Pas de Trois at dancing3.com is a collaboration between David Hunter from Ballet for Men, Henrik Lamark from Tights and Tiaras and myself–as well as all of the readers out there. We are coming together to discuss various issues and ideas about dance. We are actively exploring ways to work together so that there can be a better sense of community on the web for those interested in exploring dance in depth with one another.
Each week we’ll pose a question and answer it one by one on our blogs. This week’s question is “What is the most important quality in a dance teacher?”
I have been both a student and a teacher, so I really had to stop and think this through from both perspectives. I find that the answer is similar–I think that the most crucial skill is the ability to communicate.
As a student, I was striving to understand how to improve my technique. As anyone who has taken dance knows–this does not come naturally. The teacher must be able to tell the student exactly what they need to do to adjust what they are doing to make it right. Those teachers that could do that for me made me dance better. And what’s more–I found I really gravitated toward their classes. I didn’t necessarily like them more, but I learned from them.
As a teacher, I know that finding the right way to communicate with a student can take a while! When I make corrections or comments I try to say things in a variety of different ways, because I know that what impacts one person and gives them that “eureka!” moment may not do anything at all for another one. It is also important to use visual repitition so that students who don’t do well with verbal direction can see what you are saying.
There are many important qualities that dance teachers should have. It’s hard too choose just one, but after a bit of thinking, I’d say I’m pretty comfortable with the one that I picked. What do you think? Join us here and share your answer!