Point B Dance Teacher Training with Cathy


Weekly Wednesday Teaching #1
The first and most important aspect of being a dance teacher is to enjoy being around youth. A person who loves working with kids is naturally patient, fun, and unconditional. Being a highly trained dancer is important (that will be my next tip), but that doesn’t necessarily translate into being a great dance teacher. The focus of teaching dance should be to help kids progress in their training. From the moment a teacher stands in front of the class, the teacher should be invested in the kids and their training. Of course, this is a challenge with social media calling out for choreography and classes to be “social media worthy”. But at the end of the day, being committed to those in front of you (not those watching the screen) is the essence of a great dance teacher.
Here are some ideas to show dancers your commitment to them and their dance education - and yes, these ideas work on teens too. Even though they may not respond, they hear you and they feel your commitment.
1. Greet each dancer by name at the beginning of class. Say hello or ask how their day was. Learn and ask questions about what other activities or hobbies they are interested in.
2. Be prepared for class with structure and goals. Dancers need boundaries and clear objectives.
3. End class with a positive closure. “I enjoyed working with you today” or “Great work at the barre today”. If it was a challenging class, which we have from time to time, “I’m looking forward to seeing your focus and determination next week in class”
4.Keep personal objectives out of the classroom.
Hope you find this helpful for yourself or to share with your teachers. If you have any questions or topics you would like covered, please don't hesitate to email me info@pointbdance.com.


Weekly Wednesday Teaching Tip #2

As we talked about last week, enjoying kids is one of the most important aspects of being an effective dance teacher. Equally imperative is that teachers have proper training. Too many times we put our dancers in the hands of unqualified teachers that lack the knowledge and training to teach. Dance is a physical activity, and it requires knowledge about the body and how it works.  As kids grow, their activities should enhance rather then hinder or injure that physical growth. Teaching proper technique keeps injuries from happening now and also from appearing in adulthood. In essence, dance teachers are basically personal trainers for dance. Studying dance in college is an excellent source of knowledge. Not only do you study anatomy, physiology and kinesiology in college, but you also get technique classes. Another good avenue is a personal training degree or certification. And if course continuing education is paramount.

It’s time that we treat dance as the physical activity that it is. It is different than a sport in that it requires artistry too, however we cannot ignore the physicality of dance. Being conscientious of strong technical training not only prevents injury but also creates strong dancers.


Weekly Wednesday Teaching Tip #3
Progressive Technique
It’s important for dance teachers to have a well organized curriculum that offers structure and continuity. Of course, great teachers will use their curriculum as a guideline and adjust the class as needed on the spot. Dancing is progressive, and a curriculum ensures that technique is learned in the proper order. In my judging stints, I see dancers attempting technical elements they are not ready for. It is imperative for the progression and safety of a dancer that they learn dance fundamentals. For example, teaching turns to a dancer who has not mastered maintaining a strong passé on releve with a straight supporting leg, engaged core, and proper arm alignment will result in spinning rather than a well-executed set of turns. A proper curriculum will ensure these benchmarks are met prior to learning to rotate. In this YouTube era, dancers want to do what is on YouTube, but it is up to us teachers to let it not be at the expense of proper training.
As a teacher, consider creating lesson plans and goals for your class for the entire year. That way you, the parents and the dancers can see progress and feel the joy of accomplishment.
Please feel free to email me cathy@pointbdance.com if you have any specific studio or teaching questions OR if you have ideas that you would like to see in a teacher training program.

Weekly Wednesday Teaching Tip #4
For studio owners: Let’s face it. Being a dance studio owner is a hard job. It is full of very high highs and very low lows. No one will truly understand the job unless they have lived it. Giving your whole self to the job is unavoidable, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. You love dance and you love the kids. And when a student looks at you and says thank you, it makes it all worth it. But you do need to carve out time for you. Whether that is spending time with family, getting a massage, or enjoying a day off. It is important for you to have those moments to reconnect, refresh, and relax. It will make you more patient and efficient. So, grab your calendar and schedule your day. You deserve it!



Weekly Wednesday Teaching Tip #5
The challenge of a dance teacher working in an instant gratification world is intense. People want what they want when they want it. New shoes - click. New shirt - click. Dance training - click? Unfortunately, dancers cannot click their way to being a trained dancer. Being proficient in dance takes years of proper training. Dancing is hard work - hours at the ballet barre, hours working on strength and flexibility, hours working on progressions. I’m sure teachers feel the pressure from students, parents and social media to work on tricks. Let’s remember that our duty as dance professionals is not to give in to the pressure, but to safely and effectively train our dancers so they can become the best dance version of themselves.
Please feel free to email me cathy@pointbdance.com if you have any specific studio or teaching questions OR if you have ideas that you would like to see in a teacher training program.

Weekly Wednesday Teaching Tip #6
Balancing praise and criticism.
To be an effective teacher, we must include positive affirmations as well as constructive corrections. Some educators may be timid in correcting their dancers because they don't want to hurt feelings. But we must remember the long term hurt to our dancers if we don't correct mistakes now. Pushing dancers to be their personal best is our job and losing "follows" should never play into how we teach a class. On the other end of the spectrum, we should not criticize to the point of discouragement. Finding a balance is important. Many times I employ the "sing a praise then give a correction" method. It works to get the dancers' attention with the praise and subsequently they are in a better frame of mind to hear the correction. So as we stand in front of our classes this week, let's acknowledge our dancers accomplishments and at the same time encourage their growth by sharing our knowledge of dance with them.
If you have any questions you would like addressed, please contact me at cathy@pointbdance.com.

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