Variety is the spice of life and nothing could be truer than in these days of ‘instant gratification’. Everyone, including sometimes surprisingly, very small children, want everything now. No one seems to want to wait for anything and there is this desire to be constantly entertained and stimulated.
In a world gone mad where we have overfull schedules, children who are stressed to the max, and not even mentioning the parents and often grandparents trying to be super human, getting their children from Activity A to Activity B in less than 10 minutes.
There is always something to do and somewhere to be and when there is nowhere to be, eyes are down, almost glued to, electronic devices.
You see it every day, people walking around eyes down, couples and families sitting at dinner all connected to their phones, but seemingly not to each other.
We see a version of this often at NY Dance and hear it from parents – ‘she’s bored in class’, or ‘he just says they just do the same thing in class every week’.
Well yes, it is the same thing every week.
That’s because attending a dance class (or music or singing lesson, or SCHOOL for that matter) is a learning experience and learning takes time and is progressive.
Now just to step it back a notch, when we are talking about a dance class, ‘progressive’ means that you need to learn a series of dance steps or techniques, firstly that is appropriate to your age group and learning ability, plus your body needs to be properly prepared to be able to perform the said move or dance step, and then to be able to ‘progress’ to the next level of movement, step or achievement in your class. So your dance class is going to run, pretty much along the same routine, doing the same steps week after week after week, year after year.
The only difference being the level is going to step up as the students in the class ‘progress. As students get older the progression is quite fast, because they have a good foundation of technique, strength and ability.
For some students, the progression just isn’t fast enough, perhaps because they ‘get bored easily’, or think that they are actually capable of more than they can actually do.
A great story to illustrate this point is our Acrodance classes.
Lots of children are really excited to join Acro because they think they are going to do ‘flips’ and all these amazing things, only to get to class and find that even from our very youngest age group, that they are going to be doing strength work, limbering their bodies, building up their muscles and absolutely no ‘flipping’ for at least 5 levels of classes. (Read that as 5 years).
The thing is, by the time they get to Level 5, it should take only about 2 lessons to do the Aerial (as it is technically called) because for the past 5 levels, they’ve done the strengthening and progressions to lead into the Aerial.
But they don’t always wait it out, because they are bored and tell their parents ‘that isn’t acro’ because it’s not what they think it should be, and you know, kids know everything.
I totally understand that from a parents point of view (I was the parent of 3 young boys a long time ago), you may be worn down having to listen to your child complain about their class on the way home (it’s at this point that I would turn up the radio loudly on my kids and ignore them, they’ll tell you this is true) but at the very least, it’s a great way to open up a conversation with your child about how you do learn, and that anything worth working hard at, is worth waiting for.
As I tell my older students, you have to take the stairs to get to the penthouse. You could take the elevator, but the steps of progression, purposefully taking it one step at a time and making it right at every step, is worth the long climb, for this is what creates the better dancer in the end. And as a responsible dance teacher, I simply cannot let them take the elevator. It’s just not the same ride.