Dance is the perfect opportunity for students to develop rhythm, balance and coordination. It also allows them to learn new social skills, make new friends and reduce stress levels. But like any learning endeavor, the process can be overwhelming, especially for beginners.
To help them succeed, teachers need to be able to convey information quickly and clearly. Today’s students are used to getting information very fast, through broadcast media and the web, so they get impatient with long-winded explanations.
To address this challenge, it’s important to consider how class flows before creating a lesson plan. The class sequence should include an opening ritual and a warm-up that gets dancers ready to learn. It should then provide a clear and concise way to introduce the day’s dance concepts, skills and techniques. It’s also important to remember that some people learn best with details, while others need to grasp the overview gestalt of what a dance, step or pattern is all about. Be sure to appeal to both types of learners by describing the same dance in different ways.
It’s a good idea to teach more difficult steps early in the lesson, when students are freshest. That way, the steps will stay in their memory longer and get the most practice repetitions. Lastly, it’s important to use consistent terminology – many dancers have pet peeves about instructors who mix up the names of the same steps. For example, using “forward chasse” and “reverse chasse” at the same time can confuse students.