The good news has already circulated, Floria Capsali Choreography High School in Bucharest is the initiator and coordinator of Teachers for SwanZ, a strategic partnership project co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, dedicated to vocational dance and choreography education. Partners in this project are the National School of Arts Professor Vesselin Stoyanov in Ruse (Bulgaria), Attitude Studios – Ballet with Laura in Vienna (Austria) and the Hellenic Union of Romania.
On 17 June, just days before the last bell of this school year, Floria Capsali High School received a visit from a group of journalists, the theme of the meeting being the progress made in the Teachers for SwanZ project during the first six months of implementation. The project manager, ballet pianist Diana Zăvălaş, reviewed the main activities and events carried out up to now, after which journalists were invited to visit the school and to attend the second open dance class, transmitted online by Floria Capsali High School to all partners. It was a good opportunity to talk to some teachers and students involved in this initiative. The project, which runs over two years, supports the continuous training of ballet teachers and dance instructors in partner countries by developing their professional, communication, digital and intercultural skills. This training will benefit not only teachers and instructors, but also students belonging to the “Z generation”, aged between 13 and 16, the attention payed to this generation also inspiring the title of the project, which also suggests the aspirations of small ballerinas to dance in the most beautiful symbol of choreography – Swans’ Lake. After the first three months, in which the activities related to project management and communication were predominant, in March a.c. two working groups were created which, by sharing their own preparation and experiences, collaborate to create two of the concrete results of Teachers for SwanZ. It is about:
The Teachers for SwanZ Training Manual, for ballet teachers and dance instructors, which aims to enrich existing dance methodologies and practical guidelines, bring them up to date, adapt them to how generation Z receives new knowledge and skills.
Mini-guide of Movement, a work done with and for teachers who teach general culture subjects in dance schools, a work that will encourage interdisciplinary learning, facilitating the links between dance and general education.
At present, after several rounds of discussions held exclusively in the virtual environment, the final content of the two materials, the structure of each chapter and article is outlined, after which a comprehensive process of revision and harmonisation of all contributions will follow. Because of the impossibility to organise the planned mobilities during the pandemic period, the teams focused on the elaboration of these teaching works, which they hope to complete early next year.
Work is already under way to create the third concrete result of the project – the dance platform Virtual Learning Laboratory – an innovative educational tool that will give those interested the opportunity to learn, to improve in the field of different types of professional dance – classical ballet, character dance, traditional dance, contemporary dance. The platform will present a methodology of use, records of the practical activities that teachers carry out in partner schools within the project, including dance lessons transmitted online, training and Master-class sessions, evaluation grids and questionnaires, user testimonials.
As is well known, the project enjoys the moral support of four ambassadors – Gigi Căciuleanu, one of the greatest masters of contemporary world dance, Alkis Raftis, President of UNESCO’s International Dance Council, Liudmila Konovalova, the first ballerina of the Vienna State Opera, Vessela Vassileva, prima ballerina and artistic director of the Ruse State Opera. These famous people were with the project team at important moments, e.g. on the occasion of International Dance Day – 29 April, Europe Day – 9 May, World Day of Diversity of Cultural Expressions – 21 May.
If this year priority had the work on the creation of educational products, according to the decision of all teams, 2022 will be dedicated in large part to the organization and deployment of the planned mobilities, which will take place in Bucharest, Ruse and Vienna. Teachers and students involved in the project will participate.
2022 will also be the year of dissemination of project results, as they materialise, the year of openings to new collaborations and partnerships. Taking into account that textbooks and the platform will be open educational tools and will be published on the Erasmus+ European projects platform, partner schools hope to provide an example of good practice to other similar institutions in Romania, Bulgaria and Austria, to strengthen collaborative relations with them for the benefit of vocational dance education throughout the region.