Magazine article Dance Magazine

Were We Robbed? the Do's and Don'ts of Dealing with Students' Disappointment

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Were We Robbed? the Do's and Don'ts of Dealing with Students' Disappointment

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

When we were teenagers, my teammates and I decided to forgo the beach to make sure our tap routine was in tip-top shape for Nationals. We danced our hearts out there, hitting every complicated move. We were so excited because we thought a tap piece was finally going to take first place overall.

But come the awards ceremony, we found ourselves in second place. Ten years later, I can still remember sitting in the dressing room huddled with my team. We were looking to our teacher, Jamie Cordon, owner and director of Jamie's Dance Force in Youngstown, Ohio, for answers.

"As a teacher, your heart breaks more than theirs do," Cordon says, "because you feel like you failed them." Since competition results are unpredictable, you need to prepare yourself as well as your students for as many outcomes as possible. Comforting disappointed dancers is not easy, but it is your job to teach your students how to lose gracefully. Sometimes that can be a competition's greatest reward.

"Some students feel annoyed or frustrated with the judges or teacher," says Kate Hays, Ph.D., founder of The Performing Edge in Toronto, Canada. "But with dancers, they are more likely to look internally rather than externally."

You need to help your students absorb what's happened, and learn from it. "Think of the conversation like a sandwich," Hays suggests. "It starts and ends with a positive, and has some useful information in the middle." Begin with an empathetic comment like, "That was a tough situation." Then give some instruction for the future, such as, "We talked a lot about pulling up during your turns. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.