I thought it was time to point you in the direction of some of the previous articles from cpdfordanceteachers.com.
Feet are very important for dancers (and dance teachers) so I hope you will download the Focus on Feet exercises as well as reading the article and watching the short video about alignment of the Achilles.
Driving home this evening I heard on the radio that Journalist, Angela Rippon has a new, two part show being aired on Thursdays 7 and 14 April 2016 on BBC 1, 9pm.
She spoke about dance being scientifically good for us because it ticks all the boxes such as, fitness, flexibility, core stability, socialisation and keeps the brain active remembering all those steps and dances. She spoke passionately about older people dancing and how good it is for people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Having taught ladies and gents of 80 plus and even on or two of 90 plus I can confirm how well they respond to dancing as long as it is taught and danced at a pace they can cope with.
The first of Angela Rippon’s programmes is apparently about keeping the body young and the second one is about keeping the brain (or mind) young. They seem worth watching if you can.
It is always good to hear someone speak passionately about older people dancing. I think the genres she mentioned specifically are ballet, Line dancing and belly dancing. So quite a range and why not? Dancing is not just for the young. It has so much to offer people of all ages.
Depending on the sort of dance teaching you are involved with do you set an overall goal for each class or group of classes that you teach? What I mean is do you have an overall focus of learning and development beyond the specific content for one class?
An example of this could be in say a ballet class where you are teaching some dance technique aspects of the syllabus. The focus of the session is to develop the technique but what about a more general or overall focus that you can transport from one session to another? What about the bigger picture? An overall focus might be to add to each student’s understanding of safe dance practice (SDP). When you reflect on the class you would be able to identify not only how you introduced the technique but also how the class helped to develop the student’s understanding of safe dance practice. You can use this overall focus for a number of weeks, terms or determined length.
In an older adult class you might have set dance pieces that you want to teach or review and in addition to these you may also have an overall focus of encouraging participants to interact with each other. So in this situation the dance class has dance content goals but there is also an overall focus of increasing socialisation within the class. Over several classes there may be different dance content goals but the overall goal for the classes might be to promote wellbeing through increasing socialisation.
In a Highland class you may be working on say, the sword dance but an overall goal for the class might be to improve the use of the shoulder joint for improved carriage of the arms and upper body throughout all the Highland dances. And you bring this focus into whatever aspect of the sword dance that you are teaching. Or it may be that you want an overall focus of improving breathing and stamina. Again something that can be a focus in your Highland classes no matter what dance or steps you are teaching at individual classes.
A beginner ballroom class may being introduced to basics from the various dances but could an overall goal perhaps be for the dancers to become comfortable dancing as a couple no matter which dance they are dancing?
I am sure you get the picture whichever dance genres you teach. What are your overall goals for the learning and development of your dancers/students in addition to specific dance goals at each class or session?
I was reminded this week that it is useful to highlight previous posts because they will be new to some of you. If you have not seen these posts before, I hope you find them useful and maybe even interesting. If you have seen them before I hope you will have another look and reflect on them again.
This is an area of dance that I did not intentionally get involved with but I am so glad that I did. Teaching older adults became popular through the exercise and fitness arena with the groups referred to as:
Dance teaching qualifications come in many different shapes and sizes. Well at least, in many different genres, levels and types of qualifications. Here in the UK there are two key sectors, the public sector which includes state schools, colleges and Universities and then there is the private sector which includes local dance schools, larger private dance studios and other independent dance teaching.
Below is a short video presentation to help you to develop your observation skills and understanding about the alignment of the Achilles tendon and the part of the foot called the tarsus. I trust that you will find it useful for you and your dance students.
Making corrections count is about giving your dancers the most important correction/s that will have the most useful outcome rather than giving lots of smaller corrections that may ignore the key, fundamental correction that, when corrected, would also resolve many of the smaller issues.
We should consider what the most important correction is that we can give rather than giving a whole bunch of corrections that are likely to be very transient rather than incorporated into practice in the longer term. In my PhD thesis I wrote the following:
When planning a dance class you might identify the following:
the teaching material or content that you plan to teach
the teaching material or content that you plan to teach
key teaching points to address
delivery of teaching content
student activity in the class – what they will do as they learn and progress
time allowance for each part of the class
All of these are important aspects of planning and delivering a class but I want to ask you to consider something else that is often overlooked – what the dance teacher does in class. I find considering and identifying what we do as teachers in the dance class is often a revealing and extremely valuable exercise to go through as we see below.