the history of fatd
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 Mc Donald 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.
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.
2010 saw the introduction of Dance Assessment Awards in Tap and Jazz.