Today is the day that we will all be voting for the European members of Parliament who in probability will never sit in their elected seats. There is a feeling of pointlessness and I have seriously considered spoiling my ballot paper. I just can’t bring myself to do it though. Thoughts of suffragettes marching and dying flood into my mind and I will later today cast my vote.
It brings sharply into my mind that I am also standing for an election: that of President Elect of the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA). It is a serious responsibility and all votes will be cast soon and the fates sealed.
So before the vote closes I want to reach out to IDTA members. I think the first question to be answered is why I want the position. I come from a family of three generations of IDTA members. I remember taking my own medals with the then IDMA before we became IDTA. It was at the same time fun and terrifying and we dressed in our best clothes and showed the examiner what we had practised. We were not aware when we received our medals of the huge amounts of work done by examiners, administration, teachers and officials. What we got out of it though was so much more than a medal. We learnt to dance but we also learnt about respect, dignity, integrity, justice, kindness, grace and community. Those were important messages.
I value those lessons and also think they are worth something today. Unlike the European elections, I will not be bringing down the other candidates with rhetoric and malice. The IDTA is blessed with having caring skilled technicians and dance experts.
So what qualities make a good President of the IDTA and do I have them?
Well I have heard someone say you have to like a good chicken dinner as you go to so many functions. That is a stumbling block as I am vegetarian! However as you can see I do have sense of humour and that may be important.
I have had an extensive career in dance. I won the British and the International Championships and trained with the wonderful Walter Laird. I spent many years at sea as a choreographer, teacher and performer. I ran a successful school and I have had the privilege of examining in the UK and all over the world.
What I am probably most proud of though is my engagement with formal education in my fifties. I completed my Masters in Leadership and Management, learnt a great deal about myself but also about change management, finance, communication, mentorship, personality types, leadership and education. This formal education at Masters Level was life transforming and life affirming. That I managed to complete it whilst running a busy school taught me a lot about time management.
Of course it would be an honour to represent members and lead the Association and it would make you and your family proud, but much more importantly for me it is about having the opportunity to make a difference. I feel that I have diverse skills which make me uniquely qualified to take on this role at this time. At the heart of the IDTA is its members, and I want to work for our members so that we can all move successfully forward in whatever field we prioritise. Key in this is communication, support and respect.
Don’t forget to vote.