Hey, dance teachers! Take a second to think about the last time you took a dance class. We know you spend the majority of your waking hours in the studio, but how much of that is for your own instruction and learning? Our guess is not much.

Here we share 15 reasons you may want to change that.


1. Stay up-to-date with current choreographic trends

Of course you're constantly watching footage of new works from your favorite choreographers, but taking class yourself is the best way to really understand new choreographic trends.

2. Glean inspiration from different teaching styles

Growth and evolution are important elements of any successful career. Taking class from someone new may be the inspiration you need to help refocus and improve upon your already stellar teaching style.

3. Put yourself in your students' shoes

We spend so much time educating, we can sometimes forget what it's like to be taught. Taking class can give you insight into what your students are going through, and it will help you approach your work with them with understanding and compassion.

4. Learn what NOT to do as an educator

While gleaning inspiration for what TO do is important, gleaning inspiration for what NOT to do may be even more crucial. Pay attention to strategies your teachers use that might not be effective, notice how students respond to different types of correction and note what doesn't work.

5. Counteract burnout

Sometimes the stress of teaching, running a studio and dealing with difficult parents can make you want to pull your hair out. Taking class will remind you of your love for the artform and give you the strength to make it through another day.

6. Maintain physical health

We're preaching to the choir when we say dance is a great form of exercise. This is an excellent way to take care of yourself.

7. Prevent dementia

Studies are finding a connection between dance and dementia prevention. Who are we to argue with the experts. 🤷♀️

8. Improve demonstration skills

When you demonstrate in class, your dancers have a visual representation of what their technique should look like. In order for your demonstration skills to stay pristine, you need to be maintaining and developing them in class.

9. Make important connections

Taking teacher classes at convention is a great way to make important connections for your studio. Many major choreographers will only work with a studio if they have developed a relationship with the studio owners, the teachers or the dancers. These classes are a chance for you to lay the ground work for those connections.

10. Scout out potential teachers for your studio

What better way to see if someone is qualified to teach for you than taking their class? Be careful with this, though. You don't want other studios to think you're poaching their employees. Be sure to only do this if the culture of the studios in your town is to share teachers.

11. Remind yourself how talented you are

It may have been a while since you last graced the stage, but when you step on the floor and start dancing yourself, you'll quickly see that you've still got it!

12. Discover new music

Finding new music for class can feel like an impossible task. Go take class from someone else, and you'll discover a whole new world of tunes to play with your adagio combo.

13. Do something for yourself

Your life revolves around your studio and your students. Taking class is one thing you can do for yourself that's separate from them. It's an excellent form of self-care!

14. Make new friends

The majority of the social interactions in your life come from teaching. Class is a great chance to make connections and friendships with your peers.

15. Inspire your students

Dancers often think that once they enter their professional careers, they don't need to take class anymore. Of course, we understand that if any dancer is to truly thrive professionally, class needs to be a lifelong habit of theirs. What better way to teach than through example. As we tell them about the classes we still take, we inspire them to do the same.

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Hypermobility occurs when joints exceed the normal range of motion. Dancers can have hypermobility in specific joints, like their knees, or they can have generalized laxity throughout their bodies (which is often measured using the Beighton system—see below). While this condition may enable students to create beautiful aesthetic lines, it can also increase risk for injury. Help dancers gain the strength they need to stay healthy while making the most of their hypermobility.

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I love this level. I see it as the true origin of a student's dance journey. Intermediate students have bought in, caught the fever, chosen to move beyond inquiry about dance to investment in dance. They are yearning to advance past their beginner training and label.

As teachers, we begin to set more stringent expectations for them to commit to class, take ownership of their learning, and comprehend more terminology and skills. Yet, they are still a bit disheveled in their movement and engagement. They still sometimes forget their dance pants and confuse upstage with downstage. Some of them are still, well, terrified.

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On February 7—just before the Oscars ceremony—we'll present a Dance Spirit award for the best movie choreography of 2019. With your help, we've narrowed the field to seven choreographers, artists whose moves electrified some of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year.

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Q: My tween is begging me to go to a faraway summer intensive, claiming "all my friends are going." How do I know if she's ready?

A: It can feel like a rite of passage for serious dancers to attend an intensive at a major ballet school. They dance all day and often explore the area's surroundings or attend performances on weekends. But living away from home, having a roommate and living the "dorm life" can be a challenge.

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