FORGING AHEAD IN THE NEW YEAR
The beginning of a new year, is a great time to get those lists out on your intended, “resolutions” for the upcoming season and make them habits. Think about what you hope to accomplish for your business and where you hope to take your students. While it may seem daunting at first to try and accomplish everything, go slow, and prioritize! Soon enough you’ll be checking each resolution off one by one and meeting your 2018 goals! Here are some things to jump-start your list and get you going towards a year of fruitful success for the studio and amazing progress for your students!.........Read More
FIDNING AWARENESS IN YOUR TEACHING HABITS
Very often as teachers, we get to a point in our educating that we are so subconsciously determined to ensure a dancer’s comprehension that we ourselves forget it is up to them to do the learning. There have been times in my own teaching where I notice my habits creeping in that make me stop and wonder; “Is this approach to teaching really helping my students or am I inadvertently spoon-feeding and giving them all the answers?”..........Read More
BUILDING DANCE VOCABULARY WORD WALLS
Dance Teachers, we all know that Word-Walls are a great way to inspire young dancers to learn movement and also identify and read movement vocabulary. This is an important part to nurturing dancers who are able to execute as well as articulate within the genre. It combines both the physical as well as verbal ability. Using interdisciplinary avenues to reinforce these vocaulary lessons help solidify maintaining and remembering vernacular while introducing dancers to another form of visual art......Read More
BUILDING SIMPLE & EFFECTIVE STUDENT EVALUATION FORMS
Hello again studio owners! Last week on the DTW Blog, we looked at the effects of student evaluations and the most diplomatic ways in which to go about them for your business’ clientele. This month I’d like to help you build an evaluation form which is thorough, informative and will help to cover all the bases in terms of coming up with fair, introspective and appropriate recommendations for student advancement!
Remember, you know your students and clientele best, so use these categories merely as a guide to add to or omit based on the needs of your business! Remember however, when formatting the evaluation form to keep it clear, concise, easy to read and neat. The student’s name should be listed; as well as the genre, the teacher, the level and time and day of the class.....Read More
EVALUATING DANCERS AT YOUR STUDIO
Assessment in the K-12 arena is a high priority and instilled requirement. It seems every which way you turn students are always being evaluated for their work as a way to assure the state or national “standard” is being met. The studio sector however is a different animal. With that said, how do you, as studio directors, find a diplomatic way of evaluating paying customers to provide useful feedback for student development? It’s a slippery slope but a necessary one at that for a couple of reasons....Read More
HOW TO SHIFT THE ENERGY IN DANCE CLASS
We all have taught those amazing classes where we leave feeling inspired because the energy in the room that day was so electric. You know, the ones where all your dancers are little sponges and retain everything, are focused, ask questions, connect the dots and dance their hearts out? It can be an incredible teaching and learning experience when everyone is literally in sync and all on the same page; each bringing the same amount of energy and work ethic to the table. This is where progress is achieved, ideas and cultivated, creativity ignited and dancers are made.
There are those days however, where teaching is anything less than inspirational. It’s inevitable if you’ve been teaching long enough, especially if you deal with adolescents. There are days where something as small as their body language during attendance will clue me in as to where my dancers are at that day. Are they yawning? Leaning on the barre? Gazing off into space? On auto-pilot during warmup? Marking? Void of thoughtful questions? Not picking up choreography? Talking over on the sides? Etc. Etc. Etc......Read More
I am a dance teacher who expects excellence. I make no apologies for that. Neither should you. Whether you want to call it an, "old school," way of thinking or just plain" too tough," on today's young dancers, I disagree. The way in which we set our own expectations should be clear and concise so dancers know exactly what is expected of them at all times.
Expecting excellence from your dancers does not mean, perfection. It doesn't mean being the best dancer in class, nor the best technician, nor the best performer. It doesn't mean that if they can't get a triple pirouette by the time they're 12, they've failed. It doesn't mean that if they're extension isn't as high as their peer next to them, they will never have a dance career or are, "less than," said peer. Expecting excellence doesn't mean they're not entitled to have an off-day or frustrations or insecurities but here's what it does mean....
