Teaching dance is hard work, creative and loads of fun. There is a lot of preparation behind a 1 hour dance class and every dance teacher has to make sure that each class is a learning and growing process for all kinds of students. When it comes to kids batch, the teachers have to be super creative with the dance steps because of the short attention span of kids. It is also very important to take care that the adult batch keeps the focus on their technique and feel deeply connected to the music. Different techniques are used by dance teachers to keep students focused, mentally and physically in their dance class.
Teaching dance to kids is no joke and very different because every dance step needs to be simplified according to their level of understanding. The best and worst part of teaching kids is that their knowledge is absolutely basic, kids are open to learning and they are also very curious. The easiest way to keep their attention in class is to play catchy music with catchy words that they can repeat again and again. Another way to help them connect with the music and rhythm is through claps and simple sounds. Voice modulation while doing dance steps always amazes the toddlers and so does a lot of fun facial expressions. Remembering their names and keeping a smile always helps and kids feel safe and free to give you lots of hugs and flying kisses.
VARIATION OF TEMPO IN MUSIC
Music plays a vital role in any type of dance class. Every dance teacher is aware that the music that they chose for the dance class has to have an easy connection in tempo, feel/mood and the type of class you have planned for the day. Chose the type of music according to the result you want from the students. Different types of dance style requires different types of music. During stretches, dance teachers generally play soft or lyrical music. From beginners to professionals, music has to be felt deeply by dancers. One of the ways that dancers can easily understand music is when the teacher makes different kinds of sounds during the beats, or a snap of the fingers to stress a change of tempo in the music or a loud ‘HAH’ sound while spotting your head in a particular direction makes a great impression on students to move in a certain way. Singing the music or its lyrics fills the room with emotions which again helps the dancers understand the movement better. Helping students understand rhythm will automatically keep the class interesting.
USE CREATIVE IMAGERY TO HOLD A DANCE POSTURE OR A DANCE POSITION
Maintaining a dance position and a dance posture whether at the ballet barre or in a choreography is important for every dancer to understand. It shows that you respect each others dance space which helps everyone to learn easily and quickly. A particular dance posture shows the character you are playing in a choreography as well as keep an appropriate body balance.
Using visuals and creative imagery from everyday life including reference of some beautiful animals or birds or from a fairy tale, makes students understand the details of a dance style. The long neck of a giraffe, beautiful and graceful like a swan, strong and tough look like James Bond, or easy and cool like a dude, are some very easy examples that may apply to some of the dance styles. Some bold and direct visuals for dance professionals are specific to their dance goals. Standing boldly like a King, or visualising performing in front of a large crowd, are some examples. Every dancer wants to be on the spotlight and some day become a soloist. The students need to focus on a strong imagery of their dance goal during the class. It keeps them focused and attentive in class.
WORKING ON BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN EVERY DANCE STUDENT
One of the most important dance technique is confidence. Yes, confidence changes everything about how we feel about ourselves and therefore every teacher should help build confidence in students. Students will only listen to you if they feel that first they are being heard and understood. Obedience in dance class should be because of interest rather than forcing to do what students don’t like. Of course, there are few dance techniques that are difficult to do and boring to practice again and again. The only thing that helps a dancer to keep working hard consistently is confidence in their work. When a dancer feels that he/she is failing most of the time, the one thing that a student requires is confidence. Dance teachers need to be attentive to every dancer in the class to bring out the best from them. Building confidence makes any student independent to work by themselves in each and every class.
DYNAMICS OF CHOREOGRAPHY
When students start learning a choreography, there is a lot of enthusiasm. What may kill the interest is repeatedly working hard to make each dance technique precise. This is a major difference between a good dancer and a great dancer. A good dancer follows the teacher well and practices each dance step of the choreography as told. A great dancer follows and try to understand each aspect of the choreography by trying to find a connect and practices each dance step more than is required because precision and perfection has to be smooth. Inculcating such great values in students requires a lot of persistence and patience.
There is a lot of variation in any basic choreography and yet more variation is introduced in a choreography to make it look interesting to the students and also to the audience. Every choreography is also an opportunity to help dancers understand teamwork and learn a new dance technique. Adding a prop or different style of jump or maybe giving options to students to improvise in a section of the choreography will naturally keep the students attention. A basic dance partner work or adding an interesting character to the theme of your dance recital are some other examples to make any choreography interesting.
Some basic and some grand techniques, some different and some out-of-the-box ideas, challenges the dance teachers to constantly work on keeping the class active. Few dancers have the ability to keep their focus sharp throughout the class. However, when the physical body gets tired the only way to keep going is trying some of the above given tips to keep the focus intact.