Highly regarded pedagogy of ballet teaching around the world, Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), will welcome national and international delegates for the Fifth International Conference in 2024, to be held in Sydney from 19 – 21 of January. The conference will have a focus on rethinking and reframing best practices in teaching. Shelley Yacopetti, the National Director of RAD Australia, notes that the RAD is a heritage brand, and it is part of their work to continue to develop it. “Just because it has been done in a certain way, does that mean we should still be doing it that way?” asks Yacopetti.
Key ideas Yacopetti is keen to explore in the conference include “making dance spaces a little bit safer for dancers and teachers. It would be great if we could have a robust discussion around this,” says Yacopetti. “I think it is also time to talk about what we need to let go of. Some of those things are around gender and inclusive practices, making sure our studios are accessible. And I think it is about how we enable our teachers and members to be more reflective in our practices.” One of the ways that the RAD is becoming more accessible is by making its Certificate in Dance Education a digital learning model. Yacopetti says this “opens up new ways to learn and connect with a wider community.”
She adds, “I’ve always seen conferences as a way to bridge the gap between the practical and theoretical. Our members have a pedagogical practice. Now if we can talk to some people who have done some research, and marry that with practice. The research that people are doing on injuries and wellness and care, comes from an academic position, and informs how to teach. That’s my aim to bridge my gap between academic and practical.”
The keynote speaker will be Dr Susan Koff, Clinical Professor in the Dance Education Program at New York University. Dr Koff will share how using a holistic perspective, recognising that dance is represented across many different settings and global contexts, can redefine teaching.
Within the conference itself, delegates can expect programs that focus on the future for young dancers who are being currently trained and how this impacts training methods, the methods that might be let go of or innovated, dance teacher professional development, and the very practical methods and strategies of teaching. While the Call for Contributions for Conference is now closed, tickets are now open to members for purchase.
For more information on the conference, visit au.royalacademyofdance.org/conference2024. To find out about the RAD Certificate in Dance Education, visit www.royalacademyofdance.org/programme/certificate-in-dance-teaching-ballet.
By Tamara Searle of Dance Informa.