Conventions provide a perfect opportunity for your students to expand their dance horizons. As a teacher, the last thing you want is for your dancers to show up unprepared or, worse, to act inappropriately. (No, hogging the front-and-center spot for the duration of every class is not OK!) Before your next convention weekend, share convention mainstay Cris Judd’s must-have advice with your students.
1 If you’re there to compete for a scholarship, be ambitious and put yourself out there. But don’t think you should be right under the choreographer’s nose. You don’t want to push the teacher away or make them think you’re crazy. Be respectful. If you’re there to learn and dance, you’ll be noticed. If you’re only there to win a scholarship, the teachers will be able to tell. They can see who will be difficult to work with professionally. If you have an attitude, we’re going to shy away from you. There’s a difference between being cocky and being confident.
2 Wear clothes that are comfortable to dance in, and make sure they’re appropriate for the style you’re taking. Don’t worry too much about being hip or trendy—it’s about being prepared to get the most out of class. You don’t have to wear Uggs. Save the trends for the stage. In class is where you learn and grow. You’re there to sweat.
3 Take the time to thank the teacher after class. You don’t have to have a long conversation, but a quick “thank you” is a nice sign of respect. It also gives the teacher an opportunity to ask your name if they noticed you during class.
4 Have an open mind and don’t get discouraged. Take advantage of the diversity at conventions, even if something isn’t your forte. You have this opportunity to take classes from so many different people. Don’t think of it as “I have to take class.” Think of it as “I get to take this class with all these great people.” Don’t be anxious. Every class provides a chance to improve. If dance was supposed to be easy, you’d get bored. Maybe the first hard class is a struggle for you and you fall. Then, next time you might not fall down, you might just stumble, and the next time you just trip over your feet—it just keeps getting better and better.
5 Be humble. There is always going to be someone better than you at these events. If you think you know it all, you don’t. There is always someone there to learn from. We’re all in this together.
Photo: Dancers at The PULSE On Tour (ProPix/Courtesy of The PULSE)