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Ways to Keep Your Students Motivated


Teacher article



Students who are pre-teens or younger find it much easier to get excited about a lot of things and especially in dance it seems they think almost everything is cool! It is when they cross over into the teen world that they start to get on the topsy, turvy rollercoaster of emotions that seems to keep them slightly off kilter for a few years. So keeping these teenagers motivated on a daily basis as a teacher can be quite a challenge!

At the beginning of the year or semester we like to sit the students down and ask them to write both their short term and long term goals on a piece of paper. This is a good time to talk to them about their individual goals and also to reflect back on what they accomplished the previous year. By going back slightly it helps them to move forward with their hopes and dreams. With an appreciation that they did reach new levels last year and can certainly expect to in the coming months. It is helpful to revisit these goals half way through the year if you feel they are getting down on themselves so that they are able to see what progress has been made. So often during these years the students feel very insecure in their person and consequently it often crosses over to their dancing. Helping to make these young people understand that they have value and that they can realize their dreams with hard work, perseverance and a desire to not give up is a wonderful thing. I am sure that every dance teacher has reached out to certain students and helped them to become not only the dancer that they had the potential to be but also to succeed as a decent human being.

I am going to share with you some of my favorite motivating quotations that I have found help my students to keep their spirits up and their desire to be challenged.

 "Your attitude, more than your aptitude, will determine your altitude"-Zig Ziglar.  

From Failing Forward, "You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine." -John Maxwell.

"Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements"- Napoleon Hill.

"People who have given up are ruled by their darkest mistakes, worst failures, and deepest regrets. If you want to be successful, then be governed by your finest thoughts, your highest enthusiasm, your greatest optimism, and your most triumphant experiences" - John C. Maxwell

"To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success" - Henry John Heinz, Exercise For Success .

"Keep your body fit. Keep your heart flexible. Keep your mind open. Keep your comfort zone expanding." - John C. Maxwell

Probably one of the most important things to get the students to realize is that if they keep pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone they will discover that they are capable of all sorts of things that they never believed they could achieve. I always tell my students, that if they are interested in progressing and realizing their true potential, then they will need to do the things they do not feel like doing at times that they dont feel like doing them. Only by having the self discipline will they be able to make their dreams come true. Of course, this applies not only in dance but as a life lesson for whatever path they decide to take. I hope that by sharing these ideas some of them will be of use to you, as I know we are all continually on the path to search for better ways to reach our students.


Angela D'Valda Sirico

Angela D'Valda Sirico

Originally from England, Angela spent her early years in Hong Kong where she studied with Carol Bateman. She continued her training at Arts Educational Trust in England. After moving to New York City she continued her studies with Martha Graham and Matt Mattox. She appeared with the Matt Mattox Company and toured with the first Disney On Parade working with Disney and N.B.C. Contracted to the Teatro National of Buenos Aires she performed for one year and spent an additional year as a featured soloist at the Teatro Maipo, Argentina. Travelling to Madrid, Spain she worked for Spanish television in a weekly variety show Tarde Para Todos and from there decided to form her own Dance Company. With the Company she choreographed and performed throughout Spain in theatres, and on television. Angela met her husband Steve while working together on a television special The Valerie Peters Show filmed in Tampa, Florida. In 1979 they formed the Adagio act 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. Angela and Steve 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. Angela served as chairperson for the tri state panel of the Royal Academy of Dancing and is Co-author of a Partner syllabus currently used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America. She continues to adjudicate and teach for major dance organizations and choreographs for theatre, television and conventions and was commissioned by Boston Ballet 11 to choreograph the highly acclaimed Brother Can You Spare A Dime? 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. Angela is co-owner of Dance Teacher Web designed as an online resource for teachers worldwide.

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