A dance teacher’s role extends beyond the walls of the studio and the hours of an evening of dance classes. While every dance studio is different, a typical day is a fast-paced and exciting one for any dance teacher.
Here are three different perspectives of what a dance teacher’s typical day is like from three dance teachers from Ken and Jean Dance Studio, who were featured in the last post from The Ballet Barre. The following Q&A is an excerpt from an interview and asks a question to dance teachers Darcy Field, Sandi Plavchak and Jen Tancraitor.
The Ballet Barre: What is a typical day like at the studio?
Darcy Field, studio owner and dance teacher:
“My typical day is a little bit different, being a studio owner. Generally when I’m up in the morning there’s a lot of either book work, or program work, or costumes. Right now, I’m ordering merchandise while sitting here, So for me, it really is not a job where … I’m at the studio and those are the hours. It’s extremely long hours, just in the aspect of the recital and everything that has to be ordered for the recital. So it certainly ramps up, but the process really starts in August for the recital [in June]. The nicest part is really coming in and seeing the students.”
Sandi Plavchak, dance teacher:
“I would always start out in the morning searching for music for the day in my library and going through what I’m doing with the class for each day, so a lot of pre-planning. It’s never really a typical day, something always erupts. A little one needs something that they didn’t need before, or they’re having an emotional, dramatic day, so you have to sort of stop and figure out how to keep them going while the entire class is going. So there’s always something going on throughout the day, sometimes parents need a little encouragement … so you need to find the time to talk to them.
The classes roll right into the next with very little break, so it’s typical that you go from the 4-9:30 hour and barely catch a breath, but as long as you’re prepared that anything can happen, and it doesn’t throw you through a loop if you don’t get in what you wanted to get in in a day. You know, eventually, what you planned with them will take place at some point, but you can’t set yourself to a specific time frame. Because with so many kids in different age ranges, something’s bound to come up that sort of throws you.
And for me, often I’ll do a pattern that I think would be perfect, and the next week I’ll hate. And I could leave it and no one would be the wiser, but for me I have to fix it and backtrack and take a couple steps backward to step forward.”
Jen Tancraitor, dance teacher:
“A typical day is very hectic. It’s very enjoyable, though, and there’s always costumes to be props to be prepared and costumes to be fixed and choreography to do. So it very hectic, but also very enjoyable in the same sense.”
Clearly a lot goes into a single day of classes at a dance studio. Dance teachers need to juggle students and parents, music and choreography, props and costumes, and any other surprises that pop up during the day without missing a beat. Teachers like these need to be ready for anything on any day of tap, ballet, jazz, cecchetti, pointe, stretch, and acro classes.