Have you been to a dance class that was supposed to be beginner-appropriate or all-levels, but the class progressed in a way that made you want to disappear?
Maybe you had fun the first few minutes when the sequence was short, but then the instructor moved on, and on, and on. With rapidly dwindling confidence, you were left stumbling in the wake of an ever-growing sequence. Perhaps physically you could have done it all, but you needed more time to really 'get it'. It was just too much to remember. I've been there.
I've been there. In classes and in auditions, I've been there. Have you?
You can only stumble around, a count behind everyone else, for so long before you want to shrivel into the corner and become unseen.
Now, I DO think learning choreo (I spent decades doing this) and even struggling is an important phase of learning. How can we grow if we don’t push our limits? It takes a lot of courage and self-management to overcome feelings of disappointment. These are life skills—but I’d like to see more opportunities to instill dance technique without crazy-long routines where many people aren’t keeping up.
When you’re new to a style or form (or even just with a new teacher), learning a lengthy complex piece of choreography (maybe alongside people much younger or more skilled than you) is daunting and often disheartening. Based on what I've observed, the amount of choreography delivered in many dance classes leaves a LOT of adult beginners behind.
In my opinion, if you are still trying to remember the choreo during the last minutes of class, you're missing out on the joy of dancing, the part where the movement starts to carry you and you can transcend who you were when you arrived ✨.
Learning complex choreography shouldn’t be a barrier of entry to the ancient shared human experience of DANCE. 👯♀️👯♂️. Challenge is great, and choreography is an important part of dance education BUT there ARE ways to teach technique AND help people break through their perceived movement and bodily shortcomings without just choreography.
My message is this:
There ARE ways to bring people into their bodies, raise confidence, improve mechanics, teach actual things (!), invite connection with others, AND dance-- without just adding on and on and on.
These methods are not yet part of the conventional teaching model, but they are out there, and boy am I into shining light on them through my own teaching and the teachers I host (The Floor Flow training deeply explores these ideas).
When I bring guest teachers to Colorado, I judiciously choose artists who use a variety of teaching methods and know how to work with people of all levels (Check out the imaginative, insightful, and oh-so-smooth Almog Loven from Israel with ‘Weightlessness’, April 12-14).
To learn how to get your students into a Flow state and gain proficiency with the floor, join me for the next Level 1 Floor Flow® training August 17-20 in Boulder, CO. We are also working on a Europe training for Nov 2019, dates coming soon.