When you are teaching any subject, over time things can get a bit stale and keeping that fresh, exciting approach becomes harder to maintain. The lovely people here at Dancemania want you to stay happy when you are teaching, so we have put together a few ideas to keep that spark alive!
Change the Warm-up regularly!
Try changing the warm-up every few weeks, as this will keep the students interested and will get their brains working. Also in each warm-up you can incorporate different types of steps and movements to challenge your students. A warm-up does not have to be boring and can be really fun to get you going for the class ahead.
Students choose exercises to work on!
Periodically have a class where each student can pick something that they would like to work on in the centre. It can be helpful to announce this at the beginning of class to give them time to think about what they’d like to do. This will keep your pupils feeling like they have a say in their training, which will keep them wanting to learn more and more.
Pair them up. Rather than having students do their combinations alone across the floor, have them go in twos. This changes things up a little bit and can help break the ice between people in class–especially if there is someone new.
Mix up order of exercises!
Unless you are practising for an exam, why not try mixing up the order of how you do the exercises. This will keep your students on their toes and will stop the classes from being boring and predictable.
Add different kinds of music!
Try adding new music to each lesson. Each style of dancing has endless music choices and by introducing new pieces of music to the class, it will keep your students inspired. It will also help your students to connect and learn to express themselves to diverse types of music.
See what music we recommend in our blog How to revive your ballet class.
Students become the teacher!
To test your students knowledge of the work, get them to teach an exercise each to the rest of the class. This is a great way of getting the pupils involved in the whole process of learning dance and getting them to give their individual input to the class.
Using Improvisation is a fantastic way of getting your students to think for themselves and to test how broad their knowledge of the steps are. ‘Thinking on the spot’ is an important skill to maintain for any dancer, as you never quite know when you will suddenly have to fill in a bar 8! It also allows you to see some one’s interpretation of a piece of music and you can also try out some great ideas for a dance piece through improvisation.
To practise your students group skills, set them a group exercise where they have to choreograph a group dance together. One way of keeping the students connected to the current class theme, is for them to include a number of steps in the group dance that you have previously been working on. For example; if you had been working on pirouettes that month, get them to include a range of different pirouettes in the dance. This is a great way to get your students to show their creativity, but also using their terminology knowledge at the same time. Working in a group, also teaches you to follow instruction and how to become a good leader.
To keep your pupils minds interested and challenged it is sometimes a good idea to invite ‘guest’ teachers into your school. As a dancer, learning to respond to different teaching styles is a crucial part of the training. If some of your students are wanting to take their dancing to professional level, in a dancers career they will come across many different choreographers who they need to be able to take direction and instruction from. By inviting guest teachers in once a month, this way your students will become accustomed to new teaching styles and will be able take on a wider caliber of steps. You could also get the guest teachers to teach routines from musicals and famous dance shows.
At the end of each lesson it could sometimes be an idea to get your students to give their feedback on each other. It has to be positive criticism without being nasty, but this will get your students to see things from the teachers perspective. You can learn a lot by listening to other people’s corrections!
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