safe, with no obstacles or hazards, that they are fit and well to complete the class and that they use equipment in line with manufacturers’ guidelines. Additionally, they must provide a carefully worded disclaimer to students – either verbally or over email – to make them aware of potential risks. Gallagher works with over 5,500 professional dance teachers, examiners, lecturers, instructors and tutors in the UK, as well as industry associations – offering specialist solutions for dance schools, covering a variety of dance styles and disciplines.
Although dance schools have undoubtedly been impacted by the pandemic and resulting social distancing measures, instructors have proved their resilience and adaptability by turning on-site, in-person classes into online services and experiences that their students can perform at home. Barry Duffin, Managing Director, SME, Gallagher’s UK Retail Division
Society members can take advantage of a specially negotiated insurance scheme, arranged and managed by Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited (Gallagher) for teachers, adjudicators, examiners and dance school principals. FOR MORE INFORMATION Visit: uk.ajginternational.com/ dance-teachers-insurance Phone: 0800 062 2305 The above is the unique contact number for members of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing
Dance | Issue 490 17
Dance digital Carole Edrich explores the obscure roots and modern-day practices of digital dance
A Carole Edrich Writer, social entrepreneur and photographer
lthough recent, the origins of digital dance are shrouded in controversy. Dance filmmaker Marc Antoine points out the first film, created by the Lumiere brothers in 1895 of people leaving a light factory was choreographed. Teacher and dancer Kamara Grey talks of how Merce Cunningham changed the relationship between dance and movement. Academic Steve Dixon splits influences into three historical periods including multimedia theatre, early 20th century artists and technology-infused performance work from 1960. This includes Italian futurism’s artistic objectives, early 20th century avant-garde artists and more. It’s a bewilderingly complex history, so to find out more about where dance is heading, I decided to talk to some of the people who are at the forefront of digital dance.
Cath James, Artistic Director of SouthEast Dance Cath James was Programme Director before becoming Artistic Director of South East Dance. Since the organisation places itself firmly at the forefront of the development and promotion of accessible digital dance, her career reflects the advancement of digital dance in this country. “Our early dance work included film festivals and related engagements such as that with one of the first dance websites: DanceService.co.uk. After 1995 we worked with IGLOO and Troika Ranch to bring dance and digital artists together, used motion capture of dancers in installations with real-time cameras, interactive performers and screen dancing avatars. As behind-the-scenes tech changed, we worked with Alexander Whitley and Wayne McGregor even as early
IMAGE © LE CLAIR OBSCUR
18 Dance | Issue 490
as 2012. At Brighton Digital Festival, Le Clair Obscur Frederic Deslias used two iPads controlled by different audience members to control a dancer. Later with the New Movement Collective, audience members could inhabit an exoskeleton to feel what it was like to be the dancer. Now, Tim Casson’s work Choreocracy, involves the audience making decisions as to how the work should progress, and seeing the results in real time and Company AOI (VR AR) uses both virtual and augmented reality, sharing movement experiences and how people think about the body’s relationship with society.”
Alexander Whitley, Choreographer and Director of Alexander Whitley Dance Company
IMAGE © ZOE MANDERS
Still young, Alexander Whitley, who is driven to find more accessible routes and formats of dance through collaboration and digital media, has demonstrated such great potential that he is already a former Associate at Rambert and The Royal Ballet, a current Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate, an Artist Fellow at Queen Mary University of London and teaches on the Design for Performance and Interaction Masters programme at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. “I saw the Xbox games console as a lowcost opportunity to do something different.
Digital technology changes our relationship with the audience, offering different forms of engagement. Complimentary experiences of what dance can be, when it’s not theatre. “As a response to the Covid-19 crisis, our Digital Body Project invites digital artists, designers, composers and anyone interested to make use of short sequences of movement we provide. We have no way of knowing where this will go. I will be interested to see, and, I hope, be surprised. Actually, what we normally make for stage is hugely collaborative. For me, the joy is in discovering how things turn out. “The current crisis has changed quite a lot in terms of how digital is considered. Big arts institutes are taking more online, and audiences are engaging in different ways. Meanwhile we are working with augmented reality so that the dancers can be put in an environment seen by smartphone cameras, which will open up accessibility. Anyone in the world who has Instagram can join in, create their own dance moves and share. It puts the choreographic authorship into everyone’s hands and invites a different conversation and level of dance education. We are also working on a digital learning programme, looking at how what we learn can be applied to dance education. It is amazing to see how effective non-verbal techniques can be to encourage dancers to choose to move in a way that would take a long time to explain in words.”
Big arts institutions are taking more online, and audiences are engaging in different ways Alexander Whitley
Left DANCE HACK, part of Brighton Digital Festival 2014 Dance | Issue 490 19
Jean Abreu, dancer-choreographer
I am starting to see everything in terms of its accessibility for people
Brazilian born Jean Abreu’s first choreographic work was awarded the Jerwood Choreography Award in 2013. He became an Associate Artist at The Place in London and has been producing deep dance works since. “Rather than digital, I say I work in creative tech. Anything to do with how technologies are intrinsic to human life. Blood, created with Gilbert and George in 2013 was the beginning of my work. We started with a 3D mapping of the skeleton using infra-red and projected that as a second version of me to interlink the idea of motion capture and the digital motion of the self. More recently, I used a prototype robot to personify the idea of AI. Macheba the robot personifies how tech is continuously in our lives and how everything we touch now gives and receives orders. For me what is most important is the human aspects of our interaction with technology and its profound impact on human identity. “It is ironic that, in our need to connect to each other in this pandemic, we have to fully immerse ourselves in the world of technology. Who would have thought that the digital arena would become the way of continuing social connection while keeping everyone safe. Macheba becomes a pet to the audience. She/they are accessible. People talk to she/them in a way that feels quite real. Meanwhile I am starting to see everything in terms of its accessibility for people, I think peoples’ ideas of what performance is, is going to radically change.”
Klaus Obermaier, mediaartist, director, choreographer and composer Austrian Klaus Obermaier is a digital artist, musician and respected lecturer who has created ground-breaking inspirational digital performance works for over 20 years. “When I purchased my first Mac in 1991, I immediately realised that I could experiment without needing a professional video or sound studio. Many of my ideas come from experimenting with tools, but over the years I learned to ‘think’ in interactive technology in the same way I had learned to think in music parameters, ie. without access to a computer or an instrument. My ideas are also driven by the physical space, how to set up a performance in a very effective and economical way, and the use of controllable projector light.
20 Dance | Issue 490
What digital technology makes possible is finding new possibilities, new aesthetics and new challenges
“I started programming in the early 1990s and still programme many of my projects by myself like DANCING HOUSE to THE CONCEPT OF … (HERE AND NOW). But for very sophisticated works like APPARITION or LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS, I need top notch programmers. The good thing is that I know enough about coding that I can communicate with them on their level. “What digital technology makes possible is finding new possibilities, new aesthetics and – of course – new challenges, which change dancers’ traditional behaviour and thinking.”
Digital Dance and social media Since the Coronvarirus crisis we have seen an explosion of dance online and through social media. From special shared events of Sadler’s Wells to the extraordinary stage choreography at the National Theatre. From the BBC’s Culture In Quarantine series that includes Swan Lake filmed by the cast in their own baths to dance company Far From The Norm’s very political CAN’T KILL US ALL as well as classes run by stars and teachers alike. Whether ballet barre or singles salsa, the more accessible dance becomes, the harder it is for teachers and regular practitioners to stay afloat. But this will change as the market stabilises. Dancers are creative people. It may take time, but the market has expanded, and creative people will always find ways.
Since the Coronvarirus crisis we have seen an explosion of dance online and through social media
Digital dance around the world I’ve missed a lot from this feature. I have not traced the history of digital dance globally nor have I talked in depth about notable works done in Africa, Canada, China, Japan or Korea. Contributions from Manchester-based Edenamikuk Aiguobasinwim’s Rotation Dance Exchange – an innovative democratic dance battle with competitors from around the world, deserve a mention. Also Afrofuturism, which has taken to the digital dance medium with Kordae Henry’s Earth Mother, Sky Father: 2030 and Makeda Thomas’ Speech Sounds. The former brings attention to the unethical exploitation of the Congo’s mineral resources through the depiction of traditions in a utopian future where colonialism, slavery and corruption do not exist, while the latter – titled from Octavia Butler’s Hugo Award winning short story about a world ‘where the only likely common language was body language’ fosters improvisation, allowing for agency of each of the performers. Dance company The Far East applies CGI and ballet, creating spectral works and memes where solo dancers perform or cause the movement of digital lights, while the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan’s beautiful and innovative productions utilise digital projections and modern tech as aspects of intricately crafted works. Japanese performing arts company, enra infuses video art with live performance. Closer to home, previously unknown dancers show talent and imagination in digital dance with TV dance competitions as shown by Shijirbat’s collaboration with himself in Mongolias Got Talent. Works like these require a proper analysis, one that cannot be properly done in the confines of this article. Before the advent of digital platforms, dance was already too huge and diverse. Add that to an environment that fosters communication collaboration and learning, we truly see the limits of dance are bounded only by our imagination.
The limits of dance are bounded only by our imagination
Join the Conversation
IMAGE: AMBRA VERNUCCIO
The essence of digital dance is connection, so if you know of works past or present that should be included in an online feature on the history of digital dance, connect with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #ISTDDigitalDance Dance | Issue 490 21
Reimagining inclusive dance Juliet Diener reports on developing inclusive dance practice online
i Juliet Diener Founder and CEO of icandance icandance.org.uk
Above The icandance team reflect on what makes a community during a team Zoom training
hen the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, our dancers were hugely impacted. icandance celebrates difference in disabled children and young people through dance and performance. We offer weekly dance sessions for ages 5 to 25 years old with varying disabilities through a unique approach that integrates tools from dance, education and dance Movement psychotherapy. All our work is enhanced through touch. Initially my response to the pandemic was a pause. It seemed unimaginable to translate our approach, which relies on physical interventions, to a diluted online version. However, not doing anything felt just as impossible. Motivated to reassure our community that they were not forgotten we began to rebuild new ways of connecting. Teaching online and through recordings allowed us to delve deeper to understand our approach as we embodied being reflective practitioners who are comfortable with change. Working
online would not and cannot be the same as in person and should not be measured as such. It offered us and our community a new way of being together and the results were fascinating. Producing a dynamic cycle of planning, delivering, reflecting, and reshaping allowed us to identify core areas of learning when offering an inclusive online practice. These are: – Identify the needs of the dancer The dancers’ needs are at the centre of the approach. – Meeting the needs of the dancer Meeting their needs starts with us and how we adapt our teaching to make dance accessible. – The family as dancing partner Families danced along supporting their engagement. This required guidance from us. – Home is their theatre Stories, toys, and props became part of the dance experience, which enriched creativity.
Approaching difference whether it is dancing online, dancing outside, or working with social distancing in place requires an ability to adapt, reflect and most of all, to believe that reimagining dance is possible 22 Dance | Issue 490
– Safeguarding is paramount Physical and emotional safety required new policies, training, and roles in the team. – Use technology creatively We found creative ways of using Zoom to recreate the dance and performance experience and to offer opportunities for dancers to share and lead. The response from the dancers and their families was phenomenal. Engagement online was higher than expected and the experience felt rich and rewarding. Whilst we identified many areas of learning, the key ingredient was relationship. The relationship we shared with each dancer and the relationship they valued with their peers. They wanted to be seen by each other most of all and to be reminded of a community that they are part of. The online work allowed us to draw closer and not further apart as well as offering new ways of engaging that we will carry forward beyond the pandemic.
The pandemic highlighted that working inclusively is not just a skill for making dance possible for all but a skill necessary for life. Inclusive practice is the ability to adapt, respond, reshape, and recreate. Vital skills needed for all as we move ahead in a world that is ever changing. Approaching difference whether it is dancing online, dancing outside, or working with social distancing in place requires an ability to adapt, reflect and most of all, to believe that reimagining dance is possible.
Above One of our dancers loving exploring dancing with props
Right The joy of dance as experienced by some dancers attending icandance Dance | Issue 490 23
The light at the end of lockdown We caught up with our Patron Drew McOnie who thinks lockdown will result in a whole new audience being interested in digital dance
What has been possible in your world in terms of choreography and dance?
Drew McOnie Patron
The lockdown gave us a great opportunity to think about how to re-engage with our practice. Up to this point choreography has always been a one on one experience – being in the room with someone where you can pick up on their energy and pace of learning. Trying to overcome the barriers of doing this digitally has been interesting as the engagement is quite different. However, it has pushed people into taking responsibility for their own training and improvement in a way that is ultimately beneficial. The flip side is that I have been able to engage with a lot more people than I ever did previously as access to our classes increased on an international scale, which is exciting.
How have you been able to promote your online classes? Largely through Instagram, for a long time I was using Twitter, but it has recently become very debate-led, and it can often feel like a platform to use to make a public statement. I still use it for sharing information but think Instagram has proven to be very useful because it is a much more visual medium as dance is. In the first three or four weeks into lockdown, our company account had grown by over 4,000 followers with a captive audience as people were talking about the classes and tagging and commenting on posts. There are so many useful features on Instagram, especially as you can host live up to one hour, and because we were providing opportunities to continue training and interact with the art form, it’s really impacted on our audience.
How quickly did you jump online? Very quickly! The McOnie classes at Pineapple Studios are not just about training but have become very community based. A lot of dancers from the theatre dance community come together to hear about auditions there, they share information and build really great friendships. So at the point when the shows were being cancelled but we weren’t on lockdown yet I looked very quickly into running free dance classes at Pineapple in order to provide opportunities for dancers to keep training and as a way of keeping the community in good mental health. We planned to run three free classes a week but the very next day it looked as though we were going into lockdown and so naturally it wasn’t wise to have people in rooms together. Fortunately, as we already had most things in place, we were able to offer our classes online. The first class I did was with a cheap tripod from Above Drew taking an online class Amazon, which I set up on my lounge table, but it did the job.
