Most teachers likely agree that demonstration and practice are critical to the success of dance students, but to what extent should the instructor encourage doing over watching or vice-versa? Two research studies involving young children learning complex dance movements support every dance teacher’s belief that modeling as an instructional tool is especially important in learning motor skills, especially with younger children. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to demonstrate as fully as possible, especially with beginners and young children, if you want them to get the most out of your demonstration.
This photo is from rehearsal for Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre’s Contemporary Nutcracker as performed by Conservatory of Dance Studio Company. The girl in the photo is “Klara” and she is about to pick up the sword, illuminated, and kill the Mouse Queen in revenge of her dead Nutcracker.”
January is a great time to take a little time out to guide students in setting goals and planning how they’ll achieve them.
I begin with the goal, the endpoint, the ideal, and then decide how to get there. If I am designing curriculum for a workshop the aims may be fewer and less grand than if I’m planning curriculum for an eight-year course of study.