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General, How To...

Tips for Making a Good First Impression in Dance Class – Part II

[See Part I of this article for more tips to use in preparation for class.]

Different studios and teachers will have their own policies and guidelines, but the following additional tips will help you stand out as a committed and conscientious dance student.

Taking Correction and Direction

  1. Try to accept criticism and corrections well.  Try to fix your teacher’s corrections immediately or ask questions if you need clarification, instead of rolling your eyes, slouching, or sighing.  Take a deep breath, drink some water, relax and try to continue doing your best.
  2. Try to remember any corrections for the next class as well.  This will help your teacher to move forward in the lessons instead of needing to stop and make the same corrections each week.
  3. When another student is being corrected, make sure you are doing the movement correctly as well and practice the correct movement a few times.  Otherwise, the teacher will have to repeat the same corrections over and over.  Also, when a student is praised for doing something well, make sure you are performing the movement in the same way.
  4. If the teacher asks a question, reply, especially if you don’t understand something.  If the class stays silent, you may miss an important tip to understand the movement better.
  5. If, at the end of class, you are still upset with a mistake or correction, see your teacher and ask if there is a time you can speak privately.  You will want to give your teacher time to talk, and rushing between classes is not the best time to give you his or her full attention.

Be a Leader in Class

  1. When moving across the floor, start when the person in front of you completes the exercise.  Begin immediately without waiting for the teacher to cue you each time.  This helps to move the class forward, and allows your teacher to focus on making corrections, rather than counting each group in.
  2. If the teacher asks for volunteers for an exercise, volunteer.  Everyone will have to do the exercise at some point. By being the first, you may get more detailed corrections, and your teacher will appreciate your effort.
  3. Try to set specific dance goals for this year.  For example, “get right and left splits all the way down by spring break,” or “have a clean triple pirouette by the first competition.” It is a good idea to tell your teacher what your goals are, so that he or she can provide extra guidance and support during the year.

Finally, make an attempt to smile in class this year.  A smile shows that you like what you are doing.  Not only will it make your teacher happy, it will rub off on the other students in the classroom, and your dance experience will be that much more enjoyable.  It will also prepare you for performing on the stage.  Have a great year!

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About Terry

Terry Finch is a dance teacher and choreographer with an extensive training and teaching background that spans 26 years. Terry has held a variety of teaching positions, from assisting instructors at her dance studio, to teaching at summer performing arts camp, and leading college level master classes. She is currently in her fourth year as a dance teacher at a studio in central Pennsylvania.

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