What else has the McOnie company been up to? What has been amazing is the digital outreach from people in the industry supporting colleges as we understand the struggle for young people are trying to train. We got involved with several workshops, Q&As and feedback sessions with a number of major colleges and dance schools in the country. We also
24 Dance | Issue 490
Right Participant of 24 hours Danceathon
Left Micro-Musical Lockdown tutorial events
got involved with the House of Jazz amongst many others – who had a great idea of doing a Danceathon to raise money for the Fund for Freelance Dancers, which is a fund that I launched as part of the McOnie Company’s support system for out of work dancers. This event saw 24 hours of people teaching dance on both company accounts and was really well received. We ran an interactive short dance film festival for people to get involved with, where people created films at home and sent them in to be promoted on our platforms. We also ran the Micro-Musical Lockdown, which saw a group of choreographers get together with a group of West End composers and lyricists to make original songs and dances and posted the tutorial via the company account to provide stimulation and a way of dancers to still be seen by people in the industry. All the tutorials, short dance films and classes are still live to watch on the @mconiecompany IGTV account.
Have there been any activities happening with The Old Vic, Nuffield Southampton and Birmingham Rep Theatres? We have been included in a lot of discussions about forward strategies for associate artists coming together. It’s times like these that having an association is very much needed for the artist and the venue because we can come together to work out the best way to move forward. The Old Vic, for example is in a precarious place as it’s not Arts Council funded so it really needs the passion of its audience to survive. There are a few developments in place so watch this space!
What has been the biggest lesson learnt from moving your work online? I previously used social media merely to introduce people to work that I was doing offline, and to allow access into our process and work being done in the studio and theatres. But now there is a huge realisation that the digital space can be used as a performance platform – being able to create material specifically for Instagram that can
be interacted with as though you are on stage. I think that has been the lesson for me and going forward we will consider Instagram especially, not only as a platform to engage but to perform.
Will you be virtually dancing in the future? Yes, I think so! But as an additional way to express, not a replacement. For me, the art of dance is when a person can change the energy in the room just from the way they move – it can never be replaced.
Do you think the lockdown will change the dance industry at all? I do think so, in very positive and exciting ways – I think there will be a whole wave of new dancemakers that understand technology in the way that some of the more experienced dancemakers don’t and there is a place for both in the industry. I believe we were always going down this route but the pandemic may have pushed us forward by five years or so. It’s given people time to sit at home and work it out as well as the audience to engage with their material. There will be a whole new audience interested in digital dance.
Many people used the time to learn a new skill or recharge from their busy lifestyles – what has lockdown been like for you, personally? I think dancers have grown up on the romantic notion that the show must go on, which can be exciting and adrenalin-led, but it can also be unhealthy in terms of the amount of pressure it puts on our personal lives. For me, it’s been a great lesson in the fact that the show has stopped. It gave me the chance to recharge and I came out of it calmer, rested and more focused.
I think there will be a whole wave of new dancemakers who understand technology Dance | Issue 490 25
Europe Carole Watson explores how dance and creativity have helped a continent gripped by lockdown anxiety
Carole Ann Watson International Representative for Europe firstname.lastname@example.org
ver the past few months the digital space has seen an explosion of virtual classes given by dance teachers and professional dancers. But is it enough when students are cut off from their social habits? Three surveys conducted in Italy and Spain over the last few months showed that children over six years and teenagers are the ones who have suffered the most during the pandemic. Their emotional balance has been affected, so much so that many among them are suffering from anxiety and may have PTSD symptoms in the future. Can adults help relieve their distress? How? Through dance, interaction, and creativity, a teacher thought. Therefore she devised an online performance for her students. First, during one of their online sessions, she explained the project to her classes. Music and costume sketches were sent via email to their parents. The children could choose a costume and colour it. The older girls were invited to design their own costume. The
choreography was to be created by the students on the theme the teacher chose for each age group. After having done some basic technique, the teacher invited every person â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one at a time â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to create four or eight counts of movement and then teach it to the rest of the class. Once the dances were completed and rehearsed the performance could be arranged. Every student would dance in their own home and their audience would be their family. Over a time-span of two months, the pupils were totally engaged and interacting online. The motivational techniques of Curzon have proved successful, challenging the students with achievable tasks, stimulating curiosity and their creativity and, lastly, encouraging team work. Interaction with their peers is a must for the students, as it helps maintain their social skills and self-esteem. We, as teachers, need to keep this in mind while we help them recover a sense of stability and normality during and after the pandemic.
Three surveys conducted in Italy and Spain over the last few months showed that children over six years and teenagers are the ones who have suffered the most during the pandemic
Above Participating in dance class on Zoom in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Turn to page 28 for more on dance in Asia.
26 Dance | Issue 490
North America Speaking to teachers across North America, Astrid Sherman discovers how they are rising to the challenge of COVID uncertainty
Astrid Sherman International Representative for North America email@example.com
s most studios and schools in the USA, Canada, Caribbean and Mexico are starting to excitedly return, or preparing to reopen, one school in California is looking at staying online. With elderly parents and an at-risk spouse, this studio owner is making a pivotal decision. The risk for her family is too great. It is indeed bravery after nearly 30 years in the same space, to trust that students will remain engaged until a vaccine is available and that a new smaller perfect space will then arrive. About 40% of her students are still registered and committed. They have turned up for classes since mid March in their studio uniform, grateful to connect with teachers who know their needs and peers they have shared many memories with. Teachers around the world have had to learn so many new skills overnight for teaching in virtual world, from content to technology. When it became sadly apparent that there was no way a June recital could be held, this school pivoted
to a Zoom performance. The students were filmed on Zoom in their living rooms wearing the costumes their families had already purchased and doing the choreography prepared before Covid. Faculty shared discoveries for adaptations to overcome the varying video time delays and to enhance creativity. Small adjustments could be made to the original choreography by spotlighting individual students at specific points where non-unison was too noticeable or where the choreography did not make sense. Teachers also found that by ordering and timing the turning on of student cameras they could create specific screens to highlight duos and trios, or sections, where in the theatre, other students would be offstage. The result would melt your hearts. Graduating students will forever have a keepsake captured in an unprecedented moment of time. Now, moving forwards, this studio is planning their annual Nutcracker to be being produced, choreographed and designed for a 'box' or 'side by side'
boxes! Students have been asked to send in audition videos. The choreography is being planned from a small space for a small space and knowing the parameters of unison for ensembles on a Zoom recital. Teachers filming will utilise and better manipulate the Zoom tools at hand and now have more editing skills to enhance scenes with audio quality and a seamless narration. All dance families participating will be sent an inexpensive uniform backdrop to hang behind their dancers for continuity of filming together with instructions for lighting and camera angle. Being a dance teacher and choreographer these last three months must have certainly been a challenge, but with every new challenge comes great opportunity for learning!
Dance | Issue 490 27
Asia Chua Zjen Fong looks at how technology impacts our perspective on dance
Chua Zjen Fong International Representative for Asia firstname.lastname@example.org
Dancers all over the world have been using the technology that surrounds us to its full potential The whole world hit the reset button during the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Every industry has experienced a re-shuffle and re-balance of power. It certainly has affected the entertainment, sport and arts industries and particularly the dance community. With the lockdown decision that took place to prevent further infection, dancers and studios were forced to change operations and training was restricted to practicing at home for some dancers. Dancers all over the world have been using the technology that surrounds us to its full potential. Changing from offline to online lessons, and workshops via platforms like Zoom has helped studios and students to benefit from the usual training. However, there were also some setbacks, such as a lack of high-speed
internet connection in some areas, restricted home space, and most importantly a lack of parental confidence in the value of virtual lessons. In Asia, as in other parts of the world, Tik Tok â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a platform that originated in China â&#x20AC;&#x201C; has been gaining popularity among the younger generation. Most studios and teachers used the various popular platforms to boost their branding, and most of them offered free online workshops to gain popularity and exposure. In some ways, this is has worked well for the teachers to gain followers. However, there were some teachers who strongly opposed this approach. They believed the free online workshops would jeopardize the dance market and create new consumer behaviour among the students, making them rely too much on free online lessons.
However, online lessons have solved a major issue that offline lessons canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t, which is accessibility. Dance enthusiasts from remote areas that are interested in picking up dancing can do so via the internet. They will be able access vast quantities of information on dance lessons and the latest updates via online platforms. The pandemic has been a wake-up call to the whole world about how humans have been treating our planet. But, it has also revealed the importance of technology and how it will help us in future pandemic situations. With that being said, it is high time for everyone to consider an alternative method of teaching and learning that will prepare us better for the future.
28 Dance | Issue 490
Australasia Dancing in the digital jungle â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Jess Walker reassures us that it's OK not to be OK! Ask any dance teacher about the uncertainty of delivering classes during a global pandemic and you will be met with a continual variance of replies. How could we be prepared when we have experienced nothing like this before in our lifetime? To say the dance community has been rattled would be an understatement. Another understatement would be to say we would not put up a fight. And fight is what we have done in Australasia. Sure, the rapid nature of this situation did put us on our back foot but we all have good posture and strong cores so we stood tall and stepped forward. Some steps were small but we did what we needed to do and kept going to the best of our ability. Two main hurdles presented themselves very early on and this was a common occurrence all teachers seemed to experience. Firstly, did we need to
close the doors or could we operate with provisions in place? And secondly, when we did have to close, what was the best platform to use? Unfortunately there was no obvious and absolute answer for either of those questions. But in the jungle of options teachers started to communicate, share and adapt the specific service that worked for them. Zoom, Skype and Movitae were some of the front runners, each with their own pros and cons. Teachers shared their wins and to some degree communications from the authorities gave some guidelines for us to follow. Through all this the goal remained the same. Deliver dance to as many as we could with the best possible service and to make sure we kept everyone safe when the need demanded. It has not been the ideal way to teach. We all missed the
Jess Walker International Representative for Australasia email@example.com
face to face interaction with students, and working from home, juggling family at the same time was a challenge. But, we have all received a message or email at some stage saying how great itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been that we have continued to deliver dance into homes and keep our learners active in a very stressful time, doing something that they love and that makes it all worthwhile. Through perseverance and determination we should all be proud of what we have achieved and knowing our dance community has been brought together, stronger than ever.
Dance | Issue 490 29
Africa and the Middle East An insight into the positive outcomes from lockdown. Simone Marshall-Kleinenberg, Head of Tap Faculty at the Waterfront Theatre School in Cape Town, finds out what we should embrace in the new normal With our day-to-day lives affected, this pandemic has motivated us to find new ways to dance. First was the boom of online dance classes, professionals sharing with so much passion and inspiration. Suddenly, the world was dancing on one online continent together. Such opportunities were fantastic for networking, self-study and expanding one’s own knowledge. Students experienced classes across the globe and realised the value of their training. Feedback from students included how brilliantly effective our syllabi are, our methodology of training endorsing a sense of analysis to learn choreography quickly and established technique tested in application and execution. Students felt confident, capable and assured of their abilities and skill set. Many community groups were formed online, weekly meet-ups to investigate a mutual dance-related
topic, to expand and express one’s own knowledge. Hopefully, such connections continue into our new normal. Secondly, we were challenged to expand our teaching methods – to finally make use of all our saved YouTube and Instagram links, to lecture on the importance and relevance of our craft’s history – to show the relevance of the 'why and how' we do what we do today, to learn from the greats and be inspired by their ability, style, story and habits. To teach repertoire from such masters creates pride and honour in the students' work in the studio and in their craft. Thirdly, we all became stars of our own screens! Individual student video submissions created a platform for personal attention, correction and assistance which we don’t always find time for in the studio environment. The ability to pause, rewind and rewatch does not exist in reality. Teaching via
Delia Sainsbury International Representative for Africa and the Middle East firstname.lastname@example.org
filmed videos allowed the students to absorb information at their own pace. Their demonstration showed improved application in detail, accuracy and understanding. Zoom became our daily soap opera – a flabbergasting medium, endorsing communication, our continuous teaching, our students dancing and most importantly, sustaining our human connections. Most importantly, the Arts really supported the world during this pandemic, provided much needed light and love. Innovative dance videos from professionals, dance studios and students exploded over our social media, reminding us that dance is expressive – visual feelings made to share and escape from reality for just that moment. A change in lifestyle forces new ways and, as from an injury, we will heal and return stronger to dance again.
Individual student video submissions created a platform for personal attention, correction and assistance, which we don’t always find time for in the Studio environment
30 Dance | Issue 490
TikTok versus YouTube
gr ow in
A whopping 95% of global internet users watch YouTube, but TikTok has grown so impressively – especially during lockdown – that it has developed a momentum and status of its own. What does this mean for dancers and dance schools, and how should it affect what we do?
• 41% of users are aged between 16 and 24 • Approx. 50% of global audience under age of 34 • 26% global audience aged between 18 and 24
Chaos and fun or structure and money? TikTok, which is fast-paced and chaotic, combines elements of Spotify, Snapchat, Vine and Twitch. 15 second clips can be linked into one-minute lumps. TikTok is too new to have clearly established routes to make money, although some lucky stars earn from guest spots and appearances. YouTube has been an effective and popular social media network for video sharing since before Google bought it in 2006. There are no limitations on the length of clips, it is well structured and the ways to make money from the platform are mature and well established.
How to choose your platform If you are looking for older people (for example to promote barre classes for over-50s) then YouTube is your best bet. If you want to share significant extracts of
YouTube users • Fastest growing age groups are 35+ and 55+ • 75% of users say they are looking for nostalgia over tutorials and current events
llion YouTube users w i b orld of 2 s wi d r de a w Up
a choreography the length of clip allowed means you should be going for YouTube, but a tango styling class for women might be better on TikTok because that has a larger balance of women to men. If you want to make money purely from influence, become the next viral sensation, are more interested in likes than click-throughs or think you’ll do better with pester power from young viewers as opposed to direct purchases from their parents, TikTok might work better for you. Sharing longer choreographies such as end-of-term shows or new contemporary dance extracts fit better on YouTube. However, if you are a teacher with a talent for synthesising movement phrases into a tiny, easy-to-follow, fun formats, or if you want to create new dance challenges, you are best off on TikTok, which helps challengers find each other with easy global lists.
Think through what you do Before deciding on what you will do, think it all through. Who do you want to attract? How do you want to attract them? What is your product, message or offering? Are you looking at just one platform or a combination of several? And before investing time in anything, think hard about the future. Samuel CK of @Fussy.Eggs has a warning:
We know that America is considering sanctions against Chinese companies, and that the UK is leaning towards following what America wants. Be careful about the amount of time and energy you invest in TikTok because it might disappear. Dance | Issue 490 31
Want to get found online? Here are some tips from dancers who have learned through experimentation and experience
ven the best social media account needs marketing, and it is hard to know what to do when there are so many others to compete with. We asked digital marketing specialist Samuel CK of @Fussy.Eggs, along with the dancers whose accounts he selected, for some pointers. “There’s not the time in the world to do it all properly, so know your market and prioritise. Facebook works for older people and parents. Twitter is good for businesses and short snappy statements. Partner dancers like Facebook, but the real places for dance are Instagram and TikTok. “A curated feed helps you get noticed. Show what you do clearly with logo and bio, like @ArtistryYouthDance on Instagram. Try not to stray in your content, because the more you deviate from that, the more you are likely to lose followers. Find a good quality video that sums up what you do, such as the cover video on @EllaMesma’s Facebook page. Be creative, but restrict yourself to one palette, one design or a consistent format. By designing in so much white space on Instagram @andrebright has created a consistent, cool way to share content. Make bold arty statements like @E14_Dance, with checkerboard, horizontal lines and puzzle grid layouts beautifully put together.”
