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Jodie's Showcase Celebration Exam

Jodie's Showcase Celebration Exam

5 April 2011

Elisabeth Swan and Joanna Linford report on an exceptional 10 minutes

Elisabeth Swan reports

Having accepted an examination session of children’s work in Ipswich I was contacted by the teacher asking a very important favour. She explained that she had a special needs child, Jodie, who had been with her for many years but, due to her Down’s Syndrome, had never taken an exam. She was now of the age that she understood that her dancing friends were going to do something exciting, i.e. take their exam, and her teacher felt that Jodie should be given the opportunity to shine in her own way. I was pleased to agree to watch Jodie demonstrate a small selection of the exercises at the end of the exam session.

Jodie came in with three children who I had already examined that day. She demonstrated a couple of the set exercises, showed me improvisation and finished with her dance. Not only was I humbled by Jodie’s determination and sheer enjoyment, but by the care and consideration of her young friends who, with their looks and smiles, ensured that Jodie was keeping up with them and had space to exhibit her enthusiasm. It was a pleasure and a privilege to give Jodie this opportunity, and an experience that I shall never forget.  

Elisabeth Swan

Joanna Linford reports

Jodie came to Ballet as normal today. She had a smile that went from ‘ear to ear’! She gave me a picture that she had drawn. The picture was of herself and her ballet friends. Jodie had taken her ‘exam’ the week before. She had been so excited and she had told everyone (and her Mum told me that ‘everyone’ included her sisters, teacher, lady in the shop…) that she had done her ballet for a very special lady and that she had tried to point her toes in her new ballet shoes.

I know Jodie will remember her ‘exam’ for a long time to come. Jodie faces challenges every day and it was lovely to be able to share what she could do and accept that her best really is ‘the best.’ Her mum was overwhelmed with pride and emotion when she saw Jodie line up at the door with everyone else. “I never thought she’d do it,” she told me afterwards.

I am so proud of Jodie. She has been doing Ballet with me since she was three years old. With slow progress and progression up to the Standard exams, she is now doing Standard 2, aged 14½ years. I am so grateful that Miss Swan agreed to watch my ‘showcase celebration exam’. Special needs children are excluded from too much. What took only 10 minutes will mean so much to Jodie and all who shared the moment. I’m a special needs Mum – life is hard – but it can have its highlights if our special needs children are given a chance. Thank you Miss Swan.

Joanna Linford, The Joanna Linford School of Dancing, Ipswich


The ISTD is so pleased we were able to help Jodie and her teacher. If you have any special needs children, contact Melissa Franks in the Customer Services & Quality Assurance Department to discuss ways that we can help them too.

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