23 January 2020 20:11
3rd RAD Australia conference helps shape the future of dance education
Engaging with critical thinkers and researchers from the dance industry, RAD Australia's 3rd international conference Shaping Bodies, Shaping Minds gave delegates plenty to ponder in Melbourne last weekend.
Hosted by The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS), the conference brought together 160 delegates from across Australia and around the world to discuss best practice and research currently being developed in dance education.
The eve of the conference was celebrated with a cocktail party sponsored by DanceSurance. Special guests Aboriginal dance company Djirri Djirri talked about the importance of dance to their culture in sharing experience and knowledge and in welcoming people to their land. RAD National Director Rebecca Taylor, RAD Director of Education Dr Michelle Groves and RAD Vice President and Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet David McAllister AM all gave their own welcome speeches after Djirri Djirri also performed.
David McAllister delivered an inspiring opening Keynote on day one of the conference and referenced how his own dance teachers had helped shape the man, the dancer and the artist he has become. Dr Michelle Groves challenged delegates to "be curious" across the weekend and latch on to that one kernel of an idea which inspired, provoked or cemented their own ideas, thoughts and practices.
Shaping Bodies, Shaping Minds was delivered by Shelley Yacopetti, RAD Australia's Education and Engagement Manager with support from the whole RAD Australia team. The programme featured presentations, discussion panels and practical workshops and demonstrations from leading dance professionals from around the world - the robust and stimulating programme giving much pause for thought, rise to debate, provocations and practical advice for the delegates to take home and sift through.
Highlights from the weekend included RAD Artistic Director Gerard Charles giving a demonstration class with VCASS students acknowledging and working with the individuality of the student, William Centurion delving into the relationship between social media and a dancer's mental health, and Cathy Yoshimura exploring the principals of alignment.
A vibrant market place supported by major dance brands offered delegates a swathe of special offers and generous door prizes adding to the buzz of an already animated weekend.
The next conference will take place in 2022 with the venue and theme to be announced.