The Simple Technique To Transform Your Sluggish Dance Students Into Super-Motivated Eager Beavers

21 Oct
Dance students all fired up!

Dance students all fired up!

“The Simple Technique To Transform Your Sluggish Dance Students Into Super-Motivated Eager Beavers”

Uggh… Ok dance teachers. I know you feel me on this one…

Ever have those days where you’re working so hard, giving 110% to your students, but it feels like everyone except for you is dragging their heels?

You know what I’m talking about. You look around the room, and you’re the ONLY one sweating buckets. What’s up with that? Why aren’t they working harder?

Thoughts like  “She’s not even TRYING!” or “I’m not here to babysit” run through your head. Yes, we’ve all been there.

From my experience, the number one best way to get dancers motivated in class is to simply be enthusiastic! Nothing inspires others like passion & excitement.

Yes, it’s true. Enthusiasm comes naturally when u love what you do. But it’s often in the delivery, and how you share that with others. If you keep that passion to yourself, then the only person you motivate is, well, you.

An Addiction You’ll WANT To Keep

Enthusiasm is addictive. I’ve seen how the energy in a single, excited voice can literally transform a still room into a buzzing, vibrant and responsive audience. Once you get FIRED UP, students of all ages become attentive, eager worker bees.

But why is that?

From what I’ve learned, there’s a lot of psychology in teaching. Different approaches to discipline, vocal techniques, verbal and non verbal behaviour. There’s many methods to teaching that are effective and encouraging.

But there’s also the psychology of being human. A dominant nature of humans (and especially artsy-fartsy people like dancers) is the need to please others.

Ever find it hard to say “NO” to someone? Even when you know you’re not interested in helping, or don’t have time, or… It’s because most of us feel good when we make other people happy.

Our students are no different. In fact, that need to please pushes us (and by us, always remember that we are ALL students, continuously learning and improving ourselves) to become better at what we do.

That need to please usually results in an exchange of praise from the teacher or other authority figure, to your wide-eyed grasshopper. And that praise feels great!

Which leads to wanting to please more. And the cycle continues.

Here’s 3 Quick And Easy Ways To Turn The Class Around

But how to deliver enthusiasm?

For starters, as soon as you set foot in your class, remember YOU set the tone for the hour. If you’re sluggish, your class will be sluggish. If you’re eager to teach, they will be eager to learn. It’s human nature.

And when you can find a moment to praise someone, don’t hesitate. Be vocal.

In fact, shout it out so the whole class can hear you compliment how Stacy improved her shuffle! Or how Jason’s posture is MUCH better!

Everyone listening will want praise too. Especially the young ones. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Remember, it’s human nature.

But always be genuine. When you are, it’s easier to give constructive criticism and comments for improvement.

So the next time you step to the front of the room, remember how much you love dance… and share your enthusiasm!

– Shawn Byfield

About The Author:

Shawn Byfield ( is an award winning choreographer, show director and a leading expert in dance lessons and industry advice. His extremely fun approach to learning is a must for anyone looking to achieve their highest potential through dance.

2 Responses to “The Simple Technique To Transform Your Sluggish Dance Students Into Super-Motivated Eager Beavers”

  1. Shak October 21, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    I cannot agree more with what you have suggested here. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my dancers when I come in full of energy versus when I come in a little tired or sometimes even cranky (hey, I’m human after all). This is a great tip especially for those stepping into the teaching role, but also great wisdom for those who feel their classes are stagnating. Wicked article!

  2. Joanna Gordon November 13, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    Great Blog! I agree with everything you said! I know when i show how much I love what I am doing the kids show much more determination and enthusiasm. You are the best Shawn! Thanks for the motivation to keep on smiling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: