College Students: Here's Why You Should Take Dance Pedagogy
College dance students tend to be hyper-focused on their own training; learning how to teach may be the last thing on their minds. But whether you intend to become a dance teacher or not, studying pedagogy can be valuable for dancers in undergraduate programs and beyond–and learning how to be an effective teacher is just one of the rewards.
• Give back. Many programs involve teaching at public schools, allowing dancers to have an impact on students who might not be able to access private training.
• Be a better communicator. “Part of being a teacher is teaching choreography,” says Michelle Goodman, dance pedagogy teacher at Wright State University. “Students learn how to work with dancers of different levels and how to convey a message clearly.”
Wright State graduate Halie Ayers. PC Scott Robbins
• Clarify your dancing. “When you teach, you have to figure out exactly how your body is moving,” says Halie Ayers, a recent Wright State University graduate. “Taking pedagogy made me more aware of everything that my body was supposed to be doing.”
• Get more than a backup plan.”Most dancers come into pedagogy class thinking that teaching is an afterthought, something to do after a professional career,” says Wright State University professor Michelle Goodman. “I want it to be their first thought.” For Barbara Bashaw, graduate director of dance education at Rutgers University, teaching is an artistic practice: “We don’t see it as a backup plan, we look at it as an area of creativity that can inform who you are as an artist. Investigating your art form is something you do for a lifetime.”