First of all, welcome back to all our students, friends and site supporters now returning 'to the grindstone' after a much deserved summer break. (Those of us in the UK who opted to 'holiday at home' enjoyed a rather unusual bonus this year, the weather just about everywhere has been almost 'as good as it gets.' Thank you, Mr Weatherman, please keep it going a while longer!)
When people go on annual leave, they sometimes return to find huge changes have happened during their absence. Of course we all hope that any changes will be for the better. Well, students, friends and supporters of our School – the news as we all settle back to work could hardly be more welcome. Adrian Atkins, who down the years has profoundly influenced our direction and our curriculum, has returned after what must have been a painful spell of about two years, during which he has undergone some serious surgery for back problems. But he's 'fighting fit' once again and has generously offered any support we need. Thank you Adrian, as you now know, you will soon be serving as co-examiner alongside Maithili from Mumbai, for our Full International Diploma exams. That's not all of course – your experience is needed in so many other ways too.
Adrian has alerted us to some rather alarming statistics - the numbers of children at risk in our country are almost overwhelming. The response from our school can mean only one thing – we must forge ahead, at fullest possible speed, with our Task Force 2014 plan. This means launching out-of-school dance clubs on as wide a scale as possible throughout the UK. As a former professional choreographer, Adrian is quite used to working with up to 250 young people at a time, producing high quality shows during their school holidays. In addition he specialises in working with disabled children. His work in this field attracted the attention of the famous Peto Institute in Budapest, who have issued an open invitation for him to study with them.
Our aim now is to step up our training programme in order to make a real difference. Our Joydance™ Method is designed to help children and young people faced with difficulties such as overcrowding, family breakdown, emotional or psychological factors holding them back at school. But – almost as importantly, it aims to make cultural and performing arts training available to children, globally, whose circumstances prevent them from joining often-very-expensive arts academies as better-off children are able to do.
The requirement for a Joydance™ Practitioner is first and foremost, compassion. It means caring for those who find life a struggle, looking for ways in which the time-honoured art of dance can be adapted in a therapeutic direction, to enrich quality of life, afford opportunities for self expression in a 'safe' environment, provide the key to life-long enjoyment of the happiness to be discovered through the arts. Joydance™ is a method incorporating the 'restoration therapy' approach of Abraham Maslow, with the 'educational and remedial dance' precepts of Rudolf Laban, the Delsarte 'rules' on the right approach to 'expressive movement as therapy' and the Dalcroze teaching on the need for everyone, without exception, to have regular access to 'an experience of rhythm.' (Supporting learning material on Laban, Delsarte and Dalcroze is supplied as a 'welcome package' on enrolment.) So understanding how to work with the Joydance™ Method begins with mastering scientific principles familiar to the medical profession all around the world. All of this is explained in the 3-months on-line Foundation Course which is the starting point for all who enrol for our school's Diploma Courses. This course remains exactly as it is.
This is the one that is changing – in response to the added urgency highlighted by Adrian's meticulous research. 'Sharing Dance with Others' is being temporarily withdrawn, to be replaced by the 3-months on-line programme – 'Setting Up and Running an Out-of-School Dance Club.' Our late examiner for almost 40 years, Mme Leah Bartal, frequently expressed concern that so many of our otherwise talented students lacked real experience in running groups. This revised follow-on programme therefore is also our response to Leah's wise advice, namely to make groupwork a more specific feature of our training.
The programme 'Working with the Elderly' remains unchanged.
Requirements for this diploma are set out elsewhere on this site and remain unchanged. The diploma will be accompanied by an equivalent diploma from UNESCO CID, plus entitlement to full membership. We feel immensely proud to be launching the next phase of Task Force 2014 in this privileged way – and look forward to some brilliant contributions from past, present and future students. Thank you for your continuing interest in what can be done to help the world's children.
With kind wishes.
Director of Studies
Member UNESCO CID 2 September, 2014