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Teacher

An open letter to the NSW Premier


By Fiona Cooper
on 31 May 2020

29th May 2020

The Honourable Gladys Berejiklian, Premier, New South Wales. Dear Premier,

I write in response to comments made at a press conference on Thursday 29th May in relation to the training and role of the private dance studio teacher in NSW.

As the representative of over 800 dance teachers I would like to express my most stringent objection to the reference that these teachers are not qualified or highly trained in their craft.

As one of Australia’s oldest dance societies with 87 years of commitment to training dance teachers you comments are unfounded and with due respect, incorrect. Our members are highly qualified teachers, they may also have been artists but their chosen career path is that of teaching. The COMDANCE training method requires a comprehensive understanding of anatomy, safe dance practice, appropriate teaching styles, a recognition and development of appropriate teaching methods for children with disabilities, awareness and strategies for dealing with mental health issues, child safety regulations and policy, developing and maintaining sound business practices amongst many other skills. These are all required over and above a minimum of 15 years of dance training.

COMDANCE also requires ongoing professional development by our teachers so they can maintain membership to the Society. The Society also offers Nationally accredited VET qualifications in Dance Teaching and Management through an approved registered training organization. Moreover, on behalf of our members, I wish to make it very clear they are indeed highly qualified and to note your comment is not correct.

During the Covid-19 pandemic we have offered a multitude of tools and strategies to ensure our teachers are abreast of the necessary health and safety requirements and to provide assistance in continuing to offer classes online.

For some students the studio is their haven. It offers an alternative to school and a place where they feel safe, secure and accomplished. The closure of the studios was necessary during the early days of the pandemic and all our members have respected and supported that decision, however in most cases the studio space is much larger than the classroom and with much fewer numbers and yet the Federal and State Governments are encouraging students back to school and banning the operation of the studio.

I respectfully request that you take into consideration the nurturing and responsible nature of the COMDANCE teachers and acknowledge their qualifications in any decision to reopen dance studios.

Yours sincerely,

Diane Gepp

President

B.Ed. CSTD Theatrical, Classical, Tap, Highland.

Written by: Fiona Cooper