This most holy time in the Christian calendar is approaching once more, and especially to all who have been working so long and hard, our School send greetings and kindest wishes for a peaceful and happy time. Nowadays so many of those living in our land who do not share the Christian faith also seem to enter quite naturally into the spirit of 'reflection leading to renewal' which Christians uphold at this time, which is a very warming thought. As for the children – well, let us never belittle the magic of those Easter eggs and bunnies, chicks with floppy hats, the chocolates, the hot cross buns and the Easter Parade! They are such a thrill even for certain of us grown-ups who cling sentimentally to all those treasured memories. And why not? Laban, whose teaching on the real significance of the dance-art our School wholeheartedly supports, reminded entire communities immediately prior to WW2, that however bleak the outlook may seem, we must always seek regular opportunities for celebration.
Well, a very happy Easter to all who strive and struggle in these undoubtedly difficult days. Counting our blessings is still good advice! So – happy Easter everyone!
Really exciting things are happening as always! Adrian Atkins, our tireless co-examiner, is making considerable headway with a scheme in the north of our country, using dance to address trauma. His counterpart in Mumbai, Maithili Thanawala, is a full-time psychologist these days, working long hours and visiting psychiatric patients as part of her routine. We are thrilled to welcome a new student from Sofia, Bulgaria: Kalina Pavlova. We have offered her a scholarship because she has undertaken to arrange a special workshop for UNESCO CID Dance Day on April 29, the theme this year being 'dance in conjunction with art or sculpture'. Kalina has devised a great programme which will help in welcoming to Sofia groups seeking refuge from current global conflicts. Also from Sofia is a student with wide experience of teaching dance in far-off locations – a special welcome to Veronika Petrova. We know you will contribute a great deal during your studies with us.
Valentinas Kulinic from Lithuania, an 'inspirational' psychotherapy professional also engaged in developing 'Tango therapy', has recently completed an assignment for his Full diploma from our School, specially designed for an orphanage in Vilnius – a magnificent achievement Valentinas! Also, we can't thank you enough for what you are doing. Finally, once again our thanks also go to Julia Lavrova. For her Full diploma we required her to work with a group of Moscow children for 12 weeks. But Julia did not stop there – she rallied a few dance-enthusiast friends and together they have established a very high quality Academy run on lines which would be approved by Dalcroze himself. Hope you enjoy the picture below!
Welcome back also to Pauline Cockburn after a long and serious illness. We all wish her a full and speedy recovery with lots of happiness from the 'Isadora-Duncan-style' dance classes she has joined. Pauline has shown great courage and remembers with gratitude time spent studying with our late, greatly loved, examiner and guest teacher Leah Bartal.
But it would be wrong to complete this 'list of achievements' without mention of one of our most gifted students ever. Roksana Bahramitash is Professor of Islamic Studies at Montreal, and her work in that role has brought her international fame. Not content with that, however, Roksana has become an advocate for dance therapy in her homeland, Iran. Her journey 'back home' recently has revealed, to our delight, some exceptionally high quality dance therapy practice happening there already. In particular, a remarkable lady offering dancing lessons to blind-deaf children will – with other talented professionals - be welcoming Roksana back when she returns to Iran for her summer break. Great work Roksana!!
This will be ready for release shortly. It is a follow-on course which can be taken as an alternative to the existing 'Sharing Dance' programme– but only if you have had some experience of introducing dance to groups and are keen to spend more time with pupils who find dance 'difficult.'
Adrian, formerly a west-end choreographer, has contributed to sections of this course. It is a unique opportunity for dance teachers to learn something about 'inclusive' dance: that is, dance for those who may be quite seriously disabled. This is currently in wide use inside Russia.
However, all students must first complete the 12-weeks on line theory-only Foundation Course. This is very necessary because when you start working one-to-one with vulnerable and needy children, regular contact with their doctors and other medically qualified professionals is a certainty. Good communication skills, which you will learn while preparing written work for both courses, are clearly essential. But fear not – it is surprising how quickly the majority of our students become really proficient at this. Details of 'Making Dances' will appear shortly.
Director of Studies
Member UNESCO CID 31 March 2015