Why do practitioners study for a Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning (DDTAL)? Read the three testimonials below to see what these different practitioners think about it and what happened to them after their studies. The graduation speech given by Nisha Vyas Myall, who graduated in summer 2015, is to be found after the third testimonial.
Discussions between practitioners form a vital part of the DDTAL course.
I was interested in participating in this course and undertaking the diploma because I've only been teaching dance on an occasional and part-time basis for a number of years and thought that the course would give me the opportunity to revisit and update previous areas of learning.
The course particularly appealed to me because it offers a unique combination of factors:
- The opportunity to take account of prior knowledge
- Both practical and theoretical CPD opportunities
- Flexible support mechanisms
- The opportunity for distance learning
- Access to the library resources at Laban
- Access to a Level 6 qualification
These options enabled me to revise my knowledge while continuing to work full-time. I hope that re-immersion in the dance sector will enable me to shift more of my time back towards practical work with children and young people and enable me to become less focused towards the policy-related practice that I am currently engaged in.
After our first weekend
"First of all, thank you for providing such an inspiring start to the DDTAL course last weekend. I had a wonderful time and I know that lots of the course participants are still buzzing (as emails are flying all over the place!)."
On the tutoring support given to course participants on their draft assessment material
"Very many thanks for the extraordinarily quick turn around and constructive comments. I really appreciate your feedback."
After the course
"The course opened new doors in ways that I never expected. As well as giving me the confidence to expand my work with children and young people in a variety of new contexts it also gave me the opportunity to undertake some dance consultancy work. Since the course I've been employed as the Dance Consultant for Trinity College London to help with the development of their dance qualifications and I've been offered work by the Foundation for Community Dance where I'm working on the development of their continuing professional development programme. This has enabled me to make dance my full-time occupation and find a balance between teaching practical dance sessions with children and young people and undertaking other dance-related projects. So a BIG thank you to everyone at Laban - both tutors and other course participants - for all the encouragement, information and support."
Anna is now a consultant with Trinity College London working on DDTAL development and also works for People Dancing. In 2013, she won the nomination for the South West Talk Talk Digital Hero Award. She received useful funding for her dance project, which focussed on working with people who have Parkinson's Disease and gained much-needed publicity for Dance for Parkinson's UK Network.
Sharing ideas and expertise with other participants is important.
My starting point for gaining this qualification is after more than a decade working outside of the dance sector I wanted to immerse myself fully back into dance. I worked for years in music education and arts management. Whilst the experience was incredibly rewarding I always knew that I wanted to contribute positively to dance. Teaching was the route and way of getting back into dance and I was searching for something that would bring together all of my skills and experiences gained as a dancer, arts manager and policy developer in music education. A lot had changed and doing this qualification was an opportunity to get a full in-depth experience to affirm, re-learn, and refresh my experiences in teaching practice. It helps being with other colleagues who come from a very diverse background in dance education. It is a sharing experience.
I was attracted to this teaching qualification because it was flexible for my lifestyle. It is also very practical and placed within a real life situation as a teacher. It allows for real life experiences to be brought into the studio as case studies and explored. I also like the independent study element of the course. I opted for the full course to literally immerse and gain a rich experience.
I certainly feel a lot more confident in applying for teaching jobs. I also like the idea of taking this course even further with more in-depth study. That could possibly mean an MA that would collate all of my relevant dance experiences from what has now been many years, fused with teaching and learning.
It has made me more mindful about teaching and how I plan tasks, exercises and activities. Before, I was focused on a particular style and methodology and the experience has challenged that in a good way to good effect. I think that this diploma will have a very important role to play in the development of teaching children and young people. It has the potential to radicalise and professionalise the sector. There are a wealth of great dancers and teachers who have much to contribute towards the development and progression of young people and this course, I think, opens up possibilities for a dancer who might be at a cross-roads professionally.
I almost wish that I did this course 15 years ago but then...there's no time like the present!
After the course
"I am now applying to do an MA in Professional Practice in Dance Technique Pedagogy at Middlesex University. The catalyst for embarking on this route has been the DDTAL which has really whetted my appetite for more in-depth study. I want to focus my inquiry in dance technique and you will know that I love all things Horton - it felt right for me to do an MA, also doing the DDTAL course and qualification has raised many more interesting questions and reflections on my every emerging practice. I found out that the DDTAL can be credited towards the MA. Good news for me."
"I am now enrolled on the MA programme at Middlesex in Professional Practice - Dance Technique Pedagogy. I've just completed Module 1 which was heavy going but am thoroughly enjoying it! I can attribute all of this to my DTAL experiences for sure."
