Posted May 22, 2018
There are various apps that can help you and your dancers. One app we like a lot is the Coach's Eye. This app allows you to make critiques as well as draw on the video to focus on areas that need attention. After making a recording, you can send it to your students for viewing. This keeps everyone on the same page, and it allows your students the ability to implement your notes while practicing at home. Your students are always on their phones so using technology to reach them can be one of your most successful tools for engagement.
Having students watch each other is a great way for them to see and understand mistakes that they may also be making. It is important to teach your students how to give constructive criticism. A great way to do that is the rule of two strokes and a poke. Have dancers tell their partner two things they did really well and then tell them something that they really need to focus and improve on in the choreography. This will also strengthen your students' communication skills which can benefit them in future jobs or in society.
It is important that you go slow and take one section at a time in one rehearsal session. This way students can really apply and understand corrections before moving forward. In the next rehearsal, see if the students are able to remember and apply the necessary corrections. Once you're satisfied with their performance, you can go on to the next section. Never try to clean an entire dance in one rehearsal.
It is crucial to focus on specifics when blocking a dance, but don't forget to make it a little fun! Avoid the urge to focus on formations, expressions, arms, feet, directional looks, etc. all at once. Instead, clean in sections so the students understand the corrections. Developing games to do this helps the dancers become more invested in perfecting the choreography.
As a dance teacher, you create the choreography and clean the dances to perfection, but it is vital that you hold your dancers responsible. For example, if a dancer misses a class, they need to find a buddy to help them review the cleaning that was done in their missed session. If the dancer(s) are not in a current section you are cleaning, they shouldn't be sitting on the sidelines. They need to be actively working on their own section so there is less to clean in future rehearsals.