the next generation of Dance as Art

observations from a person who hasn't been to a convention in 4 years...

went to a convention this weekend , this is what i observed:


teachers BLATANTLY videotaping the classes when they weren't supposed to...yeah it really takes you THAT long to take a picture huh? Do you think i can't tell you are videotaping a combo i would LOVE to videotape, but the rules said not to.... i am struggling to write it down and do it at the same time- SO SHOULD YOU!-


parents are clueless as to how to observe a dance class- clueless as to how to discipline their children, clueless period- and um well i saw teachers who just ignored what their students were doing, or how they were treating others, or how they were monopolizing the entire ROOMS with their competition pieces .... excuse me kids- your foot kicking me in crappy fouettes is really annoying..please stop it or i am gonna grab your foot and throw you down!..oh yeah, how bout make your students wear dance shoes ( tap shoes are pointless however if you are on carpet, so i don't blame ya there) but really? barefoot? really?


- letting your kid eat banana slices on the rug/dance floor in the ballroom is not recommended especially if you don't pick it up....squished banana sucks to dance on....

-round offs, hand springs and overall gyymnastical/acrobatical moves are annoying when done pre-class or as the teacher is trying to get your attention- where are your teachers kids? And why is nobody yanking your pink hair extensions and telling you to friggin stop acting like that and sit your tail down and be quiet and respectful? WHY!?

- Why do kids think it is okay to stand CADDY CORNER to do a group warmup?... think about it...if everyone is facing the teacher/platform- why are you, group of 8 girls talking and doing your own thing, gonna beeotch b/c my arm touched you and my foot stepped on yours? HELLO? REALLY?-SLAP SLAP!!!!


soooooooooo many kids just don't get it- if the teacher says "I ONLY WANT YOU TO DO ONE PIROUETTE HERE NOT TWO OR THREE OR FOUR OR FOUETTES OR TRICKS OR A PIKE!"...What part of that don't you understand?


Why do kids not know basic studio decorm?   Why do parents allow siblings to cry while the teacher is TRYING to hold these kids attention? Why do parents allow their kids to sit their with dvd's watching dora really loudly, or nintendo, or itouch watching youtube clips while the teacher is trying to teach ? WHY?


 WOW things have REALLY gotten worse in the 4 years i have been out of the loop!


 other observation was that people are so conflicted about hip hop...


you hear the convention teachers complaining that what they are seeing int he competitions is NOT hip hop- it is watered down hip hop that is really jazz- and that dance studios have changed what hip hop is and that they are frustrated by this...... my response is... then there needs to be a syllabus for the basics..... their response is that hip hop came from the streets and that there are so many varieties of hip hop blah blah blah that you can't do that...... fast forward three minutes and they are complaining that the kids aren't even doing the basics and don't even know the basics of hip hop-- okay so you are saying that their is not real sanctioned technique but that you are tired of not seeing real hip hop...okay...whatever- how is making a hip hop syllabus going to change hip hop for the worse? 


Also was told that you have to be cool,look cool, be trendy to teach hip hop and apparently you must have the music so loud that you want to run..and if you can't handle the level of the loudness, you are not cool.... okay....


also....WHAT HAPPENED TO PITCH CONTROL? Did it disappear? last i checked i have it on my computer, my ipod and my $400 boom boxes at the studio..... but i guess slowing things down just a tad so the kids and teachers don't freak out when they do the combo/routine up to tempo after learning it at a slower speed  is not cool b/c that is like turning the sound down? ??


Maybe i am just old and uncool now...don't get me wrong i had a blast! But wow! 


Also wish they had a "back to basics" hip hop for teachers- is there such a thing? Hmmmm i would sure sign up for a convention just geared towards hip hop where it is not so fast you feel like an idiot - i am almost 40 , in a few months actually, so i feel geriatric- i was one of the oldest teachers there! BOOOOOOOOOOOO! 


okay so this is my final musing on this:


When you are a STUDENT/DANCER, you are told to worry about your own self and not be concerned about what others are doing...


When you are a TEACHER you HAVE to worry about others  &  tend to NOT be concerned about YOURSELF...


The challenge is learning to find a balance that makes happy students and YOU the dance teacher, Happy as well!








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I guess I would have to ask what convention/city did you see this in?  I have been to 2 conventions this year, and I saw very little of what you just described. 

honestly, it was little to do with the actual convention b/c i love the staff etc- very professional- it just seems that the teachers get younger and younger- or maybe it is b/c  I am the one that is older now? HAHAHAHAHA it was Richmond Va. ..... an hour 1/2 from my studio- and i i will attest that people can be a bit low class... i guess i just had fresh eyes to it all.... i just don't remember seeing quite so much rudeness ....and the pitch control thing really bugged me- they had everything running from laptops..... so i guess that is why...... i love pitch control!!!! LOL!


the hip hop was amazing.... i just didn't realize that people had such strong opinions about it..... i was about at the point where i was going to offer hip hop at my studio and am now reconsidering it b/c i guess it is like if you don't know ballet, why are you going to try teach it?....that's pretty much how i have always felt but was trying to change my mentality for the survival of my studio but this weekend converted me back to my original feelings-


my epiphany at the end of that post: That we as teachers can so easily lose the self confidence that we see in the students as they are out their doing double turns and triples when the teacher wanted ONE- LOL-  we get out of dancer mode and into teacher mode- somewhere i lost my balance of both worlds.... and you have to have that balance in order to be receptive to change of any sort in this business.....

teachers on staff rather, not actual studio teachers....we were all young once!!!! LOL

Shannon, the last time I was at that convention was about 6 or 7 years ago.  We stopped going there because the studios that attend that particular convention in Richmond are not the best trained in how to behave.  The teachers room always ended up having the older assistants, and the class was geared to them, rather than to the teachers.


