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Festival of Learning Award
James Grant Ballet student at Idea Store 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.“
Dance has always been my passion but was never properly fulfilled until 5 years ago when I enrolled for my first dance course at the Idea Store Learning. It was Contemporary Dance for Beginners and my amazing dance journey started then. After completing this course I got a place at the Preparation for Professional Dance Training course. Here, I was able to grasp the basics of ballet and contemporary dance.
After that I have been attending the Intensive Dance Training course for the last few years which has allowed me to develop my skills and technique further. Additionally, within the last few years I have attended few other dance courses including Jazz and Street Dance, as well as the Summer and Easter Intensive Dance Workshop. This varied provision has allowed me to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. Three years ago I was offered a place at ‘Ideachor’ the Idea Store Learning Performance Group . I was able, not only to use all of the technique which I have learned during other courses and express myself through dance but, most importantly, I have been able to be part of creative processes, choreograph dance pieces with our tutor and peers. Besides performing at The End of The Year Show at Brady Art Centre every year our tutor organised opportunities for us to perform at various dance events like the Big Dance Festival or Bloom Festival. In March 2017 Ideachor took part in MOVE IT 2017, one of London’s largest dance events. I would highly recommend dance courses at Idea Store Learning Centre for anyone wanting to try something new, get fit in a creative environment or even pursue a dance career.
We are pleased to announce that Maria, one of our contemporary dance advanced students, has been offered a place at 3 major London Universities to progress onto a dance degree. Offers include: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Roehampton University and Middlesex University.
"I did the advanced contemporary dance course and I did really enjoy it, at the time I was preparing myself for auditions. The teacher was very supportive and gave me feedback about how can I improve and made sure I was clear about what I should focus on while dancing. I would definitely do this course again as I think it is a good contemporary dance course that can help people to gain more experience as well as improving what they already know. I am very happy that I did this course because it helped me get a place into a contemporary conservatoire as well as different universities."