How often do your dance classes run? Once a week? Twice a week? Maybe you teach multiple classes for different employers. Either way, class preparation and a good class format will ensure you’re prepared and your students leave happy. This month, we’re looking at various basic teaching methods you can apply in your classes, and we’ll continue next month with the second part of our tips.
We haven’t covered the lot, as this is a taster of what’s in our teacher training course, but if you are interested in finding out more, do get in touch
TEACHING YOUR FIRST CLASS
This is a quote from another teacher which I love, as it’s very true: “Let’s pretend this is your first day of class and you have butterflies in your stomach. What is the very first thing you should do? Relax and talk to your students. Be yourself. Students love honesty.”
Take your time, introduce yourself and try to encourage communication between the students, ask them their names, and tell them what they can expect from the class. This helps take the fear of the unknown away from them.
Before the class starts, and people are waiting around, put on some music. It helps relax people and keep them energised. (Here’s a secret about teaching - keep the music going, even lightly in the background, when you are teaching and keep your students active and engaged. If you have a break in the class they can use it to practice moves they haven’t quite got)
TEACHING YOUR ROUTINE
After the warm up teach the new dance step by step and build on each progression. Teach the dance at a slow tempo and repeat, repeat, repeat! If you do not have mirrors, demonstrate the dances with your back to the students. Then try facing your students, but remember that you will have to dance in the same direction as the students, which means you will need to learn the dance in opposition! This may be a challenge at first, but after practicing a while it will come easily. And your smiling face, while they are dancing, will be appreciated.
Only teach a few phrases at a time and repeat to make sure most students understand before you continue. Nothing is more frustrating for a beginner student than to be taught too much at one time. A good exercise is to have students count the beats out loud or clap to the rhythm, as they practice. If you have a student who is having trouble keeping up with the rhythm, keep encouraging him or her to practice and to just listen to the music, clapping and finding the rhythm as preparation for the next class.
Vocal cues are the short-step descriptions or directions you give the dancers to remind them what step is coming up next. Just one word or phrase, a few counts before the steps are performed, cues the dancers for the next move and gives them a chance to perform the steps without stopping to guess what comes next. Once the students have accomplished the steps, try counting the beats for them. Most instructors start dances by counting out loud "5-6-7-8." This insures your call is in tempo or rhythm, which really helps the dancers get off to a good start. Then turn up the music and watch them dance!
Try the new dance to different songs and tempos. This will keep the class interested and motivated. Let the students talk after they have learned a sequence. It will give them the opportunity to relax and release tension. Encouraging a social atmosphere is another one of the objectives of dance.
Creation is working on our distance learning teacher training course. We will shortly be offering street dance teacher training via online learning, which means wherever you are you can get qualified!
Online learning courses are only £199.00 and after successful completion of the course, you’ll be a qualified Creation Dance instructor. There are pre-requisites for this course so to see all the details visit www.beadanceteacher.co.uk or www.creationdance.co.uk