Dance Teacher Tips
Cheryl Madeux-Abbott, ballet director at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts in Hudson, Massachusetts

There's more to private lessons than one-on-one instruction. Consider these practical issues as you plan for your next session.

Outside Coaching

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Some schools discourage private lessons and outside coaching for fear that these might contradict their training methods and confuse the student.

Deciding a Rate

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Rates range anywhere from $40 to $100 or more per hour, depending on the instructor. Some studios set a flat rate, offer a discounted package or offer need-based scholarships.

Dealing With the Parents

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Parents might ask to observe the lesson, but their presence could actually hinder the child's progress. "Students work better when their parents aren't watching," says Becky Erhart Moore, artistic coordinator at Marin Ballet. If they insist on peeking in, suggest that they only come for the last 15 minutes.

Scheduling

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Scheduling can be tough, especially since most students aren't available outside of school hours. "If I have to turn down a student because of scheduling issues on my end, I refer them to someone on my staff who is available," says Cheryl Madeux-Abbott, ballet director at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts.

Time Management

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Your time is valuable, so encourage students to arrive ready for the lesson. "If they're practicing a variation, they need to have done class before," says Edward Ellison, director of Ellison Ballet. "But if we're working on fundamentals, then we can start at the beginning of barre and get warm as we go along."

You know that feeling you get right before the curtain goes up—palms sweating and your heart pounding? Stress often accompanies performance, but it needn’t be debilitating. In a recent study, mindfulness meditation—actively tuning in to the body and breath in a still position—proved helpful in reducing stress reactions in athletes. Scientists measured the stress levels of professional cyclists before and after two months of mindfulness training. The results indicated that while the athletes still recognized stressors, they exhibited less anxiety. Taking a few moments to close your eyes, taking a few deep breaths and noticing how your body feels can have a positive impact on your performance.

Photo: Thinkstock

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