There is a real difference between being a dancer and a dance teacher. Too often, people think that because they are a good dancer, they will be a good teacher. That is not necessarily the case and is why I often see average teachers leading kids dance classes. It is important for a dance studio to choose their teachers based on a wide set of criteria and every studio will have different ideas about what that is. The teachers are what differentiate or ‘make’ a studio so it is important that you trust the studio to choose great ones. I believe that Dance To EvOLvE has some of the best teachers around but since they are all different and have different teaching methods, it is also important to find the right teacher for your dancer. If the fit isn’t right maybe try a different dance class. Some teachers are higher energy and louder and some have a much calmer quality to them. Neither of these types are bad but just different and can have different effects on your dancer.
Obviously the criteria for a teacher will depend on the studio’s philosophy and age group that they are teaching but in general, here are some key qualities that I think are imperative to any dance teacher and I look for when hiring and mentoring our Dance To EvOLvE teachers.
- Professionalism: Teachers need to be able to answer parents’ questions and communicate important information. They need to be reliable to be at class consistently and to be on time.
- Good Mentors: Teachers are mentors to their students and need to set a great example with how they dress, the music and language that they use, and the positive encouragement they incorporate into their dance classes.
- Knowledgable About Dance Development: Teachers need to know when students are ready to advance. It is crucial that they do not teach above the student’s age or level if their muscles and strength are not ready.
- Truly Passionate: Teaching should not be just a second part time job for extra money but rather, a true delight to teach.
- Good Class Management: One of the biggest qualities that I see missing in a lot of teachers is the ability to manage a class. Dancers need to stay engaged and focused in a way that makes class fun while keeping them safe. Class management is imperative to a successful, efficient and productive class. This is an acquired skill and should definitely be continually watched so the teacher can improve.
- Good Preparation: A unique thing that Dance To EvOLvE teachers are required to do in order to maintain high quality classes is a lesson plan to ensure that teachers are not just ‘winging’ it week to week. All our teachers, for all ages and levels, also must complete teacher shadowing and a teacher development workshop once a year. Teachers can learn so much from each other and it is important to watch others to keep those creative juices flowing.
Overall, a dancer already has passion about the art of dance...a dance teacher guides others in a highly skilled way to grow the same passion that they have already found.
Brittany White, Dance To EvOLvE Director