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Do you really want to dance?!
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 34923, member since Wed May 22, 2002
On Fri Nov 17, 2017 08:59 PM

Last year, I had a duo, a brother and sister. The brother was always the more physically talented of the two, so even though he never really *loved* dance, he always took to it faster than the sister did. The sister, of course, claims to ADORE dance.

The brother did not return this year - he started high school, and wanted to go out for a variety of sports teams, and was never super in love with dancing anyway, and it's fine. The sister debated returning this year, and eventually did.

Last year, I took them to an all clogging competition, and she sat in the audience, openly wondering why she and her brother weren't dancing like the older, more experienced teams.

After a few weeks this year of working on technique and not especially taking to anything I'd worked on, I asked her what SHE wanted to accomplish out of this dance year. She wants to get better, and look like the more experienced teams. Great.

So the following week, I return to class with a video from an online series that I've been working on, and she and I are going to learn this routine and perform it together.

It's five weeks later now. She's learned a grand total of SIX eight counts, and can not execute a single one to the music. Not a one.

She has the routine on video to watch. She admits that she hasn't. She has the music (she did only just get the music today, but still). Studio policy says she is to perform two dances in the end of the year recital. At an eight count a week, she may not even learn the one!

So I don't want to just constantly be frustrated, frustrated, frustrated, cause eventually that just kills the joy - for she and I both. But I literally don't know what to do now. Everything she's verbalizing says she wants to grow, and learn, and do better, and to look like the advanced teams she's seeing at clogging events. NOTHING that she's actually DOING says the same. And when I asked her her goals, I even pointed out - if you don't want to be doing super advanced stuff, that's cool, and we'll still have a great time, there's just no sense in my pushing you if that's not actually what you want. She swore it was. Ok, cool. Then what's happening right now?

Any ideas for what to do now? Since she is working with a video, I've tried letting her work the video, and I've tried shutting the video off and explaining it myself. Neither seems to help. We suspect she's got some learning problems, but no known diagnosis on record. Mom is a teacher by education (she doesn't work in the field) so even if I did figure out a way to gracefully point out that she should probably be tested, mom's actually got more training in the field then I do.


4 Replies to Do you really want to dance?!

re: Do you really want to dance?!
By Sumayah Comments: 6947, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Sun Nov 19, 2017 04:24 PM
How old is your student? Is she a tween? Young teen? Older teen? How comfortable is she in her body? How has she learned best in the past?
re: Do you really want to dance?!
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 34923, member since Wed May 22, 2002
On Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:36 PM
She'll be 18 in February. Decently body comfortable, I think. I've heard a little bit of talk of food restriction type behaviors in the past, the exact same sort of thing our 15 year olds are going through, so she's a little bit of a late bloomer on that front, but not bad. She can hyperextend just about everything, some of which I'm positive comes down to just straight lack of muscle control on her part.

When they went to the competition this past spring, they got dinged by the judges for not having enough of a foundation in "traditional" clogging, so that's what we're working on now, bolstering that foundation. From a technical stand point, it's not harder than what she was doing - in many respects, it's actually probably easier.

She's always struggled a little bit learning choreography. There was a portion of their dance last year, that we were down to being able to count the time to recital in single digit weeks, and she couldn't do it unless he did it too. And I know I reasonably could dance with her every single time, but I kind of want her to learn this, for her. Plus a couple of years ago, I went out with an ankle injury, and wasn't cleared to dance by recital, so a dance that I'd choreographed that was intended for three (her, me and the brother) ended up being done as a duo. And the ankle has never been the same since. In the event that she's got to do this alone, she needs to know how to do this alone! (Plus, from the teacher perspective - this class isn't really for me, you know? I can work my stuff out on my own time...)

Let me know if I can answer any more questions!
re: Do you really want to dance?!
By DancePrincess225 Comments: 52, member since Fri Jun 02, 2017
On Wed Dec 06, 2017 04:26 AM
If she has the videos, why don't you ask if the brother could learn it to then help her, it sounds like that might work if the brother picks things up quickly
re: Do you really want to dance?!
By MuffinHeadmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5178, member since Thu Jun 10, 2004
On Wed Dec 13, 2017 06:42 AM
Since she’s 18 and not at a younger age where her parents may be forcing her to go, I suggest tough love. She’s an adult and presumably she’s making the decision to actively WANT to dance. And it’s on her to put in the effort that comes with wanting to dance.

Tell her flat out that it’s concerning that she’s verbally telling you she is really into this, but doesn’t seem to be putting in the effort on her off time (or even with you) to really learn and grow. Remind her that SHE is on stage (along with you, if I’m reading correctly) and to look good— you both have to be committed to learning this and making it aesthetically pleasing for the audience.

I’m not a clogger, but with my tap girls (even my adults), I have them bring a notebook or their phones to write down notes in a way they’ll understand it. My girls may not remember what a Maxie ford is— so if they write it out as shuffle, jump, toe— they have an easier time remembering it than remembering the term. But she needs to know you are her teacher and you can help her during class time, but she needs to put in some work on her end during her off-class time or this Dance won’t work.