Disco Freestyle and Rock & Roll

Contributed by Teresa Osborn

The DFR Branch – The Disco/Freestyle/Rock ‘n’ Roll Faculty (branch) is one of the newest of all the
UK’s ISTD faculties, being formed in 1990. Since its beginning the DFR Faculty has developed and continues to
improve on a sound and safe technique for the Disco/Freestyle/Rock & Roll and Country Western Dance.
The DFR represents a continual challenge to stay on top of modern music, trends and different cultures.In the beginning,
Peggy Spencer (MBE), Sydney Francis and Anne Lingard were responsible for steering the faculty through its early
development, and as an instructor for the Spencer Dance Center in London at the time; I had the pleasure of being
intimately involved. My partner Stephen Kemsley and I were helping with the Rock & Roll syllabus for the
new faculty, and I remember in the early stages going around to Peggy’s house and dancing through the
syllabus figures for her critical comments. Often accompanied by a quick lunch, these sessions werearranged around the
hectic teaching schedules and were a time of hard but satisfying work, which culminated in demonstrations during the
implementation of the syllabus at the Examiners Seminar and Teacher Training Days. Stephen and I would remain
connected to the fledgling faculty for several years afterwards — lecturing and demonstrating at many of the
ISTD Congresses. Stephen succumbed to lung cancer in 1996, by which time I was running my ownstudio in Hong Kong
but I took the new Rock & Roll Fellowship exam when it came out the following year, in his memory.During
my seven years in Hong Kong, and the three so far in Massachusetts, I have always foundchildren to be extremely
receptive to this faculty. Through teaching in the local schools as part ofthe PhysEd. syllabus, I have found – to my never
ending delight – even the most skeptical boy canbe made to succumb to dance with an introduction to Hip Hop. An easier
starting point thanballet, children of all ages gain from a grounding in Hip Hop, progressing to Country Westernand then
to Rock ‘n’ Roll /Swing. For young teenagers, performance teams are a way to buildconfidence in a non-
competitive environment, and for older teenagers the partner dances of Rock‘n’ Roll/Swing (with a
compliment of Salsa and Social Foxtrot) provides a perfect foundation forProm nights and beyond.Both Peter and I are
very keen to promote the DFR syllabus in the United States, and as fromJune 21st 2004, when we were officially granted
permission from the UK ISTD to promote theDFR Faculty we will be able to offer teacher training courses and more
lectures. Last year at theNew York USISTD Congress I gave a seminal lecture on the DFR faculty, which a large
numberof you were able to attend. We both feel that the eventual founding of the DFR as the fifthbranch in the US will
bring an exciting extra dimension to the growth potential and range ofclasses that can be offered by member schools.If
you are interested in finding out more information about the DFR branch of the ISTD, orwould like to become a qualified
teacher in any of the three units above please email me onteresa@teresaosborn.com