CriticalDance Forum

Dance Training
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Author:  RachelDances [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:08 am ]
Post subject:  Dance Training

Hi my name is Rachel and I am new here. I have a question to ask you.
I want to study contemporary dance, but I think I would really be kidding myself if I thought I could make a career out of this. I'm just not that talented. I know there are many dancers with heaps of talent who never make it as dancers. But I love children too and would love to make a career of teaching dance.
My question is- is it stupid for me to even audition for dance schools when I know I haven't got the talent? If I were to be accepted even, is it enough that I would love the next four years of my life, or should people like me not bother trying out?
Looking forward to your replies,
Love Rachel

Author:  Gina Ness [ Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:03 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hello and welcome to CD, RachelDances. Sometimes, the most talented dancers do not make the best teachers. If you really want to devote yourself to the study of dance because you love it, then why not give it a try? Only by immersing yourself will you discover if it truly is what you want to do. You will have to study long and hard if you want to dance and eventually to teach. I believe that in order to be a good teacher, some performing experience is of great value. It need not be on a professional level, but some kind of performing experience...perhaps college dance department performances, etc. Enjoying working with children is a definite plus if you wish to eventually teach. Perhaps you can gather some information from the schools or dance programs in your area to see what the possibilities are. Many colleges and universities in the US (are you in the US?) have very decent dance departments. This would be one route for you as it sounds as though a professional dance career (which generally must begin at an early age) is not an option for you. Perhaps some posters with more experience with contemporary dance might see your post and give some advice. My background is strictly ballet. Again, welcome and good luck to you!

Author:  RachelDances [ Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:52 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for your message Gina.
I live in Britain and there are places here where you can study without really having danced before, even at my age (I'm 19). I have been dancing all my life, both ballet and contemporary, but of course at really at a standard or with a view to taking it further. It did involve a lot of performance though, particularly contemporary.
I think maybe the best idea is just to apply and see what happens. Because even if I am refused I haven't lost anything.
Love Rachel

Author:  salzberg [ Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:09 am ]
Post subject: 

Sometimes, the most talented dancers do not make the best teachers.

Indeed, often, it's quite the opposite; The non-superstars have had to work harder and analyze more, and therefore are better able to articulate the process than are dancers to whom it just comes naturally.

It's not that the stars don't work and it's not that they don't analyze; it's just that those processes happen on a more subliminal level.

Rachel, if you want to dance just for the fun of it, GO for it!

Author:  Joanne [ Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Rachel,

I live in the UK and I am a dance teacher. I don't have very much knowledge of contemporary but I teach ballet, tap and jazz.

As far as teaching is concerned there are two main routes in the UK, you can opt to teach dance in schools and for that you would need a degree and a teaching qualification either a degree with teaching status or a PGCE. At primary level there are no specific dance teachers just general class teachers who may have a specialism at dance but in secondary education and higher education there are specialist dance teachers who deliver the GCSE, A Level and BTEC dance programmes. For this route it would be beneficial to have a dance degree and then a PGCE and you would have a broad knowledge of the subject area and then of teaching.

As you say you don't need to have had loads of dance experience to get on some UK dance degrees but look at whether you want a course that offers a lot of pratical work or more theoretical. It goes without saying that those courses that are more practically based will require more prior dance experience than those that are more theory based.

The other route you could take is to be a private dance teacher - either running your own classes or teaching for other people. This is what I do. In the UK the majority of private dance teachers will have an associate qualification from somewhere like the RAD, IDTA, ISTD. They will have either got this from studying at a private dance school or from studying full time at a theatre school like Laines Theatre Arts or Urdang. This seems to be the norm for ballet teacher and other theatre dance styles. Contemporary teachers tend not to have these sorts of qualifications but will have a lot of expereince. All teachers will need insurance which is often offered through teaching societies and to work with children a CRB check is a must these days.

As well as running your own classes there are opportunities to teach in schools and nurseries as a peripatetic teacher, also adult education.

Whichever route you take it is important to get as much experience and knowledge in your chosen style/s as possible. A degree or performance course is a good way to do this, as is taking as many classes as you can, attending performances, performing yourself, assisting in classes and observing other teachers.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Author:  RachelDances [ Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:26 pm ]
Post subject: 

To Jeffrey and Joanne,
Thanks for your encouraging messages. I think you are right- all I can do is give it my best shot at auditions and if I get a place somewhere then I'll be very happy and if I don't then I haven't lost anything at all, have I?
Joanne- I would love to hear more about what it is lik ebeing a dance teacher. I imagine, like being a professional dancer, there are many more who aspire to it than are actually able to do it as a successful career. Is that true?
Love Rachel

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