Task Force I have been operating for a number of years – quite a while back they received an award presented by HRH The Prince of Wales in London for work they did among the elderly. More recently the successors to that pioneering group have been working just as hard to 'make things better', through carefully designed programmes based on dance and the related arts, for disadvantaged youngsters around the world.
The training they are undertaking with us consists of first, the on-line 3-month Foundation Course (Theory) for which they receive their Theory-only diploma on completion. This is followed by the on-line 3-month follow-on course Sharing Dance with Others. The follow-on course provides the guidance needed for putting the theory they have learned into practice. First they learn to design the ideal opening session for newcomers to dance, followed by a full programme of 12 'restorative' and 'rehabilitative' sessions for a small invited group. This is their 'Full Diploma requirement.' They are encouraged to choose one or two colleagues to help them – either as guest teachers, assistants, or just to 'be there' to befriend and support the participants. Once the 12 sessions have been carried out in practice, a 2-page report is then prepared for the examiners, setting out the objectives of the programme and how and why they were achieved. (Guidance on writing the 2-page Report is included in the follow-on course). The Full International Diploma, plus a complementary diploma from UNESCO CID, plus an invitation to full membership, is awarded if this programme is deemed by the examiners to be sufficiently 'restorative' to make a real difference to the youngsters' attitude to life and future prospects. We hope that, with the help of the chosen colleagues, it will be possible to establish an on-going Dance Club in that locality. We all know what hardship can do to youngsters' morale and motivation. This, then, is the current aim of Task Force I.
Task Force II. Everyone want to see this 'purge on hardship' achieve its goals as quickly as possible, but training to enter the 'inner world' of some very vulnerable children and young people, must always be painstaking and meticulous. In situations of particular difficulty, support may be needed from members of the medical profession. Nothing can be taken for granted. Our candidates need to feel confident, well prepared. So how can we possibly take steps to help more youngsters more quickly? We believe there is an answer. Task Force II will therefore also be springing into action, hopefully by the end of this year. Doing what exactly? Setting up 'dance days' and 12-session 'dance holidays' for youngsters in need . The training programme starts now – BUT you need to have dance teaching qualifications and experience to apply. Otherwise the on-going programme for Task Force I is a better choice for you.
The training is similar to Task Force I. First, a 3-month on-line theory programme – 'What Dance Can Do' and then a 3 month on-line follow-on course, 'Dance Days and Dance Holidays for Less Privileged Youngsters'. A theory-only diploma is awarded on completion of 'What Dance Can Do'. After that, enrolling for the follow-on course leads to the Full International Diploma in the same way as for Task Force I. Support and guidance are provided for designing and putting into action 'restorative' 'dance day' and 'dance holiday' programmes locally, then writing a 2-page Report.
We hope this long-term plan will gradually make a significant difference to the quality of life, well-being and future prospects of those very many youngsters in the UK known to be seriously disadvantaged and in need of extra love and understanding from suitably qualified adults.
Overseas dancing teachers with recognised qualifications are also welcome to enrol. 'Making a difference' can be achieved anywhere!
Funding. During both 6-month study programmes any additional expenses incurred in setting up one's first small 'group for diploma' can usually be met by charging a small sessional fee to participants, just to cover 'hire of space' – it is even better if someone has a spare room to offer, for your group will be quite small, maximum 8 in number. Some candidates simply advertise among their friends or on community notice boards that a '12-week Introduction to dance for beginners' will be starting soon. However government funding will be needed if our scheme is to meet its targets. Steps are being taken in this direction, but first we must all prove that we can deliver real 'value for money'!
Orphans of War. The tragic stories reaching us every day are distressing beyond words, but it is good to know there'll soon be an international initiative to address the worst of the heartbreak. One of our exceptionally talented overseas students has already started 'field work' with child refugees in her own country based on the methods we have taught her – of course we are extremely proud of her and hope it will not be long before the likely UK contribution is clarified.
Details of Task Force I and Task Force II study programmes are set out under Course Info.
With every kind wish for the new academic year!
Director of Studies
Member UNESCO CID 31 July, 2016