The Pros of Hosting a Pro: Pros #1 and #2
By: Kimberly Fitch
PRO #1: Trial & Error = The Creation Of Fearless Artists
The transformation from a fearful dancer to a fearless dancer is perhaps my favorite to witness! This probably has something to do with the fact that this metamorphosis is synonymous to the transformation from dancer to artist. A fearless dancer is not the product of a closed environment, but one
that is open to outside influences, where trial and error are encouraged and open-mindedness is praised.
But, before this change can occur the first step is to overcome the fear of looking foolish or feeling uncomfortable. Anyone who has asked a group of 11 year olds to do improv for the first time knows that this is easier said than done. When you bring in your first guest choreographer or any
choreographer with a style that is foreign to your dancers, there will most likely be a difficult, yet healthy adaptation period for them. Even your most confident dancers may be overcome with sudden shyness and some may immediately decide they dislike the movement, not because they actually dislike it, but because it is outside their comfort zone and their fear of looking silly has crept in. DO NOT view this reaction as a failure or a sign of a bad decision on your part. It is a natural reaction to fear the unknown. It
is human nature. It is animal instinct. Fight or Flight in its simplest form! Trust the fact that the process is beneficial and you, as their fearless leader, must encourage them to take chances as they forge ahead in full trial and error mode! Learning to laugh at oneself is one of life’s greatest gifts, if unwrapped. This is the perfect time to give that gift to your dancers. If the movement feels or looks strange on them do it until it does not. Its called discipline and whether or not they will go on to become professional dancers, their boss will someday expect them to have the discipline and problem solving skills necessary to tackle a task until it is done correctly. If trial and error is an enjoyable process it will spark a new excitement for
learning in the studio, create a positive classroom environment and your fearless dancers will be born!
PRO #2- Introduction to New Styles & Movement Qualities
Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “Why would I bring in guest choreographers when I have a staff of versatile and knowledgable choreographers right here at my fingertips!?” Guest choreography is
not meant to take away from your staff, but supplement it. You may have the most extraordinary staff imaginable, but it is inevitable that dancers begin to move like their instructors. Notice at a competition you know what studio is on stage based not only on their hairstyle, but also their style of movement. You probably dance somewhat like your first teacher and she danced like hers. I can walk into any convention ballroom, without a single team jacket present and separate the dancers by studio because they move in a specific way…the way their teachers move! This is not a negative thing. There are certain authors I absolutely adore but I know by page three that they wrote the book, based solely on their style of writing. I will continue to read their works, but I may switch it up once in a while for a change of pace or to expand my vocabulary. Provide opportunities in your studio for your dancers to explore new styles and movement qualities by bringing in guest choreographers. Every human being moves differently and the more
choreographers your dancers work with the more diverse and interesting they will become. Build on the foundation your staff has already built!
You will see movement that inspires you and that looks fabulous on them, which will in turn lead to experimentation in your own choreography. Growth for the entire studio, staff and students alike, and a
diverse repertoire for the upcoming season sounds like a win/ win to me!