I read something this morning that really opened my eyes and made me sit up. The writer asked "how many times do you tell yourself to "just get through this"--whether it is a phase your child is going through, or a new situation at work, etc.?" (Personally, with the government calling all of the shots these days, I know I keep saying to myself, "just get through this lockdown. Just get through these virtual classes".) The writer then said, "what if you didn't "just" get through, but stopped to enjoy the experience?"
Wait. What? Gadzooks!
This idea of "stopping to enjoy the gift" rocked me to my core. Instead of looking at each virtual class as a gift of extra time, I was concentrating on all of the negative I perceived--I wasn't a good teacher via virtual class, I was a failure because I struggled with it, I was out of shape/unable to keep up/too old/found it too hard to change my tried-and-true teaching methods... the list goes on. (I'm sure we have all felt something similar with some aspect of this lockdown!) Luckily, after reading this revelation this morning, I realized I had already set myself up for an unenjoyable experience, and that I had subconsciously given up/set the tone for my classes before I'd even started.
All that being said, virtual dance classes are not the same as in-person. They will never, ever replace the one-on-one training and the comradery felt in a dance class. Most students have very limited space at home--which vastly restricts what you can do (for example-- grand jetés (split jumps), or a turn series across the floor), and group/partner work is not possible. I am totally guilty of thinking negatively towards virtual classes, and all it entails-- they are definately more challenging and energy-draining for me, as the teacher. But--I can explore avenues with my students that we never have time in class for... strength training, flexibility, in-depth balance/pirouette work, dance history, theory, goal setting, positive mindset, artistry exercises, music theory and appreciation.... all of which is going to help create a better overall dancer/appreciation of the art form they are learning.
Dancers and parents-- let's all consider putting aside the mindset of "just getting through this", and focus on enjoying this time to work on things that will make us better overall; time to slow down a bit and really perfect our steps; time to use our head positions and arms properly in everything we do; time to learn more, and generally, become a better dancer.
In addition to changing our mindset, I have also compiled a series of "Getting the most out of your Virtual Dance Class" tips, tricks, and how-to's. Preparing yourself for this temporary change will definately help!