Do Dance Teachers Need to Plan their Lessons?

There are many reasons for ballroom dance teachers to create lesson plans for both their private lessons and group classes. Find out from Diane Jarmolow, one of the best teachers in the business!

Date added to ADN: Monday, Jan 06 2014
Originally Published: Monday, Jan 06 2014
By Diane Jarmolow


Heck yes!

Suppose you went to your music lesson and your teacher said to you, "What piece were we working on?" Or what if your lawyer said, "What is your case about again?" These clearly are not professional responses and are likely to fill you with doubt about whether you hired the right person.

Now, imagine how it would be to hear your music teacher say, "I've been thinking about you all week. I have a piece of music I think you'll enjoy playing that will develop your ability to invert chords and give you a chance to work in a completely new key." My response would be excitement, trust, and the secure feeling of knowing I'm with the right teacher.

Because the atmosphere of ballroom dance is often casual and friendly with a "let's have fun" feeling, dance teachers may think they don't need to take lesson planning seriously. All too frequently teachers start their lessons with, "What steps did I show you last week?" or "Didn't I teach you the Cross-body Lead? I could have sworn I did."

This demeans our industry and diminishes the value of private lessons. When dance teachers are unprepared, students start to wonder why they're paying so much for private lessons.

On the other hand, imagine how satisfied you'd be as a student if your teacher said, "I've brought three pieces of music that I think will work great for your showcase routine. One of them is mostly Foxtrot, which I know you love. The other is a Cha Cha, which I know you want to develop. And the third is a Nightclub Two Step, which is another dance you've expressed a lot of interest in. I've also put together about 15 seconds of choreography for each one so that you can get a real sense of what the dance would look and feel like. We could even consider a medley of all three! How does that sound?"

Here are just some of the reasons to plan your ballroom dance lessons:

1. Your students will feel "cared about" and will know that you have their best interest in mind.

2. You will relieve yourself of the stress of not remembering what you previously taught.

3. If you create lessons plans for the students and classes you have scheduled for the next day, you'll sleep like a baby!

4. You can use your lesson plans again and again, especially for group classes. Once they are tried and true, you do not need to recreate the wheel each time.

5. Your lessons will be more interesting because in taking the time to plan, you think of new ideas and break up the monotony of teaching the same way all the time.

Try it! It takes less time than you think and will raise your status in the eyes of your students like nothing else!

Here are a few quotes from people in high places to inspire you:

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."

~ Benjamin Franklin

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."

~ Abraham Lincoln

"Fail to plan, plan to fail."

~ Hillary Rodham Clinton, Living History

Check out Diane's blog here

About the Author:

Diane Jarmolow is a pioneer in the field of ballroom dancing. She founded the first vocational training for ballroom dance teachers, the Ballroom Dance Teachers College (BDTC). Based in Oakland, California, BDTC has trained hundreds of people to become successful dance instructors, and Diane's BDTC-in-a-Box is being used to train teachers in studios throughout North America and abroad.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the AccessDance Network. Be aware that imagery is copyrighted and often licensed for use on AccessDance only. Copying of images is strictly prohibited.

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Ballroom Dance Teachers College
Oakland AND San Francisco, CA 94616

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