How do we as dance teachers encourage more enjoyment and natural expression in our dancers?
The best place we felt to start was by avoiding the main creativity killers. You may agree with our choices below, or you may have your own, but when we first began developing the Groove Child® Dance Syllabus we knew we wanted it to be fun for both teacher and child, but carefully structured in away that reduced the likelihood of the following creative road blocks – to really ensure the children benefit from the multi-faceted learning that dance can offer.
Constantly critiquing and controlling an exercise, creates worry in the child which is counterproductive to their mental and artistic growth.
INSTEAD we can try giving them interludes of time and space within some sessions to simply be creative, even if it isn’t always a great end result, the PROCESS is more important.
Lack of Inspiration
An uncreative environment with no strong or helpful stimulus often leads to dancing without feeling and inspiration.
INSTEAD try providing a weekly dance session that offers a variety of music, creative themes, props, or a mix of set work and new work to help keep engagement and joy ignited from month to month.
Protection from Failure
Totally protecting children from failure in anything means they will not know how to cope well with it and therefore they may take less risks and not TRY new things for fear of failure. This can also lead to lack of self-belief and confidence
INSTEAD acknowledge failure or mistakes as part of learning and growth, and encourage a sense that failure is okay – as long as you learn from it and grow in your approach the next time. Let them know it’s all part of life! If they feel it’s okay to make a mistake within the class they be more likely to take risks when you want them to improvise or be creative.
We all know from personal experience that not feeling like you’re improving at something can be discouraging.
INSTEAD create a space where all children can experience success, and try offering constructive reinforcement or evidence that they have made headway at some point within this session. Rather than only focusing on technique, repetition and corrections in every class each week, consider incorporateing an additional weekly space in the timetable to let children explore dance creatively, in a structured manner that offers themchoice and support so they can start to build confidence in their own ideas
This type of class approach can be a much more motivating springboard, particularly for any struggling students and those lacking in confidence.
When you worry about the outcome the work becomes tight and forced, rather than enjoyable and expressive.
INSTEAD try cultivating more enjoyment of the learning process. As the saying goes, it’s the journey not the destination that’s important. Experiment and curiosity breeds a deeper emotional involvement in the process, which can also lead them to a deeper understanding and memory of the work being taught.
Lack of ‘Play’
Completely structured activities of any kind often stifle any opportunity for creative growth within that activity.
INSTEAD remind yourself that ‘play’ is a foundation of exploration and discovery in all areas of life, and you are allowed to use this concept in your dance classes too! Structure is very important for growth, of course, so its important that the children know the aim of the exercise, how to go about it, where to begin, etc. The most high-quality creative dance exercises have a balance of structure and freedom for the dancer to ‘create’ within given boundaries or instructions. This approach helps them to stretch themselves (in mind and body) and acts as a springboard for other disciplined requirements such as effort, perseverance, resilience, problem-solving all of which are the ultimate goals you want them to attain.
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Amy & Natalie x
The Groove Child Dance Syllabus is designed to help dance teachers nurture children’s positive sense of self, confidence, and self expression through dance in a way that celebrates their individuality and boosts their performance. Dance School Owners & Freelance Dance Teachers – we’d love to meet you and introduce you further to the benefits Groove Child brings. Check our full details of the syllabus and our courses at the main website: www.groovechilddance.com