"I thought I would give you a small snapshot of what I am up to in terms of professional development in 2015. I went to the Horton Pedagogy workshop at Alvin Ailey in the USA in the summer, which was great. Since coming back I am teaching Horton Technique regularly at Danceworks and have set up a Facebook page called ‘Horton with Hopal’ as a networking opportunity, staying connected with some of the teachers who were on the course with me and also promoting and posting classes and teaching opportunities. I also encourage other teachers to share practice and ideas too as a learning community not necessarily based here but it is interesting to find out developments and practices of other Horton teachers wherever they are in the world. It is still in the early days but I am enjoying the process. I passed the MA at Middlesex, which is great, and I am beginning to develop some themes from my dissertation which I hope to develop further as another form of study and inquiry. I will be teaching on the Easter course at the Place.
Thank you for keeping me still connected with the DDTAL fraternity. It is amazing what one qualification does - open doors!"
Trying out ideas, teaching each other, time for reflection.
I have chosen to take part in the Diploma (full course) as I was becoming frustrated as I couldn't apply for work within schools without a teaching qualification even though I had a dance degree. Trying to gain access to a Dance PGCE seemed to be very difficult. I also didn't want to be just teaching GCSE and A-level students, but a variety of age groups as a freelance artist.
As I am interested in both contemporary dance and ballet I chose to take part in this Diploma as I felt it would give me further knowledge and experience about dance overall and would further my confidence in teaching and understanding of good practice.
The DDTAL fulfils all my needs and I can apply everything I have learned to both Ballet and Contemporary Dance as well as creative classes, which before taking part in this Diploma I would have never thought I would be any good at teaching.
The Diploma will also give me a recognisable qualification that I hope will boost my career as a dance teacher as I apply for work.
I look forward to every session that we take part in, not only do we have a very knowledgeable facilitator, but sessions are also taught by different artists which inspires and motivates us and gives us more knowledge and a wealth of ideas for our tool box. I do feel now that I am so prepared and ready to teach alone and I am looking forward to leaving behind my admin job to become a freelance artist.
After the course
Gemma now has an exciting role as the Programme Manager for Essex Dancedigital and is helping to look after the professional development of teachers and practitioners in her area.
Written by Nisha Vyas-Myall, summer 2015
Hello teachers, family, friends and fellow graduates.
What a wonderful day it is, after months- years- of hard work, lectures, seminars, observations and unit assessments, we have reached graduation day.
I know I can speak for myself and my friends on the Diploma for Dance Teaching and Learning when I say that being here at Trinity Laban, to accept our certificates, is a dream come true.
I have wanted to study at Trinity Laban for a long time and, when I realised that I wanted to qualify as a dance teacher, I decided that this diploma was my opportunity. After all, who’s best to make us better teachers than some of the best dance teachers in the country? My friends and I have learned so much from such amazing and knowledgeable people: Lorna, of course, Edel, Alison, Kit, Amanda, Veronica, and so many more. After every session here at Laban, I have felt inspired and armed with new ideas to bring to my classes - not just from our teachers, but my classmates as well. Over the last year and a half, I have learned so much and grown so much - without this diploma, my teaching practice wouldn’t have progressed this far and my classes would not have evolved at all.
One of the key lessons we have taken away from this diploma is that we never stop learning. We’re graduating today, but this is far from the end. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I’m a qualified teacher now, I don’t need to attend more courses. I’ve learned it all now” and that is simply not true. As dancers, dance teachers, artists, it is so important that we continue our professional development: attend classes, go on courses, read books and articles, stay in contact with each other. There have been many times where I have brought a perplexing issue from my classes to my peers, and they have lent their own experiences to me and opened up my practice, and I have done the same for them. The world is constantly changing and opening up new trends, research and opportunities- we should go out there and be ahead of the crowd.
When I applied for the Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning, I was embarking on my freelance dance teaching career, having completed my Performing Arts degree at Bedfordshire and my IDTA accreditation some time earlier. Up until then, I had been performing and teaching the odd class alongside a job in retail. I knew, if I wanted to make teaching a higher priority and my career, I needed to develop my existing skills and learn more about education. The following 18 months were hard, filled with blood, sweat and tearing hair out - the Diploma challenged virtually everything I thought I knew and felt about teaching. It stripped everything down and built it back up again.
Today, I stand here feeling confident, prepared and excited for all the new doors that have opened for me. I have gone from some cover classes and one-off workshops to a freelancer with her own business and actually trying to find slots for new classes.
I feel I have grown so much over the last year and a half, as a person and a dance teacher, and it’s because of my time at Trinity Laban.
Congratulations to all of today’s graduates, especially those on the Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning. We worked hard, let’s keep it going!