I’ve been teaching dance for seven years now and I’ve learned that as a teacher, I can play a huge role in my students’ lives. The way I act, the behaviour I expect, and the priorities I showcase get taken into those young minds to percolate and potentially show up in these kids and young adults.
For this reason, I think it’s so important for teachers and instructors to realize that they are role models for kids. We hold a lot of power, and with that power we can help create decent human beings.
In my time as a dance instructor, here are the lessons I’ve ended up teaching. Hint: none of them are about dance technique.
You won’t perfect something new on your first try, and that’s okay.
I get it. All of us young folk are used to getting what we want RIGHT NOW, which these days includes learning a new skill. This is problematic because, you know, you don’t just become a world class dancer in two minutes. It takes practice. Your first attempt at that sweet new move is not going to look pretty. That’s why you practice.
What it means to be a team member.
Teamwork means supporting each other. It means showing up for each other (class, rehearsal, showtime). It means holding each other up to a certain standard of dedication. It means being kind to each other. It means working together.
Competitions are great, but they shouldn’t take priority over kindness and fun.
If you’re leaving a competition, festival or tournament in a terrible mood because of how the judging, adjudication or reffing went down, you’re doing it wrong. Those events are meant to be learning experiences for kids, and a chance to perform or play. Wanting to do well is great – that’s the point – but it is so not worth getting worked up over.
How to win and how to lose.
In both cases, you need to do it graciously. Nobody likes sore winners, but yes, go celebrate your success. If it’s a losing day, see what you can learn from it, then move on. Again, not worth getting worked up over. P.S., you will lose at some point in your life.
You’re allowed to have an opinion, but you’re not always allowed to say it.
Maybe you think the concept for a routine was too out there, maybe you think a costume is a weird colour, maybe a piece of choreography just isn’t your thing. Think it all you want, but keep your mouth shut.
If you can leave feeling proud of what you put out there, then you’ve already succeeded.
Again, winning a competition is great. It’s fun to leave with the first place ribbon. But if you can leave the stage knowing that you gave it 100% and you feel good about your performance, then you’ve already done a great job. That feeling of pride can’t be given or taken away from you by a mark or trophy.
You get what you give.
The person born with less talent but works their tail off is going to get better than the person who relies only on their natural talent. You don’t practice, you don’t get better. You don’t try, you don’t succeed. Simple as that.
Any life lessons that I missed? Comment below!
To all the dancers and teachers out there, here’s to another great season!