10 Lessons I’ve Learned from Teaching Pre-Dance

These lessons apply specifically to the 3-4 year olds I teach pre-dance to at 9am and 10am on Saturday mornings.

1. Patience 

I have realized that the students can not read my mind and not everyone is going to hear the directions the first time I say them. There are a lot of side conversations, a lot of questions, screaming, free styling, running and a lot of confusion that is up to me to clear up. So I have to take a breath and take in the room and all the personalities I’m working with and time accordingly. Leading ten, 4 year old girls in dance is no easy task. But I tell myself before I go in, “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.”

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2. Discipline

When my patience is running out action must be taken. My top discipline tool in the classroom that has some effect for only a few minutes and then I have to remind them of, is taking away the ever important stickers that the girls get at the end of class. They work hard for the princess and star stickers at the end. However, that fades when ever someone looks in a new direction so then I revert to the time out or leave my class.

(occasionally I have had a few girls gladly want to leave the class or sit down with a lot of enthusiasm, so that technique back fires at times.)

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3. Planning

A few times I have not prepared a lesson plan for class and we ran out of dances to do, and they were looking at me and I was looking at them like……….. FREEZE DANCE!

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4. Sound Authoritative

I have a high pitch voice and I can tend to sound like their peer instead of their teacher, so I have to lower my voice and get a nice bass, chest resonating sound, so they know I am serious and I mean business, this is ballet people.

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5. Be Clear

Be clear with directions, be clear with the dance moms, be clear with my steps, and be clear with everything I say so their is no confusion. Also make sure there is no side chatter so everyone can here.

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6. Bumping Playlist

For this age group, FROZEN. However, the challenge with “Let it Go” is that it promotes being a free spirit and rebellious to authority so the girls tend to break off into song instead of doing plies at the bar.

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7. Be Observant 

Find out who the leaders are, the free spirits, the rebels, and who the quite girls are, and locate the best friend group and separate accordingly.

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8. Expect Tears

for no reason at all.

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9. Expect ALL the unexpected

There are tears, blood, unscheduled story time, drama, eye rolling, back talking, tattle telling, bathroom emergencies, pranks (one of my students hid in the corner and surprised me when I walked in the studio).

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10. Smiles, Hugs, and Laughter are the best medicine 

This has been the most rewarding job that I have ever had and I worked at starbucks for a short while. Watching these girls express themselves through dance and work out all of their energy is such a pleasure. These girls work hard for stickers and work hard on all their steps. No matter what mood I’m in through the class, when it is over and I get a big hug and I hear “Thank you Ms. Ciara!” I know I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing in this world. And I have a responsibility to give these girls the best dance class possible so they can fall in love with dance just like I have.

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