The official opening of the KZN Dance Academy was held at the KZNSA Art Gallery in Glenwood. The Dance Academy students are made up of boys and girls who attend private studios and who come to the Academy to enhance their skills, learn repertoire from the classics and how to conduct themselves in an audition.
They are prepared for acceptance into Dance Companies in South Africa and overseas. They also take part in various performances during the year.
“No person should ever be denied the chance to dance because of a lack of money,” Yvonne Barker, Principal & Trustee of KZN Dance Academy.The aims and objectives of the KZN Dance Academy is the formation of a professional Arts Academy incorporating dance, which includes classical ballet, contemporary dance, Spanish dance, modern dance, hip hop, etc.
Later, associated Arts genres will be introduced which will include speech & drama, music, costume and set design and etiquette.
At the launch were Back: Carl de Villiers (partially hidden), Matthew Willman
Middle: Gavin Barker, Clive & Yvonne Barker, Maureen Cook Doyle, Margie Marnewick, Geraldine & Bert LeClos, Felix Marnewick, Tony Doyle.
At present the KZN Dance Academy is open to dance students throughout Kwazulu Natal who attend lessons with their own private teachers, and who wish to augment their dance training by attending extra-mural classes in order to enhance their dance skills, improve technique and participate in Pilates and Body Conditioning exercises to strengthen and tone muscles.
Further, students are taught skills that very few private teachers can offer or have time to offer:
– Opportunities to dance on the stage in front of audiences several times a year
– Preparation for entering local and international competitions – bursaries were awarded to two KZNDA dancers to assist in raising the money for them to participate in the CICB Competition in the USA in 2014
– Preparation for auditions as professionals locally and overseas
– Preparation for professional careers in dance i.e. dancing in companies (they are taught repertoire from the classical ballets)
– Life Skills – how to conduct themselves in certain situations so that they are respectful and respected
– Preparation for professional careers as dance teachers by entering for Qualifying examinations:
o Associate (this is an international licence to teach ballet/dance)
o Licentiate (a higher qualification in preparation for Fellowship)
o Fellowship (the highest qualification – this status qualifies a teacher to be invited to become an examiner)
At present, the method of training used for the Qualifying Examinations is the Cecchetti Method, an internationally recognised method, taught all over the world: USA, United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa and many other countries.
Although students and teachers are drawn from different methods of dance, e.g. Cecchetti, RAD, Imperial and various Modern and Contemporary Branches, the KZN Dance Academy is not affiliated to any of these organisations.
Dance classes are presently being conducted by Cecchetti and Contemporary teachers but mainly by Mrs Yvonne Barker F.I.S.T.D.Speech & Drama lessons are presently being taught at the Open Air School in Glenwood by Mrs Margie Marnewick as part of the Outreach programme.
KZN Dance Academy also runs Outreach Programmes where teachers are paid to teach dancing in the outlying areas.
The students do not pay fees for these classes and their examination fees are paid by the KZN Dance Academy. These students have also performed at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre as part of the Creative Youth Arts Festival – costumes and transport supplied by the Academy.
“Friends” of the KZN Dance Academy are approached to “adopt a dancer” for an annual fee. This helps to pay for the dancer’s ballet and pointe shoes, costumes for shows, dance apparel, and tuition fees.
Levels of “Friends” membership are also available for funding of the Outreach Programmes which, it is intended, will be expanded.