Two More Hours With Each Class, Please?

by | Dec 13, 2017 | Choreography, Dancing, Teaching | 0 comments

Don’t you wish wish you had a little more time in the studio with your dancers? Do you ever feel like you walk into your class with an entire lesson plan prepared to only get through half of it?

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I could do with at least two extra hours with each class every week. I don’t know if I’ve been feeling more and more like this because the winter break is approaching and winter performances are next week, but I’ve been having to remind myself to take the time and not rush even if it means I don’t get to everything I want to do on a given day.

I have to remember that even when there are performances next week and winter break is starting up soon, everyone learns at their own pace. It’s okay to repeat combinations, breakdown steps and return to basics, so that the foundation is grasped properly and students can improve each class.

Easier said than done, right? I know. But it’s something I’m constantly working on. Recently, one technique that has helped me is sitting in my car for a minute or two after parking at the studio and taking several deep breaths. This helps me get in the mindset and remember to not rush during class. Another tactic I’ve used is to combine steps the dancers know well into one combination. This way they work on sequencing and connecting steps to make something more visually pleasing and intricate. For example, instead of doing four tendus encroix, I add in some piques, dégagés and relevés all in one. I love doing this because I can see how students are intrigued by the movement and succeed because these are all steps they know well, just implemented in a different way. It helps them exercise their memorization skills and keeps them engaged in class. Furthermore, I get through more steps in one combination, thus freeing up more time to dedicate to choreography or introduction of new steps while still reviewing what they know. By creating combinations like this, I’ve found a balance between repetition and reviewing terminology with the introduction of new steps to the student’s vocabulary.

I found these techniques to work for my classes, but know it’s a balancing act to find what works best for each class and each individual dancer. Hopefully, there are some tips that work for you and your students.

Feel free to leave a comment with what has worked for you, so this can become a platform of shared information.

I wish everyone a happy holiday and remember to enjoy each class even if there might be some challenging days in the mix.

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