Monday, October 17, 2016


As I weave through Module 1 I find the ever present need to continue adapting to many things. Like "improvisation" the word "process" can be a noun and it can be a verb. The ability to adapt to the different ways each is used is frustrating. Perhaps this anxiety comes from the need to constantly remain fluid in everything we as adults do in life-work, family, and education among others.

As is a constant reminder in America during the current election cycle, the way in which a person speaks or writes makes a difference in how others accept and disseminate information received.

The constant struggle or challenge is to remember when to flip our switch from instructor/educator or friend/confidante to friend or even to student. Many of us remember to change which hat we wear when we enter and leave the dance studio but do we always remember which hat we wear at other times?

Do we actually switch hats when we teach? I believe we do. When teaching technique class we become learners as we acknowledge our students' efforts at accomplishing steps and phrases given to them. Do the students progress more quickly if the instructor only gives directions for the mechanics of a step or combination or does adding background information and motivation help the students? For me this answer is simply that the resulting answer depends on each and every student and his or her background and desire to progress. The mental and physical well being of the students impacts their ability to comprehend and retain information/instructions provided.

Instructors may plan each class but I have found that classes rarely stay on course. No matter the variables which affect the changing flow of class the teacher adapts. It is interesting that instructors  give the name "improvisation" to such a fluid, spontaneous act when done by the student. When the teacher/instructor/educator gracefully reacts to variables in a classroom the concept is given the term"adaptability".

Do we reflect enough on how and why we modify our actions? Should an instructor rigidly avoid change in plans for class? Does that accomplish anything? Does adapting help everyone?


  1. Sounds like a great opportunity to make a test and write a reflection: Teach one class with the rigidity you described, and then another with fluidity / spontaneity / responsiveness to the moment. Then you have concrete experiences through which to attack your question: "Does this accomplish anything?" Could be interesting!

  2. We actually use both types of giving class at my studio. I use the word giving as teaching implies something more than showing steps and expecting them to be repeated. I have discovered that neither type of class works better or worse than the other as a whole in the private dance studio setting. Students who dislike one type of instruction tend to change classes or studios. The challenge for me and my staff is to keep students and their families enrolled so they recognize that both types of learning may be relevant at different times in a dancer's developmental process.