Conservatoire for Dance and Drama Annual Conference – Sunday 21st February 2016

I last attended the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama’s conference two years ago in first year, and whilst I found it useful as a tool for networking and discussing how we as a select group wanted the CDD to develop, I felt like there was very little real change made following the conference. Hence, I feel very aware of the need to make my participation at the conference and the discussions that transpired count- thus this blog post is an attempt to communicate to my fellow Northerner’s what went down.

Immediately, I would like to communicate how much I feel NSCD students know about the CDD in comparison to other schools. Northern, in my opinion are very good at acting on feedback, and informing students about things they really should know about. Hannah Perry in particular is awesome at communicating about the CDD to the student rep committee and I feel like this has also passed through to the rest of the school with the talks after Christmas about the CDD.

So… hopefully you should all be aware of what the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama is. If not, shame on you! Follow this link right now and do some reading:

The conference held this year at London Contemporary Dance School, began with a personal empowerment workshop with spoken word and performance poet Maria Ferguson, before moving into a panel discussion with the likes of Lea Anderson, Vicki Amedume (Artistic Director of Upswing), Amin Farid (Choreographer and Researcher from Singapore), Martin Hargreaves (Programme Leader, MA The Body in Performance at Trinity Laban) and Maria Ferguson. The panel covered a variety of topics about the dance industry and the problems within it. Useful for those attending and for getting to know each other better, however, I’m not sure how much it will filter down through the schools… debatable.

After lunch, we watched a video showcasing the highlights from the Scratch Night and did a short, but sweet body percussion workshop with Stewart Pemberton to rejuvenate and re-energise before getting down to the nitty gritty- attempting to formulate some form of student manifesto and to pinpoint what needs to happen next.

After much discussion at the end of the day, we came to the conclusion that these following points were what we wanted from the CDD:

  1. The need to be aware of the CDD, and to be informed on its role (more relevant for the other schools as opposed to NSCD)
  2. To use it as a tool to create greater connections between the schools, whether this was being able to watch each other’s dress rehearsals or having access to discounted performance tickets
  3. To create a CDD Alumni resource, potentially culminating in networking events
  4. The creation of future collaborations between the schools as part of each individual course
  5. The sharing of skills through intensives and exchanges
  6. The continuation of the Scratch Night that took place at NSCD this year

My problem with this is that I feel, like last time, a lot of loose promises have been made to make a change and this will not manifest itself into something tangible. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for advancement, but as a third year on my way out of training there is a limit on what I can do. So, telling you all about this and encouraging you to get involved is realistically what I can do.

Hence, what can you do?

  • First, you can join the CDD Facebook group found here: Conservatoire for Dance and Drama Students  where hopefully you will find a constant stream about what the other schools are up to..
  • You can also talk to Saul Roberts or Nicole Victor- the students from Northern on the CDD steering group, and probably your first port of call. Or Hannah Perry who is on the staff committee.
  • Alternatively, you can get in contact with Hannah Mattinson, the student governor for CDD. She is a lovely person, currently in her second year at LCDS and very keen to develop things. I’m sure she’d be more than happy to talk to anyone who has further questions or wants to get involved.

I hope I’ve managed to sufficiently round up what occurred at the conference. As I mentioned before I feel like other than informing you about what happened on the day my influence on future advancement is quite limited. I believe that the continuation of the Scratch Night and the increased sharing of information between the schools is the most tangible and realistic places for development that will turn into fruition, however, all of the eight schools need to enter into this commitment. It will require a joint and equal effort to develop the CDD for the mutual benefit of both students and staff, and I fear that this will take a long time and many more conferences to achieve this.

Any more questions let me know! I’ll try my best to answer them or alternatively point you in the direction of someone who will be better prepared to help.


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