Ballet Class…You Have To Have A Plan

I have to say that this post is more for the dance teacher than the dancer. Parents of dancers may be interested to know that we dance teachers plan, just as your child’s teacher in school does. For a successful dance season, the expierenced dance teacher knows to plan ahead as to what their dancers will learn in an alotted amount of time.

Following a ballet syllabus allows dancers to improve in dance technique, learn new skills, and train on a step by step basis. By following a lesson plan, allows dance teachers to be certain that every dancer will improve in each area of ballet by following the adapted syllabus. Dance teachers who rely on a ballet syllabus will provide the full scope of training the dancers require as a group.

For the dancer, ballet, or any dance form for that matter, requires more than just technique but also a passion for dance. Passion, combined with mastering each step taught to them. makes it possible for the dancer to move to a more challenging level. To achieve passion for your dance art, you need to be challenged. Technique is the skill used to execute the step, exercise and combination accurately, combined by applying ballet principles. With all of these combined, technique, passion and mastery, the circle of dance education exists.

Creating a ballet lesson plan requires time, knowledge and focus. The ballet teacher needs to know what method they are going to follow, Cecchetti, Vaganova, RAD, are just to name a few. The teacher needs to be fluent in the method in order to create a viable lesson plan. Knowing how to get started is important in the development of a successful lesson plan, and following the chosen method would be your foundation.

Begin planning with a clear picture of what you want to teach during the dance season. Before staring the season create a scope and sequence plan. In the years I was home schooling, each year’s curriculum had a scope and sequence that came with it. So, I knew from the start what was to come in the following ten months. A scope and sequence is a description of what will be learned and in what order. It should be used as an over all guide for the year. But, be sure to allow for flexibility and above all creativity in your class planning because each group of dancers in every class are different.

Your planning may look something like this; in a level one ballet class, for approximately ages 8 and over, your focus would begin with alignment and body placement. Under age 8, these concepts may be difficult to understand. Not saying that proper body alignment is not indicated at under age 8 but not so stressed, and more creativity to describe it would be necessary. Correct body and arm alignment, is the building block for the success of a ballet dancer. Other basics to be covered on a level one ballet lesson plan would include the five basic ballet positions, battement tendus, releves and a set amount of center work should also be added to the lesson plan, such as simple sautes in first position, chasse, pas de bourree, and simple walking and running in a dance form. First arabesque and combinations of steps into an arabesque. These are just an example of a simple lesson plan.

Sometimes when planning for your dance season, using the backward approach may work better for you to create a clear picture of what is to be achieved in the dance season. When designing your dance class plan for the season, try working backwards. In other words, begin with what you want to see as the final dance piece and then decide how to get there. For example, I may teach combinations center or across the floor with the intention of putting them in their dance for the revue. The combinations may be to entirely different music than I intend to be using in the revue butthe practise in those steps will already be perfected when put to their actual piece of music. This approch in lssson planning makes finale choreography go so much faster to teach, and  it enables excellence in the final product.

You as the dance teacher may already have a system to plan for summer class or the upcoming dance season. Remember that planning is the key to a successful dance. Planning will keep the dancers interested and also you will see your dancers show improve as time goes on….always have a ballet plan.

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