Because people don’t go to websites so much I wanted people to have a good idea of what we do without even needing to click on an image. Katie Boag @e14_Dance
Samuel CK @fussy.eggs
My true love is Instagram. For me that’s purely creative. I market with Facebook groups because they are a collaborative place to share and grow together. @ellamesma
A final word from Samuel: “Don’t be all ‘me-meme’. If you want to share random things about yourself, use another account. People look for your message, your story and your art, but if they are following you for your dance they don’t want to know you had eggs and chips for breakfast”
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I learned that it helps to split what we do into different streams. I now brainstorm each message. For example, if I am a dancer I can do coaching and tuition, or write about dance, or stick to the performance side. I would market oneto-one tuition differently from a group workshop. Synthesising what I do and who I am down to a single sentence helps people align with me and helps me refine my marketing. @andrebright
I use Twitter for announcements, Facebook for families and Instagram for its visual content. TikTok is great for young people but I would need somebody to manage that. It all takes so much time! I was initially reluctant to share videos. I felt more open to critique, worried about copyright and that people might take the dance ideas. But our videos have much higher engagement than stills. I am finding a balance. One thing’s for sure, the more regularly you post, the more followers you get. Kamara Grey @artistryyouthdance
I don’t have the reach I want, so I hashtag a lot. I sometimes wonder if my posts get too hashtag-heavy, but I have been commissioned by people who searched for #wheelchairdancer on Instagram. That’s great! Laura Djao @LauraDDances
FIVE TOP TIPS • Research and post for the right audience – not all social platforms are viewed the same way • Plan and prioritise – social media takes time and planning to run effectively. Start a content calendar • Brand clarity – who are you and what do you offer? Visible logo, readable bio, easy to follow links
• Quality not quantity – high quality images and videos that showcase your art mean high engagement rates • Consistency is key – stick to your brand and showcase your work • Head to the members area of our website where you can download pre-designed assets that will help you highlight your membership with us. istd.org/member-area
Dance | Issue 490 33
GET CREATIVE AND THINK INSIDE
GET CREATIVE AND THINK INSIDE
34 Dance | Issue 490
ased on our professionally constructed syllabus, the new method was created to challenge the conventional two-partner dance tradition of the dancesport genres â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Latin, Ballroom and Sequence â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and inspire creative dancing and technique during lockdown. Since then, it has been developed with up to five levels with assessments in each and has been explored in theatre genres. This solo method, available exclusively to members, enables more teachers and students to resume training and social interaction with the tools to teach and learn safely and effectively. Getting involved is simple! You can create your own dance floor at home or in your studio by creating your box with tape, using dimensions between 1.5m to 2m, making sure the space is free from obstructions. Within this frame, you are to perform your solo work with increased focus on technique, footwork and placement. Children under the age of six should be supervised at all times by someone in their own home when participating in distance learning online. Syllabus sheets and promotional assets are available to download exclusively for members in your members area.
The important stuff
When using this delivery system you must ensure that your insurance and current PPL/PRS license is updated to include online work use. For information on our trusted insurance provider visit: ajginternational.com (see page 17) Show us your moves Film your moves and post your videos by tagging us at @ISTDDance #ISTDBoxDance Dance | Issue 490 35
Celebrating our breadth online Our faculties have adapted fast to the challenges of living with COVID-19. Will these changes alter the face of teaching dance far into the future?
Motivation can be seen as the ‘engine’ of learning. This influences what we learn, how we learn and when we choose to learn. Given the important relationship between motivation and learning, it was key to have this at the heart of our online courses to support our teachers in lockdown. Dance is collaborative, and dance is community so without our studios and theatres open, our classes had to translate to online lessons and courses to try to fill this void in a new way and raise our teachers spirits to ‘embrace’ the positives and stay motivated. We have all had feelings of isolation and frustration through this pandemic, and online courses will never replace the feeling and experience of live classes. However, our committee lecturers and teaching team were committed to deliver uplifting and motivational lessons in an open, caring, future-thinking way, leaving teachers feeling inspired for their own classes and training, and so the ‘engine’ of learning continues. Lisa Harrison-Jones
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DANCER: DENA PHILPOTT @MOREAPERFORMINGARTS MOREAPERFORMINGARTS.COM
Dance | Issue 490 37
Cecchetti Classical Ballet Cecchetti Advanced 2 Syllabus DVD Committee member Kate Simmons describes the process of creating and using the new resource Looking back, filming for the Advanced 2 Cecchetti DVD was a huge undertaking. I cannot believe it is over two years since we started. It involved many days of filming in the theatre of Elmhurst Ballet School at various times when students, crew and space were available. This in itself was a challenge, making sure that the students were step perfect when there were a lot of other dance activities going on at their respective colleges. It also meant re-teaching, reminding and rehearsing the dancers just before they were filmed and this is why I am indeed grateful to Cara Drower and Gillian Toogood who assisted me on some days and enabled me to work on a rotation system, keeping the dancers warm and rehearsed. The level of difficulty of filming the Advanced 2 Cecchetti work is something that I have never encountered from the Directorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s point of view. Though I was fortunate to be in many filmed productions as a dancer, it is very different being on the other side of the camera. Also a project such as this, which is a
technical resource and will be used for analysis, required extra diligence and care. It was a huge task to achieve the perfect take with work of this standard, given the time restrictions and limited filming days we had. The students worked in rotation and the best way was to try a few takes then rest that student and though complex, not necessarily film in order, but to go with what worked on that day. At this stage I must point out that this DVD is one artistic interpretation and there will be slight variations that students will learn from their own teachers. For many years people have requested that this vast syllabus to be filmed, not only as a learning tool and to assist with study and analysis for the Fellowship exam, but also so that teachers and students can observe vocational students demonstrating the work. Our syllabus now includes not only our marvellous traditional work but also two additional options, both at the barre, certain aspects of the centre practice, pirouettes, pointe work and a new additional step to
the virtuosity in the male syllabus. I think it is important that this DVD is not used for unsupervised teaching, but should serve as reference and a guide, hopefully enabling students and teachers to further their knowledge of this wonderful method. My sincere thanks go to my colleague Catherine Hutchon, who has supported the project, checked written details for the DVD artwork and spent a lot of time editing and communicating with our technical crew. Thanks must also go to James Hudson our videographer, Joe Massey for lighting and the very hard working, talented students who made it all possible: Elliot Adams, Ella-Louise Appleby, Danielle Burgess, Patrick Gill, Chloe Horton, Chloe Howarth (KS Dance) and Charlie Mellor (Tring Park). Finally, a special thank you to my friend and colleague John Taggart whose recording of the Advanced 2 Cecchetti music was used for the DVD.
Advanced 2 DVD available from our online shop from September
38 Dance | Issue 490
Catherine Hutchon Acting Head of Faculty Development for Cecchetti email@example.com
Creative approaches online and in the studio
Theresa Lungaro-Mifsud in Malta and Angelina Spurrier in the UK share their ideas for pre-primary ballet and pre-school classes Two Cecchetti teachers joined creative forces to share their ideas for using stories and games to introduce the basics of simple ballet vocabulary and stimulate young children’s enjoyment of dance. The level of interest in the initial Society webinar allowed us to offer an extended session as part of the summer programme to inspire teachers to use new approaches when back in the classroom. Theresa Lungaro-Mifsud adapted Ludo to motivate pupils During lockdown we offered pre-recorded classes for our three to six year olds and I felt a new approach from our usual classes was needed to engage them. The idea of using board games developed and I adapted the game Ludo, using a dice and chance to choose the dance activity. Firstly I focused on improvisation and then developed this idea to cover some of the syllabus steps too. Each box on the grid represented an assortment of steps and listening to music. I wasn’t concerned about covering the whole syllabus or doing things in the correct order, I just wanted
to excite the children to keep up their dancing. The highlights of the game were the special dance story boxes, which were placed in corners of the board and selected using a traditional origami fortune teller. The filmed games were a huge success and many parents contacted me to thank me for the classes. I was delighted to know that the children were engaged and stimulated and curious to know what steps or dance stories would be in each class. One of the positive things to come out of lockdown was that I had time to plan and devise exciting new ways of teaching and developing resources, which can also be used in the studio. Angelina Spurrier used the story We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to inspire learning My lockdown journey began with me delving into my daughter’s book collection for inspiration. There was so much choice but eventually I selected a familiar children’s story, which I felt my pre-schoolers would easily connect with online: We’re Going on a Bear
Hunt, written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. The resources for this story, a book, audio book, DVD and soundtrack by Stuart Hancock, lent themselves well to pre-recorded videos for Zoom classes and provided an opportunity to create a fun pack of lockdown activities including art and craft ideas and even a nature game to play on walks with the family. I used Filmora 9 software for PC to create my pre-recorded classes, as it has some fun visual effects that I knew my little ones would enjoy. Teaching online class in a restricted space and developing creative ideas for this age group was indeed a challenge, but an adventurous story involving a goggle-eyed bear had plenty to offer. Conscious that movements would need to be relatively static for online classes, I focused on how using the senses as a stimulus for creative movement could trigger a whole catalogue of creative ideas. And soon I discovered there were things to be heard, seen, touched, tasted and smelt in every corner of this fabulous tale! Dance | Issue 490 39
Cecchetti Classical Ballet ~ continued
My lockdown journey began with me delving into my daughterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book collection for inspiration
Angelina Spurrier teaching Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re Going on a Bear Hunt online
Virtual teaching Cecchetti Faculty committee member Sarah Wells asks, what have we learnt?
Anxious and self-conscious about teaching classes online, I signed up for three of the Cecchetti Faculty online surgeries in the hope that I could boost my confidence. What these fabulous sessions reminded me was that dancers thrive on being together. I had spent time with friends and colleagues and learnt new ideas even though I had not stepped into the studio. Inspired, I took the Zoom teaching plunge. In the studio your children are all equal, but suddenly on the screen there are major differences. From the hallway to the large lounge, how could we encourage and inspire these dancers in such diverse scenarios within the limitations of working on screen?
All our abilities as teachers are tested. Can we explain with words and images how to correct a step or position? Do we have time to watch all the dancers individually so that we can assess their musicality? Can we send reassurance via Wi-Fi that they will be able to do the movement eventually, it just needs a little more practice? The redeeming element for me as a teacher, and I believe for my students, is that dance classes are so much more than dance. It is being together, learning and enjoying dancing, seeing your dancing friends, and working hard to achieve a goal. Virtual dancing can create many of the emotions we enjoy in the studio as well as giving the energy and motivation to continue.
Virtual dancing can create many of the emotions we enjoy in the studio as well as giving the energy and motivation to continue
40 Dance | Issue 490
Classical Greek Dance Committee member Lucy Pohl on adapting to teach Classical Greek dance via Zoom Our school was in the middle of examinations when lockdown was announced. The idea of remote learning seemed to be the only available option, but my concern was being unable to correct the dancers. Once I became familiar with the online platform Zoom, I found it easy and intuitive to use. The ability to view multiple pupils on a large screen and the advantage of being able to correct each individual pupil in a way that would not usually be possible in a large class was very exciting. We learnt that technology could enhance teaching in a way not thought possible prior to the pandemic. I loved planning my classes for Classical Greek. It made me realise the diversity the method has. I have always embraced freedom of movement, but when challenged with lack of space my classes took a different form. Body practice developed into nature studies, embracing twists and body turns. The new music sections in the grades worked brilliantly online and make musicality and rhythm such fun, even with the time delay. An exercise for every joint in the body in our syllabus makes the list endless. From nymphs floating in water, dryads entwining trees, butterflies in a breeze to satyrs crushing grapes. The inventiveness has been exciting and our classes a glorious escape from captivity and isolation. Bacchanal rituals dedicated
to Dionysus the god of wine were a popular lockdown theme with parents too! The new revised syllabus has added creativity and challenged students physically, musically and rhythmically. To keep students stimulated, different props were introduced weekly and have been a great success, as well as being a good way to inspire pupils back. Zoom invitations sent out encouraged pupils to make or find an object we could dance with and create movements in the space we had available. The beauty of this genre is its versatility. Throughout the pandemic Classical Greek Zoom classes seem to have boosted children’s morale and lifted their spirits. It has been reassuring to know how much our students looked forward to their classes each week. Based on a quote from The Gateway of Dance: “Because of the sound technical basis established, the physical, emotional and artistic discipline insisted, Classical Greek dancing is an education in beauty. Theories are founded on true balance physically and spiritually, demanding reverence and restraint. These ideals can help counteract the general restlessness, exaggeration and neurosis of the world today.” Committee member Alison Seddon on the Society’s online faculty surgeries I was very pleased, although somewhat nervous, to be able to deliver our online faculty surgery on the fundamentals and progressions in Classical Greek dance.
e learnt that W technology could enhance teaching in a way not thought possible prior to the pandemic
Our thoughts as a committee were to be able to give teachers a refresher on the basics of Classical Greek dance technique in order to help solidify their knowledge and then transfer that across into their teaching of our new syllabus grades, confident in their command of the technical basis of the work. Delivery of the surgery was a little daunting, not only because of the technological challenges but also because of the physical restraints arising due to demonstrating in my dining room, which also inhibited the choice of movements shown. As I stood before the sea of faces shown on my laptop, I suddenly was transported back in time to taking my Intermediate Greek exam and the same student nerves made their presence felt! It was wonderful to see so many attend this surgery: teachers and students wishing to further their studies and qualifications in Classical Greek dance. It was also encouraging to see how many festival adjudicators joined us and I hope the breakdown of the progressions and technique will have been helpful in recognising the accuracy of these movements seen in the festival world. The success of the surgery and the fantastic feedback we have had for all the Classical Greek online events proves that the passion for Classical Greek dance is alive and flourishing and the demand is definitely there and growing for this beautiful and beneficial dance genre.
42 Dance | Issue 490
Pippa Cobbing Head of Faculty Development for Imperial Classical Ballet, Greek and National firstname.lastname@example.org
Life is movement, movement is life Ruby Ginner
The rhythm of life Committee member Amanda Wilkins was inspired by nature during lockdown Like many of you I was devastated when we had to close our doors for lockdown. It took time to adjust. We then had weeks of glorious sun which was a fantastic opportunity to enjoy our daily recommended government walk. I am very lucky to live in a village and was able to walk into woodlands, through countryside and past young lambs and calves literally springing across fields. The cuckoo sang its song as I walked through the woods. Flowers, trees and hedges burst into bloom and birds chirped. We even had a duck nesting in the back garden that hatched 16 gorgeous ducklings. We get so wrapped up in our busy lives, this has been a fabulous opportunity to reconnect with nature and take time to watch plants and animals thrive. As a
Classical Greek dance advocate I of course thought about nature studies and how to portray these with my classes on Zoom. So, I got my dancers of all ages to open their eyes whilst walking and look at things they may not usually have the chance to see. We’ve incorporated nature studies to our online classes, not just in Classical Greek but in ballet classes too. We’ve talked and moved as the plants, animals or elements. This became a creative moment for dancers but also reminded them to look and see whilst out and about. It’s been great fun and of course you never know what the children are going to bring to the discussion. Another idea was to cut out the silhouette of a dancer or animal and then to put it over flowers to ‘colour’ the body or dress.
Whilst it was disappointing not to be in our studios it gave us time to look around. To show the difference between a swallow’s wings that move fast then glide, to a red kite soaring the skies. The willow tree draped – its branches falling into a river, compared to a beech tree with dappled light pushing through. A sunflower on a long stem as opposed to poppies blowing in the wind – their petals rapidly falling to the ground. What a lot of beauty surrounds us and so much we miss when we travel by car, bus or train or are just too busy to look. It has been an opportunity to reconnect with nature and share experiences. To quote Ruby Ginner: “life is movement, movement is life.” Dance | Issue 490 43
Classical Indian Dance Committee member Sujata Banerjee MBE looks at creating a positive learning space anywhere in this incredible digital world The world as we know it has changed beyond recognition due to the global COVID-19 crisis. The impact on the dance world has been devastating for us all. The immediate challenge was that we had to ‘go digital’. The choice for me was to either stop working and teaching or to adapt and go with the flow. I reassured myself that, if it is possible to conduct brain surgery through a camera lens, I should be able to correct pirouettes and postures through a video call. If people with limited hearing can be musicians, why can I not find a simple solution to music ‘time lag’ issues because of unstable Wi-Fi connections. As we transitioned into this new phase of life, I decided to carry on as normal, preparing students for their Society exams in July (our regular schedule), perform and stay totally connected to dance, just as I did last year and the year before that and whatever else it would take to reach this goal. I was acutely aware of the risk of rapid
deconditioning of my dancers’ muscle tone and the effect that the lockdown might have on them psychologically. I planned training sessions for my teachers and reviewed my pedagogy and moved on. Thankfully everything worked – no one dropped out, more students enrolled from the April term, more than ever before including students from round the globe. So, what made me embrace the situation? I love teaching and believe in the need for dance education. I have, like many of my friends and colleagues, performed extensively, creating new works and thoroughly enjoy the process. However, teaching makes me feel fulfilled and keeps me more connected with people. It is a huge responsibility. It is also a performance, albeit a series of performances – each class is a performance. I take the same satisfaction as I would with encores after performances. If I evolve, my students will. If I am totally engrossed in the session, my class will be on a journey with me,
experiencing the joy of creativity. Shortly after the lockdown classes began, I conducted a survey with my students and a few other dancers. I was interested to hear from them what it is that they are missing the most under the current situation and what motivates them to still attend classes. They all told me how much they missed the presence of others in a class, the sound of ghungroos (ankle bells), music, social interactions, performing, creating and motivating each other. The reason they feel motivated to attend classes now is their teacher’s energy and interest in helping them learn. Additionally, they can notice their progress and also being corrected more and at an individual level. Importantly, by having more of a say in classes about their goals, reviewing them regularly and giving feedback to each other allows them to feel a part of the team and the creative process despite being on screen or so far apart physically.
44 Dance | Issue 490
Lisa Harrison-Jones Head of Faculty Development for Modern Theatre and Classical Indian email@example.com
We are the generation of teachers who will play a critical role during this transitional phase, creating history by refreshing our methods of teaching in this new digital age Left Sujata Banerjee MBE
I realise ultimately that the sense of feeling cared for and valued is paramount and that it encourages people to attend classes more regularly. The positive and trusting relationship between teachers and their students is fundamental to learning. A teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attitude, their knowledge, passion, skills and perseverance can be so infectious that others feel automatically motivated around them. As I have adjusted to this new way of living and teaching, I have been amazed by the power of digital communication, how much we can still do and how far we can reach. I realise that we are the generation of teachers who will play a critical role during this transitional phase, creating history by refreshing our methods of teaching in this new digital age. Any transition is difficult, and the process has to be integrated and documented with sensitivity so that we do not lose the trust of our students, parents, careers and guardians. This process will continue to
blossom under the spotlight of excellent motivational activities, when tailored to individual levels such as goal setting, having a practice buddy, and carefully choosing key words as a reminder of corrections and feedback. My favourite part is the unorthodox approach, which can be described as a non-linear method to introduce variety in class. This keeps me innovative and enthusiastic towards finding new exercises and methods. I often say in the class that â&#x20AC;&#x153;I will now do something totally out of the boxâ&#x20AC;?. I suddenly come up with some activity ideas (random games or exercises), which may seem on the surface unrelated, but I know why I am doing them at that very moment. I believe that the same technique can be achieved by doing different activities. Sometimes trying too hard to achieve something may have a detrimental effect and some other activities can help indirectly, and suddenly something can make sense, enhancing and understanding performances.
My strategy now is to develop core skills. Identify, discuss, and break down the core skills and ask the group to choose one aspect, which they can improve on every one or two weeks. This process encourages autonomy and a positive psychological impact. These marginal changes will have a phenomenal overall effect. Ultimately all students want to improve, and so do I, regardless of situations. It is also important to have a conversation with the students that now they have to engage the brain differently to learn dance, their listening skills have to get sharpened and they will have to take more responsibility. I believe, dance has a lot to contribute to the physical and mental wellbeing of the community. As a teacher, I embraced the digital age because I would not imagine a world without arts. I will continue to evolve and embrace, encourage and engage others in enjoying creativity. The virtual is now reality, and what we thought was real and the only way, is no longer true. Dance | Issue 490 45
Contemporary Dance Contemporary teaching team member Laura Flanagan looks at the translation of the syllabus into our own living rooms Upon entering lockdown in the UK at the end of March I, like many others, took my teaching online. I have a group of students who were due to take their Inter Foundation Contemporary exam at the end of May so was keen to ensure they stayed motivated and inspired by the work. They were very excited by the prospect of taking their exam in this brand new syllabus, and I knew that it was vital that I continued to develop their skills through regular classes at home. Although both myself and my students encountered challenges with the space we had available, I found that we were able to use this time to dissect, in detail, the essence of the syllabus. We have been able to particularly focus on the floor work and the static standing work and have spent more time analysing the initiation of each exercise, which is a key part of this syllabus. Each lesson the students would return with more detailed questions for me and relished the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the work. For all of us, it has been a really positive experience to stay connected to each other at a time when we were isolated in our own homes.
“Continuing Contemporary classes throughout lockdown has really helped me keep active during these times. Although online classes are not as good as they are in person, we have all adapted to it remarkably well and enjoy it just as much. As well as the classes keeping me fit, they have also prevented me forgetting any of the syllabus over this long period when we’re not allowed in the studio. Our teacher helps us with syllabus we’re uncertain of and takes the time to correct us if we do something wrong. It’s also extremely nice to be able to see my friends dancing with me from their homes.” Elena Vinall
My students’ thirst for knowledge has allowed me to develop my own exploration of the work. As a member of the teaching team, I have been involved in the research and development of this syllabus over the last few years and feel extremely privileged to share the knowledge I’ve learned with other teachers. Through online classes, my students from The BRIT School have shared my passion for the syllabus, challenging my teaching methods in order to answer their questions as we all adapted to online learning.
“These online Contemporary lessons have been excellent and my teacher has explained the small details in such a great way through this strange format. The syllabus is a fantastic foundation where I can take this information to inform a number of different contemporary styles.” Dakota Rodgers
One particularly challenging moment came when trying to recap the material for the solo. This involved a combination of me giving almost ‘twister’ like instructions: “step on your left leg, move your right arm here, turn towards it, no other way, no that way, yes that’s it!…” and playing with a range of camera angles to focus on what different parts of the body are doing and demonstrating movement whilst trying to avoid stepping on my two cats who love to get in on the action. However, we got there and the use of technology has been really helpful as the students have been able to send me videos prior to the lesson, so I can give them detailed feedback, which they can apply in the lesson. The time that we have had dancing in our own living rooms has afforded my students the chance to take more ownership of the work than they perhaps would have when I was with them in a studio.
46 Dance | Issue 490
Michaela Ellis Artistic Projects Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
I feel privileged that I have shared this journey with my students and been able to use the Contemporary syllabus to create a positive experience during a time that has been like no other in the history of the world Contemporary teaching team member, Laura Flanagan
The pace of school and the range of other things they were also doing alongside my classes in real life meant we didn’t often have as much time as I would like, to focus on analysing the work. However, over the past few months, the students have had to become more autonomous with taking on board my feedback and applying it themselves, and I have often watched them through the screen making corrections themselves before I have even had to say anything. The beauty of the Contemporary syllabus is its accessibility for a range of body types. The deep connections through the whole body in the movements creates intelligent young dancers who are aware of the whole being. As my student Salvador says: “During this uneasy time of lockdown the Contemporary classes have helped to maintain technique and precision for me as a dancer, paying close attention to breath and the use of meditative exercises. It has calmed my mind and given me a space to relax.” Salvador Thylmann-Foster
I am really proud of how my students have coped during this unsettling time and am excited for what they will achieve
when we are once again able to dance in a studio together. I have even been able to add some developments to build up to some of the Intermediate work so that when they are allowed to take their exam, they will also be well on their way to being prepared for the next level as well. As well as developing their skills as dancers, continuing with the Contemporary syllabus online has had other benefits for my students, helping with their mental health in these uncertain times. “I find them really stress relieving and it gives me something to look forward to. Minus the occasional technical difficulties, it feels like I’m back in the studio. It also means that when studios and dance schools start to open again we don’t have to worry about losing all our technique and stamina as much. It makes me happy that even with the whole world in a pandemic crisis that we can always go back to dance no matter where you are.” Jodie Vale
“During lockdown, I’ve been really enjoying the online Contemporary classes. It’s helping me to de-stress and relax, while still dancing, moving and stretching. My
flexibility has definitely improved since taking contemporary lessons, but also my awareness of my body.” Lucy Summers
“I have been finding the online ISTD Contemporary lessons a really good way to just let my body move and stretch and also relax. It’s a time to just forget about all the stress happening and just concentrate on the movement. It’s helped me to improve my technique, while also making me think about engaging different parts of the body I may not have thought about before.” Lilly Palmer
“The Contemporary classes that Laura has been doing, have been keeping me motivated to keep up with my dancing keeping me in a positive mindset throughout this long break.” Blaise Landsbert
I feel privileged that I have shared this journey with my students and been able to use the Contemporary syllabus to create a positive experience during a time that has been like no other in the history of the world.
Dance | Issue 490 47
Disco, Freestyle, Rock n Roll and Street Committee member Julia Westlake looks at stretch – do you love it or hate it?
It is absolutely imperative that we, as dance teachers, instruct our pupils to stretch correctly
I have always loved to stretch. Even as a small child, I would support myself between two chairs, until I could get to the floor in the splits (the ultimate goal when you are young). I wasn’t born ‘bendy’, but because I have worked at it most of my life, my flexibility is OK. In general, having flexible muscles is immensely important to all of us, not only as dancers, but in everyday life too. Dancers, sports people, athletes, all need to be flexible to perform at their peak. But the general population needs flexibility too, even more so as we grow older. Stretching not only increases our range of movement, helps posture, aids balance and reduces muscle soreness, it will also increase our muscle power and can reduce fatigue. If we neglect to stretch, our muscles will become tight and stiff and our range of movement will be drastically reduced. My favourite saying to my pupils, “use it or lose it.” It is absolutely imperative that we, as dance teachers, instruct our pupils to stretch correctly. The alternative could cause injury, or even serious damage, especially to a child’s muscles, tendons and ligaments. I can still remember the pain I felt as a child, when a young trainee dance teacher, pushed my body forward, whilst I was in box splits. Luckily for me, there was no lasting damage, but there very easily could have been. Hopefully, those days of being pushed into a stretch are behind us all, as we learn more and more about how our muscle system works. There are many different types of stretch: the static stretches, which include, PNF, active, isometric, and also passive. We also have dynamic
stretches, active isolated and in my mind, the most outdated and potentially dangerous one, ballistic stretching. Outdated, because you bounce into position, which does not give the muscles you are stretching time to adapt to its position and may actually have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve, tightening the muscle up. Muscles must always be warm to stretch, in DFR, our pupils are taught to perform a short static stretch at the end of warm-up. A much longer and deeper stretch is performed at the end of class, which is extremely important, helping the pupil to alleviate muscle soreness and assisting in their flexibility. As qualified dance professionals, we have a duty of care to our pupils, of all ages, but especially children, whose bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons are still growing. The age of the dancer, their natural flexibility, whether they are a ‘once a week’ dancer, or a ‘six day a week dancer’, whatever other genres of dance, or sport, they perform, all must be taken into account. Because of all of those points, we must plan our classes carefully, we need to nurture our dancers and gently coax their muscles to lengthen and become stronger and more powerful. To do the opposite is irresponsible and could cause lasting and serious damage to a child’s growing body. Damage that may put the child out of action for some time, or damage which may not show itself for many years to come. Stretch is an invaluable tool for all, as long as it is performed correctly, and I love it!
