What It’s Like Teaching the Youngsters

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a performer; someone who enjoys entertaining an audience and is particularly fond of the spotlight. I’d like to say I always knew I would have to do something in the entertainment industry when I grew up, whether that be dancing, acting, singing, or playing an instrument. I am a performer by nature, but a new side of the entertainment industry has struck me very recently, and it has nothing to do with being on stage.

Teaching young ballet pupils and choreographing for them has become a brand-new passion of mine. It first developed during the beginning of my junior year in high school. I had managed to build up a respectable reputation as a pre-professional ballerina in my town and was then asked by a local dance studio to come interview for their open position as the Director of the Ballet Department. I interviewed and was given the job on the spot. I was ecstatic! I could not wait to meet all of the eager ballet students and begin to work for such an excellent school!

Currently, I have been teaching at the school for about two years, on and off due to high school, and the improvements in each student’s dancing, not just in ballet, has been remarkable. Their interest in ballet has grown tremendously; I have more students than ever this summer taking my classes, and I love seeing their enthusiasm inside and outside of the classroom. One of the best feelings as a teacher is most definitely seeing a student finally grasp a concept that they had not previously understood or had the capability of doing. Seeing students pull off that double pirouette or execute a perfectly clean tendu is satisfying for the student as well as the teacher.

Another fruitful aspect that comes with my job is choreographing and setting ballet variations on students. I had never thought of myself as a potential choreographer until I choreographed my first piece on 12-year old, Gabrielle Truman. She performed the piece in the school’s annual recital and took it to competition, placing 2nd in her age division. Over the summer of 2014, I held a 1-week long ballet intensive and was able to create a short group piece for all the students involved. We held an in-studio performance for their parents at the end of the week. I would love to create and set many more pieces in the future, not only for this school, but hopefully for others one day and companies as well.

What I have discovered, and I feel very lucky to have discovered this at such a young age, is that teaching is advantageous and rewarding for all involved, for it is such a selfless act. The teacher learns just as much from their students as the students learn from their teacher. I now fully understand the role of a dance instructor and the effort they have to put in to every class. My students have helped me with my dancing in ways they don’t even know while also making me more responsible and mature. It is nice to say as an eighteen year old, “I love my job” because I know that that is a very rare occurrence. I hope to continue teaching ballet throughout my professional career and who knows, maybe open up my own ballet school one day.

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