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Create a Professional Atmosphere

Let me set the scene for you. . .kids are running around like crazy. The after school program is desperately searching for volunteers, so you’re assisting with homework help. That local basketball team rents out the gym right before you teach dance class. Kids are wearing all types of skirts and jeans, and are sticky from snack time.

It can feel impossible to create an atmosphere of professionalism in a corps dance class, but it can be done! Here’s a list of 11 tips for creating that studio-feeling in a chaotic corps:

  1. Have dancers line up quietly outside the dance room door until the teacher invites students in. Even if they were already playing in that room, take them out and start a fresh.
  2. Send home Dance Report Cards a couple times a year to connect dancers with their own development. This will also connect you to their parents, who might not even know they dance at the corps! (Click here to download free Dance Report Cards.)
  3. Complete self-evaluations at the beginning and end of the year to encourage self-analysis and self-improvement. Using the Dance Report Card for this is suitable.
  4. Enforce uniform/hair standards for class time. It doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated: No jeans or skirts. Hair out of the face. (You might want to swing by CVS to buy a big pack of hair elastics.)
  5. Clarify rules for dance class behavior at the beginning of every class, not the end when you’re frustrated and tired.
  6. Instill a healthy understanding/respect of the cost and maintenance of the floors and barres (if you’re blessed to have these room features). Students who take pride in their dance space will be more likely to take class time seriously.
  7. Have an assistant teacher take part in every class. An assistant can help keep the class under control and it’s a perfect way to train a teen who has leadership potential.
  8. Search for qualified, dedicated teachers and assistants who will commit for the long run. Remember that one qualified instructor is more cost effective than several incompetent teachers.
  9. Develop consistency and predictability. Ex. Keep class cancellations to a minimum, develop patterns revolving around how classes start and run.
  10. Begin every class with a circle check-in where you take attendance and ask each student how they are doing. This will give you an opportunity to connect briefly with each student and make personal note of who may need a little extra patience that day. Try to book-end your class with prayer/devotional time!
  11. No spectators! Anyone who is in the room is dancing.

Kathryn Higgins
Dance Ministries Specialist/
Kroc Center Creative Arts Liaison

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