TAKING DANCE TEACHER DOWN TIME
With the start of a new dance season, dance educators are so inundated with work we often forget that we too need to take pause. We need to do this every so often in order to refuel our own creative juices and let ourselves become re-inspired. As with any artist, a little respite is a great time to self-reflect on the teaching year; choreography we're excited about starting, things that did or didn’t work in our curriculum last season, changes we’d like to make this season and what new information we can use to reinvigorate ourselves and consequently our students.......Read More
HOW TO ESTABLISH APPROPRIATE PEER FEEDBACK
Part of being a well-rounded dancer is to have the ability to articulate observations and speak about dance just as much as executing steps properly. A rich, thorough dance curriculum includes one in which “dance literacy” is acknowledged; where dancers are given the opportunity to view dance, edit dance and learn to give thoughtful opinions and constructive feedback to others while keeping it in a positive and supportive light.
In a time and a world where it’s unfortunately so prevalent for others to pick people apart, call out one’s flaws and put people down to make oneself look and feel better about themselves, learning the lesson that giving solicited feedback is a healthy form of communication amongst dancers is an art in itself. It is a very fine line to walk.
We want our dancers to be able to identify and speak about dance in a language which makes them knowledgeable in all realms of the genre. So how do we do this and keep it positive?.......
STOP SITTING IN YOUR HIP! EXERCISES TO STRETCH & STRENGTHEN CORE & HIP FLEXORS
Having dancers who are “sinking,” or “sitting,” in their hips on their supporting leg is a common problem dance teachers see frequently. Often, improving the position of the pelvis by stretching and strengthening the core muscles and hip abductors will help to improve the issue. As we all know, “the body is a closed system.” The core, ribs and lower vertebrae all play a part as well in helping a dancer achieve correct alignment and maintain proper placement of the pelvis. This, in turn helps a dancer lift out of that “sinking,” motion and hold the position correctly.
Below are exercises which you can give your dancers to help them stretch and strengthen the muscles of the core and hip flexors and help increase self-awareness to recognize when they are in correct placement and when they lapse back into sitting in their hips...
INTERMEDIATE-ADVANCED IMPROVISATION LESSON
Using sensory awareness, current knowledge and descriptive writing about partners to communicate perception of them through movement phrasing. By performing this phrase for their partner, dancers will guess what is trying to be conveyed about them and whether or not their partner was correct in their perception. Dancers will learn to not only create phrases from their own creative writing and “biographies,” but also learn to communicate their thoughts through that movement while developing partnering skills. They will learn sensory awareness of others and whether perception is true (and often false) of people in their day to day life. Dancers will also inadvertently develop the idea of nuance in their portrayal of their partner’s personality and/or physical demeanor and get to know more about their partner/classmates.Read More
HOW TO TEACH DOUBLE SHUFFLES WITH JASON MARQUETTE
CHECK OUT OUR DTW VIDEO ARCHIVES! THIS WEEK, LEARN DOUBLE SHUFFLES WITH TAP TEACHER EXTRAORDINAIRE, JASON MARQUETTE!Read More
DANCE & DRAW CREATIVE MOVEMENT LESSON PLAN
If you are looking for an innovative creative movement lesson plan that combines art, dance and music...look no further. Your little dancers will surely love this lesson plan by Jess Rizzo-Stafford which gets your dancers visually integrating art while increasing musicality, spatial awareness, coordination and expression. Little ones will also learn collaboration skills and expression through varying art forms! Enjoy!Read More
BEING A DANCE TEACHER TO ALL STUDENTS
Let's be honest. We all have our favorite type of dancer we love to teach. The ones that really inspire us. For some of us it's the older, advanced levels, for some it's the little ones and for some it's the recreational. So what happens when you enter the studio and you're faced with a class that's not necessarily your, "cup of tea?" What happens when all your training and creative excitement over the hopes and plans you had for this year begin to take the wind out of your sails?......
SETTING GOALS FOR THE NEW DANCE SEASON
As we set out to start another season and enjoy the last bits of calm before things get rolling, now is a great time to sit and reflect for a bit on what your studio goals are for the upcoming year. Whether you are a brand new studio or one that’s been around for years, it never hurts to reassess current needs and projected goals for your students and business. Below are five questions to ask yourself to help get you started towards a successful dance season and many more down the road.......Read More