Performing Arts Learner Success Stories
James Grant from Whitechapel has been announced as Festival of Learning’s Highly Commended Senior Learner in their 2018 awards
James Grant was given the award for his exceptional achievements in adult learning. This award celebrates adults who have transformed their own lives and the lives of their families, friends, their communities, and the places they work through learning.
James, age 70, has always been interested in dance. In his retirement he decided to give ballet a try and in doing so, has overcome stereotypes, becoming a role model for other mature dancers.
James first attended ballet dance classes designed for older people. He then joined a performing company that taught more demanding techniques and encouraged older people to step out of their comfort zone and show their skills to audiences.
James started attending classes at Idea Store Learning in Whitechapel which are designed for adults of all ages and teach ballet from the basics upwards. James quickly progressed and enjoyed the challenge of learning alongside people of all ages. He also noticed that his dance skills were helping his general fitness and his stamina during his gym sessions.
James spoke about the impact his learning has had: “I am excited to act as a role model to encourage other old people not be afraid to try new activities which might normally be seen as something that only young people do.”
James’s tutor, Annarita Mazzilli said “James’s commitment to dance classes has proven that participation in all-inclusive artistic and cultural activity can assist self-development and enthusiasm for learning.”
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said: “James has used learning to not only enhance his existing skills and confidence, but those of others. He is determined to encourage more older people to forget stereotypes and take up any kind of learning regardless of their age. For this, we commend him. Festival of Learning is all about inspirational stories of people like James that show that anyone can benefit from learning. Lifelong learning is vital for all of us as jobs and society change around us. We encourage everyone to give learning a try, particularly in June when hundreds of free activities can be found on our Have a Go Month calendar. Further information on learning opportunities and support with the costs of courses is available through the National Careers Service, colleges and community learning providers.“
Hana Bogarova and Gabriella Sandoval
Idea Store Learners: Professional Dance Training
Hana and Gabriella attended the ‘Professional Dance Training’ course and are due to start respectively a BA in Theatre and Drama and a BA in Dance at Birkbeck University of London in September 2014.
“The course is excellent, inspirational, whether you simply wish to engage in personal development or more qualifications. The teacher is always willing to help you regardless how stuck you are. The quality of teaching is outstanding.“ Hana
“This great experience enhanced my self -confidence to apply to University and gave me the necessary training to be ready for the intensity of a dance degree. Highly recommended, I met such nice classmates and had so much fun!” Gabriella