CHOOSING A DANCE SCHOOL
Teaching a child to dance is a highly skilled profession. The statement, that dance is good for posture can only be applied if careful training and knowledge of anatomy is practiced in class by student and teacher. In comparison teaching a child to dance is like training a racehorse, it's important not to let it peak to soon. It is important that the dance technique is carefully monitored and progresses with the growth rate of each child. Each of their bodies is unique and each requires its own programme of training according to physique, age, stage of growth and many other factors.
T"he dance teacher’s job is to teach and guide each individual to understand, respect and work within the limitations of their own body. It is also the teachers responsibility to keep them motivated and inspired as to why they are coming to class, and relate steps and exercises they are learning to the professional world of dance." Joan Lawson
As dance is a performing art students need to experience the thrill and achievement of performance. Preparing for a performance takes a lot of hard work and time. These are periods when the time for the basic technical structure of class work is cut too short, inevitably slowing progress. However this is also a time for students to develop their artistry and performance skills which are of equal importance to a strong technique. ’it’s in the eyes” Ninette de Valois would say when looking for new talent. Rehearsal periods are always wonderful for bringing pupils together and younger pupils are highly motivated by watching and having contact with older students.
Margot Fonteyn, the prima ballerina, lists the following, in her book A Dancers World as important when choosing a dance teacher:
Does she have authority and assurance when teaching?
Does she insist on pupils being neatly dressed (and is she neatly dressed herself)?
Does she hold the attention of the class, or are the younger ones running around chattering and out of control?
Does she generally give a lot of corrections or just show the steps and let the pupils get on the best they can?
Does she try to vary the lesson from time to time, or does she mechanically repeat the same exercises at each class?
Does she demonstrate the movements carefully and take trouble over getting them right, or does she seem to think that limbering and high kicks are all that matter?
Does she have good common sense?