At Dance Classics of Murfreesboro, we want our dancers to be successful and to improve. Our ultimate goal is to have dancers with superb technique, excellent musicality, proper alignment, flexibility, ability to absorb and apply choreography quickly, and high performance qualities. These “goals” take time…TONS of TIME! Years and years of good quality dance education.
Each level at Dance Classics is designed to review movement from the prior level and then to begin to slowly introduce new material. The introduction of new “steps” is gradual and progressive. We will not teach an advanced step if the dancers have not learned and perfected the proper progressive steps leading up to the new, more advanced step. Dancers not only need to know how to DO the step, they must be able to execute it properly, it must look aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and they must be able to finish the step properly. This must all happen before moving on to new material. Building a strong foundation and strong technique can only be done through much repetition.
At this point, you may be thinking, “How will my dancer move up or advance if they are never learning anything new?” Please trust me when I say, your dancer will advance, they will improve, and they will learn new material; that is where the hard work and perseverance comes to play. Your dancer must work very hard in class. Your dancer must be disciplined. Your dancer should take corrections and apply them and then continue to practice them! That is how they will get better. We as instructors, can give the corrections, choreograph material to try to help them progress, and design well-thought classes meant to progress to new levels, but if the dancers never apply the corrections, do not pay attention, or do not practice at home, they will never improve enough to get to the next level.
We must also keep in mind that everyone learns and progresses at different times and at a different pace. I, as a Freshman student in college, was placed in Ballet level 2, Jazz level 1, and Modern level 1. I questioned the Modern level. I was shocked that they would place me in the lowest level! I didn’t want to take the class. I thought I would be bored and felt the professors were trying to hold me back. I was wrong. You see, before that class, I had very minimal Modern dance training. My professors could tell this, as I didn’t quite understand the mechanics of the movement. I needed it broken down and simplified in order to do it correctly. Once the semester was over, I was able to move to the next level. I was not able to move to Modern 2 immediately (like I had wanted) until I had a good solid foundation of Modern 1.
Within a particular level, there may be a variety of levels of dancers. This is typical in any dance class. Upon observation, you will notice stronger dancers and weaker dancers. This is actually a good thing. The weaker dancers have goals to work towards when dancing in class with slightly better dancers and the stronger dancers can use their strength to become leaders within the classroom. This is a win-win situation.
Please remind your dancer, that a person can ALWAYS learn new things, even at the lowest level. Classes at Dance Classics are not based on age or height, or how long they have been dancing. Class placement is based on the dancer’s level of proper technique, maturity, and ability to apply corrections. Before moving on to the next level, the dancers must be able to properly execute all that they were taught in their current level. They must not only know how to do particular steps but they must also execute them correctly and it must look correct (ie; no sickled feet, stretched legs, proper alignment, etc).
If a dancer skips a level, they must know and be able to execute all the material for the level skipped. The skipping of a level can happen, but not often. If fact this should be rare. When dancers skip a level, they are opening themselves up to injury, the possibility of developing poor habits, and frustration.
Please know that we care very deeply for our dancers. We want to see them improve and be the best dancers and people that they can be. We teach them how to dance but we also teach them the value of discipline and integrity. This will help them to grow as dancers and hopefully will be carried into their adult lives. Trust us in their class placement. Help us to remind them that advancement must be earned through hard work and happens at different times for different people. We as adults know that these are important life lessons.