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Joanne Kirkland

Director 2018-2019

Fellow and Theatre Branch Examiner

Jo started dancing age 4, showing great aptitude for dance and progressing successfully through all her grades. During this period she also competed in high level competitions, achieving the status of British Ballet Champion in 1976. Jo went on to perform professionally in both theatre and television.

Starting her own very successful dance school 32 years ago, she decided that her ultimate goal was to become an IDTA examiner and adjudicator.
After professional coaching she was successful in becoming a Fellow in all 4 Theatre Genres and Freestyle, adding Street, Cheer, Dance exercise and Gymnastic Diplomas to her portfolio as well.

In 2002 Jo became an IDTA examiner, a role she has cherished for the last 15 years. She now examines at professional level and has had the opportunity to promote IDTA within the UK and also across the world. Over the last year she was honored to attend Australia, New Zealand and China promoting the IDTA.

Having been educated and mentored by the best, she believes she has a broad understanding of how young professionals feel pushing themselves to succeed in our industry. The development of IDTA Ballroom and Theatre worldwide is now one of Jo's keen interests.

Looking to the future and always listening to the members, she believes she has ideas, background and capability to provide security for the members professional and business careers in the years to come. Jo feels she is now in the position to dedicate herself to IDTA and its members worldwide.

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Ian Meeson

Director 2019-2020

Fellow and Theatre Branch Examiner

Ian commenced his career as a performer in Londons West End shows, Cats, Starlight Express, Joseph, Fame, The Royal Variety Show, and The Fleet’s In. He also appeared as dance captain in the Eclipse Cirque Musical, the National Tour of Peter Pan, and was the lead singer on the re-release of the Queen song, Who Wants To Live Forever with Brian May. IDTA trained from the outset by Phil Winston, Ian co-devised the Musical Theatre Syllabus realising its potential across the Ballroom, Freestyle, and Theatre disciplines. He is currently Chairman of the Theatrecraft Faculty, and is a member of the Quality Assurance Panel (QAP) for the Association. On gaining his qualification as a singing teacher he wrote the book Sing Sing Sing, and was the composer of the album The Good Singer, both of these tools supporting our syllabi. Ian is co-principal of The Dance School - Solihull, which is proud to have nurtured many Musical Theatre performers through the IDTA structure. His involvement as the announcer on the Ballroom and Street Dance DVDs, and as a judge for the All England Finals, British Championships, Street Dance Medalist, and the Theatre Awards has allowed him to work alongside many influential dance Professionals across all genres, and to witness the very best that our Association has to offer. A member for over 20 years, an Examiner for 10 years, Ian believes that he can assist in moving the IDTA forward, upholding its reputation as the Heart of Dance Worldwide.

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Dawn Parker

Director 2019-2020

Fellow and Ballroom Branch Examiner

Dawn started dancing at the age of seven, and was introduced into the Medal test system through the classical sequence branch. Subsequently she took Medals in several branches, entered and partnered in IDTA Medallist competitions, and in 1974 won Medallist of the Year in Classical and Modern Sequence under the guidance of Derek Tonks and Beryl Bates.

Her desire to teach was very strong and as a result she qualified at 17 in Classical Sequence and Ballroom. She continued studying for further qualifications in other branches at John Knight Dance Studios. By 28 years old Dawn had attained Fellowships in Ballroom, Latin and Sequence, and at 29 was appointed IDTA examiner. She has been a full-time dance teacher all her working life.

She has been a part of IDTA since the beginning in 1967 and firmly believes it will remain the biggest and best by keeping up with modern trends and styles, and encouraging all ages and abilities to get involved in the subject. She has, and still continues to, fully support the Medal test system and has entered thousands of pupils in Ballroom, Latin, Sequence, Freestyle, Rock 'n' Roll, Country and Western, Cheerleading, Dance Exercise and Club Dance style tests.

She has trained numerous professionals in all branches. Dawn has been a member of the Midlands Area Committee for 14 years and is currently Vice Chairman; she is also the current Chairman of the Freestyle Faculty and has previously held titles in 2002-2004 and 2009-2010.

