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News from Around the Globe - April 2011

Claire Buckley’s round-up of members’ international news

April 2011

Once again, I am delighted to bring teachers outside the UK a focussed section on activity around the world. We have a report on one of the recent examination tours of Australia plus a report on the Modern and Tap courses in Mexico.

I would be delighted to hear from teachers on their experiences following courses and examinations so please don’t be shy and send me an email (cbuckley@istd.org). You may well find your article online.

We also have a report from Shirley Agate-Proust, an examiner specialising in four dance genres, who came to the UK this summer to attend examiner training. Whilst here, she met up with many old friends and also attended the Summer Celebration. You can read more about this below.

The International team also attended the event and enjoyed putting faces to the names of examiners they have emailed and spoken to over the years, but have never met. Even for me, with all my years of working for ISTD I still haven’t met all the examiners and it was a wonderful experience to chat to so many of them. That said, I haven’t met all our teachers throughout the world either and I would love the opportunity to meet with many more of you in future!  

Claire Buckley


Syllabus updates

 Teachers are all very busy people but make sure you read the relevant Faculty pages within the latest issue of DANCE magazine. This is where various Faculties publish updates on their syllabi and the current issue 454 is no different. Anyone wishing to take a Tap Licentiate in 2011 should turn to the Tap Faculty section and those teachers entering Modern students should review the updates listed on the Modern Faculty pages. Don’t miss out!


Revised syllabi for National Dance

The Vocational syllabi for National Dance has been revised and teachers can learn more on the Faculty pages of DANCE 454. Courses for teachers to learn this work outside of the UK will be arranged and information will be available shortly.


An examiner’s first trip to Australia

 “I was pleased and excited about examining in Australia. The journey was long but I like flying and there were plenty of ways to occupy my time. I got ‘bumped up’ to Business Class for one leg of my journey – I could get used to travelling like that!

My first stop was Perth for a week then onto Melbourne for the second week. Lovely places to visit, but only managed to see a small part of both in my free time – such is the life of an examiner. I examined all ages from five to 23 years old, Primary to Advanced 1, in mainly Modern Theatre along with some Tap. The children and students were well groomed, enthusiastic and tried their best in the exams. Can I say a big thank you to the teachers who were very friendly and looked after me so well as I was far from home on my own. 

After the exams some teachers were embarking on rehearsals for shows at the end of their academic year. I hope the shows were successful and you are enjoying a well earned summer break. Perhaps I will get a chance to visit Australia again and not have to ‘rug up’ (a charming expression for putting on your warm clothes) as I did this time!”

Julia Watts

Courses in Mexico

“Colourful and vibrant are just a few of the words I would use to describe Mexico”

“Colourful and vibrant are just a few of the words I would use to describe Mexico. The city is full of culture, history and warm, open people. I spent three days in September teaching the Alternative Jazz Award Amalgamations and revised Grade 2 and 3 Tap and enjoyed every minute. The teachers are eager, responsive and made me feel so welcome, I just wished I could have stayed longer. It all seems like a beautiful dream now that I am back in grey, rainy England!”

Helen Green

Examiner training in England for four weeks

Worried about the amount of work I was about to cover I arrived in England five days early, so that I would have time to adjust to the time change and also have a little family time. I managed to fit in all close family and then settled into the Travelodge ready for an intense three and a half weeks.

The first Faculty was National and it was wonderful to have all of the Canadian examiners together from East and West, Carol Godlonton, Anuschka Roes and Suzanne Plante-Hobbs, plus Annebelle Wahl and Wilcarina Yates from South Africa. We had the chance to work with the Committee and develop a new approach to the Vocational syllabi as well as going over the present work. We were pleased to see Robert Harrold when he came to say hello despite his health problems and as always, he was still full of his wonderful sense of humour.

"I am very excited to see the improvements ISTD is making"

The Imperial Ballet Faculty training followed with further examiners arriving: Sandi Baca from Seattle, USA, Sonia Draper and Gwenda Britten from New Zealand, along with Suzanne and myself, we continued on with the new Advanced 2 Ballet boys work, which was presented by Andrew Wilson. It was so good to see this work presented by a man to understand the correct use of head and breadth of movement, so thank you Andrew. Heather Fish gave us all a very comprehensive breakdown of any problem areas in the grades as well as the other new vocational exercises and the changes to the Standard exams now to be called Assessments.

We also had the opportunity to learn some solos for the Advanced 2 work and by now had been joined by all of the UK and European examiners. There were so many wonderful people, kindred spirits, greeting old friends and making new ones. It is such an invigorating experience to be surrounded by so many people with the same passion for dance. It was also a special treat to have June Rycroft join us at this time. It is always important to pay tribute to these people who were the mentors for many of us and it is thanks to them that many of us are where we are today. This was also remembered in tribute to Daphne Peterson.

I know that many of us are anxious to continue to feel that we can help guide and nurture upcoming teachers and dancers as that is what made the Imperial Society so special, and is certainly why I chose to follow the ISTD.

We were then into two days of meetings, including the Annual General Meeting. Everyone had a chance to air their views and give ideas and suggestions. I think it was important for us overseas to realise that the same complications exist everywhere, and it will be good to move into the future with renewed energy and good spirit. From comments made, it certainly sounds like plans are in place to develop the overseas work, which will come just in time as there are several competitors out there.

I have to say with no time off I was now feeling very tired and had no time for shopping, which was probably a good thing! We moved onto the Tap Faculty training, learning the revised Tap grades which are very exciting. Thank you to Helen Green for teaching us so well and thank you to the team that spent so much time and energy developing this work. It will be exciting to see the work now on the students. Joined now by Lorraine Blake and Bethany Fleming from Canada and Vivienne Bews-Sulkoski from USA, and also Kim Scott from New Zealand we had a new group of people to catch up with and to share our energy and thoughts. We went through standardisation of all of the work and with some lovely children who were able to present a mock examination.

It was wonderful to catch up with Paddy Hurlings, who was anxious to draw us in, and look at ways that we can move ahead into the future. Thank you to the team, Lyn Richardson and Tereza Theodoulou for all of your help and guidance with the Modern work. There was so much detail and an excellent review of all of the work.

"I am proud to be a member of this Society"

Looking back, there was so much stimulating information, and to learn it all with so many special friends was wonderful. Although exhausted after running straight into the new school year, as many of you can identify with, it was an amazing month. I am very excited to see the improvements ISTD is making. To take a strong step forward to promote and develop the work across all the Faculties throughout the entire world is a very exhilarating thought. I am proud to be a member of this Society. Thank you.

Shirley Agate-Proust, Examiner, Ballet, National, Modern and Tap


In the next issue of DANCE, look out for more reports from examiners on their travels as well as attendees at courses and much more. If you would like something to be included in the International pages, email cbuckley@istd.org.