A point of view that is – about a lot of things, but in particular 'how much dance can do for us' if we just take a little time and trouble to explore the options and take appropriate action! This is not so much about the always-exciting options for maintaining all-round 'wellness' by taking advantage of the widely available classes in a range of styles to suit all tastes. These are wonderful, and those who are able should not fail to attend a good class regularly. But the benefits of becoming involved are also for those very many who are prevented, by illness, infirmity, busy lifestyles, from enjoying 'fully active' dance.
The great pioneer dance therapist Marian Chase had a word of advice for her students who found difficulty in getting some of their clients to 'join the dance.' For a range of reasons, reluctance to get started was proving quite a problem for some. 'Try not to worry,' she said, 'watching is also active.' We know this is true when we go to a brilliant dance performance in a theatre. The audience are every bit as alive as the dancers – for 'kinesthetic echo' is hard at work. There are certain mysterious factors in movement which reach to the heart and soul of the observer as well as being fully activated within the participant. So in designing our training, we have sought to take account of the needs of those who might consider themselves 'excluded' from the art of dance. There is no such word in our students' vocabulary. 'In dance we are all equal.'
In difficult times, all of us need to utilise all the resources at our disposal. For primitive man, his very survival depended on perfecting his 'body/mind integration' so that body, mind and spirit worked together in total harmony. This he achieved through his 'mastery of movement', rhythmic stamping, clapping, singing, leaping, twisting, bending, stretching: this improved his functional movement, his mental alertness but also his compassion, his fellow-feeling. As a school, we have learned that, in the context of 'dance therapy' all of these benefits – and more – can be harnessed by any caring dance-lover and used to improve significantly quality of life for oneself and others.
All our courses are on line, which makes them convenient, economical in terms of saving both time and money. There is a growing trend to switch to on-line learning by universities around the world. After all, working with dance and movement as therapy is not 'rocket science.' 'Dance is from the heart.' The 'growth process' which begins the moment one begins to enter seriously into any art form, needs time for it to flourish, space for it to grow. Kindness, empathy and a willingness to study for a regular period each week is all we ask. Working one on one with an individual tutor means that the very precious ideas which students have when they join are not wasted but carefully examined and developed to become part of their individual method. There is a very manageable amount of written work required at the end of each unit of our courses. This enables our students to think 'out loud', develop self-confidence and organise their thoughts in an organised way. This makes the necessary 'defence' of one's method later in the workplace so much easier, and collaboration with other professionals in the workplace becomes 'second nature.'
As a starting point, students learn to master the 'Joydance™' Method – an ideal base when entering the 'dance therapy' profession for the first time. The method is explained step-by-step in the Foundation Course and can be adapted for use with individuals and groups of all ages. Our late Examiner Mme Leah Bartal, who was the 'backbone' of our school for over 40 years, suggested that in order to gain the necessary practical experience in working with dance and movement as therapy, learning how to set up and run a small group for local children would be the easiest way for most students to begin. It is difficult not to agree with this obvious solution for those who need experience in groupwork. Not only are the needs of children dear to the hearts of most of us, but, as psychiatrists so often remind us, 'there is a child in each of us.' By learning to identify and respond to the needs of the children in our own communities, we are able to understand ourselves and our own needs far more clearly. Please trust us on this – all our courses are designed to help you as well as your future clients.
Our school were more than proud to have been invited last year to become members of this prestgious global organisation. UNESCO CID research into the value of dance in communities all around the world is long established, reliable and ongoing. In fact it is totally brilliant. For ourselves, it endorses everything we have always believed, and striven to achieve. The fact that they have kindly offered to make membership available to all who achieve our Full International Diploma and to issue a complementary Diploma of their own, will mean a great deal in terms of recognition for those students prepared to 'go the extra mile' in making things better for children, in their own neighbourhood and quite possibly in other countries too.
This is in a sense a continuation of Task Force 2000 – quite a long time ago, admittedly – when we were honoured to receive a Millennium Award presented by HRH The Prince of Wales at St James' Palace in London. At that time our energies were concentrated almost entirely on the south west of the UK. Now our efforts – certainly as far as children are concerned, are extending day by day to include a growing number of overseas countries.
Students working conscientiously on our courses, wherever they may be based, are acknowledged by the medical profession as 'contributing to vital research into healing through the arts.' So, when you enrol for our Foundation Course you become automatically a member of Task Force 2014.
Just a few more months and you too could become a member of UNESCO CID, and be awarded their prestigious diploma.
It will be good to hear from you soon! Every kind wish.
Director of Studies
Member UNESCO CID 1st May, 2014