Why You Don’t Know What to Teach in Dance Class with Erin Pride

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Why You Don’t Know What to Teach in Dance Class 

by Erin Pride 

I am standing in front of my students and I am drawing a complete blank. I feel anxious, overwhelmed, and outright stumped. My heart is beating as I feel the pressure of what to do next. I silently pray to the universe hoping it will deliver me some kind of amazingness.

Well, that didn’t happen, no amazingness was delivered, and to no surprise, the class was a complete bust. Now, don’t get me wrong sometimes praying to the dance class God’s works, but on this day it didn’t. The more and more I approached my dance classes with the “wing it” mentality, the more I realized that I was on autopilot, teaching the same thing, the same way, not infusing my gifts into my classroom. 

Everything in me wanted to resist the idea of planning my dance classes, but something had to change. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t giving my students my best, and in turn, I wasn’t helping my students reach their fullest potential.

You want to enjoy teaching and you want to teach from a place you feel connected to. Well, my friend, in order to do that, you do have to plan. Now I know what your thinking, “Erin I don’t have time to do that, I don’t have time to plan my dance classes”, and trust me, I thought the same thing, that was until I became clear on my values. 

I started to think about my values as a dance educator, the values I wanted to bring into my classroom, my program, and what I wanted to share with my students outside of technical skills. 

You see I knew I had more gifts to share, but I didn’t know how to get there, and once I became clear on what was meaningful to me as a dance educator, my class planning process became exciting, I became inspired, and I got reconnected to my purpose.  

Here’s a look at my teaching values: 

  • solid/ safe technique
  • dance history integration
  • human development/ social and emotional learning 
  • Composition

“Ok, Erin so what does this mean?”  Well, when I am teaching a class, no matter the discipline I know that I am bringing these components aka values into my classroom. Sometimes they come all at once, sometimes I strategically place them into an activity or exercise, and sometimes I focus on one aspect for an entire unit or marking period. The point is I am clear on what I stand for as a dance educator, and when I am in front of my students I always know what place I want to teach from. This took the pressure off of the class planning process for me because I began to look at class planning as a way to share my gifts and not just skills with my students.

Here are some questions to ask yourself, if you need help finding clarity on your values as a dance educator: 

  1. What lights you up in life? 
  2. What do today’s students need? 
  3. What are your superpowers as a dance educator? 
  4. What are your non-negotiables when delivering a quality dance education?
  5. What do your students need more of? 

Now when you unpack your values this doesn't mean you shouldn’t plan your combinations, set warm-up, etc... Your values will help you determine the gut of your teaching/ program/school, and what’s going to differentiate you from other educators and studios. Once your values are set, you should have the tools and inspiration to then plan the meat of your classes. 

Shifting your class planning from a list of steps and activities to sharing what’s meaningful to you, will help you reconnect to your teaching, inspire you to create engaging classes, and most importantly get you past the class planning overwhelm. 

What are your values as a dance educator? I would love to hear them, drop them in the comments below. 

If you like this, then I think you will love the free 4 days live virtual training I am hosting for high school dance educators, to learn more visit https://erinpride.com/

 Erin is your personal dance education coach. Jersey girl all the way, she graduated from Montclair State University with a B.F.A. in Dance and received her Masters in Dance Education from New York University.  Erin is a dance classrooms expert and specialize in lesson planning, unit plan design, and curriculum creation, as well as classroom management strategies. She has over a decade of experience teaching, writing curriculum, and developing programming. Erin is the Director of a High School Dance Program in New Jersey, and the Host of the Dance Boss Podcast.   To learn more about Erin visit erindpride.com, and you can hang out with Erin on Instagram and Facebook.


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