What was the origin of the first International Conference of Dalcroze Studies?
I’ve told this story elsewhere, so I won’t repeat it here. I compiled a booklet to celebrate the first decade of ICDS, and the hosts who took on the baton after Coventry – Angelika Hauser-Dellefant (ICDS2), Josée Vaillancourt (ICDS3) and Anetta Pasternak (ICDS4) – all contributed to it. If I may say so myself, I think it’s a good read! You can download it here.
What are you most proud of from all the conferences?
Most of all, I feel very gratified that it got traction. People seemed to see the same need as I did. As a result, it grew and grew, and people have clearly wanted to invest in it. I think it’s proved its worth, as it’s inspired many people to undertake research, or at least to engage with it, and to deepen their reflective practice. It has built a community of open-minded and curious spirits who not only enjoy the creativity, freedom and transformative nature of Dalcroze and related practices, but also want to do serious intellectual work. I think it still has a way to go to develop its impact and to connect different communities, but it has very strong foundations. I am very excited about ICDS7 at the University of Luxembourg in 2025, and the new leadership team (Eric Barnhill, Stephen Neely, Luc Nijs) is doing a great job.
How do you see the future of Dalcroze in the UK?
The impression I get is that Dalcroze UK’s infrastructure is strong, and this will help make the training more sustainable in the long term. I think effective partnerships will be very important and drawing on – even supporting – research that can demonstrate some of the benefits of Dalcroze participation will help with advocacy. There are also opportunities to look at the dance and sport worlds to develop our understanding of how Dalcroze can be more accessible to disabled musicians. I’m coming to the end of a long research collaboration with Dalcroze UK graduate Marlies Muijzers, whose story is a kind of test case. We hope to publish next year. Finally, I am still the Archives Liaison Officer for Dalcroze UK, but haven’t done so much work since just before the pandemic (the last big deposit of materials was in October 2019). So, that’s another area I think we could develop, especially getting practitioners interested in their ancestors, so to speak, and bringing to life some of the wonderfully evocative materials we have in our archive at the University of Surrey.
Do you have any other thoughts about Dalcroze Eurhythmics that you’d like to share?
Just that I think it’s a very precious practice. In fact, I’ve often thought that eurhythmics could be seen as a form of intangible cultural heritage. As such, it requires all those involved to commit to nurture, develop and sustain it, and not to be afraid of asking searching, critical questions, so it continues to be relevant and to thrive in the twenty-first century.