In 2006 she was elected onto the Ballroom Faculty and has thoroughly enjoyed working with colleagues on the revision of our technique book. Her love of examining, lecturing and adjudicating at all levels has not deteriorated, and she still loves the buzz of visiting and revisiting venues to receive a warm reception from all our members. She has thoroughly enjoyed her ten years as a member of the Board, and has become even more aware of how hard her fellow directors work to maintain our standards.

It has been an honour and privilege for Dawn to play a part in the continuing development of the biggest and best dance teachers association in the world, and especially to represent the Association as President from 2010-2011 - a role she thoroughly enjoyed and took very seriously. She would like to thank everyone who had faith in her. Dawn is always approachable and ready to offer advice and encouragement.

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Michael Sandham

Director 2019-2020

Fellow and Ballroom Branch Examiner

Michael is a Fellow and Examiner of IDTA, and former Chairman of the North West Area Ballroom Committee.

Having grown up in the business, Michael and his wife Marie had a successful amateur and professional competitive career, and are former finalists in the World and European Professional ten dance championships. When they retired from competing they opened their first dance studio and now run IDTA studios in three locations.

Over the past 20 years IDTA members have supported him with advice and assistance, and as a Director he is able to return that support by working hard for members of the Association. Michael is a member of many IDTA committees including the Ballroom and Latin Faculties, the Finance & General Purposes Committee and London Meeting and Congress Arrangements Committee.

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Yvonne Saunders

Director 2019-2020

Fellow and Ballroom Branch Examiner

With 30 years of service as an IDTA Examiner, Yvonne has a wide experience in Ballroom, Latin, Classical Sequence and Freestyle. Since the age of 17 she has taught social and medallist dancers to achieve their ambitions, and now coaches many professionals for their qualifications.

With her in-depth knowledge and teaching techniques, she has pioneered to increase the IDTA’s visibility globally by successfully establishing links in other countries. A former Chairman of the Ballroom Faculty, and current Chairman of the Latin Faculty, Yvonne is a team player - contributing new ideas whilst always taking into consideration the needs of the IDTA members and the high standards of this Association.

She contributes regularly to the Dance International Magazine with her Saunders Snippets feature. She feels strongly about developing wider communications within the IDTA, specifically the links between the Theatre and Ballroom branches. The growth, development and structure of the dance business has never been so important as at this time.

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Barbara Sharples

Director 2019-2020

Fellow and Theatre Branch Examiner

Barbara began dancing at the age of 7 years and trained in all styles of Theatre Dance up to Professional level, covering many facets of Dance as a competitor, teacher, choreographer and adjudicator.

She was Principal of her own very successful school for 47 years, during which time many past pupils achieved high accolades including scholarships, finalists in Miss Dance, National Championships and the World Tap Championships. Barbara is particularly proud of her pupils who are now Fellow Examiners of the IDTA.

Barbara examines for the IDTA in the UK and Overseas and from the 1970s to the present day she has been involved with the updating and choreographing of new syllabus work.

Early in her career Barbara was privileged to become an Adjudicator Member of the British & International Federation of Festivals and Member of the All England Dance panel.

Barbara has had many years experience of Committee work including the Board of Directors, Chairmanship of the Tap Faculty, Member of the original Quality Assurance Panel and Overseas Committee. She was recently involved in the setting up of a workshop in Spain and is keen to assist members overseas and keep them “up to date” with all the latest IDTA syllabus work.

She was very honoured to be the recipient of two Carl Alan Awards, in 2002 for outstanding services to Dance and in 2014 for Lifetime Achievement. In 2007 she was awarded the Classique de Danse Professional Thetare Award and in 2011 the IDTA Distinguished Service Award. In 2014, as an IDTA delegate, she was elected President of the Theatre Dance Council International which annually presents the Carl Alan Theatre, Freestyle and Street Awards.

In 2011 Barbara, with the support of the IDTA, launched the BSICA. A choreographic award to promote and encourage young aspiring choreographers. This Award, which covers all Dance genres, is now in it’s fifth year with the finals being held in Manchester.

Working on diverse Committees, in many aspects of Dance, Barbara is fully aware of the continual changes in the Dance world, ballroom and theatre, and is always willing to listen to and help Members with the promotion of IDTA Dance in their schools and colleges.

Being fully committed and dedicated to the IDTA, Barbara has the time and energy to devote to the continued success of the Association and benefits for its Members.

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