Teaching Tips

Ask the Experts: What Should I Do About Students Falling Behind Their Peers?

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Q: Last season I had three dancers on my junior team who struggled all year. They've trained with me for years, yet they keep sliding farther behind their classmates. What should I do?


A: It's not uncommon for dancers who start on the same level when they are 5-year-old minis to progress beyond that at a different pace. We have a group of 21 dancers, with several students who cannot keep up with their classmates. We've tried everything: private classes, extra assistants to work with just them, special attention in class—we even asked them to double-up on their schedule by taking the level below them as well as their regular classes. All of this just overwhelmed them, and they continued to struggle.

This year we have decided to place them in our part-time competitive level classes. Prior to this decision we made sure to speak to their parents individually and let them know how much their child was struggling with technique and corrections, and that this was affecting their self-esteem. We expressed that we want their children to love dance, but that the classes they were currently in had become too difficult for them to succeed in. This was not an easy decision, but it was the best decision for all concerned.

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