5 Research Insights on Technique Proficiency for Busy Dance Teachers
Author: Clara Fischer Gam
Dance teaching is a daily challenge. Being in the studio for long working hours, preparing different classes for the term and dealing with the individualities within a group of students are some of the struggles and joys of the teaching practice. As we work against the clock with dancers to keep up with the timetable and achieve aesthetic quality and mastery of technique, the time for reflecting upon experience and investigating new pathways for student learning becomes scarce.
How can we keep an exploratory process alive whilst still being time-efficient to meet the demands of the curriculum and nourish dancers’ development of artistry?
Over the years, the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS) community has developed a comprehensive collection of resources for informing and inspiring your teaching practice. Accessing our resources, you will discover content specially designed for dance teachers that bring exciting research findings into the studio context. At this post, you will find a brief preview of 5 selected resources that bring evidence-based insights to support your teaching practice. Just click on each title below and it will take you to the full text. Always remember that IADMS website provides a vast number of resource papers (http://www.iadms.org/?page=186) and bulletins for dancers and teachers (http://www.iadms.org/?page=243) that you can access at any given time!
1- Body alignment, jumping and barre work:
Can we keep upright alignment throughout the entire dance sequence? Do deeper pliés elicit higher elevations? Does barre work prepare the body for center work? …. Recognise underlying concepts of these key elements of dance skill and teaching cues that can facilitate student learning.
2- Energy storing and timing of dance movement:
What is the role of the gesture leg during a fouetté turn sequence? Does winding up with the arms affect a pirouette? Understand how the forces work during particular dance movements and important things to spot when your dancers are struggling to learn them.
3- Balance in dance:
When teaching novice dancers, to what extent does demanding perfect placement of the body help learning balance strategies? Explore postural control and automatic balance mechanisms and how to make the most of these processes for student growth and development of artistry.
4- Dance technique steps:
During class, when is the best time for performing grand plié sequences? Whilst keeping the gesture leg in balance, are we really holding it from the core? Does the upper body contribute to take-off and lading from jumps? Identify the mechanical principles of some the main steps of dance technique and how to apply them to your studio practice.
5- Lateral preferences in dance:
Could having a dominant gesture leg impact performance? Discover what to consider regarding student’s preference for learning and performing in one side of the body and what can you do to foster your dancers’ potential.
In order to face the challenges of a dance teaching career, it can be of great worth to save a bit of time to investigate evidence-based information that relates to your studio practice as to keep building up the blocks for student’s mastery. Remember that you have got full support from IADMS public access resources throughout the process!
Keep investigating your teaching practice by exploring other core topics in dance at IADMS resource papers and bulletins for dancers and teachers, enjoy!
Clara Fischer Gam, MS (clarafischergam.com)
MSc Dance Science | BEd Dance Education
Certified Functional Strength Coach
Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Dance Science Brasil Group
Corpos Aptos, Gestos Livres Project