The Fine Line Between Fun & Discipline

Just as every math, science and English teacher desires, we dance teachers desire for our subject to be fun. We were drawn to dance because of its energy, passion, creativity and FUN. It makes us smile, feel weightless and unstoppable. But there was always a distinct line: a line that we learned to be aware of and respect.

Somewhere along your dance experience you must learn that dance isn't just chassés in a circle, or "head-shoulders-knees-and toes." To REACH a new level of freedom in dance (and fun in dance) requires technique, dedication, loyalty and persistence.

It takes all of the bad days you have in dance, when nothing goes right and your body is working 110% against you, to test your technique, dedication, loyalty and persistence. Dance, just like anything you could want, will seduce you just long enough until it's ready to pull away! It makes you work for it.

As a dancer, we know the line well, but as a teacher? We had to discover when to acknowledge and enforce the line. Sure, we have rules which we establish the first day of class: No gum, No hair in the face, No baggy clothes, No talking over each other, No asking the same question your fellow dancer just asked, No saying "I can't," No disrespect toward the studio, the art, other dancers, or the teacher. But we also encourage our students to open up: tell stories, express when they are frustrated (as long as they do not quit), and share whatever they're going through (happy, sad, mad, bad). Sharing creates caring as well as unexpected connections in the studio. It dissolves the walls our students bring into class on the first day, and promotes a good learning environment so that the result is a fantastic piece at the show.

However, it also brings... relaxation.

This is the line.

We want our students to feel welcomed and at peace in the studio, but we also want them to understand this is a place of WORK, hard work, blood-sweat-and-tears work. This is a time to focus, try, try and try again, push beyond any limitation you thought you had, and then some. This is a place where pain is necessary to reach your goals. Comfort? Relaxation? Settling down? Not welcomed. Not in this moment.

The way we've established the line thus far is to bring out our "serious tone," accompanied by our "serious speech," and our "serious expectations" for the class. We usually get wide eyes, silence, and the results we wanted, but we're hoping they will learn the line without the serious factors prompting their recognition. Our long-term goal and hope is that they will respect dance enough to understand the line is necessary to create the beautiful visions dance can create.

We hope they understand why we must be The Bad Guy and say, "You aren't focused," "You did that wrong," "Go back! Do it again, and do it right!" We must because if we do not, they will never unlock the real key to dance. We care too much to not be The Bad Guy.

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”



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Design & Development by Shane Jeffers