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News from our Artistic Director

News from our Artistic Director

23 January 2018

A letter to members from Ginny Brown

Dear Members, Implicit in the ISTD’s mission ‘to educate the public in the art of dancing’ is a responsibility to ensure that our work is accessible to all, regardless of (dis)ability, age, culture, gender or financial status. Broadening access to dance has been a guiding principle throughout my career and I am therefore delighted to announce a raft of new initiatives to ensure breadth of access to the ISTD.

Financial Bursaries

In 2018 we are introducing new bursaries to support current and future dance teachers to develop their skills and qualifications, as part of the ISTD’s charitable purpose. Teachers will be able to apply for funds under three categories:

  1. Initial teaching training (the new Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education and Dancesport Associate). Applicants will be able to apply for up to £5,000 to cover the cost of training and associated expenses (such as travel and any carer costs)
  2. Higher teacher training (the Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy). Applicants may apply for financial support of up to £2000 towards the cost of the course fees and associated expenses. This course is suitable for professional dancers and experienced teachers who wish to further their teaching skills and gain a government recognised teaching qualification (QTLS). The fund is already available for the next course, starting in September 2018, and applications are open until 15th April 2018. For further information contact the Education & Training Department: higherqualifications@istd.org
  3. Continuing professional development for international members. We understand that it can be logistically challenging and expensive for international members to attend ISTD training and that this can prevent our teachers from continuing their professional development. Therefore we are also introducing bursaries to support international members with the cost of travel to another country for intensive study periods with the ISTD

Applications for the new bursaries will open in 2018 and will be assessed on financial need, plus motivation to undertake training. Look out for further news and application guidelines on our webpage 'Financial Bursaries 2018'.

The ISTD also supports talented young dancers and their teachers through the Theatre Bursary Awards. ISTD young dancers are selected by each theatre faculty to compete for awards of up to £3,000 to support further training. This exciting showcase took place at the Quays Theatre, the Lowry, Manchester on 21st January 2018.

I am delighted to announce a raft of new initiatives to ensure breadth of access to the ISTD

Disability Dance Research Project

Additionally, we are excited to be starting a disability dance research project, which will run through 2018. Three ISTD teachers have been selected to partner with three disability dance specialists. During the year they will explore how ISTD syllabi can be adapted to suit the needs of their disabled learners. This process will be recorded and evaluated by Imogen Aujla, Senior Lecturer in Dance Science at the University of Bedfordshire.

Thank you to all who responded to our recent questionnaire about including disabled learners in your classes. Responses revealed that whilst most teachers generally felt confident managing disabled learners’ needs in their classes, only 36% felt they had sufficient knowledge of disabilities. However, it was gratifying that 76% of respondents stated that they would like to make their classes more accessible to learners with differing disabilities. This project is a step in that direction and we plan to share the outcomes with members early in 2019.

Theatre Advanced 1 and 2 Analysis

These initiatives to broaden access to ISTD training fit nicely with the new Theatre Advanced 1 and 2 Analysis exams (introduced in the last issue of DANCE magazine). These will enable teachers to progress onto the Licentiate and Fellowship qualifications by providing an accessible route to gaining the Advanced 1 or 2. These new exams have been very well received and are now available for examination.

Do you have experience of introducing ISTD syllabi to a new group? Perhaps you teach children in a state school, work with older adults, or teach recreational classes in a non-typical setting. If so, we would love to hear from you. To share your experience and photos, please email marketing@istd.org

Ginny Brown, Artistic Director

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