Teaching Tips
Chisa Hidaka's Applied Anatomy class at Barnard College. Photo by Guy de Lancey, courtesy Barnard

Gail Accardi believes there should be a model skeleton in every dance studio.

"How the body works can be mysterious, especially to beginners," says the New York City–based teacher, who has taught anatomy awareness courses at Peridance Capezio Center and Dance New Amsterdam. "A visual aid can help students understand what the body is actually doing in various dance movements."

But using a skeleton to demonstrate a port de bras or développé is only one way to get students familiar with how their body parts team up to perform choreography. Dance Teacher spoke to three educators about how to foster an understanding of anatomy in dancers of all ages.

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Teaching Tips
Eduardo Patino, courtesy NDI

If you're like many dance teachers, you'd like to be able to teach inclusive dance classes for both disabled and nondisabled dancers—but you don't necessarily feel qualified.

But Kay Gayner (associate artistic director at National Dance Institute) and Agnes McConlogue Ferro (board-certified pediatric physical therapist) want to assure you that starting an inclusive dance program doesn't have to be intimidating. Last month in a series of online trainings, Gayner and Ferro shared their best online and in-person practices from 20 years of NDI's inclusive dance program, the DREAM Project. Here's what Dance Teacher learned when we had the privilege of tuning in.

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Teaching Tips
@jayplayimagery, courtesy Blackstone

Zoom classes have created a host of challenges to overcome, but this new way of learning has also had some surprising perks. Students and educators are becoming more adaptable. Creativity is blossoming even amid space constraints. Dancers have been able to broaden their horizons without ever leaving home.

In short, in a year filled with setbacks, there is still a lot to celebrate. Dance Teacher spoke to four teachers about the virtual victories they've seen thus far and how they hope to keep the momentum going back in the classroom.

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Teaching Tips
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It won't come as news to dance teachers that all good teaching begins with motivation and positive behavior. Without solid behavior management techniques, teachers simply don't get to teach.

As a professor of teacher education at Miami University, I've both taught these research-based techniques and put them into practice—from teen ballet classes to college-level ballroom courses.

Here are four strategies I recommend to keep your classroom focused on learning.

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Teaching Tips
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For dance teachers, it's natural to want to treat students equally. But that doesn't always honor their varying backgrounds, abilities and strengths. To address this, some instructors implement differentiated instruction in their classes, a teaching method that provides students with customized material based on their individual abilities instead of holding them to a single, inflexible standard.

In the dance studio, differentiated instruction could mean teaching for students with multiple learning styles by calling out terms the first time a combination is demonstrated, repeating it with counts, and demonstrating a third time singing the lyrics. Or, it could mean giving different turns to students depending on their prior studies, so that everyone is dancing together but in personally beneficial ways.

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