The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Australia is preparing to bring an exciting programme for professional dancers to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Responding to a growing need for second career prospects for dancers, RAD Australia will officially present the Professional Dancers’ Postgraduate Teaching Certificate (PDPTC). Applications for the one-year, part-time, mostly distance-learning programme close on March 31.
While new to Australia, the RAD’s Professional Dancers’ Teaching Certificate has been bringing the Academy’s worldwide teaching qualification to dancers across the globe from its base in the UK and in Europe for more than 40 years. Designed to be flexible, the programme allows participants to progress from dancer to dance teacher, giving them a respected qualification while they’re still performing or as they embark on a new career as a dance educator. The new PDPTC programme in Australia follows upon the success of its Berlin equivalent, which was delivered in collaboration with the Berlin State Ballet.
RAD Australia National Director Bronwyn Watkins says, “I am delighted that RAD Australia can now offer this opportunity to our professional dancers. With the calibre of their training and skills combined, professional dancers have been an asset to our teaching membership since the RAD began and this new qualification allows them to professionally transition to teaching whilst still actively dancing in company life – preparing for the next phase of their dance journey.”
Felicity Hader, who is an Australian graduate of the programme from the Berlin, European iteration, shares, “After a very rewarding career as a principal artist and choreographer in Europe, I found I enjoyed teaching and coaching once a year on return to Australia. This helped me to decide to apply for the new RAD PDPTC in Berlin. As a child I had always enjoyed my RAD grade work and regularly received Honours marks in my exams, which gave me great motivation.”
She continues, “It was wonderful to be able to study by correspondence at the same time as being able to perform full-time for my last year of performances in Europe, dancing such roles as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream – two of my favourite roles.”
In addition to the year-long distance learning, Australian participants will enjoy an onsite Induction Seminar in July and an onsite Intensive Study Period held close to the programme’s conclusion, in January 2019. The Intensive Study Period will be held in Darlinghurst, Sydney and will comprise practical sessions, lectures, seminars, discussion groups and tutorials. Students also undertake a teaching placement in a dance school or teaching context of their choice, supported by a Mentor and Practical Teaching Supervisor. Hilary Kaplan of Alegria Studios is an example of one well-respected RAD teacher who will be serving as a Mentor.
Hader says that while she thoroughly enjoyed her Intensive Study in Berlin at the beautiful studios of the Berliner Staatsballett, she now realises that “it would have been easier to come home to Australia and complete the course here whilst putting on my choreographies.” She is extremely excited that the PDPTC will now be offered in Australia
“I learnt so much during this course—for example, safe practice, music and the psychology of the students—and this has and will continue to enrich me forever for performing, choreography and teaching,” Hader concludes.
Fiona Hulands, another Australian graduate of PDPTC, agrees with Hader that the programme was invaluable. She shares that she’s “extremely grateful” for the reading material and lesson outcomes as they have “strongly shaped” her teaching.
Hulands, who did her programme through the U.K. and attended the Intensive Study Period there, said her fondest memories of the course are from the onsite intensive, as she thoroughly enjoyed “being surrounded by all the other participants, tutoring sessions from industry leaders, collaborating on ideas, finding similarities in career paths and watching everyone blossom as teachers.”
Furthermore, Hulands enjoyed how the PDPTC structure truly allowed students from all different backgrounds to complete the course around their own lives, saying “my self and a few others had retired from performing but were still working full-time jobs, some were mothers as well and two were still dancing professionally. Whilst at times the pressure was felt, I was grateful to be teaching whilst studying. It allowed me the opportunity to take what I was learning and implement it straight away.”
Many PDPTC graduates have gone on to further progress their careers in significant ways.
Hulands adds, “The PDPTC benefits each individual in a completely different way. Ladies from my course have gone on to open their own schools, create community projects or teach at local or pre-professional schools. My immediate benefit was left field at first. It resulted in a promotion to manager at the gym I was working for. Since then it has gone on to help me teach at a classical ballet specialised school, lead the contemporary division at another and this year helped me expand into workshop teaching.”
One major, immediate benefit for those successfully completing the PDPTC is that they’re eligible to become Registered Teachers of the RAD. If they choose to register, they’ll officially join an international dance community boasting 14,000 members spread across 83 countries. Plus, they can then enjoy the exclusive right to enter candidates for RAD examinations.
Overall, the entire year-long programme costs $9,900. For more information on RAD Australia offering PDPTC, visit www.rad.org.au. Prospective students should contact Shelley Yacopetti at RAD with any specific questions. Her email is email@example.com and she can be reached at +61 8 9272 3940.
Summarizing why PDPTC is so fantastic, Hulands says, “PDPTC is more than just a course on how to teach. It opens the door for you to conversations with some of the greatest teachers in the industry, link into local projects/schools in your community and best of all, meet other professional dancers who are starting or enhancing their teaching journey.”
By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.