Being a dance teacher is often thought to be just about telling others what to do and how to do it. But an essential part of teaching is about listening to our learners. Listening to them helps us to know if they have understood what we have asked them to do. Listening to them helps to guide us, as their teacher, to things that we need to pay attention to. When we give a correction or adjustment to alignment we cannot know how the change feels for the dancer so we need to ask and then listen carefully to the answer. The responses we get helps us to know more about how the dancer understands our teaching.
Dancers work hard to gain approval for what they do. And this can motivate them to work through physical and psychological pain and injury. I remember working through all sorts of injuries when I was training and when I was dancing professionally. Back then it was a case of the show must go on and all that. I know better now. I know that motivating dancers in this way is not desirable. We need to look after our students and dancers and help them to flourish as people as well as dancers.
Young dancers often want to know when they can start pointe work. And an answer of around 12 years of age is usually given. But really it is not the age of the dancer that we need to pay attention to but the kind of dance student that is asking.