The following link shows part of an interview with Linda Dadd.
Linda has a very positive and purposeful manner in her lessons and a particularly clear understanding of how to improve technical skills.
The video extract is identical to the communication Linda has within the studio and this provides students with direction and motivation.
Following sections in blue are my transcription of Linda’s responses and sections in red are my evaluation.
Dance teacher questionnaire
1. State attributes you would like to improve in your dancers and explain why.
Passion for dance and expression to present this to audiences during a performance.
Core strength as all movements radiate form the centre.
Range of movement with extension to show shape, dynamics and levels.
I agree with Linda’s conception of dancers qualities. I use these to direct the factors I will measure in my proposal methodologies. Linda’s discussion also provided me with particular aspects to look for to improve learners. I will identify if these are held by dancers participating in my research.
2. Describe the content you include in a warm up and explain how this benefits dancers.
In all thee levels the warm-up follows progressive movements and dynamic stretches. Static stretches are followed with dance specific movements in intermediate and advanced classes.
I encourage students initially to follow those in front and to work for themselves to clarify movement. This provides time for me to feedback, cuing and encouragement. There is definite progression through the 3 levels. With students progressing to the front when they are more confident, before moving up a level. Some students attend two levels to build the skills needed for progression.
At general level, students start with a cardio warm-up to get the blood flowing. Exercises encourage the use of breath. This leads into excises for dynamic movements and stretches to improve facilitation in the legs, hips, torso and shoulders. Core exercises are followed by strength and placement exercises. Then dance specific movements. No movement across the room as this tends to phase learners.
At intermediate level the order of exercises is the same but content more difficult. Movement across the room is included providing opportunity to develop balance spatial awareness and strength.
At advanced Pro-level, initial exercises start on the floor this allows dances to become aware of tightness in their body. Exercises then focus on strength and placement. Dynamic stretches for turnout and elongation are more developed. Travelling allows practice of more complex combinations with continued development of turns, kicks and triplets.
Linda progresses from a cardio based warm-up to strength and flexibility. This is the same progression on skills I have observed between secondary to tertiary education. Community classes focus on a cardio-warm-up and this may reflect the general level of students. I was interested in the stretch protocols Linda used in her warm-up exercises. I noted a progression in duration of static stretches from general to intermediate then Advanced class. Linda’s warm up had a similar order in all levels and this was cardio, dynamic stretch, static stretch, dance movements. This order agrees with that suggested by published literature to remove he advice effects of static stretching on power.
3. Describe the benefits of the teaching styles you use during the warm up.
I guide the discover of movement by a continual dialogue of movement with accents to allow students to understand where effort is needed. The aim is to support and encourage. I use students to lead the warm-up and identify examples of good practice so that students can adapt their movements.
Linda has a positive and purposeful manner. She uses predominantly guided discovery teaching styles. This allows her to direct the class and students know they are always being watched. Her methods mean she is focussed on challenging students rather than completing the movements herself. Students’ movements are more extended as they have to recall the movements and find strategies to achieve the required qualities.
4. Explain whether dance students would benefit from measuring aspects of their movement.
Measurements would provide them with a way to identify their progression. This is not something I would do within my lessons but I could see the benefit within education to provide the skills needed in a Science context. It is something I would find interesting as an add on in a different class.
Linda was the only teacher interviewed who understood the benefit of research and measurements in generating avenues for alternative learning styles to participate in dance. This could be due to her BSc (Hons) Microbiology. She later described how towards the end of her dance performing career that lifeskills in dance research would provide her with greater flexibility and direction . Research may redirect focus from demanding physical exercise as she ages. This shows that dance research is not only relivant to current practice but in providing direction for highly skilled practitioners and a mechanism to inform the skills of emerging artists.
5. Describe ways in which you adapt your teaching or dance lesson to benefit males.
I generally treat males and female similar. Males tend to need more encouragement and challenge. They are generally less flexible but have greater power. I provide a clear instructions and check they are listening. The pace of lessons hold their interest.
Linda teaches classes are for adults who have had some dance experience. These students have already identified the purpose and use of training. To identify what engages male dancers, students starting dance training or within secondary school would be more appropriate. Maximum differentiation and avenues to support a range of abilities and enthusiasm would then be required. For these reasons the male students in my proposal are an ideal group.
6. Outline the ways dance supports lifelong learning.
Dance provides fitness, expression, confidence and challenge.
I feel Linda’s response indicates how important it is to provide avenues for all learners to have a positive experience of dance.
I felt Linda’s motivation, energy within the class and jokes between otherwise focussed and challenging movemen gained her respect from her students.