Goal setting in dance teaching

I have written about SMART goal setting before. Here I want to say a bit more about what it is and how we can use it in dance teaching.

The SMART model of goal setting (and achievement) has been around for some time. It is used in many different areas from health education to sport to dance to business and more. Can you see how SMART goal setting  could be useful in your dance teaching practice?

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SMART Goals are:

S pecific

M easurable

A chievable

R ealistic

T imed

SMART goals are designed to help you to identify that what you want to achieve is realistic and determine a deadline to work towards. SMART goals are designed to help you so be positive when answering the questions.

Let’s consider the SMART steps in some more detail. You may want to use these for yourself in your role as a dance teacher or you may want to use it with some of your dance students to help them achieve their goals individually or as a group. However you use it the principles are the same.

What is your goal?

Do you have a goal in mind? It is useful to write down your initial goal. This is what you are aiming for overall. Then answer the questions below related to each part of the acronym.

Specific – what is it that you want to accomplish? Be specific about what it is you are aiming to do. Does your goal involve working with others? When do you want to do this? Why is this a goal?

Measurable – how are you going to measure progress? How will you know when you have successfully met your goal? This is important so that you know when you are making progress and know when you have reached your goal.

Achievable – do you have the required skills in order to achieve your goal? If not, is it possible to obtain them so that you can achieve your goal? What is your motivation for this goal? Is the effort needed worth it to reach your goal?

Realistic – why are you setting this goal at this point in time? Is your goal realistic? Is it achievable? Again another important point – you want to know that you are setting a goal that is realistic – there is little point in setting goals that are impossible to achieve.

Timed – What is the deadline for your goal? Giving yourself a realistic deadline is useful as you will have a time frame to work within to achieve your goal.

SMART goal – some leave their SMART goal as written out above and others prefer to review what has been identified above and from this information write a new goal statement. You can decide what is most useful for you in helping you to achieve your goal.

Using SMART goals with competitive dancers

Using SMART goals can be a useful method for dance teachers to use with their competitive dancers. It also involves the competitive dance students in the goal setting process so they are are part of it and can identify and set their own goals. They may have more than one goal that they are working on.

SMART teaching goals

When planning dance content and technique for the coming weeks, months, term and so on SMART goals can help you to identify progress and goals in your teaching. And isn’t it good to feel that you are making progress? Through making your teaching goals SMART goals you can consider an individual specific goal, perhaps one step. and you can also consider the bigger picture through having SMART longer term goals for a whole class or group of students.

Using SMART goals

I hope this has given you some ideas of how to use SMART goals in your dance teaching or dance practice. Once you start using SMART goals you should be able to think of lots of ways that you can make use of them and benefit from using them too.


Words spoken by Gene Kelly

The words spoken by Gene Kelly at the beginning of the film, That’s Dancing, are a real favourite of mine. I have quoted them many times in my work. For me, these few words say so much about dance, its roots, its present and its future. They are inspiring and spoken by a man whose life was dance, dance, dance.

Read or spoken mindfully these words remind us of the dance that is within us. I was delighted to discover the video below, on YouTube, of the opening credits to the film That’s Dancing and if you listen to the very beginning you will hear the dulcet tones of Gene Kelly saying these wonderful words:

Long before the dawn of history, long before he could sing or even speak, man danced. Moving to his own internal rhythms, the pounding of his heart, the beating of his pulse, primitive man discovered dance. It is within us always.


I hope you enjoy these words too.



Dance imagery

Dancing jumpingImagery was part of my dance training although I did not think of it as movement or dance imagery at the time. It was just something we incorporated into our training and performance. When I first took part in a movement/dance imagery workshop with Eric Franklin at an IADMS (International Association for Dance Medicine & Science) conference many years ago I was reminded of how important imagery is in dance learning and teaching.

Articles and books

In recent years there has been an increasing amount of articles and books promoting the positive use of imagery in training, rehearsal and performance. Although imagery has been around for a very long time it is still relatively new to some. We can learn a lot from the study and use of imagery in our teaching.

Mabel Todd’s wonderful book The Thinking Body, first published in 1937 (and still available today), tells us on page 295:  Continue reading

Mindfulness in dance teaching

Dancer inclined headIn a busy world it is easy to miss things that are around us or even within us. How much time do we spend noticing what is around us, noticing our breath, noticing how we are teaching?

Creating some space within our teaching to notice things about our teaching. To be mindful of our teaching and the people we teach is what I want to explore very briefly here.  Continue reading

Physics of the hardest move in ballet

Creative people over at TED-Ed Original have produced a great educative, animation video about The physics of the ‘hardest move’ in ballet – the fouetté. If you have ever struggled with performing or teaching fouettés then this short video will interest you.



Did you enjoy the video? What did you learn from it? If you have found it useful for your performing or teaching then please leave a comment below that others might find helpful.