International Christian Dance Fellowship
Foundation Newsletter - July 2021
Keep on dancing during the pandemic!
A Word from Jenny
Sydney is back in Lockdown with an unclear end in sight. Unlike many countries around the world, Australia has been relatively unscathed by the pandemic. Our case numbers have been relatively low, but now like everywhere else, the Delta variant has hit our shores and we are sheltering ‘in place’.
Other countries have been impacted far more than in Australia. Sadly in India, I have recently heard that Jaideep Mukherji, Sylvia’s husband has been in hospital with COVID 19. Many of us will remember Sylvia’s huge contribution to the ICDF Indian Cultural Tour in 2019. Sylvia is the Head Mistress of the New Song Community School for rural children that has recently been closed because of the pandemic. Jaideep has now been released from hospital but it is still a hard journey forward. Please read their story below.
The pandemic affects us all differently: For some health outcomes are uncertain, livelihoods have been curtailed (some destroyed), communities and family gatherings dispersed, and for most of us life has been reduced to essentials. We are all reconsidering what are the ‘essentials’ and for me that still includes dance.
Last year when NSW Government prohibited dance class in studios, I joined a Senior Swan class on-line, taught by Corinne Urquhart. This is a happy story of preparing and passing my RAD exam and ‘Still dancing strong’ – see below.
The Foundation is offering grants for the preparing and filming a series of Christian Dance Classes to go on-line. Apply NOW!
For all of us this is a period of uncertainty – which I hate! I love programs, schedules, event planning and meeting people. None of which I can do. Many years ago when I was on a Cruise Ship in the Aegean Sea, that was unable to go ashore due to a storm, I recalled the following Psalm. Looking into the raging sea and trying not to be sea- sick I thought of Paul who was ship -wrecked in the Aegean sea and David who penned this Psalm. My prayer for you is to remember that “God is YOUR refuge and strength…Be still and know that He is YOUR God” during the pandemic!
Psalm 46 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, thought the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging …. Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah”
God bless and keep dancing,
Chair of ICDF Foundation
Apart... yet together (2020)
Choregraphy: Corinne Urquhart and Celine Urquhart
Videography: Robert Urquhart
Music: Lauren Daigle, Robert Urquart
Producer: Jennifer Dennis
News from India
In 2019 The Foundation supported 27 Indian nationals to attend the International Christian Dance Fellowship Cultural Tour in Kanyakumari, India. This included Sylvia Mukherji, the Headmistress of a large successful school for first time learners in rural India. Her daughter Rachael and her friend Penang accompanied her. Sylvia's husband Jaideep has lead the Vineyard Compassion Ministries for 15 years that supports church plants in remote rural communities.
For over a year, the Mukherji household has been under considerable pressure with the closure of the school, lack of income and the difficulty of supporting staff and the local community, during the pandemic. Sadly Jaideep recently caught COVID 19, was hospitalised and thankfully is now convalescing at home. He is making steady progress but understandably this has been a very hard time for him, Sylvia, the family and their work.
Your prayers and support for this family and their ministry would be appreciated. Go to Vineyard India Compassion Trust for further information or contact the Foundation.
Still Dancing Strong - and passed my RAD exam!
All of us have been trying to stay positive and active during the pandemic. For me I decided to return to ballet after a 40- year break! I joined a Silver Swan Ballet Class. It was nothing like impersonating a swan, but rather a ‘proper RAD Ballet’ class- of barre, centre, free movement and character work. Everything except pointe!
My ballet teacher Corinne Urquhart and my cohort of aspiring ‘swans’ went on a journey of discovering the beauty and joy of ballet. My body protested violently. Standing in 3rd and later 5th was hard work; trying to coax my ‘turn out’ muscles to ‘turn on’ took some convincing. Every class was a ‘pain’ in the early days, but this was soon offset by the reduction in pain I was experiencing from my arthritic knees. As my muscles started to rebuild, my body slowly strengthened and enjoyed the journey.
As every dancer knows practice is key to improvement. On my daily walks I would be found at the local café, while awaiting my coffee, doing ‘battement fondus’. Later, when I hit further ‘blocks’ in my training, I would relegate practice to the coffee shop barre!
This became an unconscious habit, so much so, that my daughter asked me whether I had been teaching my grandson ballet? I hadn’t noticed that he had started coping me at the coffee shop barre.
