By Steve Sirico of DanceTeacherWeb.com and Dance Teacher Web LIVE Conference & Expo.
Teaching over the long haul can be a drain, especially if you are teaching a lot of classes and are pushed to create. One of the toughest things teachers face throughout the season is to stay motivated and energized. You are constantly giving and if you are not careful you can drain your battery and teaching can become a struggle.
One way to keep motivated is to constantly be focusing on yourself and your needs. This may sound a bit selfish or egotistical but you are the key to protecting yourself. Don’t wait until you get to that tipping point! Know what makes you frustrated and when you need to relax, what makes you happy outside of dance and when you will make time for you.
That is one of the reasons we created DanceTeacherWeb.com. We have talked to many teachers and so many times they have told us that they feel exhausted and never seem to have any time for themselves. But, as we all know, it is more than just ideas and steps. It is about the energy it takes to give and then give some more.
Most dance teachers have to teach many different styles and levels. One minute you are on the floor with preschoolers, then you are teaching a tap class and next up is an advanced ballet, jazz or modern class. Sound familiar? The other problem is that dance teachers have a hard time saying no. We do privates and choreograph for our shows, competition teams or company. So we keep on adding more and more onto our plate until we feel overwhelmed, exhausted and just slightly resentful. This is something I think we are all familiar with, so the question is, what do we do about it?
The first thing I would recommend is to get a daily planner. Write in it everything that you have planned for each day, week and month. Try to build the whole season into the planner.
Next, take a look at where you can and will build in your “down time”. Write in your vacations and days off. Next, get a piece of paper and write at least five things down that you love to do outside of dance and studio business. It may be getting a massage, walking your dog, reading a book, taking a swim, playing tennis or golf, getting in the car and going for a day trip. Whatever it is that you like to do and that you find relaxing must go on this list. Now go to your daily planner and see how you can work these things into your schedule. Try to do at least two of these things each month.
Once they are on your schedule try not to let anything get in the way of this important time. Now when you take a look at your schedule it won’t look so bad after all. There is another element that is so important to these downtime moments. You will find that your creativity is enhanced. Some of the best ideas we have come up with have been away from the studio. Your mind is free to think and sometimes even the smallest or most unexpected idea can be the igniter for your creativity. It really is just giving ourselves that much needed space that enables us to come up with some great thoughts. It also puts us in the position where we can step back and really look at everything in a better and more positive perspective. We know how hard it is to get away from teaching and not think or talk about everything that is happening at the studio. By giving yourself these times when you are away from your work, it is so much easier to clearly find solutions to any situations.
One very important factor in all of this is to use your downtime in the most positive mode as possible. Try not to dwell on any negative things that may be happening. This is not an easy thing to do but these times away will be of no use to you if that is your focus. When these thoughts come into your mind you must push them out and refocus on the creative thoughts. If you are having a hard time, then try not to think about dance at all. Get away from it, mentally and physically.
Have fun trying these methods and see if they make your life a bit easier. The goal is to keep you feeling fresh, motivated and invigorated for the whole season.
A great way to get inspired and ready for the new season is to attend Dance Teacher Web Live Conference and Expo in Vegas this July! First day highlights include a special Master Class, Pre-Conference Business Seminar exclusively for Studio Owners, the start of Dance Teacher University UNLV Teacher Training Certification Level I and II, PLUS the grand opening night Expo party….And that is just day one! Visit www.dtwconference.com for more information and to register. The Early Bird Discount runs out on May 16, so book now.
Steve Sirico and Angela D’Valda Sirico.
Steve Sirico and Angela D’Valda Sirico have been teaching, choreographing and producing shows for over thirty years. In 1979 they formed the Adagio team of D’Valda & Sirico after performing in shows and on television worldwide as individual dancers. Their performing credits include “Scala” Barcelona, Spain, Casino Estoril, Portugal, Theatre Royal, Oxford, England, Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas, Hotel Tequendama, Bogota, Columbia, Teatro Nacional, Buenos Aires, Argentina,and as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep’s smash hit “Dash”, Dominium Theatre, London.
They were featured artists in Royal Command performances in Spain and had the privilege of performing for Princess Diana of Wales. D’Valda & Sirico’s many television credits include “David Letterman”, “Star Search”, and “Tarde Para Todos” as well as variety shows in the U.S.A, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Portugal , Italy and Argentina. Their combination of explosive choreography and exciting partner work has been given rave reviews both nationally and internationally. Their choreography for the acclaimed “Brother Can you Spare A Dime” was commissioned by Boston Ballet II and performed by the company. Angela and Steve have owned and directed a very successful dance studio in Fairfield, Connecticut since 1987. Their students have received scholarships and contracts to American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Hartford Ballet as well as the National tours of “Fosse”, “Fame” and “We Will Rock You” and on Broadway in “Chorus Line”.
Angela and Steve have been on the faculty of Dance Educator’s of America’s Teacher Training program. Steve is the author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and together they authored their Partner syllabus both used for Teacher Training worldwide. Angela served as Chairperson for the tri state panel of the Royal Academy of Dancing and they have taught as guest faculty for Mt. Holyoke College, Michigan State University, The University of Arkansas, Yale University and Fairfield University. They teach Master Classes in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical Jazz and Partner work all over the world including residencies in England, Spain, Costa Rica and Mexico. From 2003-2005 they were presenting faculty for Dance Teacher Magazine’s Summer Teacher’s Conference in NYC.
They continue to be active as adjudicators for major dance competitions and recently choreographed the opening production number for the National Speaker’s Association at their annual convention on Broadway in New York City. In 2007 Steve and Angela launched Dance Teacher Web, an online creative and business resource for teachers and dance studio owners worldwide and each year they produce Dance Teacher Web LIVE Conference and Expo. Described by attendees as “the one and only conference truly for dance teachers and studio owners,” LIVE brings to life everything that is unique about Dance Teacher Web. Three full days are packed with interactive sessions, expo resources and special events all with the goal of providing you with the very best in teaching tools and products to enhance your business, career and life.
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