This Saturday, 16 May is our 90th anniversary!
Founded in 1930 by the renowned teacher, Edouard Espinosa, and his wife, dancer Louise Kelland, we are one of the UK's major awarding organisations. As you know, we provide syllabi, Government-recognised examinations, teacher training, and inspiring events for everyone who loves dance.
In 1920, Edouard Espinosa was one of the founders of the Association of Operatic Dancing (AOD), which later became the Royal Academy of Dance. Passionate about teaching, he wanted to standardise the progressive learning of dance through syllabi and exams, and, to achieve this, founded bbodance 10 years later.
Edouard Espinosa used to travel the world to examine students. His tours were so popular that, in 1936, he created branches in Australia and New Zealand to manage exams there.
Edouard Espinosa loved Theatre Dance, which was the precursor to modern Musical Theatre, and our organisation later expanded to include other genres. Under the stewardship of John Field, CBE and his wife, Anne Heaton, our syllabi received professional recognition by the Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT; then known as CDET). Sadly, Mrs Heaton-Field passed away earlier this month, before our anniversary.
As you know, we currently provide syllabi and Government-recognised examinations in Musical Theatre, Contemporary, Tap, Classical Ballet, Modern, and Jazz. Our syllabi are fully digitised and accessible online, as text and video, to all bbodance teachers.
To reflect this range, we changed the name of our organisation from British Ballet to bbodance four years ago. At the same time, we now deliver an in-depth teacher training programme inspired by Espinosa's strong pedagogic vision. Our Dance Teaching Qualifications (TQ) courses help teachers develop techniques they can apply to teach any genre, in any context.
Given current studio closures, the online TQ programme is ever more popular and relevant; however, we know that students and teachers can't wait to return to class. There's something about being in a space together, exploring movement, that inspires a love of the art form like nothing else. With the support of our Patrons, our dedicated team are hard at work to reschedule our biggest annual event in the UK, Dance Days, which, for the first time in its history, was postponed this year due to COVID-19. However, we remain hopeful that Dance Days will take place as planned in Australia and New Zealand, marking the first onsite celebration of 90 years of bbodance.
"In its 90 years, the organization has touched the lives of millions of people, introducing them to the joy of dance, and has been responsible for starting the careers of many of the most prestigious artists in the world of professional theatre. What a fantastic organization — Compact, Friendly, High-quality, Ahead of its time, and Fast to react. Sounds a bit like its founder, Edouard Espinosa!"
—Nic Espinosa, bbodance Chairman. Read his full message.
P.S. Did you know that to celebrate our anniversary, we're giving away free Associate Memberships with full online access to all our syllabi? Find out more.