The Federal Association of Teachers of Dancing was established in 1931, making it the longest established dance organisation in the southern hemisphere. Catering for all styles of dancing, FATD enjoyed extensive growth in a short space of time to the point where in the early 1940s it necessitated the dividing of the ballroom and theatrical styles into separate branches so as to enable them to operate more efficiently. Joyce Love was elected as the first vice president of the theatrical branch.
Though it grew out of the enormous popularity of ballroom dancing, a large percentage of the original 25 teachers at the first meeting were theatrical dance teachers, and theatrical and ballroom dancing have retained equal parts in FATD’s operations, with each enjoying separate faculties.
The original syllabus of the theatrical branch (now known as the theatre dance faculty) covering tap and musical comedy (later styled “modern dance”, and now currently “jazz”) was based on the work and teaching of the internationally noted english dancer Zelia Raye and was formulated by a committee which included Joyce Love, Hope Ryrie, Ann McDonald and Edna Storey.
The first syllabi in tap and musical comedy were established in the 1940s. The theatrical syllabus soon spread Australia wide, with examinations being conducted here as well as in Asia and New Guinea.
Joyce Love was appointed examinations organiser followed in 1961 by Rosemary Newton who retired from that position in 1987.
In the early 1970s the grade syllabus was extended with the introduction of practical tests in the form of the gold star syllabus for tap (by the late Edna Storey) and modern dance (by the late Helen De Paul, who was later awarded the OAM for services to dance). Later came a bronze and silver star syllabus in the same styles. All syllabi have undergone continual upgrades. “the association was incorporated in 1981, and has a current membership in excess of 600. ” 1947 also saw the appointment of Eileen Kane as full time organising secretary of the federal. After a staggering 37 years of exceptional service, Eileen retired in 1984 and was succeeded by Robert (Bob) Steele. Although from a ballroom background Bob took a great interest in the activities of the theatrical branch (later at his instigation) to be renamed the theatre dance faculty and in 1986 as a result of his active encouragement and support the faculty examining board agreed to the establishment of the FATD classical ballet syllabus.
In his role as CEO of FATD, he was responsible for the reorganisation of the administrative procedures within the faculty and from 1987 until retirement in 2007, Bob handled all organisational matters concerning examination activities.
In 2008 Craig Wilson became the CEO of FATD and Organising Secretary for the Ballroom Faculty and Kim Griffin became the Organising Secretary of the Theatre Dance Faculty.
“ THE ASSOCIATION WAS INCORPORATED IN 1981, AND HAS A CURRENT MEMBERSHIP IN EXCESS OF 600.”
Attention to detail and the regular updating of syllabus requirements since those early days have allowed the FATD a long history of recognised high standards in syllabus technical work and quality rated qualifications of which so many are justifiably proud.
Recognising the need for teachers to be more widely trained in areas peripheral to actual dance technique, the syllabus requirements for teaching qualification examinations was expanded as from January 1, 2000 to include the demonstration of actual teaching ability, a knowledge of music in relation to dance, the study of anatomy, physiology and psychology, first aid and safe dance practices.
Hip hop and street tap became part of the syllabus in 2006 with combinations in every grade.
In 2009, the first examination session was held in Malaysia (Jahor Bahru and Penang), as well a several new teachers commencing the syllabus in Thailand (Bangkok) – first examination session 2010. Queensland students in years 10 – 12 were granted recognition of their FATD exams for their final year 12 exams.
2010 saw the introduction of dance assessment awards in tap and jazz. Tasmanian students in years 10 – 12 were granted recognition of their FATD exams for their final year 12 exams.
Throughout 2012 & 2013 it became necessary for the theatre dance faculty to start to separate from FATD. As of 1st January 2014 Australasian Dance Association Ltd became our new company name. Our federal history is very dear to our hearts & will always remain a part of each & everyone that has been associated with the society.
2014 also saw the new and amazing revised Syllabus and music for Pre-primary to Grade Five Tap & Jazz. Bronze Star and Silver Star Tap & Jazz then followed in 2015. ADA welcomed Elspeth Dunne and Clutha Dance in Balclutha NZ in 2015. Elspeth is originally from QLD and now working in Balclutha. Miss Mandy Noble had the pleasure of their first exams and a huge congratulations to all involved.
2016 saw the completion of the revision with the presentation of the fantastic Gold Star and Bar to Gold Star Tap & Jazz. A mammoth undertaking by the Board of Examiners.
During 2017 there was no rest for the Board of Examiners as they recreated the Classical Ballet syllabus led by Lesley Scott, Mandy Noble and Kim Griffin. This was presented in 2018 with great delight to all ADA members in Australia and Thailand. The response from teachers and students is very positive, especially looking into the future of ADA Classical Ballet.
The syllabus for Major Assessments Program (MAP) was created in 2018. It is structured in four levels with the entire program being applicable to each discipline separately. MAP is an alternative for anyone not desirous of the Examination process and also allows everyone to finish their ADA Teaching qualifications. The 4 levels are Pre-Elementary, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced in all 3 genres – Classical Ballet, Tap and Jazz dance.
Class Performance Awards – ADA wants to encourage all students to keep working to reach the highest standard possible for their ability. All studios have some students that teachers feel are not ready, or have not reached the required standard to partake the Examination process for a particular Grade or Stars exam. Here is a chance for all your students to be a part of your ADA session. Teachers will be able to tailor each groups performance to showcase their abilities and potential.