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  • Writer's picture Alison Hollingsworth

Are you a good student?

Did you know that the way you approach class can effect how much you get out of each class? By being a "good student" every time you enter a class you can take advantage of what your teacher is offering and make the most of your time and money at the studio. We are all busy and pulled in so many different directions these days both kids and adults alike. This does of course mean that our best might vary from day to day; however, just by calming down and focusing before we enter the dance space we can set our mind to be a good student.

So, what does it mean exactly to be a good student? It goes beyond the basics of behaving in a classroom. That is a given! It means having an open mind and paying close attention to the combinations that are given. It means training your mind to pick up details and patterns quickly. This is where having cleared your mind and focused before class comes in handy! You need to devise a system by which to absorb a combination. While an advanced dancer can simply listen or watch the instructor demonstrate and pick up the nuances of a combination a less experienced dancer should execute the combo with the instructor to make sure they understand. Also, try absorbing in layers. Usually in a lower level class the instructor will show barre exercises more than once and center exercises several times plus the class will mark it. What I used to do as a younger dancer was learn the general pattern the first time it was demonstrated then double check arms, heads, etc the second time through.

Being a good student also means listening to every question and answer in the class. This is true even if you don't think the question applies to you! Listen to the way the instructor tells the other student to fix it. Think about the issue being discussed and see if you indeed need to do the same. Perhaps you didn't even know you needed to address that issue. Or even better if the issue arrises for you a solution will already be at hand. And yes, being a good student means not being afraid to ask questions! Class is your time to improve your technique. Your instructor is there to help you to the best of their ability. Please make sure the question is pertinent to the task at hand so as not to side track your instructor. We do lose our train of thought and can go down rabbit holes upon occasion!

Another sign of a good student is to remember and apply corrections from class to class. I found it very helpful to keep a journal of corrections that I received. By writing them down it helped me cement them in my mind and I was better able to apply them. Applying correcting consistanly from class to class is the best way for a dancer to improve.

And lastly it is. your job as a good student to use your time wisely in class. If you change groups quickly and efficiently you will have more time to dance. Pay attention to what is going on in the groups ahead of you. They might be getting corrections that you will want to incorporate. But they also might be dancing beautifully! So much can be learned from watching the way other dancers interpret the movements and music.

If you ever have any questions about how you can become a better student ask your teacher! They know you best and can help you get the most out of your classes!!

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