If you can get to a DEA convention, I highly recommend them.  Kids for the most part are much better instructed in the proper decorum of taking classes.  Teachers respect each other, and the teaching staff really gears the teacher's room to what teachers need at their pace.  Unfortunately, there are no classes in Durham this year, but something to keep in mind maybe for next year.  I'll let you know how the ones are that we're going to this year.


Take heart - not all conventions are like what you experienced this weekend!

the last one i went to was dance Revolution and it was like night and day and YES you are DEAD on... the teacher room was geared towards the older assistants...the girl next to me in the hip hop class for teachers was wearing a stocking cap and wanted to get "grimey and nasty"...  and she looked like she came straight out of a music video...LOL- the music was so loud i got  a migraine, - yes i was in awe of the talent around me but felt stupid for even considering going in the teacher room- LOL- a lot of teachers left- a few sat down- the jazz class was the same way- the teacher (former SYTYCD candidate) young bombshell- came in, said which routine did y'all want me to teach, 4 young assistant teachers said they liked the senior routine, to which these girls has already taken the senior class and learned it already- so after that it was just 100 miles an hour, no break down, no slow down of music at all, here's the routine, bye- so i mean- you are right it is just geared differently- i will say the registration process was easy and things were organized much better than a million years ago-  not all of the teachers were like that though- the older teachers were more in touch with what the teachers wanted...related to the kids better, broke things down better, told the kids straight up they THOUGHT they were doing it right but they weren't- which was hilarious.... i really enjoyed the student rooms..didn't like the no slowing down of any music but overall i enjoyed the material taught from the majority of the staff- the teacher room- not so much and probably will never go in there again if we come back to this one unless it is with certain teachers....i think that is why there are hadly any teacher teachers in the teacher room? The ballet room had five people in it and the person teaching the class  said she was shocked that many showed up!-


-these kids at this convention were like a pack of wild animals.... and i would have killed any of my students had they acted like that....


i haven't been to DEA convention since like 1996! in Durham actually, and Al gilbert was there! 


seriously though, please tell me the not using pitch control is not the new trend- i mean- really- some of the teachers i connected with were shaking their heads and sayingv , " i just don't understand why everything is so fast, these kids can't really get anything out of this if they are doing it this fast !"



i do see why elderly people are's cuz they know stuff and feel like the rest of the world should know what they do too...LOL i get it now... HAHAHAHAHAHAH!  you know, like manners, basic common sense, how to keep your kid under control by scaring them to death, giving evil looks that they know what that means etc.... it was like going to a zoo for dancers.... half naked dancers......


i am going to facebook now so i can "LIKE" tights......  do people even wear tights anymore? Cuz i sure didn't see that many people wearing them! 


i lost track of the crotchments in the competition..we stayed for about 30 numbers and i think i saw 20 crotchments- i never want to see another bad fouette again, and why do people do numbers that the lyrics talk about hope and the kids look dead, the lyrics talk about happiness and they look sad, - hardly saw any stage presence at all  except for the googly eyes and the "O" with the mouth.... just a handful of really well trained talented kids and 5 minutes in the bathroom told you what they thought of themselves- didn't speak to anyone, some kids were trying to tell them they were really good, they didn't even speak to them, acted like celebrities- wayyyy too cocky!- totally took away from their talent... :(  probably why one or two of them didn't win scholarships that they THOUGHT they would get- didn't matter that they were the best- they acted like it and it totally turned the staff of teachers off big time...



I am kind of tired of paying $400 to go to a convention taught by hungover teenagers.

They're not even teachers, they are just "combo makers". Combo makers that are so awesomely important they have to text during their "class".

I have been at some conventions where the teachers were actually teachers and commanded respect and then I've been in "combo makers" classes where I find they are too cool to actually put in some effort.

I recall kids doing cartwheels in the Junior room for over 20 years and whining and complaining to the master teacher that they were thirsty and their legs were tired!  I don't think that's changed.

Our kids dress for conventions.  They all straighten their hair and put on some cool outfit that doesn't resemble dancewear but I am happy they are at the convention.  Everyone else is dressed like that I'm not going to make them put their hair in a bun...then I would have to lol.  

If my kids go to a workshop or in studio class they need to dress the part and they know that.  

yes, i agree...some are awesome and some are not awesome..LOL- hey at least i didn't see any thong leotards this time- so glad that phase is gone! HAHAHAHAHHA and surprised i saw no pink curlers .... all in all it was stimulating and also refreshed my feelings on rules and manners and teaching studio decorum...HAHAHAHAH-


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