When I’m teaching a whole company this year, I don’t teach until I’ve finished the first lesson. This is a huge responsibility, and is one that we don’t see dancers as taking on very easily. If we did see dancers taking on this responsibility more, I think there would probably be a great increase in interest.
Are there people who are particularly strong or particularly strong in the art? What are the major challenges in learning it?
In a sense, it’s a lot easier to learn this new language. Once you start going up to 10, 20 different moves it becomes much less of an obstacle and much more of an opportunity. Most dancers have a lot of interest in the art of rhythm when they start. This interest may not stick around in their practice for long, but when they get into the practice room they can really become invested in what they’re working through.
And people are actually willing to spend so much time and get so interested in it that we have to get them back into a learning curve again. I think it’s a pretty good way to go about it, however.
What’s a dancer’s training like?
I have no idea what the people on the dance floor who are in the front of the room are going through – I have to assume that they get that information from their mentors/teachers/partners, but I think even then there is enough of an unknown factor.
What are some of those people going through?
A lot of the instructors I work with, their teaching practice might be a little different than what is shown in a class video. As a result there is a lot of learning behind the scene, and it’s quite possible that the dancers we learn from could be just as good at this than some of the dancers you see in the video who are just as ready to roll.
What is the most challenging part about teaching?
As a teacher I try to be able to give a balanced assessment between students and what they are learning about as an expression of their individuality. There is no way I can possibly get anyone there who has been taught by someone in the past with the techniques they’re now learning, so I have to be careful when trying to make a judgment point about the performance. It’s a fine line between being critical and being complimentary.
What’s the hardest lesson of all?
I think it’s hard to say, but at one point we had to take two dancers who
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