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Adding Variety To Your Lesson Plans

by Erika Alicia of Dance Teacher Chronicles
Friday, July 6, 2018

"They kept doing the same things in class every week…"

This was a part of a review a parent left about her former dance studio.

Understanding what makes a parent stay at a studio and what makes them walk away, is something the studio owner and the teachers should be paying close attention to.

When we know what they love, we can provide them with more experiences like it. When we are willing to receive negative feedback, we can evaluate and decide if it is something we can improve on.

This type of complaint seemed to be common among parents of younger children.

While we know the reasons behind repetition, parents (and kids alike) do not always understand.

So, what do you do when your students aren’t ready to progress to new steps, but you need to keep it interesting for them?

Add new elements to the same steps! This will not only keep your dance families coming back for more; but also improve their technique and understanding of the steps. Here are 10 ways to shake things up in the classroom, while still teaching an effective class.

July 2018 - 1

  1. Add a prop. This can be as simple as balancing a dot on their head while marching or giving them a scarf to get a creative visual of the path of their arms in port de bras.
  2. Change the music or timing. Sometimes, all you need is a change of tempo to keep the energy flowing in class!
  3. Do the step(s) in pairs. Have them mirror one another going across the floor or choreograph a short pas de deux with steps they know.
  4. Create a dance circle. I love to do this at the very end of class! In a large circle, we do a combination of “just for fun” dance moves and review steps we have done in class. We finish it off with some fun, funky moves and bow at the end. It is super high vibe and they always have a big smile leaving class!
  5. Create an obstacle course around the steps. Example: step hop on the dots (progression for skips), grand battement around the barre (place barre in the center of the room), and do an arabesque inside of the hula hoop.
  6. Have them verbalize it. You can make up a cute saying or just have them say the step out loud while doing the step. Both will help them remember the step.
  7. Add a theme to the step. This is great if you change themes monthly or you can even use the seasons as creative themes.
  8. Create a word sentence using a combination of steps they know. Your students will need to know their vocabulary for this activity. This will force them to think for themselves and help them understand how different steps can be placed together.
  9. Use visualization as a tool to correct their technique. Using imagery when teaching is a game changer! The students can really relate the technique to the image you create and get results much quicker.
  10. Add theatrical elements. This is a great way to get them to explore how to properly express their emotions and use different facial expressions, body language, etc.

July 2018 - 2

This is a short list to help keep your class material fresh! What do you do to keep your lessons dynamic and creative?

Erika Alicia is the Founder of Dance Teacher Chronicles. Her brand helps dance teachers create dynamic classroom and performance experiences, so they can make a greater impact on their dancers in the studio and in life. Join Erika at her weekly Facebook Live Training for Dance Teachers.

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