Collective Wisdom | Classroom Connection: We’ve Got Spirit

Ideas and advice from teachers

Freeze out those dreary mid-winter doldrums with a Spirit Week.

Creating a week when students can dress up and express themselves is key to cultivating their artistic vision and performance quality. In my ballet classes, I occasionally offer a themed week called “uBu”—a play on “You Do You” or “You Be You”—when my students can break their dress codes. My littlest students may choose to bring tulle skirts and tiaras. My older dancers may don leg warmers, skirts, or scarves; wear their tights over their leotards; dress in leotards of various colors or team track jackets; and suit up in all the ballet-dancer accessories that I never allow in class.

I choose a theme for the week as a jumping-off point: Glorious Gray, Rainbow Sherbet, Raspberry Ripple. Some dancers even come to class in old recital costumes, which pleases the “glad to see it’s being worn more than once” parents and can create nice student–teacher moments. (“Oh, I remember that dance from recital!”)

You could even come up with themes that are specific to different dance genres: the Pajama Game for musical theater/jazz classes, Classy Classical for ballet, Flappin’ Flappers for tap.

And as a bonus, think of all the photo ops that can be shared online! —Casey C. Davenport


Casey C. Davenport teaches ballet in the Portland, Oregon, area and is the founder of the Facebook page Ballet Teachers Unite!