In order to finish my B.A. in Dance, I had to complete a capstone project that represented both a culmination of my college experiences and a look into the future. For my project, I chose to create a curriculum guide for the dance studio that I envisioned owning at the time.
My focus in the project was to create a guide for a future dance studio that creates a well rounded in dancer in six key areas that I felt were essential to any dancer’s training
- Ballet and Contemporary Technique (teaching the movement)
- Artistry, Creativity, and Composition (creating the artist)
- Dance History (with a focus on that of ballet and contemporary)
- Dance Diversity (anything other than ballet and contemporary/modern)
- Health and Nutrition (taking care of one’s body)
- Career Opportunities (turning your passion into a career)
Although I trained extensively (see my post A Personal Dance History), I felt like I lacked a comprehensive education for many years. My goal with the curriculum guide was to ensure that my students did not have gaps in their dance education while training in a pre-professional atmosphere. I split my students up into a few skill levels – Creative Movement (3-5 year olds), Pre-Technique (6-8 year olds), and Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced levels based on skill- and described out each of the 6 areas of education would be addressed.
I completed this project several years ago and with only a little bit of teaching experience. Needless to say, my perspective has changed a bit.
After distilling the four core values of the dance studio that I am now working towards (see Return to Blogging/ Core Studio Values), I went back to my capstone project with a more objective eye. Is this curriculum guide actually useful?
Come to find out that although age and experience have made me wiser, there are many parts of my college project that are usable and perhaps even practical for the future. My core values of a healthy dancer, a ballet focus, a supportive atmosphere, and a community-centered artist are represented throughout the curriculum guide without me even realizing that’s what my fundamental studio values were. Basically, my identity as a dance instructor has only become more solidified as the years have passed.
However, this project does have some serious flaws that I will have to overcome.
- The guide assumes a pre-professional conservatory style atmosphere with a schedule full of daily classes and weekly/monthly seminars and workshops. It does not take into account a dancer’s academic schedule.
- The guide does not give any hints as to the best way to build a dance studio from nothing and build to the point where all the classes mentioned are possible.
- The guide only focuses on students who are serious about pursuing a career in a dance-related field. It does not provide guidance for recreational dancers who are present at any dance studio, especially one that is just beginning.
I do believe I can use my capstone project in conjunction with my four core values to create the dance studio that I envision. I do, however, have to be conscious that I will have to build up to the point where I can use it as intended and to always be open minded enough to adjust as necessary.