48 Dance | Issue 490
Amanda Tapp Head of Faculty Development for Disco, Freestyle, Rock’n’Roll and Street email@example.com
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a DFR committee member? As Society members, we are all grateful for the training, syllabi and events that provide us with invaluable resources to run our dance businesses. In an ever-changing world and with the recent challenges that have faced us, we would like to share with you an insight into the time, work and most importantly passion that the DFR committee delivers to our members. When becoming a committee member, you undertake a commitment to the Society, this may sound huge, but, it is such an interesting role! It will make you a better teacher and allow you to gain a thorough insight into the syllabi as well as a bird’s eye view of how our events are run and maintained as well as the standardisation, training and criteria that examiners have to follow. Under the DFR faculty umbrella we manage Disco, Freestyle, Rock n Roll, Street Dance and Country and Western. The committee is responsible for managing and maintaining all aspects of these genres, from medal tests and professional examinations to events and training. Typically, within a working week, there is always something for a committee member to do, jobs are assigned at each committee meeting and actions given to the participants to research, develop and to report. Currently, the committee are involved in the Rock n Roll syllabus development and are meeting approximately every four weeks to complete this. They are coming to the meetings with new ideas, collating and proofing past notes and ensuring
that when we are due to launch, the syllabus is a positive contribution for our members. They are just about to start creating the Street Dance Licentiate syllabus and have pencilled in several meetings with leading street dance experts so that the syllabus is a sound representation of the street dance world. The committee’s role is to glean the knowledge from these experts and to create a syllabus along with technical descriptions that our teachers worldwide can use. Our Events are unique to the DFR Faculty and our competitions are very popular! The committee is responsible for ensuring that the organisers uphold the quality of the competitions and every year, meet to re-examine the rules, guidelines and standardisation. They are always on hand to answer queries from members and organisers and as most are avid supporters or organisers of these events; this is a real asset to our team. Most recently everything that we know and are familiar with, has changed drastically. Lockdown has created a new set of challenges for the committee. Extra meetings were planned to create valuable faculty surgeries for the members, online summer school events, online competitions and remote examinations has been added to the workload of the committee. We are all learning in a new era and the DFR Faculty committee are working hard to ensure that you are supported throughout your teaching journey.
i Above left to right: The new DFR committee 2020–2023 Michelle Arnell Joanna Bevan Gail HenryWarby Maria Howse Nigel Kirk Jonathan Reed Paul Streatfield Head of Faculty development: Amanda Tapp
Dance | Issue 490 49
Disco, Freestyle, Rock n Roll and Street ~ continued
Taking your business online How Vanessa Cross, Society Fellow and teacher at The Lane Academy, faced the challenge
Can you give a brief insight into your school and how your business was running prior to Lockdown? For 25 years we have run a busy dance school in Cambridgeshire. It’s constantly evolving and our teaching team deliver well attended extra-curricular dance and musical theatre clubs, as well as primary and secondary curriculum lessons in schools including GCSE dance. What ideas did you have to come up with to engage your pupils in this new digital era? We have managed to offer the full Lane Academy timetable online. Students have been able to take part in all their usual classes via Zoom. Thankfully we have had really good engagement with this. In addition, we added daily Wake and Shake sessions, (a 20 minute morning workout), weekly Pop Up sessions – led by members of our team or outside specialists and a family focussed Friday Freebie – an end of week celebration ranging from a Stretch and Story to the ever popular Lane Academy Party. We have worked hard to keep our offer innovative and attractive. We have kept our choreography fresh and have used challenges and team competitions. One of our most popular was to make pom-poms to be used in one of our dances. We have learnt valuable lessons from everything we’ve done. What challenges have you faced? Maintaining that community feel within our business, has been a challenge. We have found that delivering classes live and using social media has greatly helped.
Our school ethos has been to build a dance family and the sense of community. We have been sympathetic to our customers financial situation and this has brought us a lot of good will. The technology itself has been a challenge. I am not a particularly techie person and this had been a massive learning curve for me and our team. Internet connection has sometimes posed challenges for us and our students, but we all know the benefits dance brings to both physical health and mental well-being and we hope we have managed to provide a sense of normality, maintaining relationships with the children and providing a safe online space for them to see their friends. Inevitably, not everyone has signed up to our Zoom classes. We have come to understand that there are lots of reasons why children and families may not be keen to engage in this way. To try to extend our offer to these students, we decided to send weekly recorded lessons to offer an alternative way to engage with Lane Academy. Is any diversification needed to keep your business healthy? I would never have thought that Lane Academy would become an online business. As we move forward, we will be looking at how we can use the experience, knowledge and expertise we have gained in delivering dance and performing arts online to complement and enhance our usual timetable. Next term is going to be a busy one, hopefully filled with the sound of happy children’s voices again.
o try to extend our offer T to those students who were not on Zoom, we decided to send weekly recorded lessons to offer an alternative way to engage with Lane Academy
50 Dance | Issue 490
We have been sympathetic to our customers financial situation and this has brought us a lot of good will Dance | Issue 490 51
Imperial Classical Ballet Above Irela Strachan
DDE student Marilyn Wyers reflects on taking dance classes online using Zoom during the pandemic “How are we doing?” the dance teacher, Irela Strachan said leaning forward and squinting into the computer screen. Alongside her image, thumbnail videos of student dancers in ‘gallery view’ from Chichester College, on various courses including the Society’s Diploma in Dance Education (DDE), wait for her to give instructions for the next exercise or quiz them on DDE issues. I am one of those DDE students and this has been class since lockdown measures were introduced at the end of March 2020. Social distancing or not, student dancers and student dance teachers need daily class. As a DDE ballet student, regular group classes are essential for me. They are a way of allowing me to check in with my technical and artistic skills as well as develop and hone my teaching skills within a collaborative learning environment. Online Zoom classes have enabled me to continue to do that, albeit in an unfamiliar way. The ‘chat’ box on Zoom can be a particular helpful tool too during discussions about our observations of other dancers and how to teach various exercises
or steps effectively and creatively. This kind of online group practice has become a vital part of my development as a dance teacher and has given me a way to grow during these uncertain and physically disconnected times. As a follow-up to regular classes, I have also been motivated to connect, via Zoom, with some of my DDE peers to study and review issues covered in class. “It’s really helpful to go over things together” commented Laura. “It’s like being in class but more relaxed and with more time to think about things more deeply and calmly,” she said. For me, it has been instrumental in providing extra support and encouragement to carry on learning and to stay strong. At home, the challenge is space and, in some cases, floor coverings. Ms Strachan teaches from her living room and has to make the angle and space work so that she can demonstrate and communicate her instructions and comments clearly. Sound levels are often difficult to control when there is music playing and the teacher or a student wants to talk at the same time, which is
often a usual practice in dance classes. The Zoom app does not help with space, flooring or speaking over the top of music. However, it does allow the teacher and the rest of the group to watch, observe closely and offer inspiration and useful feedback. The Zoom classes have helped me to keep fit and keep engaged with the DDE course, especially as I know someone is watching me. Also, it is strangely social especially when everyone joins the ‘meeting’ and you hear snippets of ‘hellos’, ‘how are yous’ and ‘my Wi-Fi’s dodgy today’ and you get glimpses of your peers/friends, and sometimes their pets, at home. It lifts my spirits just seeing everybody and the sense of community is reassuring. I am surprised at how quickly and easily I have adapted to this new virtual way of participating in dance classes and the way it has allowed me to continue my studies, keep fit, focus on positive outcomes and learn to be more patient and less anxious. I’ve developed more resilience and a keener awareness of the importance of being kind to each other within the dance community and the wider world.
52 Dance | Issue 490
Pippa Cobbing Head of Faculty Development for Imperial Classical Ballet, Greek and National firstname.lastname@example.org
Using technology to learn
Above Corraine Collins (left) and Miya Hughes (right)
Dance student Miya Hughes, age 11, gives her perspective Dancing online is a great way to stay connected with my dance friends, keep up with my training and goes some way to having some normality in these very strange times. We are very fortunate that the digital age in which we live allows us to ‘be with’ our friends and teachers even if it is through a screen. Corraine Collins Dance Studios has embraced trying to stay connected and be inventive to use lockdown in a positive way. We have weekly Facebook Live sessions with Miss C, Barkley and Dolly (canine companions), we took part in the ‘toilet roll’ challenge, I choreographed and taught a fun dance for my friends in our Junior Groups Performing Team and the senior students collaborated on a piece to raise money for a local charity. I have been really lucky as I have continued with my usual twice weekly ballet classes with Miss Collins as well as Modern, Tap, body conditioning, musical theatre and private lessons all over Zoom. It has been a learning curve to find a suitable safe space to dance and ensure the correct camera angle so that there is more than just my feet or navel in
view. All I need is a few tweaks and I am ready – I move away the kitchen bin, use a chair as my makeshift barre and I can steal a glance in the oven as my mirror. Neither my physical environment nor internet connectivity has been my biggest challenge. This has come in cuddly grey and white form, my 19 year old cat Rodney, who has caused me the greatest concern and utmost embarrassment. Do I ignore him? I think, as he nonchalantly saunters in on my développés. Shoo him away? I’m on ‘mute’ after all and I need to do the next port de bras. Subtly shout for parental help? He really is completely getting in the way of my grands battements. It was like I had my own personal ‘floor-pressure-checker’. I had to gently usher him out of the room and slip back into view without being noticed only to be greeted with bright green eyes and snow-white whiskers once again. This time, however, he’d been caught. Thankfully Miss Collins is an animal lover and welcomed him to the class but my mum overheard and was completely mortified so removed him from the room. Rodney is old and clever
and obviously wanted to show off his very best pas de chat and found his way back in through the cat flap, not once but twice. Trying to stay focused on my lesson and hoping that my embarrassment wasn’t too obvious on screen, my older sister stepped in, took him to her room and locked him there. Whilst we are all trying hard to adapt to our new on-screen lessons, beware of camera angles, surroundings and most of all aspiring ballet awards candidates in feline form!
ll I need is a few tweaks A and I am ready – I move away the kitchen bin, use a chair as my makeshift barre and I can steal a glance in the oven as my mirror
Dance | Issue 490 53
Imperial Classical Ballet ~ continued
You’re never too old for tech At age 88 Rosemary Woodd, Principal of Roshe School, embraced teaching on Zoom
It has certainly been a challenge teaching on Zoom but I must say that at my age, of 88, I have really found it fascinating. I think for the students they have had to adapt to listening more to given instructions, the music and a new way of learning. I am so pleased with them all as they have practised and returned the following week having corrected faults from the previous week. It has also been nice for them to come close to their computer and see all their friends. Zoom has been great for our school as it has enabled us to have the Roshe Community back, albeit online, which has been greatly beneficial to all the pupils. I’m glad that I was able to adapt to a new way of teaching during lockdown.
“Our dance school arranged for us all to have online Zoom classes so we could carry on doing what we love. Of course, doing ballet in our lounge and using the fireplace as a ballet barre is not the same as doing it in our dance studio, but Mrs Woodd is so experienced she knows just how to make it work with the space that we have. We have been able to keep up our syllabus work and have had the fun of learning some new exercises as well. We got to ‘virtually’ work with our dance friends which helped us feel connected. Even when we are on a screen Mrs Woodd is still great at correcting our technique.” Aisling (14) and Rheya (11)
“The thing I love about the online classes is that I get to see all my friends who feel like my family and I get to do what I love most. When I do my classes I forget everything that is going on in the world right now.” Grace (11)
“Our favourite parts of the lessons are the grand battement, port de bras and the jumps, even if she does really stretch us and we get tired legs. We love how she mentions so many of us by name each lesson, it helps us to know she can see what we are doing and that we are making progress, even if it is from our living rooms.”
“It amazes me that even during these unprecedented times Mrs Woodd is able to exert her love and wisdom onto her pupils – even through a computer screen. Her humour remains witty and it is due to her love for her pupils and dance that she continues to lead our classes. She has allowed us to continue doing what we love whilst still at home and remains a true inspiration.” Tallulah (18) Roshe Head Girl
“The online lessons are harder because you have to listen very carefully to all the names of the steps to get them right. You can’t copy the person next to you so you really have to use your brain.” Isla (9), Hattie (7) and Heidi (5)
“It’s been so inspirational seeing Mrs Woodd be so passionate and creative whilst having to adapt to a completely new form of teaching.” Jodi (18) Roshe Deputy Head Girl and Georgie (16)
“Mrs Woodd can teach anyone, anywhere. It has kept me happy, doing what I enjoy and I cannot wait to get back into the studio to see everyone.” Lauren (11 years old)
Adam (9) and Imogen (7) 54 Dance | Issue 490
Latin American Alternative Rhythms Committee member Charles Richman explains the Alternative Rhythms of the Latin American Faculty syllabus
In September 1999 the Alternative Rhythms became the fifth faculty of the Dancesport Faculties Board. It was originally born out of the Ballroom Teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Committee. The mission and purpose of this new faculty was to keep abreast of any new styles of social dances that were growing in popularity with the public and to facilitate membersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; need for high quality teaching and learning. Whilst the committee has had a few name changes over the years it has always been the purpose of dedicated past and present committee members to fulfil its original mission statement. Today this work is under the umbrella of the Latin American Faculty. During this article I will go on to explain the benefits of including the many vibrant Alternative Rhythm dances in your school programme through the examination system. Firstly, it should be noted that there are six core Alternative Rhythm dances. They are Argentine Tango, Lindy Hop, Mambo, LA Salsa, Cuban Salsa and New York Salsa. Candidates may enter amateur examinations in either a single dance or use a combination of dances for a full medal. A full range of medals are available from introductory tests right up to Supreme and Annual Award. There are also six additional Alternative Rhythm dances. They are Bachata, Bossa Nova, Charleston, Disco-Fox, Kizomba and Merengue. These dances can also be taken as single dances or as a full medal using a combination of dances. Core dances could also be included. It should
be noted that additional dances can only be used up to and including Pre-Bronze level. At Social Dance Test level and below the world is your oyster. Over the years there have been a number of workshops and lectures in Tango Valse, Milonga, West Coast Swing, Hustle, Zouk and Reggaeton for example. It is now very common to see fusion dances. For example Swango (Swing and Tango). So as well as the core and additional dances mentioned above this allows for creativity. At Pre-Bronze level and below it is also possible, as in line with other dancesport faculties, to mix genres known as Imperial Dancesport Faculties (IDF) examinations. Although at Bronze level and above it is not possible to mix dancesport genres and this includes not being able to mix Alternative Rhythm dances together with Latin American dances. Currently there are professional examinations and qualifications for LA Salsa, Cuban Salsa and New York Salsa at Student Teacher and Associate level. For the more advanced teacher there is also a Licentiate examination which covers all three styles of Salsa. For further information regarding Alternative Rhythms, dances, examinations and qualifications there are a number of useful resources. Please refer to the syllabus outline and the following Society publications: Mambo, syllabus notes for Bronze, Silver and Gold; Argentine Tango, syllabus notes for Bronze, Silver and Gold; LA Salsa Technique Book; Cuban Salsa Technique Book; New York Salsa Technique Book; Salsa Study Book and Lindy Hop syllabus book.
