Teaching Tips
Pamela Montgomery, courtesy Kerollis

When it comes to teaching dance, few tools are more effective than hands-on corrections. As the COVID-19 pandemic has overtaken the globe, dance classes have either shifted to virtual platforms or socially distant classrooms where no physical contact is allowed. We've all had to adapt our teaching styles to ensure students continue to improve until we can return to business as usual.

For me, this has meant finding creative ways to have my ballet students self-correct issues that I'd normally address with a touch-based correction. Here are some of my favorite contactless "hands on" corrections I've been using:

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Photo courtesy of Kerollis

I remember it like yesterday. Those days, when I could step to the front of my classroom and guide students through enchaînement—demonstrate the combination, offer tidbits of advice, cue my accompanist and walk around offering detailed corrections.

If you told me a month ago I would be forcibly holed up in my apartment as I led my first classes as a master teacher with Youth America Grand Prix, I might have looked at you like you had several heads. But when New York City began shutting down at breakneck speed, I knew I had to do something to protect my income. I dug deep into my toolbox and began developing online classes.

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I was probably about 15 years old when the director of my local dance school, seeing my drive and ambition, asked me to work as a teaching assistant for one of the main ballet instructors. She asked to meet with me to discuss the details of my new job. She explained what my role was in the studio, expectations of me in the position and more. But as we approached the end of my meeting, I wasn't expecting the conversation to take the serious turn that it did.

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