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A Milestone for the ISTD

A Milestone for the ISTD

7 March 2013

Announcing appointment of Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director

PRESS RELEASE: 7th March 2013   

Appointment of Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director Sets a Milestone for the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD)

A Statement from New ISTD Chairman, Christopher Bannerman

It is an honour and a privilege to have been elected Chairman of the ISTD. I am deeply conscious of the significance of the ISTD’s history, its wide reach both in terms of dance forms and the globe, and the mission that the founders have bequeathed us, particularly the phrase “to educate the public in the art of dancing in all its forms”.

This is certainly a challenge today, especially given the increasingly international exchange that has brought forms such as Kathak and Bharatanatyam to the UK and to the ISTD. But new forms are appearing everywhere from Bali to Balham and invention within established forms is still surprising us, from Bollywood to Ballet. I wonder at times if the founders had any idea in 1904 how the world would change, and how dance would adapt to the changed world. Could they have imagined something called Gangnam Style emanating from South Korea and, within days, going viral over the internet so that suddenly it seemed almost everyone, everywhere was accessing, referencing and channelling it through mobiles and portable tablet computers?

It would be easy to feel that the ISTD mission is impossible today – perhaps we should simply accept that fact and relax – but this, I believe, is to misunderstand the wisdom of the founders. They chose to challenge future generations with their vision. They challenge us today, asking that we look to the present moment, to what is new in dance, and to also ensure that our dance heritage is not just preserved, but honoured and made vital through the energy of the young, and through the transfer of knowledge and understanding from teacher to student. It is almost a cliché, but still it is true: I learned Ballet not from a book, but from my teacher, who had a teacher, who had a teacher...and so on back to the court of King Louis the 14th of France.

The passing of knowledge from teacher to student, whatever the history of the dance form, is central to the ISTD’s mission and at the heart of this is the dance teacher who engages the student through the medium of dance. This was a transformative experience for me and I am deeply grateful to my teachers for the wisdom and inspiration that they shared. It seems to me that this is also the heart of the ISTD’s work which extends across the classical forms with historic lineages, to emerging forms such as Street Dance. It is remarkable that this is all within one organisation, offering a broad range of opportunities and gateways to those who may wish to learn to dance for fun, for fitness, for socialising, or as a vocation, a way of life that is always offering new insights and discoveries. Yes, as I have learned, dance is powerful and it can change your life!

The strength of the ISTD is that it combines an inclusive approach with a sense of standards and offers teachers and students alike a feeling of genuine achievement. Today the pathway of achievement and development that the ISTD offers has also changed and now includes opportunities to dance, to teach, to examine, to debate, right up to postgraduate level through links with university partners. But both the ISTD’s Council and I, as new Chairman, still look for ways to strengthen our work and our links to the membership. So I am delighted that we have restructured the organisation and have now appointed Paddy Hurlings as the first Artistic Director of the ISTD. This is a milestone for the organisation and signals that we put dance at its centre. We are also delighted that Hassan Khan, previously Director of Operations, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the ISTD. Together with Council, a talented and committed team has been formed to realise the potential of the ISTD and to lead it towards a bright future.

Together with our members we will ensure that the ISTD thrives for another 109 years; and we will do our best to meet the challenges of the mission bequeathed to us by our founders.

Christopher Bannerman, ISTD Chairman



Notes for Editors:

For further information about the ISTD please email marketing@istd.org.

The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) is one of the world’s leading dance examinations boards. Our dance teachers are highly experienced in teaching children and adults in a variety of dance styles ranging from Ballet to Ballroom, Modern Theatre to Tap, and Latin American to Classical Indian Dance.

250,000 of our examinations in a variety of dance forms are taken each year. With more than 7,500 members in over 50 countries, the ISTD provides a range of syllabi, courses and events across the globe.  For more information about the ISTD, please visit www.istd.org. To find a dance teacher in your area, visit www.dance-teachers.org.


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