Classical, jazz and tap dance teachers Australia-wide are gathered in Sydney this week (10 to 17 April) for a week-long workshop to prepare for the Australian Government's Live Performance Training package (CUA11) to be introduced in 2013.
The workshop will be held by Australian Dance Vision (ADV), which developed a competency-based dance assessment program based on learning outcome and performance criteria some two decades ago.
Penny Lancaster, founding director of ADV and creator of its dance syllabus, said there will be focus at the workshops on the changes that will fall under the Commonwealth Government's new nationalisation of dance training scheme.
ADV has updated its syllabus and workbooks to prepare for the government’s Live Performance Training Package. Under the new scheme, dance and vocational dance will increasingly be taught through the school education system via the recently established Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and tertiary institutions (TAFE) via the Australian Quality Framework (AQF). The latter vocational levels will be regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).
According to Lancaster, the proposed dance training scheme has, to date, created a high level of confusion in the private dance sector, as it will substantially change the way that dance is taught in the future, particularly where there are crossovers with private dance studio training and accreditation for secondary subjects. However, she says the private sector, which has been the traditional training ground for dancers, has been overlooked in the consultation process for the new training system.
"Private dance studios currently train over one million students of all ages, dance styles and levels in Australia, and for the past 75 years have been the training providers for dancers in our country,” Mrs Lancaster said.
“With 30,000 dance studios and teachers in small, medium and large dance studios across Australia training the majority of dance trainers in Australia, the knowledge base and experience on what is required for effective dance training lies within this sector. Government has an opportunity to leverage this expertise for all students whether in private or public education,” MLancaster said.
“It is therefore absolutely critical to include the private dance sector in the consultation process to enable more effective private and public partnering and appropriate agreed standards of teaching and curriculum be established,” Mrs Lancaster said.
“In the busy school curriculum we need to avoid duplication of dance studies so students can use the time they have invested in private dance study to achieve credit towards their secondary dance school results and so to free them up for other academic studies. So far this concept has not been acknowledged by government planning."
Lancaster also said that if standards and collaboration between the Government and the dance sector are achieved, the best outcome would be to enable professional dance teachers to teach vocational dance in schools to ensure that students are getting the highest level of dance training whether they are learning dance at school or in private dance studios.
Lancaster has been a long term advocate for holistic training of dancers in Australia. Her Australian Dance Vision syllabus is unique for its holistic approach which offers an overall education in dance for all levels from pre-school aged children right through to the professional dancers. In addition to creating an Australian grown dance syllabus, Penny has worked with the NSW Board of Studies (Syllabus and Examining Classical Ballet committees) for Years 11 and 12, was on the panel for the National Project Reference Group for IBSA’s Live Performance Training Package and has contributed the entire ADV syllabus to IBSA to assist in the training package development.
ADV has pioneered accredited dance training in Australia. In 1998 ADV’s courses became accredited and nationally recognised as Certificates I-IV in Dance Performance Studies and ADV became a Registered Training Organisation that later streamlined into the Australian Dance Institute.
ADV’s syllabus combines strong technical skills with educational components such as history, body science, safe dance, mime and musical rhythms with stretching and Pilates exercises.
Lancaster will be presenting at the ADV workshops which will be held in the Old Masonic Hall in Tryon Road, Lindfield. She will hold an open forum on Saturday 14 April from 2:00pm