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How to plan a Dance Class ?

Listing some effective dance class planning methods.

Dance class planning starts with a basic knowledge of –
  • the type of class (community, social, school, studio, professional etc)
  • participants’ age, stage and needs/ goals
  • the dance style/genre
  • class size and venue.

The teacher should keep aside some time to prepare and plan for each class.

 Class planning –

  • the aim / goal of class – Each class should be worked around a goal for the student and the teacher.
  • pre-testing for prior knowledge/understanding of the students – One should check what the students already know.
  • skill levels and age
  • logical, suitable and safe progression beginning with warm-up and stretching.
  • students’ emotional, physical and intellectual development and/or limitations in class.
  • a graduated flow of class, i.e. frequency, intensity, duration and type of dance. The teacher should repeat the steps frequently, the energy of the class should be maintained throughout.
class planning

Create a positive learning/teaching environment

The instructor should make sure that the:

  • teaching is supportive, encouraging and non-threatening
  • goals are clearly stated alongwith the correct method of achieving it.
  • students respect the rights of others to be taught and to learn
  • students are given equal opportunities to learn and develop their dance skills.
  • teachers encourage students to accept reasonable challenges and to take risks with teacher support and students support each other in challenging or risk-taking assignments.
  • Punctuality, discipline are important.
  • cultural, gender and age differences and different physical and learning abilities are reflected in fair and inclusive teaching/learning practices.

Demonstrate positive communication skills

  • Discuss your goals and expectations of a class, program or course to the students.
  • Give clear instructions, explanations and demonstrations in verbal, non-verbal, audiovisual and written forms alongwith applications.
  • Create a safe, friendly and positive atmosphere.
  • Adapt your language to suit the age and experience of students. Use humor, imagery, visuals, imitations to explain better. Use verbal explanations and show correct stance/movement.
  • Give regular verbal feedback that respects students and helps them develop as independent learners.
  • Help students to reflect, evaluate and share knowledge.

Be a positive role model

  • The teacher should show his /her love for dance with energy and enthusiasm.
  • Set clear goals and expectations.
  • Use language/ words that shows respect for students and staff. Respect the source of your knowledge.
  • Teach safe dance principles; non-judgmental attitudes; positive body image; punctuality, planning and preparation.
  • Appreciate the students and staffs. Be helpful and generous.

Develop and use dance teaching practices

  • Respect students’ personal space.
  • Encourage a healthy awareness and understanding of the physical nature of dance.
  • Before any physical contact, tell the student why and how contact is needed.
  • Show different approaches to a task, movement or problem solving exercise.
  • Allow exploratory learning by encouraging students to talk about ideas and processes.
  • Use positive approaches that give students information, confidence, encouragement and a willingness and desire to practice and improve their dance skills.
  • Be sensitive to social, economic and cultural contexts, expectations, language and themes.
  • Include assessment as an informal or formal gauge of progress.
  • Give students learning opportunities which develop and recognise different learning styles.
  • Use various teaching resources and modes of learning.

Self-development and career development

  • Invite and welcome honest feedback from parents, students and colleagues.
  • Make time to talk with students, course leaders, school or institution leaders and parents or carers about issues affecting individual students, classes or groups.
  • Find opportunities for learning and development as a dancer, dance educator.

Professional development

Maintain knowledge and expertise in your chosen genre and style of dance; develop a broad knowledge of dance; enrich your qualifications.

  • Attend performances and read dance-related material.
  • Develop your awareness and knowledge of different stage crafts.
  • Enroll in teaching, stage craft, health, fitness and business management courses.
  • Make sure your professional knowledge is current and qualifications are upgraded through a teaching or syllabus organisation.
  • Attend professional development workshops or short courses.
  • Maintain or subscribe to a professional journal or library.

Encourage self-expression and creativity

  • Include regular times for students to use imagination, expressive skills and creativity.
  • Teach students the elements of composition using the relevant style or genre.
  • Use different creative stimuli and models of self expression.
  • Use a developmental approach to build creative skills along with technique development.
  • Include time to develop performance skills.
  • Give students access to other teachers or artists (workshops, summer schools and special events) to stimulate creativity through new ways of thinking about dance.
  • Recognise the subjective nature of creativity.
  • Help students develop independence, problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  • Use technical training as a tool for expressive development and creative growth.
  • Give students tools to assess their expressive and creative development.
  • Give students opportunities and support their interest in dance experiences beyond their educational setting
  • Encourage use, review and criticism of dance-related material
  • Facilitate or encourage attendance at rehearsals, performances, exhibitions and performances in dance and other art forms
  • Support students to audition for events or performances or take part in activities/workshops where they can work with other teachers, choreographers or directors to enhance their understanding of creative processes, performance and professional expectations.

Use assessment and reporting procedures

Assess the work of students against criteria

  • Give students regular verbal or written feedback that includes praise and identifies areas for improvement.
  • Let students discuss and receive feedback about work in development (technique, creative work and theory).
  • Give progress reports to parents and students.
  • Use external standards or assessors to moderate your assessment process.
  • Deal privately with sensitive assessment and achievement issues.

Provide vocational support for training and careers

  • Encourage students to complete their school education and to develop interests both within and outside dance.
  • Encourage students to gain experience in dance and theatre related work.
  • Give students work, career and transition planning tools.


Material extracted from various sources.

Dance company

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