Dance Teacher Resources

Registrations open for RAD Australia’s virtual dance education conference

David Leventhal at WPC 2013. Photo by Christian Tessier.
David Leventhal at WPC 2013. Photo by Christian Tessier.

Registrations for the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Australia fourth international conference are now open. Following on from the success of Shaping Bodies, Shaping Minds in January 2020, the RAD will now explore Dance and Dance Education in an Age of Interconnectivity in January 2022. 

The two-day virtual conference will connect teachers, practitioners, scholars and innovators from the fields of dance, education, research, science and technology. 

RAD Conference 2022.

RAD Director of Education Dr Michelle Groves, who will return as a keynote speaker, says, “Dance and Dance Education in an Age of Interconnectivity promises to bring people together to discuss, debate and contemplate the impact of communities of dance students, teachers and practitioners connecting with each other through digital and virtual technologies. Whilst we may not always be connecting in the way we thought we would as a result of global events, we have learned a lot about ourselves and about dance practice along the way. I hope you will join me in what promises to be a stimulating and energising conference to kick start 2022.” 

The conference programme will feature a wide range of themes, including insights into unique and enduring projects born in response to the global pandemic such as Ballet Unleashed, an innovative and collaborative global ballet project, bringing choreographers together with young dancers to explore new ways of creating dance and sharing artistic ideas. Ballet Unleashed Founding Directors, choreographers and dancers will discuss the project, and attendees will be welcomed in to the studio to view a live rehearsal. 

Exploring dance and dance education for all ages, a notable conference presentation from David Leventhal, founding teacher and program director for Dance for PD®, will outline strategies utilised during the pandemic to increase the equitable, accessible nature of dance for Parkinson’s programming and teacher training. Judith Pek, research psychologist from the University of Manchester and University College Dublin, will also present her research findings that indicate acceptability and usability of digital dance programs for older adults and in neurological conditions. Katrina Rank, director of Education and Lifelong Learning for Ausdance Victoria, will place social learning theory, community building and creative aging at the forefront of her presentation and will take participants through a seated to standing dance class in a practical workshop. 

On the subject of models for online teaching, Sela Kiek Callan, leading teacher in contemporary dance at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS), will present on ingenuity and adaptability in online dance teaching and learning; and Jaime Redfern, former head of contemporary dance of The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, will discuss blended and hybrid learning, offering practical examples of how blended learning can be integrated into face-to-face programs. On the issue of misuses of digital technologies, Dr Elena Lambrinos will present her ideas on best practices for the dance studio context. 

David Leventhal. Photo by World Parkinson Coalition.
David Leventhal. Photo by World Parkinson Coalition.

Focusing on the studio environment, Cecchetti ballet teacher and examiner Anne Butler (VCASS) and Physiotherapist Narelle Forbes will host a practical workshop offering ideas on retraining the dancers’ gaze with the return to the studio after months of online training. Melinda Purnell, physiotherapist and dance school principal, will also discuss life after Zoom and present her clinical observations of injuries post-lockdown, associated factors and strategies for injury prevention in adolescent dance students. 

Dance on film will be part of the discussion with Sonia York-Pryce drawing on her research, ‘Ageism and the Mature Dancer,’ and post-graduate student Amelia Latham will present her research on the pandemic-inspired need for connection and solidarity and the rise of site-specific performance and screen dance practices. 

Rounding out the discussion on dancing in digital spaces, dance writer and publisher Jill Brown will interrogate the nature of the digital dance experience and the expansion of new realities for both dancer and audience. 

Shelley Yacopetti, RAD Education and Engagement Manager and Conference Organiser, said, “This programme brings into focus the remarkable ability of dancers and dance educators worldwide to continuing learning in the face of adversity, to adapt and develop existing practices and to innovate and transform dance and dance education beyond our pre-pandemic imaginings.” 

For more information, visit au.royalacademyofdance.org/conference-2022.

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