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There is always one!


Teacher article



 Now that you are back in the swing of things and you are learning your student's names and finding out who is able to understand what you are trying to teach them and who will be having a struggle with it. One thing is for sure, no matter what class you are teaching there will always be one! You know what I mean, the one that is a problem! The one that talks, the one that doesn't listen, the one who wants to be a smart aleck, the one who thinks they know more than you do and of course, the one who just wants to make your life a misery! I am sure you have a few others that you can throw into that category. These students can really affect your classes, energy, creativity and flow. That's enough to make you want to pull your hair out, or theirs! We have tried many techniques throughout the years and have found a few methods that have produced good results.

The first thing that needs to be established is that you are in charge and that you will not tolerate any disrespect! You will need to show them that you mean business. It is not necessary to be a tyrant, but a firm and assured attitude are the key to keeping control. This can be demonstrated not only by what you say but by how you yourself act. Students have to understand that if they misbehave there will be consequences. If they are disrespectful or misbehave in class you should give them at least one or two warnings, however, if they persist you may find it necessary to either have them sit down to watch the rest of the class or send them out of the room to demonstrate your point. We always send an out of line student to the front desk so that once the class is finished we can talk to them and find out what is causing the problem. Once the class knows you mean business they will usually follow your plan.

 I like to focus on the one who is causing problems and try to get them to be more mentally involved in the class. When there is a problem student the natural reaction is to be annoyed at them and it is challenging to have a positive attitude with them when in reality you just want them to go away! We don't enjoy teaching them or having to deal with them Try to view it more as a challenge to win the student over. I know that sometimes that can translate into a lot of hard work! Most of the time these kids are just screaming out for attention and don't care how they get it. Sometimes the ones who are struggling with the learning process just need a bit of one on one focus. Try to encourage them to practice or take a private class with you. Talk to the parents and find out if the child is having problems at home or at their school.

With the students that are having a hard time picking up a step, I will try to encourage them to practice at home. When they come back and show me that they have mastered the step and have practiced on their own, I make a big deal out of it. I let them lead the class in the step and then have their fellow students applaud their achievement. This can be very contagious and will encourage others to follow suit!

 Our goal as teachers is to challenge all of the students to learn and progress. Some will take the challenge faster and better than others. Some are born to dance. For the others, if we can teach them that practice and extra effort can result in advancement then that will be a life lesson that will enhance their lives more than any dance step!


Steve Sirico

Steve Sirico

Originally from Norwalk, Ct, Steve excelled in track and football. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin on a sports scholarship. Deciding to switch and make his career in the world of dance, he studied initially with Mikki Williams and then in New York with Charles Kelley and Frank Hatchett. He appeared in a number of theatre productions such as Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls and Mame in New York and around the country and in industrials and television shows. He was contracted to appear as the lead dancer in the Valerie Peters Special a television show filmed in Tampa, Florida. After meeting Angela DValda during the filming they formed the Adagio act of DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Steve and Angela have owned and directed their dance studio in Fairfield, CT for the past twenty two years and in 2005 added music and vocal classes to their curriculum. Author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and co-author of a Partner syllabus both of which are used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America, Steve continues to adjudicate and teach for major dance organizations. Recently taught at the Interdanz conference in San Jose, Costa Rica, He choreographs for theatres, television and conventions and DValda & Sirico are currently in production choreographing the opening to the National Speakers Association convention on Broadway at the Marriott Marquis for August of 2008. Steve is co-owner and director with his wife, Angela, of the website Dance Teacher Web designed as an online resource for teachers worldwide.

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