Each year it is a challenge for dance teachers to make sure that we are prepared. We are, after all, teaching many classes to many different levels of students in many different styles! We have found that each class needs to have a natural progression. Each time the students learn one step it should go towards being part of a building block. It is highly recommended to keep track of what is taught for several reasons.
1. You know what is being taught and what your class has learned each week. This is especially important if you are teaching several classes a week.
2. You can keep a running agenda of what you have taught. This is a great help if one of your classes needs a sub. The easiest way to keep a record is to enter the information in an attendance book. It is a good idea to keep the same information in your personal binder.
3. By the time you need to start to choreograph for your year end show you will have a good record of what your students have learnt and what they are still having trouble with.
4. Your studio director will love the fact that you are tracking your student's results. These results will also motivate the students.
5. You will have a plan set for the entire year and you will always have fresh technique to give your students.
Below is a sample of technique that we give our first year junior students, typically ages 7-9, during the course of the year. You can change or alter to suit your class. This in no way will effect or infringe on your style or choreography. Just spend 10 to 15 minutes each class reviewing the technique then when they are ready you can add something new. Beginner and recreational students are always a challenge to teach because they need constant repetition that can become very tedious at times. These classes can zap your energy and motivation if you don't have a set plan to follow. Below is a simple plan with a natural progression that you can follow. Of course you may have other technique you may want to add to the list below. The key is to add it to the list and track the students progress.
Try to add at least two new techniques a month and by March they will be ready to dazzle you with their newfound knowledge and it will be easy to create a routine that they can master with ease!
Jazz Dance Level I Technique: Highlight when it is being taught. It is best to teach it in the order given. Circle each number when the class has mastered the step.1&2 should be focused on in each class. Work on developing stretch in each class.
1. Basic arm position. 1st, 2nd & 3rd. Focus on resistance and placement
2. Isolation work. Head, shoulder, ribcage & hip. A basic understanding of how each part works separately.
3. 3 step turn. Start with just 3 steps, clap then add a turn.
4. Pivot turn. Step right Pivot left then repeat to make a full turn. 5. Basic spotting technique. Stand facing mirror slowly with small steps turn right 4x focusing front and using whipping motion to complete spot, then reverse.
6. Pas de bourree. Stay low in plie, knees bent, arms extended in a long second. Start with the rhythm then add the pattern
7. Pirouette en dehors. Stand in lunge, knees bent on ball of back foot, push off back foot into pass with releve and then go back to the starting position. Repeat 3x then turn, step forward and reverse.
8. Simple grand battement. Holding onto the barre one foot at a time step kick step kick straight down the barre.
9. Simple standing leaps. In place, jump from one foot to the other. Then forward and back and side to side.
10. Running grand jetes. Prepare with one foot back, 4 runs into continuous leaps across the floor.
11. Simple assembles. 3 walks, brush through first, assemble feet together in the air, land on 2 feet. Reverse.
12. Pas de bouree turning. 3 facing front, then on the last one turn en dehors staying low, arms in demi 2nd.
Next month I will share ideas for your intermediate/advanced dancers
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