Reason 1: Dance teachers that are fully qualified, will be members of the ISTD organisation. The ISTD provides training for dance teachers from all over the world which allows and enables teachers to enter their students into dance examinations. Part of the ISTD’s mission where dance teachers are concerned,is to provide up-to-date techniques and to maintain and improve teaching standards for it’s members, meaning that you can be rest assured that your son or daughters dance teacher is delivering the relevant steps and exercises that have been approved and the dance teacher is following a quality assured syllabus. Teachers that are members are notified and given the opportunities by the ISTD to attend a wide variety of course, summer schools and congresses to assist with their own personal progression and development as teachers. Something that is so important with today’s ever evolving dance industry.
Reason 2: What is age appropriate, It comes down to the old fashion saying “you can’t run before you can walk” and the same does apply in dance. Through qualifications dance teachers are taught how to pin point the ability level of their students, knowing what is achievable and challenging, making for a positive experience and developmental process for children and young people.
Reason 3: Differentiation, this can be between male and female steps and exercises during the lessons and the difference in suitable levels of ability that is taught amongst the different age groups and genders. Fully qualified dance teachers and dance teachers that are in training can fully appreciate the importance of getting this right for your child and their student, in order for progression to happen, never the less to keep the enjoyment factor high for the students. Children and young people love challenges and achievement, learning dance steps that are relevant and correct for their ability, yet perhaps don’t always come easy, practice is always required, brings a sense of joy and commitment to strive to the next level.
Reason 4: Safe Dance Technique is something that qualified teachers will have as a main concern. Where injuries, niggles and accidents can unfortunately occur from time to time in dance studios and dance centres any qualified teacher understands the importance of carrying out risk assessments of the studios, building and the surrounding general common areas that they are teaching in to ensure that any mishaps can be avoided. Qualified teachers understand the importance of setting a warm up for their students at the beginning of each class, to reduce the risk of any injury being caused during the lesson and the same with a ‘cool down’ period too towards the end of the class.
Reason 5: Physical damage can be caused to children and young people if they are encouraged to attempt certain moves too early, Unqualified dance teachers simply do not have the understanding needed when teaching children to dance that there is a right time for everything. The main example is going up “en pointe” Every young girl that dances ballet cannot wait for the day to come when they receive their first pair of pointe shoes and attend that first pointework lesson. However if the body does not have the strength and the child and dance teacher does not have a good understanding of how to safely balance the whole body on just the toes, careers can be kissed goodbye before they have even begun. Even for our baby ballet dancers at the beginning of the spectrum dangers are high if a dance teacher doesn’t have the important training in anatomy and physiology. Baby’s and toddler’s bones are not yet formed or set, often they are incredibly flexible therefore astute attention and care is needed when teaching this age group.
Certainly a question to ask, that is not often asked by parents, is for the dance teachers qualifications at the time of enquiry or enrolment into a new dance school.