I don't need to harp on about how difficult this year has been. It's global, we are all well aware. But looking at my students and in particular, the ones stuck at home, self isolating and staring longingly at their screens while their friends dance full out in the studio, it made me think how can we boost these kids for the last couple of weeks of the year? How can we encourage them to show up for class and for themselves?
How can we show them the positive when they are feeling perhaps quite negative?
Just as I am a firm believer that when you write things down, you are more likely to act upon them, I am also a believer in the power of watching. Watching Instagram and Youtube yes, but I mean watching fellow students. Watching corrections being given in a class and not to you, but to someone similar to you. Because while watching perfect performances on Instagram is hugely inspiring, it doesn't show you how to get there.
I wonder how many students would watch a full class on social media? I know plenty of teachers who do (and if you don't, I highly recommend it!) I myself LOVE finding a video of a class and watching other teachers teach. Listening to the corrections they give and the way they word things. Watching how they put together a combination and how it differs from mine. Learning something that I don't feel works for me but then putting my own unique twist on things to get a better outcome in class. I live for this kind of stuff in my spare time. But students, do they have the patience to sit there and watch another studio's class? Would they even think to search for one on Youtube, grab a notebook and suck in every detail? Probably not but that really isn't their fault, its just not something they might think to do on their own.
So, if like the hundreds of other dance schools up and down the country, your students are seeing the year out stuck on Zoom either due to self isolation or because you have decided it's right for you at this time, perhaps we could all take a moment to think about how we can use it to our advantage? Don't have enough space to dance full out? Watch others. Don't want to join in because you aren't feeling well? Watch the others in the class. Bored at home but don't want to take another online class? Watch one instead. Watch, absorb, digest and as always:
Write. Things. Down.
They will feel productive, inspired and I promise, they will have learnt so much more than they realise.