The Dulaine Method

Remember in past blogs, I’ve been telling you, that within Ballroom Dancing and Dancesport, there could be many opportunities

to be part of the business or inspirational sides of dance, while dancing (yourself) or not.  I am presenting to you today, Mr. Pierre Dulaine, who is one of those people who took advantage of not only being a dancer himself but also being an active part in so many other peoples’ dance lives; especially young people.  Allow me to introduce you to Pierre Dulaine.  I think you will find that Mr. Dulaine is a lot like our own founder of Fordney Foundation, Marilyn Fordney.  They believe in many of the same things.  Continue to read on and see what I mean.

Pierre Dulaine was born in Jaffa, Palestine in 1944.  He is a dance instructor and dancer.  He invented the Dulaine Method of teaching dance.  You might ask, what is the Dulaine Method?  Dulaine developed a concept built around respect.  He wanted young people to have fundamentals in becoming self aware of not only themselves but people around them.   He also founded “Dancing Classrooms,” a social and emotional development program for 5th grade children that uses ballroom dancing as a vehicle to change the lives of children and their families.  Pierre Dulaine was so well known for his amazing work and concepts with dance and children, that they made a film about him called ” Take The Lead,” starring Antonio Banderas, who portrayed, Pierre Dulaine.

Dulaine has a very interesting background.  His father was Irish and was serving with the British Army stationed in Palestine.  His mother was part Palestinian and part French.  In 1948, Dulaine’s parents left Palestine, after eight months of moving several times. They lived in Cyprus, England and Ireland before settling in Jordan.  In 1956, the Suez Crisis forced Dulaine’s parents to flee the area and move again.  Eventually the family moved back to England, settling in Birmingham.

Dulaine began dancing at the age of 14.  He got an Associate Degree in dancing at the age of 18.  At 21 years of age, he became a full member of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.   The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), is a dance teaching and examination board based in London, England.  It operates internationally and was established in 1904 and is a registered, educational charity.  The ISTD provides training in a range of dance styles with examination syllabi for students and training courses for people wishing to become certified dance teachers.  The work of the ISTD is organized into two main sections, one for dancesport and the other for theatre dance.  The society also incorporates the Cecchetti Society, which exists to preserve the Cecchetti Method of classical ballet training.  The ISTD is an awarding body, recognized by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the Council for Dance Education and Training and is also a member of the British Dance Council.  The ISTD is  represented on the committees of numerous other arts, dance and culture related organizations.  The ISTD also hosts various competitions in Modern Ballroom, Latin American, Disco Freestyle, Classical Ballet and Tap Dance.

In 1971, Dulaine worked as a solo dancer at the London Hippodrome, a very famous nightclub back in the day.  He also danced at

another nightclub called L’Hirondelle at the same time.  Then Dulaine moved to Nairobi, Kenya and worked for a year at the Nairobi Casino in Cabaret with the Bluebell Troupe from Paris.  After that dancing stint, he became a cruise director for a ship sailing from New York City to the Caribbean Island.  After that, he then got a job at an Arthur Murray dance studio.  You can honestly say that, Pierre Dulaine is a world traveller and that he tried many jobs within the dance realm.

In 1976, Dulaine became dance partners with Yvonne Marceau, who had arrived at the dance studio in 1973.  The pair studied and danced in England and won several awards.  In 1984, they co-founded the American Ballroom Theater Company with Otto Cappel.  The company debuted at the Dane Theatre Workshop in 1984, and toured widely in the late 1980’s.  From July 1989 to 1990, the pair appeared in Tommy Tune’s Broadway show, “Grand Hotel,” finishing with a five month run in the West End.

In 1994, Dulaine founded the not-for-profit “Dancing Classrooms” program for the New York City Department of Education.  He also invented the “Dulaine Method” to encourage children to dance together.  He later travelled to Northern Ireland to teach the same program.  In 2011, Dulaine travelled to Israel to teach the method and make the 2013 film, Dancing In Jaffa.  There is even a documentary film that Dulaine made about following a “Dancing Classroomsballroom competition called,  Mad Hot Ballroom.  Sounds like a must see film for sure!

I hope by learning about Pierre Dulaine, (who is such an excellent example) he can be a source of inspiration to you, and you can truly see how many opportunities are available in our wonderful world of dance, just waiting to be discovered!

Thought Of The Week:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”   –  Eleanor Roosevelt


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Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website