The next big hurdle in the journey back to ballet was pulling off a pirroutte, without getting dizzy, jumping without hurting my bad knee and finally and most challenging, was remembering every sequence correctly. Ballet demands a high degree of attention to detail, with feet and hands in the right place, at the right time, and on the correct beat.
Corinne suggested over coffee after class, that I sit for my RAD Grade 6 exam. At the time it seemed a ridiculous idea, but after further consideration I was up for the challenge. This would mean putting on a leotard (and loosing weight) and coming under the strict regime of the RAD syllabus. Having been through the higher grades as a teenager, I knew what I was up for, or so I thought?
As the exam got closer I realised that I was taking too long to remember the syllabus. So practice included Polish character dances in the local park, jumps in the pool, during the Adelaide Festival, and increased café shop barre, much to the amusement of the local dog walkers.
I had forgotten how terrifying it is to turn up for an exam. With hair slicked back, into a very unflattering ballet bun, and reduced to a number, I entered the icy studio feeling a child again. It took all my courage to remember what my teacher said: To stay focussed, remember the technical details and to enjoy the dance and perhaps even smile!
I had told Corinne that preparing for the exam had been like walking up a huge mountain and that on the exam day, I intended to ‘enjoy the view’. I can’t say it was easy to dance for 50 minutes on my own, with the fierce eyes of a highly trained and critical examiner dissecting my every move. However, I was so pleased to have turned up, trying my best and dancing my heart out! I was equally very relieved when it was over! The examiner, Miss Whitten, was obviously curious about why I was doing an exam at my age. She not so tactfully, asked me as I walked in, whether I had had a big break from my dance training. I said, “Yes, it was my Covid project and here I am – to dance!” I was dying to tell her that the break was over 40 years and even my age, but this is not allowed. The RAD system prohibits you from entering your age on the form. A pity, since it was the first time I have wanted to ‘shout out’ my age!
Yesterday, I heard I had ‘Passed with Merit'! What a joy! I am looking forward to the next Grade ahead and the associated challenges. It can’t be as hard as the last, or can it be?
I am so blessed to be able to get back into dance at my age: To turn up to class, do an exam and loose myself in the art of dance.
The feedback from the examiner revealed that my barre was good. All those café barre classes paid off. My performance quality and musicality was also good. The Polish character work in the park must have paid off too!
But most of all I passed because of my conscientious and well-trained ballet teacher Corinne. Despite my struggles with my aging body, she pushed me to achieve well past my ability and never let me accept ‘second- best!’ What a gift to have a teacher who corrects you constantly and consistently and never gives up on you, no matter how old you are!
Praise God – now I will prepare a dance for church! I wonder how hard that will be? No doubt very hard but also well worth the effort - but I will see!
On- line class can start a new beginning for both younger and older dancers. Please consider applying for a grant to prepare and film a series of Christian Dance Classes NOW! See below.
Applications for On- Line Christian Dance Classes is Open NOW
The Project Brief
The International Christian Dance Fellowship Foundation (ICDFF) is sponsoring a group or individual to prepare a series of Christian Dance Classes that can be accessed on- line.
The aim is to provide classes to people who are unable to access a dance class due to the Pandemic and/or are living in a remote location.
The project would involve:
Preparing three classes of one -hour duration;
The classes would include warm up, technical work and creative exploration on a Christian theme; and
The classes would be filmed on a group of people who are doing the class.
Level of dance capacity and previous experience
The Foundation is aware that dance classes can cover a wide range of ages and abilities. We suggest that this class is for adults who have minimal to some dance experience.
Your proposal can choose to focus more specifically on an age group if you want.
Who is Eligible?
This is open to all participants of ICDF.
You need to apply to the Foundation for the grant.
Outline your approach to the three classes.
Explain who is involved.
Explain how you would film the classes.
The Foundation is offering financial assistance to successful applicants for this Project. Please demonstrate how much you need to deliver this project.
Applications are open NOW
Please contact Jenny Dennis, Chair of the Foundation for further information at email@example.com
P r o m o t i n g - R e c o g n i s i n g - S u p p o r t i n g
The Foundation gratefully receives all donations via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the ICDF Foundation
www.foundation.icdf.com The ICDF Foundation supports the International Christian Dance Fellowship (ICDF) in its aim to serve the movement arts in ministry and mission in a visible, available and relevant way by:
· recognising excellence in Christian Dance/Movement ministry;
· raising money for scholarships/special projects;
· promoting Christian dance/movement internationally.