PROFILE AND VISION
I am Rae Storey (MA Wellington, MA Toronto, in English language and literature, Dip.Tchg New Zealand), a lifelong teacher with experience at all levels from kindergarten to university. Study in Toronto and then working in ’60s London opened the wide world to my itchy feet, and I discovered international folkdancing, by then in full swing. Two years of immersion later, I brought home to Auckland a collection of dances and music to share, first with my high school students, then (after more OE) starting an adult night class. The hobby has long since taken over my life. I have enjoyed being a functional part of the scene as it grew up around New Zealand, while being fortunate in several periods of living and dancing in other countries, and flying off for workshops, festivals, and cultural touring. Visiting world experts have meanwhile enriched our experiences and repertoires here. One in particular, who came at just the right time for me, was Femke van Doorn, Dutch leader in folkloric dance for children. My repertoire for young children gained much from hers, and she encouraged me to start training schoolteachers. By 1988 I was customer-testing and videoing a repertoire for sharing with the whole country’s schools.
The result was New Wave Folkdancing, published in 1990, followed by the Under-Fives selection in 1994. For many years we (my women’s performing group) workshopped these dances in schools around the Auckland region, and annually held two huge dance parties in a stadium (up to 2 x 800 kids!). By invitation I ran professional development courses for teachers in centres from Invercargill to Kaitaia, and did several conference sessions here and in Australia. These days schools seek input into their multicultural festivals. Meanwhile Auckland’s festival scene, as it flowered, has always made good use of my children’s maypole team (founded 1978) and La Bourrée (founded 1982), my women’s ensemble, whose performance specialty is French.
By 2008 New Wave’s amateur-grade videos and some of the dances were overdue for replacement. There was need for a more multicultural range. I had more fun to include, and more exciting experiences to share inside traditions of music. By then fascinating information was easier to research too. Dance Studies now existed in the schools’ curriculum, and I hoped to provide not just immersion in the music, movement, and social interaction of community dancing, but the life-enhancing (and empathetic) joy of “understanding dance in context”: seeing one’s personal pleasures in the life of other times and societies, and how, for human reasons, they existed, survived, and were shared or changed!
I’m sad it has taken ten years to research and produce this new resource, but here it is.
Use it for YOUR purposes: If you want only easy access to dances, go to the videos, and when you turn to the book, focus on the instructions and perhaps the Teaching Notes – don’t let the page full of words intimidate you.
The vision doesn’t stop with this publishing. Let’s use a Facebook page as a forum. Feedback, discussion, and sharing of ideas may be just the beginning. Over to you!