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Setting Good Examples as Dance Teachers

As dance teachers who spend countless hours with our students in the studio week after week and year after year, it’s sometimes easy for the lines of the relationship to blur in terms of dance teacher to student vs. friend to friend. In a sense you do become part of a second “studio-family” and role model whom they look up to. While building a relationship with students who feel comfortable enough to trust you, communicate and share with you is wonderful, remembering who the mentor is, who’s in charge and setting good examples all around should be your main priority.

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Building Adolescent Choreography Curriculum

There has always been much emphasis placed on creative movement within K-12 dance education and studio training.  However, the concept of integrating formal, more sophisticated improvisation and choreography-composition classes within the private studio sector, has often been overlooked. It is important to mention the growing trend of technically-trained adolescent dancers who are finding choreography as their true calling and are often not experiencing these courses until they reach higher education dance programs.

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How to Rise After Burnout

It’s true, those who are passionate about their work are most susceptible to burnout. Along with the fact that usually, when the signs start to appear many keep working through them, once it finally hits, it hits really hard.

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It’s Not Just About The Steps…..

When choreographers have a vision, it’s usually about the work in its entirety. The concept. The story. The feelings they hope the movement evokes. That’s what touches the audience and speaks to their soul; the essence and the spirit of the moving bodies.

This translates to setting works on younger dancers as well. Sometimes though, without proper guidance and explanation during rehearsals, what winds up happening and becoming habit is that dancers become fixated on, “the steps,” and not the actual nuances and transitions which make a piece effortless, fluid and cohesive....

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Does Every Dancer Belong on Pointe?

One might think that the natural progression for every ballet student is to progress from a pre-pointe class to a pointe class. That is true for many, but there is a demographic of dancers who are either not ready, not anatomically built for and don’t have adequate enough technique and body awareness to enter such an advanced and challenging area of dance. Furthermore, there are dance students out there without the persistent dedication and commitment to enter the world of pointe.....and that’s OK. The dance world is big enough for everyone and not everyone has to be a prima ballerina...and in reality they won’t be...


 

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Your Creative Zone!

Have you ever notice how the day's events can get in the way of your creativity? There you are, ready to start creating a routine to a piece of music that you have been eager to start working on, then just before you go into the studio you are called to take care of some small irritant.

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Lesson Plan for Strengthening the Core

Teachers, we all recognize that core strength is essential to any strong, technically sound dancer. While we aim to teach our students to always move from the inside out vs. from the extremities (i.e. arms, legs, etc.,) getting started to build towards a sound center takes work and committed practice.

Below you’ll find three of my favorite exercises to get your dancers going; both in the studio and on their own at home. Each can be executed daily with multiple repetitions and modified based on level and physical capability. Remember, without a strong core we don’t have the potential to master turns, balances, extensions, jumps and a whole catalogue of movement necessary to develop one’s technique safely and properly! Good luck!...

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Because It's Not Always About What's Easiest....

Tell me if this sounds familiar. “Can we get up from the floor this way instead of that way because it’s easier for me?” Or, “Oh good, I can come on from that side? It’s easier.” Or, “Can we just do it this way, because it’s easier?” I have heard a version of this lately more times than I can count and it’s quite honestly grating on my last dancer teacher nerve. So what gives?....

 

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“How to Handle Students Who Don’t Like Your Choreography”

As dance teachers we spend countless hours researching music, coming up with creative concepts, figuring out movement, formations and transitions and get excited to set new pieces with our dancers. So what happens when your enthusiasm for a new piece doesn’t inspire your dancers the way it does you? How do you handle dancers who just “aren’t feeling it?”

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Beginner Musical Theater Lesson Plan- Across the Floor

When I am teaching musical theater to beginners, I like to start instilling not only movement quality and technique, but the beginning nuances of style and musicality as well. If we remember, musical theater is a genre which incorporates many parts of the technique, including the above mentioned, in addition to characterization and understanding of how book, score and choreography all seamlessly work together. So, when gibing your young dancers an across the floor technique combo make sure to highlight these important factors where they begin to understand performance is just as important as the movement itself....

 

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Teaching Creative Movement Reminders


Those with the calling, talent & patience to teach dance to toddlers will tell you it requires a skill set all its own. A special, dedicated subgroup of dance teachers, the knowledge and training necessary to teach these littles while creating a fun experience takes some thought and careful planning. Remembering this is a crucial developmental time, the five tips below will help get you started and also be a reminder that you are extremely essential to this fundamental time in dance training and child development....
 

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