Q: Do you approach your K–12 classes differently than when you teach at a studio?
A: When shifting from teaching at a private studio to a public or private school, people need to rethink what the function of their class is. In a studio, the goal is most likely to teach technique, but that is not necessarily the case in K–12. Here, much of the students’ days are filled with critical thinking, and my classes offer a chance for creative exploration.
Technique is important, but I need my lessons to speak to a wider range of learners and abilities. Remember that dance in a K–12 setting may not be every student’s desired activity, so there are times when I will need to work to win over some of them. I do this by making room in class for students to bring their individual voices out.
Choreography within class is something public- and private-school teachers are particularly good at incorporating into their curriculum. The act of creating helps students with their ability to analyze and synthesize information—something they can apply in every area of their lives. Private studios could take a cue from public schools on this and do a bit more to add teaching composition and choreography to their classes. All teachers strive to have their students think creatively.