young ballerinasBackground

Dance is basking in wider public appeal and interest in Australia. The rise of competition television shows like 'Dancing with the Stars', 'So You Think You Can Dance', "Dance Academy" etc., have led to a surge in numbers enrolling in all styles of dance classes. The huge number of dancing feet crossing studio thresholds is great news given that they are usually accompanied by smiling faces and healthy bodies, all of which are of course in the nation's best interest. But just as tendu follows plié, the next step for a healthy dancing nation is to make sure that the classes, teachers and material being taught are safe, supported and professionally assessed. After all, the value of a dance class is significantly lessened if the teacher is unqualified, the material mostly improvised and the classroom unsafe. Recognising this need and wanting to create and set new standards leading to more employable dancers, the Commonwealth Government  created (2011) a new set of national standards where, in effect, none had existed before.

To help in understanding the acronyms and language of vocational training go to the government VET jargon buster link.

The "AQF" and ADi Involvement

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) provides a comprehensive, nationally consistent yet flexible framework for all qualifications in post-compulsory education and training. The AQF recognises that the schools sector, VET sector and higher education sector each have different industry institutional linkages and it connects these in its coherent single Framework.

AQF qualifications are used throughout Australia and are developed in conjunction with all facets of industry and community from agriculture to welding, not forgetting music, visual arts culminating in  over 1,500 courses. They are integrated where possible to help the student move through and between different education levels and systems by specifying, standardizing and benchmarking outcomes to be achieved.

Current ADi directors were privileged to be invited to join the NPRG which functions as the industry governing body for the project. ADi viewed this new project as a valuable initiative for the dance teaching industry, and consequently made its resources available to assist IBSA with concepts for the framework of new standards. ADi’s existing pioneering work in creating a comprehensive suite of nationally accredited dance curricula, already compliant with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) has provided a starting point.

ADi and AQF Structures

ADi qualifications (initially created by its founding Corporate Affiliate, Australian Dance Vision), were the first comprehensive suite of nationally accredited private dance curricula for young dance students in Australia in 1998. Not stopping to rest on its laurels though, and having integrated their syllabuses (in Classical, Jazz and Tap) with the Australian Qualifications Framework, ADV undertook the rigorous task of attaining full Registered Training Organisation status. ADV then passed this mantle to ADi to provide a new entity for open access vocational training to the industry and other interested dance societies.

This early ground-breaking work by ADV is a credit to the organisation, and its founding chairman (now ADi curriculum director) Penny Lancaster. ADV has persisted in carefully balancing and assimilating the vitality, dynamism and creativity of dancing and dance teaching with the strict requirements of government training frameworks and standards. Penny has striven to create and retain a teacher friendly, student challenging curriculum.