One of the most rewarding feelings for a dancer or choreographer is teaching your very own dance class! As much as I love being a performer, I’m a choreographer at heart and teaching is my passion! It can be very liberating, not only because you’re the one in charge instead of being on the other end, but because it is a time where you can watch your own choreography come to life and it’s another great creative outlet! But of course, everyone has to “break the ice” and teach for the very first time. So, if you’ve booked your first teaching job and you don’t know exactly how or where to start the preparation, look no further! I’ve been there, I’ve done that and I can help get you all set up! Here’s a few tips to prepare you for teaching your first class and how to rock it! Let’s get started!
“Create A Fire Music Playlist!”
Music is a huge part of any dance class for obvious reasons, but I believe that music is one of the things that can make or break a class. If the music is boring, it won’t grab or keep the attention of your students. So, before you teach your class, sit down and make a playlist with music that fits that type of class that you’re teaching. There’s even a way to spice up your music catalog for a ballet class! There are albums on iTunes and Google Play Music of composers that have made classical renditions of modern music specifically for ballet. I’ve used these albums before and when I played a ballet classical version of Thriller by Michael Jackson during plies, everyone was completely shocked, and they absolutely loved it! Make sure you have enough music for your warm-up, across the floor exercises and of course the song to the combination your teaching to, if you plan on teaching one during the class.
“Write Out Your Class Format”
Staying organized as a teacher really keeps you from getting overwhelmed and one of the biggest tips that I highly recommend is writing out the format of your class before you teach. This includes the warm-up stretches, across the floor exercises and combination choreography. By doing so you will have something you can refer to as you teach that will also keep you on track. In addition to writing out your game plan pre-class, I also recommend purchasing an inexpensive journal to keep dates, class itineraries and choreography. This way you a little designated space to keep all your creative genius! That may have sounded dramatic, but I genuinely mean it!
“Get The Most Out Of Your Class Time”
This kind of refers back to the previous tip. Every class has it’s time limit and as a teacher you have to feed your students as much knowledge as you can within your timeslot. Keep yourself on track by going from one thing, then the next in a timely manner. If you are planning on including a dance combination during your class, make sure you leave ample amount of time to be able to teach the combination and run it a few times. Keeping a class itinerary will allow you to get in everything you would like to do within the perfect amount time. One thing I do suggest is to never sacrifice the amount of time for the warm-up in order to make room for something else. Warming up and stretching is always the first thing done in a dance class and it’s also one of the most important to prevent any of your students from getting injured. So, if you start a little late, try cutting the exercises across the floor a little short so you can have enough time to warm-up properly and get your combination in before the end of the class.
“Make Yourself Approachable”
Finally, always make yourself inviting and approachable. Every student wants to be comfortable with their teacher because comfort ability makes it easier to learn. They’ll have questions and it’s your job to make them feel as though they can ask you anything. One of my mottos to my students is, “There is no such thing as a dumb question”. You have to assure them that they should never be afraid to ask questions, no matter how small and simple the question may be. You have to give them that comfort ability not only with your words but with the energy you put out, as well. Intimidating energy will cause tension in a class but good and inviting energy will not only create a comfortable place of learning but a fun place of learning as well! The thing that I love most about teaching my class is that we always have fun! We learn and we laugh, which makes learning even easier. So always make sure you bring forth nothing but good vibes. It will make your class and teaching experience even more fulfilling
Thank you so much for hanging out with me this wonderful Friday and I wish you all the best as you start on your journey of becoming a teacher! I know you’re going to kill it! And if you’ve already began your journey of teaching, share with me some of the reasons why you love being a dance teacher, as well as the genre of dance that you teach, in the comment section below! See you all next week for another From the Top blog post!