Dance Teacher Resources

Explore Dance and Dance Teaching in Digital Spaces

Ballet Unleashed
Maruysa Madubuko still image from Switchback courtesy of Ballet Unleashed

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Australia has announced its full digital programme for a fourth international conference in January. Following the success of Shaping Bodies, Shaping Minds in 2020, the RAD will explore Dance and Dance Education in an Age of Interconnectivity on 21-22 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 Director of Education Dr Michelle Groves will return as a Keynote speaker and says:

RAD international conference

“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.”

The conference programme encompasses a range of themes, including insights into unique and enduring initiatives born in response to the global pandemic such as Ballet Unleashed, an innovative and collaborative global ballet project, bringing choreographers together with young dancers from several leading ballet schools to explore new ways of creating dance and sharing artistic ideas.  Ballet Unleashed Founding Directors, choreographers and dancers will talk about the concept and goals of the initiative, attendees will enjoy a screening of a work created and be welcomed into the studio to view a live rehearsal of another work in the making.

Faculty from Sydney Dance CompanyLinda Gamblin and Sam Dashwood will join the conference to discuss the teaching philosophies that followed the company’s digital transformation. SDC Artistic Director, Rafael Bonachela will also reflect on the ways in which the company dancers have developed and utilised new skills.

David Leventhal
David Leventhal, Program Director for Dance for PD. Photo by Christian Tessier.

David Leventhal, founding teacher and Program Director for Dance for PD® will outline strategies used during the pandemic to increase the equitable and accessible nature of dance for Parkinsons programming and teacher training and Judith Pek, research psychologist from the University of Manchester and University College Dublin will present her research on the 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 conference presentation and will take participants through a seated to standing dance class in a practical workshop.

There will be discussions referencing the ingenuity and adaptability of online dance teaching and learning, and the blending of hybrid learning environments. Attendees will also learn about the missuses of digital technologies and best practice for the dance studio context.

Cecchetti Ballet Teacher and Examiner, Anne Butler returns with Narelle Forbes Physiotherapist to host a practical workshop on retraining the dancers’ gaze with the return to the studio after months of online training. Dr Melinda Purnell, Physiotherapist and dance school Principal talks life after Zoom, presenting her clinical observations of injuries post lockdown, associated factors and strategies for injury prevention in adolescent dance students.

Dance on film will be a part of the discussion with Sonia York-Pryce drawing on her research, ‘Ageism and the Mature Dancer’ and post-graduate student Amelia Latham presents 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 “In recent times, we have seen the power of dance to connect, heal and empower and we have seen dance prevail in digital spaces as lifeline, as passion, embracing diversity, increasing accessibility and building communities. This programme brings into focus the remarkable ability of dancers and dance educators worldwide to continue 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.”

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