It was early in 1998 and I had been working at the Royal Ballet School in London for 14 years. I’m not a dancer; I was Assistant Director, responsible for the academic, financial and administrative parts of the school, as well as marketing and development. During those years we developed an outreach programme to work with dance teachers, mostly in the UK, in identifying children of talent and potential. I was immensely impressed at the work that dance teachers did and, in talking to them, gained some insight into the ways in which they engaged – or didn’t engage – with other teachers and wondered how I could help them.
I felt I’d done my bit at the Royal Ballet School and wondered how I could now move on and use those 14 years of experience in the world of specialist education and dance teaching. I decided to take the risk of branching out on my own and providing consultancy services to dance organisations, schools and teachers. And I also wanted to do more in bringing dance teachers together and providing a “place” where they could share ideas and concerns.
Before moving into teaching in my 30s, I had trained and worked as a computer programmer and I had subsequently tried to keep up those skills. So, 18 years ago, I decided to build a web site to do just that – Dance Teachers On-Line was born! At its most basic form DTOL was always, and still is, a list of dance teachers around the world, which young people and adults can use to find a dance class/teacher. DTOL now has over 7,600 dance teachers listed, in 98 different countries (I’d really like to make that 100 countries before I retire!).
Nowadays DTOL is so much more than that – a very popular place to advertise dance teacher vacancies, for instance – and more sophisticated in the way in which it works, but I still send regular email newsletters to our members. I retired from consultancy work some years ago but, even at an advanced age, there is still much to learn for me – about social media for instance – and to apply enhancements to the DTOL experience.
Editor’s Note: I am a member of this organization and this is not a paid advert. I sincerely hope this organization will benefit you should you decide to join. Whatever you do, check it out – if you are not already a member and know of Nigel’s love of the dance and commitment to assisting the dance community.