Teaching Dance Skills

I am often asked by other teachers to recommend books about dance teaching. I always include Teaching Dance Skills: A Motor Learning and Development Approach because it is such an easy book to read and understand and it is packed full of helpful models that clearly presents the knowledge in a visual way. This book helps us to understand more about how students learn and how we can use this understanding to tailor our teaching to optimise learning and performance. I have read and re-read this book so many times I need to get myself a new copy. Student teachers I have recommended this book to have found it invaluable. Kimmerle and Côté have done a brilliant job addressing topics such as:

Effective dance teaching
How to analyse dance material
How a student learns dance skills
The adult novice learner
The child learner
The experienced dancer
Selecting dance skills for the learner
How to select instructional methods
How to provide feedback

This book was originally published by J Michael Ryan Publishing Inc but it went out of print. For a while it was not available but thankfully it has been re-printed through the University of Windsor in Canada and can be ordered via this link: Teaching Dance Skills

Definitely one for every dance teacher's book shelf.


Conditioning for Dancers

Conditioning for Dancers book
Tom Welsh's book Conditioning for Dancers is a great addition to my library of books for dance and I would recommend it to teachers and dancers. It is well structured into logical sections and there are really useful study guides throughout for checking learning and understanding. The chapter on alignment provides very clear ways of thinking about and analysing alignment in dancers. It reminds us of key alignments and importantly that:

'whatever the position of the legs, the centres of the knees should align with the centres of the feet so the ankle and knee joints can both hinge without twisting'

This is vital for teachers to draw attention to when students are forcing turnout by twisting their knees or feet. This chapter offers a lot of excellent guidance and understanding about achieving proper alignment. The illustrations and pictures are useful, especially if you find the visual stuff makes it all crystal clear. I am a great fan of using relaxation techniques with dancers and so the chapter on improving endurance and releasing tension is a particular favourite of mine.

The book is full of gems of understanding that teachers and dancers will find fascinating - it is a book that you will want to keep returning to time and time again.

Welsh T (2009) Conditioning for Dancers Gainsville University Press of Florida