56 Dance | Issue 490
Malcolm Hill Head of Faculty Development for Latin American, Ballroom, Sequence email@example.com
The new revised Samba technique Committee member Michelle Postlethwaite keeps us updated
Look out for your new Samba Revised Technique over the coming months Michelle Postelthwaite
The Latin Faculty is pleased to inform you, that your new revised Samba technique is on its way to you very soon. Its layout has been given a brand-new look and has the addition of the Body Action column, which gives a clearer idea of how the body works in conjunction with the Bounce Action. These body actions are clearly explained for you at the front of the book. We have worked hard to make the charts clearer and now present
the precedes, follows, notes and developments in chart form also for clarity. See the example on the right. Within the charts each figure that uses a Bounce Action will now have a bounce column to precede the figure, to assist in teaching and demonstration purposes. However, this action will not be required in the theoretical section of the professional exam. See the example below.
Progressive Basic Movement Precedes S
Any syllabus figure ended facing partner with the weight on the LF, facing DW
Natural Basic Movement
Above is an example of how precedes and follows will be charted now
Whisk to Left Leader Commence in Closed Position. Use Bounce action.
Amount of Turn
LF to side
RF behind LF
Primary or Secondary
with minimal weight (Cuban Cross) 3
Replace weight to LF
Origins of Samba As a faculty we felt we would like to provide a little history about the dance and its origins and give a little insight for dancers as to why the Samba has its characteristics. This will be a new feature at the front of the technique book. It is still the same superb technique that we all know and love but with a fresher and more current appeal. Look out for your new Samba Revised Technique over the coming months.
change Dance | Issue 490 57
Modern Ballroom Making the most of the grades system in dancesport Committee member Richard Miles aks why we should use the grades system in addition to the medal test system The grades system for dancesport was first established in 2004 but has seen little use over the years. In fact, before the online sessions with Claire and Richard Still, I knew nothing myself about it. With the resulting shift to online teaching and social distancing during the pandemic, it is well worth considering the grades system as a suitable alternative to the usual medal test route as it enables your pupils to continue developing as a dancer even while at home and dancing alone. The grades system is numbered from one to six and dancers develop through the grades, showing a progressive understanding of technique, presentation, musicality and expression. The exam is split into four sections covering warm up, technique, presentation and musical appreciation. Each grade is predominantly a solo demonstration from the candidate showing stretches, exercises and solo figures, then there is a final demonstration with the teacher to end the exam. Exams last from 25 mins at Grade 1 to an hour at Grade 6. These exams are much longer than medal tests and the candidate must therefore really know their work, presenting a weighty challenge to those with a love for dance. Students are marked for technique on placement, poise and hold, quality of movement, use of the feet and legs and other technical aspects particular to each dance. Presentation marks are also given for performance, quality of movement
i A quick look at the benefits of grades: • Suitable for online and socially distanced teaching • Develop a deeper understanding of dance • Arguably better value for the candidate • Students looking to go to university can earn UCAS points • Good route for aspiring professional candidates
The structure of grades lends itself well to online teaching. Exercises are by nature repetitive and easier to pick up than full routines, and many are possible in a smaller space
and rhythmic expression, as well as further marks for musical appreciation. Excellent exercises have been developed for the syllabus, which will hugely benefit all those who wish to improve their dancing (grades or not). When practiced regularly these will support the student to develop both balance and key technical aspects underpinning each dance. Musical understanding is another important feature, ensuring candidates understand rhythms and keep a beat. The structure of grades lends itself well to online teaching. Exercises are by nature repetitive and easier to pick up than full routines, and many are possible in a smaller space. The teacher can then focus on development of posture, technique and performance while the student remains in view on camera. The grades system is especially beneficial for younger students, earning them credits towards UCAS points for university entrance. It also provides an excellent grounding for students who aspire one day to turn professional, giving them much more confidence in solo work and knowledge of theory. The exams are a government recognised qualification and are QCA accredited. For those interested in more detail, please contact Malcolm Hill. Videos to support you are being produced for the new website and further details will be announced shortly.
58 Dance | Issue 490
Malcolm Hill Head of Faculty Development for Latin American, Ballroom, Sequence firstname.lastname@example.org
Dancing on my own Dance students William Cooper, Chanel Griffiths and Petya Mott report on their experiences of digital dance lessons
William Cooper, age 10
Chanel Griffiths, age 9
When lockdown started no one was able to go to their dance studios for a lesson. This was a problem. We couldn’t just stay inside forgetting our routines and leaving our leg muscles to weaken. Nice n Easy Dance Studios started online lessons four days a week for one and a half hours. Around 54 children and adults joined every day. They even did eight minutes of intense abs exercise at the end and say that they might keep on doing this when the pandemic is over. I have also been having online private one-to-one lessons with my main coach from Aura Dance Studios. Private lessons are useful to ask questions and be able to have a conversation.
2020 was set to be my first year competing in open competitions, but when lockdown began, I didn’t know if it would even be possible to continue dancing. Luckily, we quickly found that some dance schools were able to offer live lessons online via Zoom. I had never experienced online classes before and did not know if I would be able to follow the teacher’s instructions on my own. I first started Ballroom and Latin dancing two years ago with my local school, Ultimate Ballroom, but I began training with Nice n Easy Dance Studios at the beginning of lockdown. I am a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing, and during lockdown, I have been fortunate enough to take part in some amazing Strictly classes, workshops, and lectures organised by Kristina Rihanoff. We live in a small village in West Wales, so many of these experiences would not normally be accessible to us – sometimes I have to pinch myself when I’m dancing with them! My teachers at Nice n Easy told us about a live online competition that we could take part in called One World Online Dance Competition. I enjoy putting on my competition dresses
and being able to dance alongside competitors from all over the world! Petya Mott, age 7 The year started very positively with plenty of competition successes, but then March came… Coronavirus … my birthday party cancelled … everything turned upside down. And to top it all I fell off my bike in the garden and broke my arm. What would be next? In April Warren and Kristi Boyce decided to run online classes. Training four times a week for two to three hours, seeing all my dancing friends in my lounge on TV made me feel normal again – even with a plaster cast. Then more good news – an online competition in Russia. With over 50 participants and me in my plaster cast. I didn’t have a chance, but I still wanted to try and I was awarded 5th place. Then there were two Italian One World competitions and still with my cast and in the Under-13s category I became double champion in the Waltz. I like the online lessons and competitions, but I love seeing my friends at the studios and at real competitions, and can’t wait to be world champion! Dance | Issue 490 59
Modern Theatre An afternoon with Lyn Richardson Our Head of Faculty Development, Lisa Harrison-Jones, spent an afternoon with Lyn Richardson over Zoom, discussing a myriad of topics and questions from teaching online to developing artistry Lyn Richardson trained at Bush Davies and Laine Theatre Arts and has taught at the UK’s leading colleges, namely Laine Theatre Arts, Bird College, Performers College and Morea Performing Arts College where she is Patron. Lyn is a member of the prestigious committee and development team for the Modern Theatre Faculty, creating many new syllabi over the years and examines extensively for the Society both in the UK, EU and internationally. An advocate for developing musicality and artistry for dancers at all stages in their learning, Lyn’s ethos continues to promote these qualities in her virtual classes in the online environment. What lasting affect has your training at Bush Davis and Laine Theatre Arts had on your teaching style, and how do these experiences colour your online teaching? First of all, humour is key. Miss Laine always taught with a great sense of humour so that we didn’t realise how hard we were working as it was inspirational and fun. However, we always knew where ‘the line’ was
and would never step over that. At Bush Davies, I was lucky enough to be taught by so many teachers including Jillian Knight, Joyce Percy, Gill Farr, Laura Faulkner, and Jean Campbell. I wasn’t considered to be one of the strongest at ballet and was in the B group, so took Elementary Ballet in my second term. I remember clearly being given my results in front of class by Jean Campbell and she announced ‘Baker… (she didn’t call me Lyn) You got Honours… and I don’t know how!’ At the time I didn’t know if she was being sarcastic or whether it was just her dry sense of humour but I have always remembered this as I knew that I would want to inspire a more humanistic and sensitive quality towards my students. Years later when I was teaching at Laines and Jean was examining there, she asked me: ‘When are you going to do your Fellowship ballet?’ Well of course I said that I wasn’t a ‘Betty ballerina’ but Jean said that my ‘ballet was lovely’. This stunned me that her opinion was so different from my perception and so wanted to always have a positive attitude when working
with students, and this is essential in the current online environment. Another aspect is to give an indepth knowledge of the syllabus and to understand why we do every exercise and not to rely on superficial knowledge. In my past there had been times where I didn’t have all of the syllabus details and this meant I would rely on my ability to improvise, which was a skill I grew up with at Edith Vousden at the Mayfair School of Dancing, London. We used to have improvisation at the end of every class. Her foresight developed my ability to just dance and has remained with me to this day.” Who would you consider were your mentors, influential teachers and dancers growing up? I have experienced amazing mentors through my time, from my music teacher at academic school, who took me to see many performances, to my mother (who was a Tiller girl) and encouraged me to see dancers like Nureyev, Fonteyn and Galina Samsova, who were all inspirational and impactful.
60 Dance | Issue 490
Lisa Harrison-Jones Head of Faculty Development for Modern Theatre and Classical Indian email@example.com
I had many teachers who were all unique, encouraging, and artistic in their individual ways
Within my dance training at Bush Davies I had many teachers who were all unique, encouraging, and artistic in their individual ways: Gill Farr, Jillian Knight and Joyce Percy to name but a few. Once I started teaching at Laines it was Miss Laine who mentored me and got me ready for my Fellowship exam in just six weeks. A year later I became the youngest examiner, aged 26. Then, when I moved to teach at Bird College, it was both Doreen Bird and Sue Passmore who pushed me further out of my comfort zone and nurtured my confidence as a teacher and choreographer. How can teachers improve the physical and artistic aspects of the Modern Theatre work whilst learning online? You do this by disseminating the information, asking questions, and having discussions. Where are the movements initiated from? What is the tracking of the body and limbs? The reasoning behind these steps and exercises helps to develop the students understanding of the physical aspects, which in turn develops artistry.
Of course, music is a key factor in developing artistry, as you need to appreciate the musical nuances, dynamics and musical layers, and this can be done successfully in an online class, as you have time to listen and discuss. A dancer is an actress without words, and with the Modern Theatre syllabus you have musical phrasing in tune with the choreography, enabling the dancer to access that artistry within themselves, allowing an internal journey to occur through the movement, in order that it comes from the inside, out. What are the challenges and differences with teaching online, and how do you maintain positivity through this pandemic? I found the transition to teaching online very easy, as I can hone in on individuals and gain a deeper level of the teacher’s learning, through my tone, delivery, empathy, and sense of fun. With these factors’ students can relax, have less anxiety, and feel liberated, which in turn creates a positive attitude. The differences are that you can take more time for the individual
discussions to listen and concentrate. I have a good eye for seeing corrections and this allows me to go to the heart of the matter in an instant as I am focussed on them through the screen. Finally, what sage advice would you want to impart to your students, and for any teachers out there who are unsure of working online? Remember that dance effects the audience and that human beings are artistic, creative beings, whether this is on a screen or live, so take what you’ve learnt, apply it, keep questioning and continue the journey. Teaching is the most rewarding job as you make a lasting difference. When your students are better than you, you have succeeded as they are your legacy. We can’t ever replace live classes with the online experience, but while it is ‘the new normal’, go for it, and embrace it!
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Modern Theatre ~ continued
Everything old is new again Committee member Ruth Armstrong looks at how online resources can expand our students’ musical theatre knowledge and inspire the next generation I recently watched the Everything Old is New Again number from All That Jazz, a film directed by Bob Fosse in 1979. In this classic choreography, Ann Reinking and Erzsebet Foldi perform to lyrics that convey how all fashions and trends will so often repeat. This led me to think about the relevance of encouraging our future artists to look back at theatrical roots, to allow them to understand future repetitions or reinventions. For me, I regularly refer to theatre history in class, although I am aware perhaps not all students engage in these ‘stagey’ interjections. Whilst some do more than others, the hope is that they will all subconsciously absorb information and that it will, at some point, resonate its use with them. Thinking back to where my love of legit musicals began, it is clear this had partly been fostered and nurtured in my dance classes. Through music and choreography, we were introduced to icons such as Sammy Davis Jr, Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. I was lucky to train with Patricia Ellis FISTD, examiner, Tap committee member and syllabus co-creator, but as a pupil I was not fully aware of her past performing career. Later in life I discovered she had performed with many icons from the late 1950s onwards, including a role in the 1962 film The Music Man. A glorious career that influenced my own. As a child, the classic MGM musicals were often shown on TV and the family video player was set to record so they could be watched repeatedly. This ability to watch on repeat was a gift,
but now with present-day technology is it perhaps one that students take for granted? Should we encourage more use of this resource and if so, will dancers be enhanced by looking back? As lockdown was introduced, we looked for ways to learn remotely, so it seemed a prime opportunity for me to direct students towards those who paved the way. The visual inspiration of shared YouTube links would hopefully sow seeds of curiosity, engage and broaden pools of knowledge. At this time the award-winning UK choreographer, Stephen Mear MBE posted a social media message, encouraging aspiring performers to use this time to ‘look back’. He recommended watching iconic choreographers like Jack Cole and Hermes Pan, along with their fabulous dancers, to discover new inspirations. These legendary choreographers took inspiration from their predecessors but then used this in a way to create something new and relatable for their audiences. As each decade brought new social history, music, fashions and trends, theatre duly responded to reflect this, and it continues to do so in the hands of our present-day innovative creatives. There will always be call for productions of a legit style or recreations of original choreography, so an appreciation of the past is still relevant. We need that reference point from which to then take our own inspiration and pay homage through new interpretations. So, with time to look and a good internet connection our ‘old’ can certainly help create the ‘new’ again!
Above Patricia Ellis FISTD on the set of the 1962 film The Music Man
With time to look and a good internet connection our ‘old’ can certainly help create the ‘new’ again!
i Ruth Armstrong FISTD is a member of the Modern Theatre Faculty committee and teaching team, and choreographer of the new Grade 4 Musical Theatre Amalgamation.
