Ask Deb: What Advice Do You Have for the Start of a New Dance Year?
September 5, 2018

As the new school year approaches, I want to apply some new practices to help our dancers make the most recognizable progress this year. Do you have any advice for how to do this?

I’ve found it quite valuable to start the new year with physical assessments and personal goals to help you measure growth throughout the year.

It can be as simple as lining everyone up and taking short video clips on your phone. Film them doing the splits, jumping in first position, or a plié, rélevé combination. Shooting a couple videos won’t take much time and is a way to document where they are at the beginning and end of the dance year.

Next, ask your students to write down something they’d like to improve for the fall semester along with a few action steps they can take to do that. This helps students become accountable for their progress.

Most students will choose a physical goal, like improving their arabesque, but others could choose something like not sabotaging themselves with negative thoughts, or becoming better at staying focused and present in class.

Once they’ve chosen one or two ideas (that’s plenty!), you can check in with them every so often to offer suggestions for achieving their goal. Keep them focused on their efforts and actions by reminding them that they can always improve—it just takes practice!

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

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