There is nothing more frustrating than having a dancer in class possessing the raw ability, natural facility and talent a dancer dreams of but somehow lacks the motivation and enthusiasm as some of our less talented students.
I'm sure you've all experienced it. The dancer in class with extension for days, effortless turning ability, ridiculous flexibility and feet that are unmatched. Their attitude however is 'ho-hum' at best. Everything looks like marking and the self-motivation to push themselves beyond anything out of their comfort zone is lacking.
As a teacher, it can be infuriating to watch and the lack of enthusiasm often makes you stop and wonder whether they enjoy dance at all.
So what do you do when you have other dancers looking up to your prodigies and willing to work three times as hard? How do you explain to that dancer that marking in rehearsal and approaching things with a laissez faire attitude will not cut it? While it's difficult to balance, it is worthy of a conversation to ensure that the dancer even recognizes the attitude they give off to you and other students. Getting to the root of the issue is half the battle. What drives them? Are they bored? Are they being challenged enough? Do they enjoy being in class? Are they distracted? Do they recognize that while they may be the big fish in a small pond that once they go out in the real dance world there will be others whose talent far surpasses them if they don't keep developing and pushing themselves? These are all important conversations to have.
It's also equally important to praise your less technical dancers for the energy and hard work ethic they bring into the space. Reminding dancers that people would rather watch a less talented dancer living up on stage and giving every ounce of their soul vs. a dancer who can do fifty turns but is as boring as watching paint dry is relevant. Being a talented technician is important but so is passion, wherewithal, drive and determination. It's important for naturally abled dancers to remember the old adage that sitting pretty and complacency is the quickest way for an underdog working their tail off to quickly surpass them before they even realize it.
We want all our dancers to excel and navigating different levels, personalities and energy is another responsibility of a great dance teacher who creates training and experiences where everyone works to their full capacity and strives to excel in everything they do.
Good luck to all!
See you in the dance studio,