The world of learning and teaching urban dance choreography has come a long way in such a short amount of time, from garage get-togethers to huge week-long dance camps with high quality video production. Go us!
Yet there is still no official process to become a dance teacher in our community. Talent gets noticed through YouTube, opportunities come by word of mouth, and instructors learn mostly via personal trial and error.
As alluring as it is to take class from Famous Swag Master With 9000 Million YouTube Subscribers, the purpose of a class is to learn, and the purpose of a teacher is to teach.
So teachers, learn how to be a great dance teacher – so your students can become great dancers! Here’s how –
Good dance teachers care about their students’ class.
GREAT dance teachers care about their students.
Good teachers teach to their best ability for the hour or two they have. They prepare, are attentive, drill techniques and grooves, describe their movements thoroughly.
They do whatever it takes to create a fulfilling class experience.
Great dance teachers not only teach, but develop relationships with their students.
Not necessarily a BFFL friendship, but one of mentorship.
Great dance teachers take the time to know who their students are, what they’re good at, what they need help in, and how they learn best.
I used to take one choreographer’s class almost every single week – and he’d tell me “You’re doing much better with your performance!” or “I want you to work on dancing with more strength in your arms.” or “Where were you last week? I think you would’ve killed the piece.”
Being a great teacher is about approaching a student’s growth big-picture, not just per class.
Good dance teachers can teach a lot of choreography.
GREAT dance teachers can teach a lot about dancing.
If you paid to just learn choreography, then by all means, find the teachers that know how to jam a lot of moves in that 60-90 minutes.
If you want to understand your body better, feel it flow with the music, and fully absorb whatever amount of choreography taught, then find the teachers that teach you how to dance.
It’s pretty obvious when a teacher is just trying to get through the sections until they reach some checkpoint.
Find the ones who teach you how to dance each section fully, don’t rush the learning process, won’t under-explain… (and won’t over-stress about their class video :x)
Good dance teachers gives you props.
GREAT dance teachers gives you props and constructive feedback.
You can’t learn if you don’t know what you gotta learn.
Great teachers know how to balance both praise and constructive criticism.
They understand that their job isn’t to baby their students and make them happy.
Their job is to push them to become better.
And that’ll make everyone happy!
Good dance teachers come prepared.
GREAT dance teachers come prepared to be flexible.
I love it when dance teachers know the exact lyrics to the song they’re teaching to – not because I mind if they make something up, but because it shows that they went that extra step to Google search the lyrics.
I love it even more when, as prepared as they come for the class, they’re ready to adapt at moment’s notice.
That’s true preparedness – not for one specific situation, but for all situations.
For example, if a dance teacher starts teaching and soon realizes that their students cannot keep up with the pace of their teaching.
They should be ready to simplify the choreography, spend more time drilling combos, or teach less but teach carefully.
They should NOT just go on teaching the class on their own pace.
Good dance teachers love to dance.
GREAT dance teachers love to dance and love to teach.
For anyone to get to a place where they’re teaching dance, they probably love dance a lot.
But for them to become good at teaching dance, they have to love teaching.
Not all good scientists make great science teachers, not all artists make good art teachers.
That distinction is everything –
Are you a dancer? Check. Now, do you want to be an educator of dance?
If so, then pursue it.
The concept is simple:
You can learn to teach, too.
Just because there’s no Grad School Program from STEEZY University that gives you the credentials to qualify as an “Urban Dance Choreography Teacher,” doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to improve as one.
Stay a student – forever. It’s the only way!
What do you think makes a great dance teacher? Comment below and share with us!
These are all traits that make our all instructors on STEEZY Studio amazing dance teachers.
See what we mean by taking one of their classes today! Sign up here.