Tips for Dance Teachers

These dance teacher tips are an expanded list, after a super-fun conversation at Philz Coffee in Midtown Sacramento with Hip-Hop dancer and instructor Jessica Aliganga.

  1. Match the difficulty of your 60-minute class to the “average” dancer (beginning, intermediate, advanced) in your class. (This advice is for dance “class”, not dance team “routines & rehearsals” or “master classes” or “workshops” (per se)).
  2. Watch for students who look frustrated or who’ve just plain given up. If one-third or more of your class is in this category, you need to make a decision to slow it down a bit, or stop the class and “regroup/redefine/reeducate.”
  3. Bring all students close together when giving specific instructions that are new, extra-complicated or need repeating/redefining.
  4. If you as a teacher don’t speak loudly enough to be heard by 30 students, spread out across a wide room, with music blasting – turn down the volume during teaching sessions. Then you can crank the volume after a couple of practice runs.
  5. Experiment by teaching the arm-wave for 10-15 minutes with NO music. Experiment with having your students sit on the floor in a semi-circle and really drill an arm-wave routine.
  6. Experiment by cutting in half the amount of dance moves you normally teach during a 60-minute class. “Drill the basics.” One clean move is more powerful than 3 sloppy moves!
  7. BONUS: the popping arm-wave dance move is the most difficult move for beginners! The. Most. Difficult. Noobies look awkward as hell when they attempt it for the first time. But in their mind they think they’re performing it correctly. They are not! Most humans don’t know what to do with their arms when they’re standing in front of a crowd to give a speech or report, so it makes sense that most of your students won’t have good hand/eye coordination or mind/body connection with their arms yet. The arm-wave is the first legitimate test for each of your students. “Getting it” means they’ll be able to move forward into more advanced popping moves. This may take 3 times longer than you anticipated, but they’ll be superheroes in the real world! Teaching fewer dance moves over a longer period of time will build lasting hand/eye/mind/body confidence – and this will translate into all other dance moves.

I taught popping and break dancing for 2-1/2 years at the Broadway Academy of Performing Arts (when it was located in Carmichael, CA), as well as Popping and Rave workshops for Eric & Corrie Aglia’s Light Vibe Performing Arts studio in Sedona, AZ.

WIP 011 - GREEN SUPERFOOD, DAD’S PETS, LANCE SAVES A SNAKE, BIKE RACK, T-SHIRT DESIGNS

WIP 011 – GREEN SUPERFOOD, DAD’S PETS, LANCE SAVES A SNAKE, BIKE RACK, T-SHIRT DESIGNS

Always good to see a long line at Philz Coffee Sacramento. Green Superfood by Amazing Grass is amazing (first heard about it from Tim Ferriss). Amazon Locker is a life-saver. A little showcase of Dad’s rescue-dog, Sammy, and his two cats, Brin and Pepper, during Easter Sunday. Really like Dad’s water fountain in the backyard. My brother, Lance, making sure a snake makes it safely across the road. T-shirt designs: one for Sacramento, and one called “Analog” for my audio friends. Taking photos of the cool iron bike rack in front of Philz Coffee. Using Affinity Photo for photo editing, and Affinity Designer for t-shirt design. Converted an old PNG file to vector format with Convertio.co (very helpful). Using iMovie to put together the vlog. And sifting through fonts.

WIP 009 - MUSCLE MILK, ADAM WEIL, TOASTMASTERS

WIP 009 – MUSCLE MILK, ADAM WEIL, TOASTMASTERS

Popping in to Philz Coffee (hi Jessica Aliganga) & Insight Coffee Roasters (hi Avolyn Fisher) in Sacramento, CA. Packing a Muscle Milk ready-to-drink protein shake as part of the daily routine. Transferring CDs to the Mac. Interview with Websauce Studio owner Adam Weil. Getting stopped by Black Lives Matter protesters in front of the California State Capitol. Visiting the Toastmasters District 39 Area 52/53 International Speech contest in downtown Sacramento (congrats on the 1st-place win Tobias Stockler). And picking up multivitamins at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op.

WIP 008 – PHILZ COFFEE, FASHION PHOTOS, DAVID HOWE

WIP 008 – PHILZ COFFEE, FASHION PHOTOS, DAVID HOWE

Work In Progress (WIP) 008 – A visit to Philz Coffee in Midtown Sacramento, CA. Transferring fashion photo shoots and fashion models from CD format to Macbook. Meetup with film director David Howe and animator Kim Paulsen at the ever-popular Tower Café in Sacramento, CA. And a visit to my brother Lance’s bird, Verdi.