How to Approach a Dance Teacher When You Don't Understand a Correction

How to Approach a Dance Teacher When You Don't Understand a Correction

In the most recent blog post, we discussed the top three reasons why a student is retained in a dance class level. One of the reasons that we discussed is not mastering the required information to progress to the next level.

When we recognize a problem, we want to jump to an immediate solution.

Just tell me how to fix it.

However, it is very likely that the teacher(s) have been giving corrections throughout the year and the student has been unable to absorb them.

Every dancer at one point or another receives a correction that they don’t understand. If you need help to understand a correction, there are appropriate ways to approach your teacher.

  • Do not approach the topic during class. There is a classroom full of people who are all paying good money to be educated. Come before or stay after class to get individual attention.
    If the teacher says, “Do you understand” after giving the correction and you don’t, it is OK to be honest. They may give a few more details, but if that isn’t enough they’ll likely discuss it further after class.
    If the teacher is giving corrections while you’re dancing, don’t stop dancing to get more clarification on the matter. It is OK to wait.

    Please, please, please don’t stop and yell “whaaaattt???” if you can’t hear or understand. [You might be laughing or think I’m being ridiculous right now, but I’ve seen it too many times…]

  • When approaching a teacher, don’t start with “I don’t get it.” As an educator, if you step to me like that, my response will be “get what?” Articulate your idea in your mind before approaching. Focus in on what aspect of the correction that you don’t understand. That shows that you’ve done your work, you’ve put thought into it.

    Rather than, “I don’t get what you meant about my pirouettes.”

    Try, “ You mentioned that my spot is slow. Can you help me to better understand that?”

  • Write down the correction that has been given to you verbally. You may process it differently if you read it a few times.

  • Understand that your transformation will take time. Progress is made up of many small steps. It is not necessary to repeatedly ask if you are improving. The teacher will tell you (and you will feel) when they’ve noticed significant progress.

  • If you decide to seek out help from a different faculty member, I would advise you to proceed with caution.
    The worst thing you can do is is begin with, “Ms. So and So told me this but I don’t get what she means.”
    Instead try, I’ve been encouraged to work on ___, but I haven’t been able to achieved this yet. Can you offer more explanation on this step?
    You will have much better results with this line of inquiry.

Take on the mindset that your teachers want you to succeed. With that approach, you eliminate the feeling that a teacher is “after you” and you’re more likely to absorb the information you need to advance. Teachers aren’t perfect and there are times when you need another person to say the same correction in a new way. Just make sure that you go about it respectfully. Don’t throw the other teacher “under the bus.”

Remember, you’re moving forward with your growth mindset. That means you’re willing to learn from every situation you encounter. If you keep it up, you’ll reach your goals in no time!

Have you ever had to approach a teacher for additional help to understand a correction? Comment below!

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