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 means dancers giving their all 100% of the time. It means when they walk into dance class they are not only physically present but mentally, spiritually and emotionally. It means they are there to learn and there to dance. It means leaving everything at the studio door and focusing. It means being ready to work hard and play hard.
Expecting excellence means a dancer shows up to class prepared, on time with a positive attitude....consistently. It means their, "off-days" are the exception, not the norm. It means they walk in the door with posture and body language that says, "I'm ready to dance. Teach me everything." It means not coming up to you in class, every chance they get to tell you what's wrong with them and what they can't do, it's about telling you the current situation, ailment, injury or sickness and telling you what they can do.
Expecting excellence is about working hard. It's about dedication. Passion. Focus. Wherewithal. It's about not batting so much of an eyelash when you ask them to do something again...and again...and again. It’s about not being put off by some sweat and occasional bruises. It's about building some thick skin. It's about not expecting their parents to answer for them or be responsible for things they can be. It's about trying your best and trying harder. It's about progress, not perfection. It's about taking accountability for the energy they bring into the room and how the present themselves in class. It's about not making excuses. It’s about taking critique as constructive feedback coming from love, not criticism. It's about being honest, with themselves and you about anything. It's about self-reflection, self-correction and self-awareness.
Expecting excellence is expecting a team player to collaborate, share and work together. It's about what the class does as an ensemble but also caring about one's own journey. Expecting excellence is about healthy competition amongst peers to inspire and be inspired, not about cutting one another down.
Expecting excellence is expecting a dancer to be an ambassador for your studio. To above anything, be joyous, be happy and be hungry to want to learn. It's about taking that desire to dance and being a contagious energy for others. It's about being a decent human being to oneself and to all others. It's about respect for the studio, the faculty, their peers and themselves. It's about loving what they are doing and paying it forward. It's about taking ownership over one's own training and actions.
Expecting excellence is a teacher's responsibility for the next generation. Students will only aim as high as the bar you set for them. Don't underestimate them. If given the chance, they will rise to the occasion. In turn, you will be sending whole, well rounded, responsible, hardworking, passionate, confident individuals into the adult world with motivation, pride for themselves and respect for everything they do.
See you in the dance studio!