The Adult Diaries (or How I Fell in Love with Teaching Adult Ballet Learners), PART 3
So, over the past two years of working with this incredible group of dancers, here is what I’ve learned and come to understand:
1) Training Adult Dancers is exactly that: Training. They long for a teacher who sees something in them worth teaching and who will therefore challenge them physically and mentally to draw the best out of them;
2) Adults do not shy away from Corrections. They work to implement each correction given, in some ways better even, than teen dancers do. Partially because of maturity and partially because of an understanding that not every teacher is willing to crawl around on the floor correcting adult feet and legs and core, so they want to match my energy in the way they can, Adults GIVE themselves to the process that is learning ballet;
3) Adult learners have incredible heart. They have lived long enough for life to have touched them, so in a way most younger dancers can’t yet, they dance from joy or sorrow or despair or tenderness with a naturalness that is hard to train. Life has done that training and together with the music, the dancers live in moments that are incredible to observe;
4) Adult learners have made me a better teacher. Maybe because the desire is strong but the facility of older bodies can need nurturing, I’ve had to be very creative in pulling out what I know they can do. They’ve made me approach this art with a new life and outlook and approach. What a gift; and
5) Last, but not least, Adult students understand intuitively the teacher who knows that the relationship between teacher and student comes first. If a teacher truly likes the people they are teaching, is excited and prepared for teaching every week, is goal-oriented for her adult students, etc., Adult learners are some of the most passionate, committed, respectful and loyal students you will ever, ever have.
So, that’s my story. It’s a unique love story, to be sure, but one I am so grateful this life gifted me. I hope each of you teachers out there get to experience the joy of teaching adult learners! And adult students: don’t settle for less than you’re worth! Because you are worth quite a lot!
Yours in Dance and Big Hugs!