Every dance school is different, just as every person is different. But there are several types of dancers you can be sure to meet in every dance studio. Here are the most common types, and some tips on how to deal with them.
Always in the front line. If you say let’s do all three steps of hornpipe, this person will do it twice. Never misses a dance practice. Always knows the names of all the steps, ceili movements and the music you use. Even though the other dancers might sometimes be annoyed by them, having them around has its many benefits. First, they motivate others to also give their best in class, as they don’t want to look bad compared to the nerd. And you don’t need to bring your notes to class – the nerd will remember it all for you!
As a beginner, this person shows amazing talent and is a very quick learner. In competition, this person is usually very successful. But, this person soon starts to think it will always be like that, and if they don’t good develop working habits and are a bit lazy and not too keen on practice, they quit soon after reaching Primary, as bare talent doesn’t get them further than that. Probably they move to another dance or sport where they will again be huge success as beginners. On the other hand, if they are hard-working and determined – you have your champ. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work, but a hard-working talent is unbeatable!
This dancer very often acts as the comic relief: recreational dancer but with an excellent sense of humor. Every dance studio needs one. They are the heart and soul of every party, know how to tell the best jokes and brighten up the mood on a rainy day before the feis when nothing seems to be going right. They are everybody’s best friend and ready to jump in when there’s equipment or costumes to be carried around, when something needs fixing or when you are re-decorating the studio. But they rarely shine on stage. The best thing is to be aware of their dancing ambitions. If they see themselves as competitive dancers or performers, make sure they take their dancing seriously and focus on it more than on all the other things. If they have no ambition other than to have fun and spend some quality time with friends at the studio – don’t push them, or you might lose your designated joker.
The flatley – there’s not a thing this person can’t do in Irish dance. Something like a diva type but talented all the way through. Usually gets distracted with something else and quits, or gets bored after winning all there is to be won. Hard working, but extremely difficult to motivate if they lose interest in Irish dance. Make sure you get what you can out of them, because they probably won’t be there for long. Unless somehow you manage to keep them interested in Irish dance, in which case it’s time to start thinking about your World’s podium outfit.
A type of dancer that’s not really sure what he or she is doing or wants from Irish dance. A major headache to any teacher, but usually a person with many talents that, understandably, doesn’t know which one to choose and devote self to. We are talking about teenagers mostly here, who are in a very delicate life stage anyway. This dancer has probably changed several dance schools and wasn’t happy with a single one. Either the teacher is too strict, or the other dancers aren’t friendly enough, or the class costumes are too much/not enough shiny, the steps are too difficult, the teachers don’t pay them enough attention or the teacher’s always on their case – either way, unless they decide they want to pursue Irish dance, nothing will be good enough for them so no need to worry yourself down about what you might be doing wrong. Unless they leave your school at some point because they are not happy with it either, you might even want to consider telling them they should take a break from coming to the dance practice and rethink their dancing engagement. This might be just the sobering kick of reality they need to help them decide that they want to be Irish dancers and that they are willing to put in the effort to match their talent. Or they might decide they want to move on – either way, it’s a win – win situation for the teacher.
Not only is this person a know-it-all dancer, he or she is also a musician, a light and sound engineer, a costume and web designer, stylist, PR manager, choreographer, psychiatrist, healer and Wikipedia. Of course, they master at none. Leave them to take care of the sound, and the music is almost certainly sure to stop in the middle of performance. If you are teaching mostly children, this person will probably be a parent. Try not to let them persuade you to leave them in charge with anything too important – not unless you are absolutely sure they can manage it!
The clumsy one – forgets steps, gets injured a lot, but usually has the biggest passion for the dance and this one you want to stick to. Their clumsiness is nothing but insecurity, and once they get over it, you will have yourself a devoted, passionate dancer, and these are the people that eventually shine the brightest.
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