For most dance studios, smaller children make up the bulk of the studio. Every now and then you will get teenagers who want to dance, and you may wonder what to do with them.
We are fortunate enough at our studio to be able to offer ballet, modern and hip hop. Obviously all new dancers should be encouraged to take some ballet lessons to improve on and build up their technique. A teenager who wants to take up ballet or even modern will have to work extremely hard to catch up on years of missed technique, but it is possible. We normally try to place new dancers together, so that they don’t feel that they are too old in the class, and they feel more comfortable knowing that the others are at the same level as themselves.
Sometimes the teenager just wants to dance for fun and fitness, and not have to worry about technique and exams. In this case we recommend doing hip hop. Hip Hop is a good workout for both the brain and the body.
While surfing on the internet, I found a comment by a 13 year old describing what qualities she would like in a dance teacher, and I think most teenagers would agree with her.
1. She hates a teacher who yells all the time. She wants somebody who can have fun and be serious.
2. She wants somebody nice, but that can also push her to her limit in class.
3. She doesn’t want a difficult warm up if she is a beginner.
4. She wants to progress in stretches such as splits, then she will feel that she has achieved something.
5. She likes to do something fun at the end of class, like her favorite move or dance.
6. Use modern and fun music. (I think this applies to modern and hip hop)
There are definite advantages to teaching teenagers, as they are more dedicated than the six year olds. They also have a longer concentration span, and you will be able to get more out of them. On the other hand, some of them can be lazy and cheeky, but the teacher will have find a way to deal with each individual student in her own way, and set some good ground rules for the class.
The most important lesson that the teacher will need to instill in her class is self-discipline. Each child must feel that they are working to their full potential, and in this way they will improve and get a sense of self worth when they accomplish something special.
Michel Maling has enjoyed teaching dancing for the last twenty years and runs a school in Port Elizabeth. For more ballet food, visit http://balletdancing4u.blogspot.com