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National Dance Social distancing in National and Folk dance Registered teacher in Italy, Antonio Barone, asks how have the Society’s online surgeries helped with online teaching? The impact of COVID-19 has affected all industries, including dance. The teaching of dance during this unpredictable time has required new adaptations, which differ from genre to genre and has needed extra consideration for those styles requiring two or more people dancing together or sharing the same dancing space. Live from Toronto, Canada, faculty committee member Anuschka Roes brilliantly delivered four online dance surgeries encouraging worldwide attendees on how to deliver National classes from home during the lockdown, sharing her experience, funny stories and teaching tips. Anuschka proposed a creative use of the syllabus focusing on the importance of the practice steps. It is important to clarify that National includes group dances, as well as solos, introduced by practice steps to help students to achieve the correct technique and style for each dance. During each surgery, the attendees had the chance to move from country to country, dancing creative sequences. Using simple movements such as walks, runs, heel and toes, claps and tights slap, we moved from England through France and Austria just like our students do when they progress through
the grades. The highlight was on the basic steps, on the spot or using a very limited travel, considering the available space at home such as kitchen or living room. The steps were then developed in the second surgery, focused on grades 4, 5 and 6. This time we moved from Scotland to Ireland in Jig and Reel time. To make it more fun, Anuschka suggested that a family member could join in to help the students practice the Allemande. The journey continued through the Czech Republic, using heels
We will probably continue to dance far away from each other, but nothing will stop us from enjoying this amazing art form using new adaptations and toes with polkas, pas de basques in Portugal and saltarello step for the Italian Tarantella from Montevergine. Attendees learned Greek numbers for each variation of the Kalamatianos for fun. During the surgery that focused on Intermediate, Anuschka advised attendees to use anything available at home to mark out a pattern. She
placed four plastic cones on the floor and danced the English Hey to Scottish Strathspey music, as it is slower. A similar idea has been used for La bouré des boutilles, the French bottle dance. Drills about footwork and clapping used in Corridinho, a fast running dance from Algarve, Portugal, were mastered before practicing the Romanian counting from the Hora. Travel through Europe could not finish without a big jump over the Atlantic Ocean to learn La Bastringue, a traditional dance from the Quebec, Canada. I am glad I have been able to attend all the surgeries and learn new ideas, some of which I have already used with my students during the online teaching. I might have been in a total lockdown, but I haven’t stopped dancing and travelling abroad while thinking ‘outside the box.’ Social distancing may affect group and couple dance for the near future but I believe it won’t discourage social dancers, known to be respectful of the dancing space. Especially in folk dance. We will probably continue to dance far away from each other, but nothing will stop us from enjoying this amazing art form using new adaptations.
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Pippa Cobbing Head of Faculty Development for Imperial Classical Ballet, Greek and National firstname.lastname@example.org
Amelie: “My right hand”
Lilia: “My right hand too”
Dancing with a virtual partner Committee member Heather Burns gives her expert perspective on teaching children aged five to seven years via Zoom
“Hit my hands”
Above Carillion Above right Pat a Cake Polka facing one another RIght Pat a Cake Polka
For the majority of lockdown I had been teaching solo National work focusing on steps and style and using props as this was more straightforward with younger children. Once the regular attendees of my class from the Year One and Two age groups had got used to the Zoom or FaceTime sessions, how they looked on the screen, and engaged much more in the sessions, I tried out partnering. The children are actually better than us at working out who is in the same section of the screen as them and which way to go! It works better with smaller groups of two to six. I know this isn’t ideal if you have bigger classes but many teachers I have spoken to said they found more benefit in teaching shorter sessions to fewer children in order to be able to use correction and see the children more clearly. Pat a Cake Polka, as in the photos, was good fun. The children really enjoyed practising gallops as if holding hands across the screen. Carillion and Tre Ting are some more examples that worked well for this age group. Group dances are trickier if the patterns are difficult and they are in a small space. But, you can ask them to make some coloured spots for the floor to represent other partners.
Firstly, we established right and left hand! This, I have to say, is bit alien when in National we are normally referring to ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ foot in partner work. Again, the children adapted well, as they are not set in their ways like us. I then taught the steps with my back to the children, with them facing the front to make sure they knew which arms and feet to use. Then I turned to face them, with them still facing the front. Mirroring doesn’t always work as I am sure you will have found (depending on whether you are using Zoom, FaceTime or WhatsApp) so it is necessary to give more verbal instruction – exhausting I know. They turned to face a partner in another box close to them on the screen. The position of children on our screen looks opposite to what the children see on their screens. Again, if there are only two couples on the screen it is much easier to sort out. I’ve found it easier for direction of travel in a circle to say towards their right or left foot as clockwise or anticlockwise can look insideout and back-to-front depending which square you are looking in. If they all do it on the same leg you have just practised facing the front they are then all going the
correct way in partners – hopefully! Broadband speed is also a big factor. Zoom and FaceTime worked best for me as the children were a good size on my TV screen, whereas WhatsApp with too many people in the group meant they were too small to see. I am not IT savvy but fortunately I have a 17 year old son – who is fed up of helping! It has been a lot of fun trying out different things with the children and it was a good opportunity to practise steps, style and solos. Keep going and contact us, we can support you.
i Teachers tips • Confirm the children all know right and left – if necessary ask them to put an elastic on one hand. • Teach facing the front to confirm they all know which hand and foot to use. • Face each other across the squares on screen. • Keep emphasising right or left foot/hand. • Keep smiling! Dance | Issue 490 65
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Malcolm Hill Head of Faculty Development for Latin American, Ballroom, Sequence email@example.com
British Dance Council (BDC) Inventive Dance Competition Committee member Louise Aldred reports on plans to take the competition online this year
Little did we know that the Inventive Dance Competition in March was to be the last of its kind for some time to come. But, the British Dance Council (BDC) Sequence Advisory Committee were not to be deterred by the national lockdown and decided to organise their Inventive Dance Competition online and make it available for everyone to view. People may be unable to attend the event in person and not even be in a position to access a studio to send in pre-recorded films of their choreography. But, what professional dance teachers can do at home is invent and script new potential prize winning dances. The plan is that these dances will be learnt and demonstrated by a professional couple (who live in the same household) and be recorded for the adjudicators and spectating public to view online. In order to not interrupt the flow of the day, the event will be adjudicated prior to the day of streaming and on the day itself people will be able to access each round, recall and final, with the opportunity to view all the entered dances, from the comfort of their own homes. They can even become armchair judges and see if they agree with the appointed officials. As social dance classes around the country are currently closed and to avoid a backlog of dances
for our social dancers to learn, the committee decided to request that, in the Classical Sequence Section, a five foot position dance suitable for competitors, medals and medallist competitions was to be submitted. This dance may even become added to the syllabus in the future. Whilst it may not be what we are used to, or would probably choose, it is a means to bring dancing back to a sector of the population that has been and may continue to be in lockdown for some time. It is also a fantastic opportunity for inventors, who do not have a regular partner, to enter their creations as they are not required to demonstrate the dance themselves. Also, during lockdown some teachers may have a little more time on their hands as their normal hectic teaching schedules are on hold and this competition is a means of providing an outlet for their creativity. This year was to be a celebration of the 70th anniversary of this competition and lots of special features had been planned. But, there is nothing to say that we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t celebrate the 71st anniversary in just the same way next year and you never know it might just be even more special because weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had to wait that little bit longer for it.
Professional dance teachers can invent and script new potential prize winning dances at home
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Tap Dance Going online with Tap Attack Registered teachers Jo and Kai Scanlan share their solutions for keeping students motivated and business afloat Above Kai Scanlan
As organisations around the world embraced home-working our industry faced different challenges in operating effectively online. With our annual company auditions scheduled for the week after lockdown began, Tap Attack had to adapt quickly. Although apprehensive about how well we could function under these conditions we were determined to find solutions in order to both keep our business afloat and keep our students motivated. How well could we engage on screen? How well could we see and, just as importantly in our genre, hear our dancers? Would we be able to offer our usual level of feedback and corrections? Our concerns were many. Despite inherent limitations our only option was a video conferencing platform. We ran a trial training session using Zoom to familiarise ourselves with its features and how best to teach groups online. The next weekend we went ahead with auditions. After assessing 179 dancers via Zoom classes and then reviewing video submissions of set steps and combinations the faculty were satisfied that we had evaluated everyone as scrupulously as usual and our new cohort was duly selected. With no sign of lockdown easing we had to accept that we wouldn’t see our students in the studio in the foreseeable future so had to consider how to continue our term. At the beginning of lockdown, Kai decided to teach via Instagram Live. With between 750–1600 tap dancers taking each class he felt he was really doing his bit for the dance community during such difficult times. However, he missed that vital class energy and interaction as participants aren’t visible. Persisting with a video conferencing app such as Zoom
seemed to be the answer for Tap Attack going forward. As term end approaches, we feel we have gained a good grasp of both the pitfalls and advantages of this new normal. For every drawback we have found a solution, and, in some cases, we’ve seen unexpected benefits. We found early on that Zoom is mentally and physically draining, for both teachers and students, so we shortened our lessons. To mitigate this, we created a new website for our current Tap Attack dancers containing videos from our teachers, as well as a glossary section full of technical steps and exercises. Our students now use the remaining time to work from this website and submit videos of their progress. Contrary to our concerns the dancers are empowered with a new work ethic and responsibility for their own improvement – invaluable qualities. Watching individual progress videos has enabled us to give specific and personalised corrections and the effort level of every dancer is very apparent via this system – nobody can coast at the back of the studio! We have also reviewed basic technique; sometimes neglected in the studio as we prepare for performance opportunities and create new choreography. Moving forwards, we already know there are things we will keep in place. As our dancers travel from all over the UK this opens up options to have some additional rehearsals that could potentially be in the week (we always meet on Sundays), some shorter rehearsals and ones that only require a smaller group of dancers. Jo has been holding private lessons over Zoom and again this has allowed her to spend
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Jason Di Mascio Head of Faculty Development for Tap firstname.lastname@example.org
additional time with students during the week without having to worry about travelling for hours. Our dancers have all said they prefer being in the studio but yet have all said how they can see certain aspects have been really beneficial. During August we held classes and our annual Intensive via Zoom. This has already proved to be a popular solution for our Teacher’s workshop, where the preference has been to split the workshop into shorter sessions over a few days. Not having to worry about travel and being able to fit the
The dancers are empowered with a new work ethic and responsibility for their own improvement workshop between work and family commitments seems to give more teachers the option to attend. This is something we would really like to now be able to continue with our teachers as we are often asked to do another workshop during the year, but we can never seem to find a time that suits all. Similar to organisations across the globe, there are many aspects of our new model that we will continue even after current restrictions ease. Although being online can occasionally have problems and may not suit all, we are really excited about being able to integrate some of the things we have discovered through this learning curve we’ve all been on.
Simone Marshall-Kleinenberg, Head of Tap at the Waterfront Theatre School in Cape Town, South Africa, reviews the Tap Faculty surgeries The Tap Faculty came to our rescue during Lockdown. Quick into action, it was like a Chichester reunion with friendly faces, laughs and many uplifting experiences. The Tap Faculty hustled to include every teacher from everywhere in the world – we were dancing on one online continent together. Suddenly a teacher from South Africa was able to be included in every single thing “tappening!” Alison, Heather, Helen, Jason and Nathan, you kept us wonderfully busy, left us so inspired and motivated and most importantly as an international member I felt so looked after in this time of anxiety. I loved having something amazing to look forward to and I enjoyed listening to the gems of knowledge from Heather Rees. Alison had my feet and brain shaken and stirred like the best Martini ever. Helen patiently answered every question I had, Nathan’s daily Tap videos had me “Netflixing and chilling” in the best way and Jason always emailed me back! Such efforts, time and creativity made me look forward to being back in the studio. I was inspired to improve my teaching ability, to enhance my skill set even more and challenge my students with new and brilliant things. The Faculty had turned my stringent lockdown into the best Tap vacation I could have ever had. I am proud to be part of this incredible Society and so impressed by the Tap Faculty.
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Tap Dance ~ continued
Tap online with Old Kent Road Avalon Rathgeb, Artistic Director of Old Kent Road, shares how her company has used YouTube and Eventbrite Old Kent Road was founded by Artistic Director Avalon Rathgeb in 2014 to gather the very best tap dancers in the country and create unique, stylised choreography. The company seeks to push the boundaries of contemporary conceptions of the art form, simultaneously stretching back into its roots within jazz music, and looking forward to explore new modes of percussive movement. Over the past six years Old Kent Road has toured two shows, Fall Out and OSCiLLATE extensively, teaching workshops at many performance venues as well as weekly company classes at Pineapple Dance Studios. The impact of COVID-19 was, as for many, severe for our dancers, our regular students, and our community at large. Being a small company we had limited funds, but were agile enough to respond to our community’s needs very quickly. Each week OKR release five levels of tap and body percussion classes online taught by different members of the company. We made the choice early on to pre-record episodes, meaning the learner can participate at a time that best suits them. Whilst Zoom has been a useful tool for many during lockdown, it was not designed with dance in mind – least of all percussive dance – and this can cause issues with audio quality, not to mention connectivity. Instead, we upload videos to YouTube
and mark them as ‘unlisted’, which means they can only be accessed directly by the link. We use Eventbrite as the purchasing platform, which automatically sends the link to the buyer via email. We’ve experienced very few problems with this system, and received positive feedback from those taking class with us. This has the added benefit of utilising Eventbrite’s existing audience base, allowing us to reach new people without investing large sums in advertising.
One of the highlights of these digital classes has been creating collaborative videos One of the highlights of these digital classes has been creating collaborative videos, in which participants can send in a video of themselves performing our choreography and be featured dancing virtually alongside our company members. Our Assistant Director, Ryan Campbell-Birch, has learned to edit and produce videos which we share on our social media channels. Ryan says: “Whilst lockdown has been challenging for many reasons, there have also been some unexpected benefits, such as having extra time to upskill and create work in a new way. Digital collaboration
removes barriers to entry for many and has forced us to think about performance art from an interesting perspective.” We respect the choice of many artists to generously provide classes for free online, but recognised that many of our regular students were able to support the company, the result of building close and strong relationships over the last six years. We charge a fair fee for individuals, provide a special school rate, which provides teachers with access to all levels to share with their students, and in week 12 were able to donate profits to two anti-racism charities here in the UK. As a company, we are continuing to educate ourselves on the history of the form and its roots in African-American culture. Rather than our regular weekly training sessions, we have utilised Zoom to have conversations and share what we are learning about the pioneers tap dance, particularly their contributions to the civil rights movement. Much of the history of tap dance has not been formally codified, it is an oral tradition and therefore imperative for stories to continue passing through generations. To be effective as teachers we must practice continual learning, and lockdown has gifted us with an opportunity to do so in ways we hadn’t before prioritised or imagined.
