Teaching young people how to dance is one of the many gifts from above that I treasure most. This past Saturday I taught ModBallet (combo of Modern and Ballet) to two super bright fierce little beings on zoom. Their eagerness and ebullience are uplifting and energizing.
I act as a witness and guide for the session while the Modrinas demonstrate steps and postures from memory. They seem to like repetition challenges and performing for one another. My Modrinas demo ease, confidence, and playfulness inside our precious time together online. Despite the lesson being almost over, I try to cram in a review of how to chaîne turn. The lesson ends.
In this digital teaching environment, we mirror each other and transfer our good energies across the internet waves. All the while, I make sure that they are having fun learning to define their space as well as become adept with ModBallet dance history and vocabulary. Empty egg cartons become handy props to practice step of the cat (pas de chats) and big leaps (grand jetés). A wave of a scarf helps paint the space with color and move in a 3 dimensional way. We transform a stuffy (stuffed animal) into a dance partner in an imaginary world of princesses, dragons, tacos, witches, superheroes and things.
The science of staying in the dance while social distancing is strange and disquieting no doubt but there are pluses. So many fellow dance educators are adapting to this format and giving ideas with their online instruction. Their resilience charges me to keep showing up for the things we love to do and be: teach dance and share the dance! As a parent, I yearn for human connection and quality mentorship for my child. I hope that what I offer is a good substitute for the real thing for now.
Given a few weeks of teaching for myself during this pandemic, my thoughts have shifted about taking and teaching class online. I am energized to continue to show up and instill a sense of responsibility for upholding the practice and performance of dance. Here’s to safe digital unbiased dance education transmitted with love.