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Year II student Emma blogs about the challenges and rewards of teaching young dancers at Rothesay Ballet School.
A high point of my year is teaching summer classes at my home studio of Rothesay Ballet School. New and returning students, aged 7 to 16, have the opportunity to continue their dance training throughout the summer. Classes take place once a week so time is still available for them to participate in other activities; evening classes give dancers the chance to have their days available for summer fun. For the younger students, these classes are designed to prepare them for their upcoming Royal Academy of Dance exam. We work on dances, exercises, and technique from the syllabus that will be taught starting in September.
While summer dance classes are fun for everyone, there are still difficulties that need to be overcome. The main challenge of summer classes is encouraging dancers to come. For some, dance class is taxing, tough, and tiring; a summer class needs to be appealing while also improving dancers’ overall technique. Here’s the test: if it’s too hard, the dancers won’t want to give up their summer’s evening; if it’s too easy, they also won’t want to give up their evening. Finding the balance is difficult, but it can be done. Mixing technical syllabus work with original exercises to fun music keeps classes entertaining while also training dancers for their upcoming exams. The main key: never walk in to a class unprepared, even if the class is only an hour long.
The goal of each class is to make the dancers excited to arrive and sad to leave. While it can be taxing sometimes, working with young dancers is incredibly rewarding. Teaching helps you develop your own artistry while fostering development in your students.