Teaching Tips

Ask the Experts: What Do I Do When a Dancer Shuts Down Because of a Correction?


Q: What do you do when a dancer shuts down because of a correction?

A: Many dancers take corrections as put-downs. You need to change their thinking. Teaching dancers how to take a correction is something we start very young at our studio.

Our Mini competitive dancers (5- to 6-year-olds) are taught that a correction is gold. We cup our hands like we are handing them something very valuable and tell them that once they use the gold we give them, we can give them more gold, and they will become better and better dancers. For example, we say, "Sara I am giving you some gold to stretch your feet on your jumps." We find this puts the correction into a positive light.

As dancers get older, we say that corrections are the biggest compliments that a teacher can give them. I explain, "If I didn't think you were capable of making the corrections, I wouldn't waste my time giving them to you." I also try to put a positive spin on what I'm trying to correct. For example, I might say, "Maya, you have beautiful feet and legs on your aerial. If you were to relax your shoulders, it would be perfect."

Finally, when dancers use the corrections we give them, we make a big deal out of it. Everyone—including myself—applauds the dancer and makes them feel special. This makes the correction an opportunity to receive praise from their classmates, and in turn builds self-confidence.

Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Diary
Claire, McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

Keep reading... Show less
Mary Mallaney/USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.