Dance lessons are not only about the physical act of dancing, nor are they about putting on a pretty costume and flitting around on stage. Children can learn a variety of life lessons through a structured dance class.
As a parent, you want your child to be the best. You want to protect them from any adversity or anything that could hurt them. Unfortunately, as we all know, that isn’t real life. In reality, we face rejection, struggles, stress, and conflict on a regular basis. Dance is a great way for your child to learn to handle life’s challenges in a safe and nurturing environment.
As dance teachers, it is our job to train every dancer to be the best dancer they can be. And for every child that means something different. For most children (up to the age 10/11 at which point the work gets more demanding requiring more classes) , they can get by with one jazz class per week and are able to move up the levels each year. For some who have the emotional capacity and technical ability, we can skip a level to help them access their full potential. For other students, it may be best to have them repeat a year so they can grow in confidence by being at the top of their class instead of being “lost” in another group. Some students thrive with individual attention so are placed in a smaller class, other dancers are driven by competition so can handle a larger class.
As teachers, it is rewarding to see a child we have trained flourish and become an incredible dancer. However, there is so much more than the physical dancing. Yesterday, in the first Level Two Jazz class for the year, we were learning a new step. One of the children (6/7 years old) made the comment that it was similar to a step the learned last year. This child was able to identify the similarities and make the comparison to this years exercise. I was delighted! She showed amazing understanding of the progressions we make in jazz. That is the most rewarding situation for me.
It is not only about the dancing but the learning, discovery, and understanding behind it. Not every dancer will have the natural talent of others, they may struggle with their turn out, with their flexibility, they might be lacking in confidence, or they might go through a rapid growth spurt and would benefit from a repeat year while they strengthen their bodies again. As long as they are still putting in effort and learning – they are succeeding.
We want to support and celebrate all of our dancers. And we want the dancers to support and celebrate each other.
Be proud of their achievements and be proud of the achievements of others.
So what if one child is moved up to a higher class? Her previous class can recognise the opportunity she has been given and can support her. They can use that as fuel to drive them to achieve that in the future.
So what if one child is going to remain at the same level as last year? We need strong leaders in all our classes, she will grow her confidence and set an example for the younger ones. She will become a role model.
Let’s support our dancers at the different stages they are at.
Let’s celebrate every achievement no matter how small it seems.
Let’s help them learn how to handle any challenge they face.
Enough rambling, Natalie