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i From Elite Force Safety
Back into the studio with Dance Connection
The difficulty with following the government issued guidelines was that they were very generalised, which meant it was not necessarily clear how to incorporate them into a specific site or studio and processes. From a health and safety perspective, this did offer some flexibility and left elements open for interpretation, which meant we could get inventive with solutions. As there is not a vaccine yet and it’s unreasonable and impractical for everyone to self-isolate forever, we started to move down the scale on the hierarchy of control in order to minimize the risk as far as practicable. Examples specifically applicable to Dance Studios:
times as the less ventilated changing rooms are now out of bounds and of course no parents in the building. The air conditioning system has been serviced and passed as COVID safe and any objects that could be touched by children that don’t really need to be there removed even as far as the lids on the bins! The studio size has been calculated and we will keep to two metre distancing for freedom of movement. Students move between their numbered squares on the floor and their own numbered sections on the barre. There is also a marked system in place to enable students to line up for corner work. We ran a fixed group system to run over the summer. We have two studios so had two fixed groups of students in on any given day. They were not be allowed to mix but teachers crossed between the groups. We were able to have different fixed groups of students in on different days as long as the studios were cleaned, adhering to guidelines on a daily basis. An updated risk assessment was sent out and a COVID secure certificate is in place. We also created a Site Operating Procedures document for all clients so they are fully aware of how the studios operate. This includes our policy for arrival and collection, hand washing, toilets, cleaning, ventilation, social distancing throughout the building and avoiding close contact. We record all arrival and departure times of students and holding records for three weeks, in line with the NHS Test and Trace system. Once we adjusted to the new normal it was good to open the doors and welcome back all those smiling faces.
• Reduce – Minimise number of people entering the building • Isolate – separate students by making them stay in their own numbered square and use their own barre • Control – one-way systems and staggered start and finish times between bubbles • Spread – hand washing and leaving any non-fire doors open to maximise the ventilation and minimise transmission from touching handles If you have any questions or would like any free remote advice, contact email@example.com
MICHAEL PITTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Dance Connection, based in our own premises in Oxfordshire, is a competition school and the base of IDO Team GB Performing Arts coordinated by Directors Sam Benson and Leah Pearcy. Summer Term was looking busy with a calendar full of competitions and our 25th Anniversary show then we started to hear rumblings of COVID-19 and by the time lockdown was announced the entire school had moved online ensuring there was no lapse in training. Focus then turned to being operational when restrictions eased, we employed the services of Harold Floyd at Elite Force Safety. Harold conducted a site visit and provided a provisional risk assessment. Elite Force Safety worked with us as guidelines changed to ensure we followed the correct procedure, giving us peace of mind that we are fully protecting our staff and clients. We discussed the nature of the virus and the correct products required, we invested in a fog machine to spray a fine mist on all surfaces which is then left to dry and any virus cells that are present then dry out, become exposed to the air and die. We have also purchased a steam cleaner for the floor as this is a common point of contact and steaming is the fastest way to ensure elimination of virus between sessions as the steam will hit above 60 degrees therefore killing any cells present. Cleaning is now a part of daily studio life so the fastest and most effective way of achieving this is essential. The studio feels very different as we implemented a one way system, numbered toilets for different fixed groups of students, staggered break
Dance | Issue 490 71
Our events Autumn 2020
Dates for your diary As different organisations and the dancers within them adjust to new guidelines and their own interpretations of what is appropriate for the times, the world of dance and normal listings are somewhat chaotic. Many organisations are finding new ways to reach broader audiences than ever before.
We continue to listen closely to the government guidelines on social distancing and wherever possible, we are maintaining our programme of events, exams and courses. The most up-to-date information on these will be available on our website at istd.org/dance/events. SEPTEMBER Classical Greek 1 Sept Online Ruby Ginner Awards – entries open
Modern Theatre 15 Oct West End Repertoire Competition - winners announced
DFR 1 Sept Online Set Dance Competition – entries open
Imperial Classical Ballet 25 Oct Live Online Celebration Classes for Finalists
Modern Theatre 13 Sept Closing of West End Repertoire Competition – adjudication process commences
NOVEMBER Classical Greek 8 Nov Live Online Ruby Ginner Awards
Imperial Classical Ballet 21 Sept Online Junior Ballet Awards – entries close Ballroom/Latin/Sequence Date TBC Online Box Dance Assessments and Competitions
Online examinations Our Director of Examinations, Janne Karkkainen gives us an update The educational landscape has evolved over the past two decades with the introduction of a myriad of digital and online solutions for the delivery of both learning and assessment. In the context of the performing arts subjects in the UK, many awarding organisations have been recording examinations for the past 10 years, with the potential solutions becoming more sophisticated over time. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to accelerate the pursuit of alternative approaches to deliver learning and assessment. It is expected that the social distancing measures and travel restrictions are likely to remain in place in some form until the foreseeable future. Whilst we are seeing lockdowns being lifted in many parts of the world, we can also expect that local and regional outbreaks may cause further disruption. The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing is responding to this period of uncertainty by exploring potential solutions that enable us to continue delivering our examination
Tap Date TBC Online Bursary Awards qualifier Ballroom/Latin/Sequence Date TBC Online workshops with international teachers
OCTOBER National Faculty 5 Oct 2020 Online Awards – entries open
DECEMBER National Faculty 6 Dec 2020 Online Awards honouring Robert Harrold and Margaret Dixon-Phillip
DFR 9 Oct Online Set Dance Competition – entries close
Cecchetti Classical Ballet Online autumn events - to be confirmed
Our members will be able to experience the flexibility offered by remote examinations service to our members and learners across the world. Over the summer, we have been working on an intensive programme to enable us to introduce remote examinations in the autumn. This has represented a significant commitment and effort from our faculty committees in reviewing the current assessments and developing the required modifications. This is to ensure that the remote examinations mirror the traditional examination experience for our learners as well as meeting the regulatory requirements. The other area of work in this programme is the development of a digital solution that will allow for delivery of remote examinations. One key benefit of remote examinations is the flexibility it offers our members to book an examination on their preferred date and time. Whilst we intend to use remote examinations mainly internationally, they will also be available to our UK members so that they too can experience the flexibility offered through remote examinations.
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What’s on in the industry Here, we share a round-up of global industry events to consider, online and offline, this autumn. SEPTEMBER 24-27 Four days of festival fun at the Sicily Dance Camp. Best for for Lindy hop, Balboa, the Blues an Solo Jazz. sicilydancecamp.it 22 Poised at the brink of stardom, dancers from the English National Ballet compete for the prestigious Emerging Dancer Award at London’s South Bank. ballet.org.uk/production/emerging-dancer-2020 25 The contemporary world has been waiting for Israel-born, Brussels-based dancer, choreographer and educator Meytal Blanaru’s performance of rain since March. It’s finally happening. Les Plateaux, La Briqueterie, Vitry, France. meytal-blanaru.com/agenda
OCTOBER 1–18 For the first time ever we can attend PRISMA’s ninth international contemporary dance festival from the comfort of our homes. Festivalprisma.com 6–16 Although the world-famous festival is cancelled, Impulstanz celebrates the 15th anniversary of Chris Haring’s Liquid Loft with the world premiere of their new piece BLUE MOON you saw… at the Odeon Theatre, Vienna. Impulstanz.com 18–20 The Sequence Dance Festival runs at the famous Winter Gardens, with the British National Dance Championships between 19 Oct–2 Nov. Blackpooldancefestival.com Rain
NOVEMBER 17–21 and 28 Companie ABIS’s new work Dress Code, a dive into the complex world and codes of breakdance is a metaphor of what young people must do to belong. Theatre les Tanneurs, Brussels followed by Charleroi. Juliencarlier.be 25–28 If there is one thing you should see in Europe, it’s this jam-packed festival of superlative contemporary dance, in Brussels. wbtd.be/wbtd-actuevent/wbtd-actu/ actualite/news/festival-detours-accueil-pros
Les Ballets de Monte Carlo
19–25 The International conference by the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) that was to be held in Japan is now available online at iadms.org/page/iconference with their Dance Educators week coming up in October DECEMBER 9–11 The Other Girl, a physical, dramatic abstract multimedia dance performance performed by a fem identifying and sympathising cast, is premiering independently at the Cockpit Theatre London. thecockpit.org.uk 11 Dec–3 Jan Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, whose performances start in October, are creating a really special December with a choreographic fireworks display that rotates Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella and LAC, accompanied by the Monte Carlo Philarmonic Orchestera. Monte Carlo Ballets. Balletsdemontecarlo.com JANUARY 6–10 Ballet Beyond Borders provides a cultural, educational and diplomatic exchange to further human understanding and spark vital communication. January 2021 will bring classical ballet and all genres of dance from folkloric and Native American cultures with indigenous nations of Africa and South America, hip-hop, tap and contemporary choreography, and a collaboration with IADMS and the Bridge Dance Project for Dancer Health and Teacher Outreach. rmbt.org/bbb-index Dance | Issue 490 73
THROUGHOUT THE SEASON Conversations with Cultural Leaders is a series of informal, open Zoom conversations with inspirational dancers. On consecutive months you can talk with Nathan Geering about his innovative audio description of dance, Holly Miles on the evolution of the first ever all-female breakdance competition, Jorge Crecis on the way he combines athletics, world class performance and his new book, and Laura Djao on dance, the wheelchair and her work as Multiple Sclerosis Warrior. Whatnexteastlondon.co.uk In Nandhu, world famous Australian company Bangarra take you behind the scenes whilst sharing their works Terrain, Ochres, Nyapanyapa and I.B.I.S, with more coming online and available in perpetuity thereafter. Bangarra-knowldedgeground.com.au Sadler’s Wells digital stage includes Strasboug 1518, Moving through a Pandemic, INA and OTHER. All in partnership with Channel 4 Random Acts. November then sees real-life performances of the English National Ballet’s Creature, Eva Recacha’s Aftermath, Alexander Whitley’s Overflow, and BalletBoyz Delux. sadlerswells.com Going digital this year from May to December, Tempo celebrates the rich diversity of dance in New Zealand and provides opportunities for artists and audiences to participate and engage in high-quality and accessible dance events and experiences tempo.co.nz For dance events across Europe, both online and offline, visit aerowaves.org/calendar/month Jorge Crecis
WATCH THIS SPACE
South East Dance has a new and unconventional multidisciplinary dance research project coming online along with a film season. With most events in October, their festival 2020Vision, launches on 17 September. southeastdance.org.uk The Coronavirus pandemic is not all bad news, and the diligent searcher is presented with great opportunities. Formal digital dance and social media offerings are becoming increasingly diverse and creative, with many dancers choosing to create and offer events at the last minute, seeing this as a way of becoming part of the flow. So, keep an eye on the feeds of your favourite performers, teachers and organisations because it has never been easier to take a class with stars who would have been previously unreachable.
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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 our channels for more information, inspiration and insights. @istddance #TeachDance
Following the killing of George Floyd, the world stopped on Tuesday 2 June as protesters filled the streets and social media was saturated with black squares. The idea was to free up the time usually dedicated to social media for people to educate themselves on the Black Lives Matter movement. We contributed to the conversation by showing our support on social media and will continue to do so as part of a wider commitment to inclusivity and diversity.
We loved to see images of our members’ dance schools and students. These posts demonstrate the passion of our teachers, the diversity of our students and most importantly the joy of dance for all. Tag us in your posts #ISTDdance #TeachDance and we might use your images in future posts.
Spring/summer was buzzing with online competitions and autumn is set to bring more glad tidings. We will continue to run our social competitions throughout the year. Make sure you don’t miss out – look out for our monthly announcements.
Our Teachers Tips took our social channels by storm and they are here to stay. If you would like to send in your top teaching tips that you live by or handy suggestions that you are implementing as you transition back into your studios, email firstname.lastname@example.org and you might get a shout out!
We announced our new solo dance initiative in June to keep our members dancing in a social distancing world.
Film your moves and post your videos tagging in:
This new syllabus is exclusive to members only and can be downloaded in your members area of the website.
Dance | Issue 490 75
Exam Successes Congratulations to our members who have achieved success in their qualifications
UK and international examination news is available on istd.org
DDE Imperial Classical Ballet Helene Louise Boyle Abigayle Grace Chapman Georgia Ellis Jill Errington Amy Lauren Gough Rebecca Gould Anna Rawlings Emma Robinson Haylee Solomons Emma Stewart Morwenna Ruth Sturley Chloe Sweeting Chenille Emilie Thyme Stacey Young National Dance Jill Errington Hazel Hiles Modern Theatre Lisa Marie Bishop Rhiannon Marie Clarke Georgia Ellis Jill Errington Rebecca Gould Kristina Hewitt Clare Isaacs Yvonne Jones Tegan King Anna Maria McNamara Heather Nicholls Lynn Redmond Katherine Margaret Richards Emma Robinson Chenille Emilie Thyme Elisabeth Anna Wilkes Stacey Young
Jill Errington Rebecca Gould Clare Isaacs Yvonne Jones Tegan King Heather Nicholls Kayleigh Louise Riddell Lucy Scott Kristy Diane Ufton Stacey Young Brogan Young
Licentiate Imperial Classical Ballet
Fellowship Modern Theatre
Rachel Ann Puddiphatt Associate Disco Freestyle
Sophia Curalli Latin American Mathilde Thiebault Tap Dance Michelle Campbell
Louise Mellin Tap Dance Abigail Claire Waite
Tap Dance Lisa Marie Bishop Helene Louise Boyle Rhiannon Marie Clarke Tandi Elizabeth Dodman Georgia Ellis
I did ballet and tap exams with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and loved them because they were equally about technique, musicality and performance Adam Cooper, Patron
76 Dance | Issue 490
Your journey through dance Our membership levels have been designed with your development in mind and give you access to the courses and training that will help you reach the next stage in your career. With access to exclusive webinars, tips and resources to help you make the most of your current membership, we support you at every level and guide you along to your next step.
Discover more at istd.org/teach Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing 22/26 Paul Street, London EC2A 4QE istd.org @ISTDdance