As the media outlets have repeatedly said, these are ‘unprecedented times’. Social distancing means that for those of us who teach dance, run dance schools and studios, business won’t be the same for a while.
This article aims to gives you, the dance teacher, some advice to help you support your students during these times and maintain theirs and your motivation during this pandemic.
Since the virus outbreak put a stop to running physical dance classes, many have transferred their classes online. However, you may be feeling overwhelmed with the technology required to run online classes or you just don’t feel confident enough to attempt them. If this is the case, don’t be alarmed. There are many straight forward applications that you can use to host your classes, such as Zoom, google hangout, and Skype. You could also use YouTube or Instagram live. Do some research and pick which one suits your audience best.
In terms of your confidence level, maybe you could organise a trial class with only a hand full of students or close family/friends to practice and help get your confidence up.
A pre – recorded video may suit you as going live may be too nerve racking for you at first. Pre recorded will give you the chance to re-record the video if you make any mistakes. Remember this is just a video in place of your physical dance c lass, it doesn’t have to be super professional with lots of fancy editing. In terms of live vs pre recorded for your students, Live classes can provide immediate feedback and social contact. Recorded classes provide opportunities for essential repetition and allows students to learn at their own pace.
In terms of the structure of your online class, it would be a good idea to offer a range of activities suited to the age and ability that you teach, so that it’s just not you talking the whole time!
it may also be beneficial to shorten your online classes slightly, as it can be much harder for students to concentrate when not in a studio.You should also consider changing the time/day of your classes as the timing of your usual class may be inconvenient at home. For example a 5pm online class may inconvenience a dancer whose mum has to cook dinner at that time and can’t set up/monitor the video call.
it is also important to continue to set goals for your students to encourage participation and maintain motivation.
Utilise exercises that are more likely to be done correctly with minimal monitoring. Also incorporate more movements that can be done on the spot without much travelling.
On a business level, consider implementing a clause into your contracts should something like this ever happen again. What will happen if classes are cancelled again indefinitely in the future?
Now is also a good time to look over your insurance and other licenses to ensure they cover you online as well as into the future.
Even if restrictions continue to be lifted, it is certainly a good idea to have a system in place to be able to run classes online, as this pandemic has shown is that it is important to always be prepared!