Teaching Dancers: Non-serious v. Serious

Written by Sheena Jeffers for Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins

I tend to believe that young children are capable of great things. And I tend to believe that a focused, intense education (beginning at very young ages) produces well-rounded dancers and strong individuals for the "real world."

Part of my believing this comes from my background.

It's going to be worth it

The world is going to want you to be a lot of things. At some point, you'll have to tell the world, "Shhh... this is what I will be."

She set her dance bag down and sighed. She had so many questions she wanted to ask. She wished someone could tell her how to feel, but for this there was no answers.

When you are stuck in a moment, anything outside of that moment is a distraction - even the solution.

Quiet Time

"Just hold on. We're going to make it through."

Growing up in the dance world, you learn to insist on excellence. The pressure that comes with this expectation can be difficult to carry along on your day-to-day life. Students of dance learn, at a very young age, the power of self-awareness and talking yourself through.

We learn our bodies, and what our bodies are of capable of. We inspect our emotions to determine where we are any given day. We test our strength, focus on our core, and we envision everything going on inside and outside of our bodies. We investigate our surroundings, our environment and the space we're working in and around.

Although all of the above is happening inside of us, dance is quiet time. The peace and stillness that comes from dancing is euphoric [intense feelings of happiness].

Tap: What is there not to love?

Let's talk about a style of dance that we think is very important...

Quick history:

Over 300 years, tap has evolved from the blending of British and West African step-dance, which was considered sacred and ceremonial. Tap came to the Southern United States around the 1700s. Back then, the shoes were hard-soled shoes, clogs or hobnailed boots. It wasn't until the early twentieth century that the shoes transformed to include metal plates on the ball of the foot and the heel. At that time, tap was called "jigging" and it was performed by minstrel-show dancers.

Murphy's Law in Education

"Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." - Murphy's Law

Here's Why: Ballet

We often get asked by students, "Why should I take ballet?"

Here is why:

Boys in Dance?!

So you have a son! And your son wants to take dance! You as his parent may or may not have that moment of, "Wait... why dance? Why not football or soccer or hockey?"

What We Owe to Our Communities

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me.”

Remember this. Always. We all have talents and strengths and we must use these to benefit our futures.

Imagination = Power

im·ag·i·na·tion: noun / forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses; ability to face and resolve difficulties.

One of the most valuable, unique, marketable abilities in a person is their imagination. One's imagination is instilled within during their childhood and throughout their adolescence. Imagination helps children solve problems, because it links them to various different outcomes. Imagination also helps children "practice" real-life skills (pretend grocery shopping, pretend doctor). Tests also show an increased vocabulary, but most importantly... imagination results in creative thinkers, which our world needs to be successful!

How to Be Successful in Class

It’s the first day of school. You get your little one ready: lunch packed, clothes in all the right places, and pencils, paper and all of the other essentials for learning. You take your child to be dropped off and that is where the torch moves from parents’ hands to teachers’ hands.

We, as teachers, need certain things (for lack of better word) from our students’ parents, the same way parents need certain things from their students’ teachers.

First and foremost, and something to never forget, we are on the same team. If your child’s name is Katie, we’re on Team Katie. Michael? Go Team Michael! We just work different hours on the schedule. I know, I know. There is no such thing as a parent “clocking out,” but when it comes to your child’s education… it is a little like clocking out. We pick up after you drop them off, and vice versa.

Directly from teacher to parent, here is what we need from you:

pencils
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This v. That: Ballet

In ballet, there are so many terms that either sound alike, look alike or seem eerily similar. They're the set of words that always get switched in your brain or make you think a little harder on which is which. Stress no more! We are here to help you see and feel the difference in seemingly similar ballet terms.


 

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Design & Development by Shane Jeffers