Dance Education: Dancing. Writing. Learning.
Having graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science; qualified as a journalist; and established myself as a dance writer, furthering my knowledge of dance by studying with a world-renowned dance education institution seemed like a natural next step.
Every time I dance, I turn into a better version of myself. Essentially, dance excites me — and that is true whether I am participating in dance, watching dance or writing about dance. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the possibility of sharing my enthusiasm for dance through teaching has always intrigued me.
Attaining a place as a student on the Royal Academy of Dance’s BA (Hons) Dance Education programme in 2014 marked the start of a learning experience that has equipped me with the skills and understanding to fully appreciate the complexities of dance, art and education. The syllabus covers dance in relation to the disciplines of Anatomy, Cultural Studies, Health, History, Music, Pedagogy, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology and more. This truly rounded education in dance has enhanced my previously established skill set, ensuring my teaching practice is informed and impassioned.
Being invited to feature as a Dance Education advocate for the Royal Academy of Dance’s 2017 social media campaign ‘Meet the Student’ was a fitting way to acknowledge the learning journey I have been on.
Finding ways to continue my development in dance as a practitioner, writer and teacher is important to me. Working hard is part of my personality — a part that has undoubtedly been nurtured by my involvement in dance!
I can’t wait to see where dance (and my work ethic) will take me next…
Ballet teacher and former professional ballet dancer Lorna Scott is an in-demand dance teacher, a mentor to fellow educators, a higher education student and a busy mum of two.
Amazingly, she found time to discuss performing, teaching, the benefits of dancing and her thoughts on dance education with Georgina Butler.
Lorna Scott is a former soloist with Scottish Ballet. She joined the Company on an apprentice contract after training at The Dance School of Scotland and graduating from The Royal Ballet Upper School. A year later, she was awarded a full-time contract and began working her way up through the ranks. During the 13 years Lorna spent at Scottish Ballet, she was privileged to work with countless brilliant choreographers including Hans van Manen, Ashley Page, Mark Baldwin, Robert North, Richard Alston, Tim Rushton and Stephen Petronio.
After retiring from her career as a professional ballet dancer, Lorna retrained with the Royal Academy of Dance, achieving the Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma (PDTD) with Distinction. Lorna’s first position after gaining the PDTD was working as ballet teacher and junior conservatoire coordinator at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. This role combined coaching senior vocational students (aged 16 to 18) on the Dance Course throughout the day and teaching junior associates (aged 5 to 16) in the evenings.
Now a self-employed ballet teacher working in Aberdeen, Lorna is relishing being able to inspire young dancers through her teaching. Moreover, having trained as a Royal Academy of Dance Continuing Professional Development tutor in 2015, she is looking forward to having many opportunities to support fellow dance teachers in their efforts to spread the joys of dancing far and wide. Still keen to further her own expertise, Lorna is also currently studying for a degree in Dance Education with the Royal Academy of Dance.
Dancer, dance teacher and artist Olivia Holland fills Georgina Butler in on how relocating to New Zealand has helped her to rediscover her passion for dance.
Olivia Holland is a graduate of the Royal Ballet School White Lodge and Elmhurst School for Dance whose professional dancing career has included contracts with Royal Ballet of Flanders (November 2011–June 2012) and Northern Ballet (July 2012–July 2015).
Ever since she started touring with Birmingham Royal Ballet while she was a student at Elmhurst, Olivia has been painting pictures inspired by her life as a dancer. These exquisite artworks are influenced by the performers she has worked with, the ballets she has danced in and the countries and theatres she has visited. A keen photographer, she has also recorded her experiences backstage in captivating snapshots.
Since Olivia last graced this site for an interview in June 2014 her entrepreneurial spirit and sense of adventure has taken her to the island nation of New Zealand, also known as the ‘Paradise of the Pacific’. Surrounded by stunning natural beauty, motivated to continue painting and newly devoted to the art of teaching, Olivia is falling in love with dancing — and the life it has given her — all over again.
[© Olivia Holland]
I have created a range of dance resources which I hope will prove to be useful for learning and teaching purposes.
Discovering dance ought to be an enlightening experience for people of all ages because the learning process never really ends. There are always new ways to think about the basics of movement, more advanced skills and qualities to develop, and emerging choreographic approaches to appreciate.
A comprehensive dance education undoubtedly requires more than a narrow focus on perfecting technique. Indeed, Martha Graham declared that “great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion”. To have passion suggests possessing a depth of understanding, interpretation and reification that can only be realised by being curious, asking questions and reflecting on what we learn.
Dancers spend countless hours practising in the studio but it is important to remember that dance as an art form does not exist in a vacuum. Everyone in the dance community — students, teachers and audiences — ought to challenge themselves to really experience the multifaceted nature of dance and keep learning. Doing so might involve delving into terpsichorean* history; examining terminology; getting acquainted with anatomy; investigating dancers, choreographers, musicians and works of note; or pursuing personal research interests.
Quite simply, using your time outside of the studio to further your subject knowledge in an alternative manner may be the best thing you can do to nurture your love of dancing.
Sparkling Lily Sayuri is an Insta-star among fashion-conscious dancers around the world, thanks to her trendsetting posts illustrating stylish ideas for studio attire. Her feed is simply overflowing with snapshots of beautiful outfits!
Unsurprisingly, Georgina Butler was keen to find out more about the bubbly balletomane wearing the clothes.
Lily Sayuri — ballet wear stylist, ballet teacher, photographer, cat lover and passionate supporter of people — is dancing through life with a desire to encourage everyone she encounters to appreciate their own brilliance and seize the day. Whether inspiring her internet fans to get creative with their wardrobes; nurturing adult ballet students in Japan; or championing new creatives, Lily’s upbeat enthusiasm is clear.
Lily was born and raised in Japan, where she currently lives. Her cat Blair (whose Japanese name Bucho 部長 means “Company’s Boss”) is now used to living in an apartment full of ballet clothes and ensures that he gets involved by posing in front of Lily’s camera whenever the opportunity arises!
As founder of Quatre-Quarts Ballet Company, Lily is free to indulge in her love of ballet, art and communicating wherever and whenever. At home modelling and vlogging with Bucho; teaching classes at her dance studio; or posting pictures online while out and about. The Company combines her very own ballet school (exclusively for adult dancers, of all ages and abilities) and her online dance fashion store (stocking everything the well-dressed ballerina could possibly wish for).