At The Dance Zone in Henderson, Nevada, a young dancer rehearses her jazz routine for the team's weekend competition. At 9 years old, she has already decided that she's “not a turner," and today, with a competition looming, she struggles to execute a double turn. Before long, she gets so worked up that every time she tries to turn, she falls, bottom to the floor. “She just got freaked out," says Dance Zone co-owner Jami Artiga. “It was a fear of letting her team down."
Many teachers will recognize this scene. Dance requires as much mental focus as physical, and it's easy for students to become so stressed out that they hold themselves back. Anxiety like this can turn an otherwise joyous dance experience into torture. Fortunately, as a teacher, you can help students stop fretting and start dancing with confidence.