Dance Teacher Tips

Shaping Sound Star Chantel Aguirre Shares Her Favorite Teaching Tools

Courtesy of Shaping Sound

Whenever she stands onstage at a convention, gazing out at a sea of eager students, Chantel Aguirre is transported back to when she was in their position. She vividly remembers what it felt like to stand in a ballroom seeking growth and approval. Now, she works alongside the artists she used to idolize as a teacher for NUVO Dance Convention, and she knows the impact educators in her position can have on young performers.


"I notice kids being perfectionists while stressing over their craft, and I feel for them," she says. "I often compared myself to other dancers when I was growing up. I hate to see them put themselves down because they don't have the same strengths as the person next to them. I want to use my time to teach them their worth."

In order to instill this confidence in her students, Aguirre works to quickly make a connection with them and create a trusting, honest environment. She begins class by asking the students to stand in first position or parallel with their hands on their waists. Then, she brings their attention to the way their bodies feel that day. She reminds them that each day is different, and that they need to respect where they're at in that moment. She encourages them to focus on their own dancing rather than comparing their flaws to another's strengths. She uses language that is positive and constructive and avoids putting down the dancers.

"My main goal is that my students leave my class feeling good about themselves." – Aguirre Photo by Nick Serian (courtesy of NUVO Dance Convention)

Teaching Tools:

To Stay in Shape

Photo by Lee Gumbs Photography (courtesy of Aguirre)

"I'm a hot-yoga fiend. I have a membership to CorePower Yoga and try to be in class as often as possible. I also rehearse and perform with Shaping Sound, take dance classes, teach and choreograph. I usually demonstrate everything that I create, so I'm constantly in motion."

Prev Page
Next Page
Show Comments ()
Dance Teachers Trending
Jenaé Elizabeth, founder of Dance Dynamix, with students. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth

No doubt turning the dream of owning a dance company into a fully operational business is a tough feat. From finding studio space, marketing, securing funding and more, it can all be very daunting. The challenge of taking a dance-related business to new heights can be even greater if you are a person of color. However, it's not impossible. According to the 2012 census, there are 27.6 million businesses in the United States, and only 2.6 million are black-owned. In honor of Black History Month, DT spoke with several black-owned dance studios and companies and asked them to reflect on the significance race has had on their efforts to run the dance company of their dreams.

Keep reading... Show less

Alexandra Costumes' bold apparel has been making its way onto stages across the nation and people are noticing. Why do coaches love these costumes so much? With years of experience in the dance industry, the minds behind Alexandra Costumes know what works for dancers—comfort, performance and stage-worthy style.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Ski ballet champion Richard Chompsky

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago back in the 1980s, ski ballet was a sport. At the Olympics. Yes, it's hard to fathom, but there was, in fact, an event, (technically a demonstration sport) at the 1988 Calgary Games and the 1992 Albertville Games, that entailed performing to music on a ski slop, with full skis and poles. One athlete even sported gold lamé sleeves on his ski suit. Although it was called "ski ballet," it's more like an eclectic celebration of ice skating meets gymnastics, with a ski base, and a dash of baton twirling.

The only question to be asked: Why is this still not a thing? Do yourself a favor, stop everything and watch these amazing highlights from this forgotten, yet wildly fantastic hybrid sport.

P.S. You're welcome.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Photo by Joe Toreno

Every year, DT honors four outstanding dance educators. Past recipients of the Dance Teacher Awards have included studio owners, professors, program directors and more, whose specialties run the gamut of dance genres. We need your help to find this year's best in the profession. Do you know a teacher who deserves to be recognized as a leader and role model? (Of COURSE you do! Who first opened your eyes to dance? Who's mentored you in your own path to becoming a dance teacher? Who saw you hiding in the back row and sought you out after class to take an interest in your dance studies? Who introduced you to modern dance? Who helped you nail fouetté turns?) Nominate him or her for a 2018 Dance Teacher Award!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Misty Copeland. Photo by Jayme Thornton

Is anybody else confused about why dance isn't an Olympic sport, yet??? I mean, honestly. Dancers train like Olympians every day! They can stun you with their technical prowess, wow you with their uncanny athletic ability AND make you cry all at the same time. Dancers are freaking magicians, and it's time we let them into the Olympics!

Here's who we'd want to see on Team USA if dance were a part of the Olympics. This team is STACKED! Check it out!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo courtesy of NYCDA

Competition and convention season can seem never-ending, but with access to the world's most popular teachers, the experience is invaluable and gives students the opportunity to learn from the best in the business.

Seth Robinson, who teaches contemporary and improv with STREETZ and REVEL dance conventions, has taught and judged thousands of dancers across the nation. Here, Robinson offers three tips to better prepare your students for dance's ever-popular, jam-packed events.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Thinkstock
I'm a senior at a Performing Arts high school. I have been taking ballet for 2 years and started taking tumbling classes with a local gymnastics instructor. One of my jazz teachers advised me to stop as she said it would create bad habits. I enjoy the classes and think my dancing has improved. Thoughts?
Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored