Shut Up

“Dance is a silent art,” one of my favorite teachers quoted to quiet his talkative dancers. That admonition also applies to instructors who talk or shout over the music, I’m guilty of it myself.Unknown-1.jpeg

Must we remain silent and allow students to fail?

As the teacher,  I want to keep the class experience vibrant, and to propel the participants to get warm and move vigorously.  I also sympathize with the underdog, that poor dancer who is so eager to advance that he or she dares to take a difficult, higher level class and is attempting step sequences beyond their grasp. In order to avoid humiliating them or to prevent their stumbling from slowing the pace of the better dancers in class, I yell over the music and spoon feed them cues. Do the beginners even recognize the names of the steps that I’m shouting? I’m screaming French at them. Why?

Even if my hollered instructions work, the practice encourages a dependency that I’d prefer to eliminate. I’d rather show a greater respect for the music and for my dancers, to recognize them as fellow artists who need to hear the music in order to phrase and accent their movement.

What do you recommend?

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