The time for deciding on our own personal resolves for 2016 has passed – but the time for implementing them is still very much in the 'here and now.' Some of our less-well-thought-out hopes and dreams will no doubt already have been abandoned as unrealistic, no longer appropriate or just 'too difficult.' But that is not to say we should give up hoping and dreaming altogether, rather that we should believe in them more strongly, look around for more and more ways to make them happen. Believe in the light you think you can see at the end of the tunnel!!
For example, our school have been offering training, for a very long time, to students who have a mature attitude both towards part-time home studies and also to the very real possibility of helping less fortunate members of our societies to have a better quality of life, greater self confidence, more self-understanding. Our courses also aim to remove significant amounts of emotional and psychological pain which happen when individuals or groups are 'left behind' by the rest, and struggle virtually unaided to cope with difficulties which are too great for them to handle alone.
After some 7 decades of involvement with 'what dance can do' and offering professional training – now available on line – our school believe we can now say with confidence that yes, there is light at the end of this particular tunnel. And yes, solving these problems – helping 'underprivileged' and less fortunate folk to feel their hopes and dreams are important too is not beyond us. If some of us are prepared to devote a little spare time each week for training that helps both practitioner and client, positive results start to show almost at once.
The recommended starting point for any caring person interested in finding out 'what dance can do' and then setting up, or helping to set up, a small group locally to bring its benefits to those who need them most, is the theory-only Foundation Course. Its six units set the scene for being able to design first of all, individual sessions with a strong scientifically valid therapy potential, how to 'defend' one's chosen method to other professionals, and then to design longer programmes which can actually transform the lives of those taking part. This theory programme, for which a theory-only diploma is awarded on completion, focusses primarily on the creative and development needs of children and young people. This is for two main reasons. First, 'there is a child in all of us.' By understanding and relating to the 'inner' needs of the children we see all around us every day, we really do start to better understand ourselves and our own needs. Second, the needs of the world's children must never be forgotten by us as adults. Dance therapist Norma Canner reminds us that 'every child has something to say and a right to be heard.' We at our school believe fervently in children's rights' – finding ways to help them through dance is a joyful vocation indeed.
We also believe that improving quality of life and offering a fair chance to less fortunate sections of all our societies is a global issue with implications for peace, harmony and overall wellbeing not just for now but for generations to come. It is a matter of true celebration, therefore, that our long-held beliefs are also cherished by no less a global force than UNESCO CID.
Also known as 'the United Nations of Dance,' painstaking research carried out in some 200 countries by UNESCO CID experts has established beyond all doubt that 'the healing power of dance' can totally transform lives, even where levels of hardship are at their height. We are delighted therefore to discover that while both I myself as an individual, and our school as a teaching organisation are all now members of UNESCO CID, it is now also possible to offer 'student membership' to those who enrol with us and achieve the Theory Diploma on successful completion of the Foundation Course. Full membership of UNESCO CID is awarded when the student attains our Full International Diploma. In order to study for this, the candidate needs first to attain the Theory Diploma, and then enrol for the follow-on course 'Sharing Dance with Others,' which offers the necessary guidance for designing, planning and putting into practice a 12-session 'rehabilitative' programme for children or young people 'in difficult circumstances.' We are delighted to confirm that UNESCO CID will also award a complementary Diploma.
These comprise an extension of the work of Task Force 2015/16. While the Full International Diploma promotes the necessary skills to work with dance therapy techniques at non-psychiatric level, Task Force 2015/16 is also mindful of the 'educational and remedial' work already being carried out every day by qualified dancing teachers in all our communities. The first of the two new programmes is actually designed to encourage the high-street dancing teacher to travel 'that extra mile' to help pupils who find dance difficult, or, crucially, can't afford lessons. It features 'how to set up dance days and holidays for children new to dance' and is largely inspired by the universal precepts of Rudolf Laban, such as 'dance is for everyone' and teaches 'charm from within.' The second course is based on the needs of the elderly, also reflecting Laban's belief that untold benefits can accrue for elderly populations by the insightful application of suitable dance programmes. We are currently taking steps to ensure that both new courses fully meet the latest standards for 'inclusivity,' which quite rightly has also now become a fully global issue.
Once again with warm wishes for your happiness, health and success in the coming year.
Director of Studies
Member UNESCO CID January, 2016