Ask Rhee Gold: Ending Class on a Positive Note

Advice for dance teachers | Ending Class on a Positive Note

Q: Dear Rhee,

As a studio owner, I believe that my faculty needs to remember that our students should feel a sense of accomplishment by the time they leave dance class. It isn’t about hollow compliments or accolades, but about ending class on a positive note so that the kids are excited to return the following week. I would like to see more interaction between teachers and students and an end to kids feeling discouraged when they leave because they didn’t accomplish what the teachers expected. Sometimes I think the teachers may expect too much. Can you offer any advice? Karin

A: Hello Karin,

I, too, believe that class should end on a positive note. My strategy is to focus on movement or choreography that the students are comfortable or familiar with during the last 10 minutes of class. If they leave feeling frustrated or uncomfortable, they might decide that dance isn’t their thing.

Play a slow lyrical or contemporary song at the end of class and let students follow your simple port de bras or small movements as a cool-down.

Every once in a while, end your class by asking your students a question, such as, “What did you like most, or least, about today’s class?” Never get defensive, no matter what their response is, or you will inhibit them from speaking up again. Teachers, never stop learning from your students!

To help students maintain their enthusiasm while they’re learning recital choreography, invite their parents to come watch their progress at the end of each class. This has two benefits. First, when the dancers know their parents will be watching, they tend to work extra hard to remember the choreography. And the parents will see how well their children are being prepared for the performance. Good luck. —Rhee