If you have a class full of recreational teen dancers, you know that they are taking your class because they LOVE to dance.
Sometimes these classes can be challenging to teach, and even more so when the style is Acro Dance.
But, when you understand both the strengths and challenges of these dancers and how to work with them, teaching your teen acrobats will be SO rewarding!
Let’s start with the challenges:
- Teenagers’ bodies are often already “set,” meaning that they have tightened up during puberty. If your teen acrobats aren’t dancers or have only recently started dancing, they haven’t had the advantage of developing their flexibility before this “setting” process.
- Since they are older, their bodies are heavier, and their lack of training also means they will (generally) have weak upper bodies.
- In many recreational teens, the “fear factor” has set in, causing them to be reluctant to try new tricks.
- Finally, you haven’t had the advantage of “winning them over” before puberty set in, so earning their respect and trust can be more of a challenge.
However, there are also a lot of benefits that come with teaching this particular group:
- They are more mature, which means that you can have more of a “grown-up” relationship with them, and earn their trust quickly if you are confident and well prepared each class.
- Also, because their brains are more developed than your younger students, you can progress them through your Acro lessons quite quickly: they just pick it up faster.
- Often, your teens who are brand new to Acro are very excited to try this “cool” new genre of dance, making them a really keen group that puts forth great effort each class.
- Lastly, with your recreational teen classes, there is no pressure to prepare for competitions, so you can spend class time experimenting with different concepts and ideas, without the stress of adhering to a rigid schedule where they are required to have certain tricks by certain deadlines.
So, how do you keep your recreational teen students busy in class and having fun?
This group likely won’t advance very far with their acro skills, which is okay, as long as they are having fun each class and progressively trying new things that are at a safe level for them.
Keep your teens working hard with lots of strength and flexibility work, basic tricks (with fun and easy variations), and lots of AcroDance choreography and partnering. We also recommend working within a “family” of a trick and developing it as much as you can each class.
For example, if you wanted to spend a class working on cartwheels, you could work on: mini cartwheels, square cartwheels, open cartwheels, and one-arm cartwheels; then incorporate these cartwheels into lots of different dance combinations!
Your “superstar acrobats” will most likely not be your recreational teens, but your acro class can still be fun, exciting, and progressive for your dancers. By understanding how to work with the strengths and challenges of your teens, you will create an extremely rewarding class for both you and your students!