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Watching and Learning in the Dance Studio

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The “Taking Correction” portion of this anonymous handout has been making the rounds on Facebook. I wanted to share it in its entirety, because the entire thing is just so awesome. Enjoy!

Watching your fellow dancers

Technique, timing, corrections, there is so much going through your mind; it’s so much to take in!

Stop and look at the OTHER dancers in your class. Taking note of what is happening around you can actually help you learn and improve yourself.

Some days it seems that the teacher only sees you, and you get tons of corrections and other days you may not get many. But no matter what, always try to pay attention to the corrections that are given to others in the class. The teacher is making a point; does it apply to me?. Double-check yourself to see if that correction applies to you. This way you can improve on you own, even while the teacher is helping someone else.

Look closely at what the other dancers are doing when you dance in groups. While you wait for your group’s turn to dance, watch the others perform the combination.

Look to see which of the dancers get caught your attention? Why did they catch your attention? Which dancers are following the teacher’s instructions and remembering corrections? Are you ready when it is your turn what is it that you need to do when it’s your turn.

Observing others will help you with your own dance and performance techniques. It is often easier to see corrections and technique when someone else is dancing than trying to see yourself in the mirror.

Be the best you can be.

It is healthy to want to be the best in the class, but not at the expense of your classmates or their feelings. Everyone deserves the same chance to improve him or herself to get ahead. And everyone can help each other! If you know the combination and see someone struggling, lend a hand but do it gently.

It is okay to compare yourself to your fellow dancer but do remember that everyone is unique and be realistic about the level of your ability as everyone’s body works differently.

Keep working at the things you can improve and learn to accept your body’s limitations. Although it’s good to be in front line sometimes, being in the back gives you another opportunity to see what others are doing.

Being Injured

If you are injured and had to watch class you know it can be very frustrating. You may feel like you can’t improve until you can dance again. But you can! Use that time to learn by watching both your classmates and the teacher. You might find that you understand something better by listening to the comments and then seeing how a dancer acts upon them.

Watch & Learn!

There is plenty of time during rehearsals to watch and learn. In the studio or on the stage, you can observe while you are not dancing. Watch performer’s techniques and phrasings, as well as stage presence and how they are expressing themselves. Notice how they use their upper bodies and their facial expressions. Also take note of how dancers get themselves focused both off and on stage.

Listen carefully to the music. The music speaks, sometimes it is better to just listen to it instead of dancing to it. Then your dancing can come alive by the different way you hear and feel the music.

Taking correction

You’re in class and the teacher is watching you like a hawk, giving corrections constantly. If you feel like you are picked on think again…

  • Getting attention and corrections is a compliment. It means the teacher sees something in you and your dancing that’s worth improving.
  • The comments and corrections are meant to be constructive, to help you improve. They are not meant to tear you down.
  • Have a positive attitude. Listen to the praise you get as well as the corrections.
  • Try to apply the correction right away, and for the rest of the class.
  • Remember the correction and try to incorporate them in every class.
  • It might help to write down your corrections after class and review them before the next class.
  • Words like “I can’t” don’t belong in the class. Tell your self I’ll try.
  • Don’t argue with the correction, try and achieve what is asked of you.
  • It’s okay to ask questions if you don’t understand.
  • Listen to the all corrections in class, and take the time to see if they also apply to you.
  • Watch the other dancers and see what corrections you would make if you were the teacher. Then, see if the teacher makes those same corrections.

Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability…………….no one could ask for anything more!

Shay
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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

Shay
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