Help Them Go Pro: How to Teach Your Dancers to Develop Good Work Ethic Skills

Having a great work ethic can take you a very long way in any industry, but especially in the dance field where your performance on one job can open up doors for the next one.  In fact, that's the secret to getting more work: being great at your craft and being great on the job.

So often dancers lack the professionalism that warrants the next job offer, and many times it's simply because they've never been taught what it means to be professional.  If you want to set your dance students up for success, here are four ways you can help them develop a great work ethic.

1.  Expect Punctuality

Punctuality is one of the most basic principles of professionalism.  It shows that you're serious and respectful of others' time.   

Teach your dancers to be punctual by expecting them to arrive to class on time, or even better, a few minutes early.  Let your students know your expectations early on by expressing them verbally, and enforce punctuality by leading by example.  Be sure to begin class exactly at its start time, and end class on time as well. 

2.  Reinforce the Importance of Being Prepared

A true professional is both punctual and prepared.  They arrive knowing their roles and ready to execute them.

Teach your dancers to be prepared by instructing them to begin warming up on their own before class officially begins.  You can also reinforce preparation by expecting them to know class material that's already been taught.  Refuse to reteach material (apart from reviewing) that's already been covered, and instead, allow them to record material that will used again so they can review and prepare on their own.

3.  Require Open Communication  

Another mark of professionalism is reliability.  When conflicts or unforeseeable issues arise, professionals are quick to communicate those circumstances to the right people as soon as possible.

Teach your dancers to communicate well by expecting them to notify you when issues arise.  Instruct them to inform you of tardies and absences before they occur.  Train them to respond to emails or notices promptly, and consistently remind them to openly communicate with you regarding anything that effects their presence or performance in your class.

4.  Expect a Gracious Attitude

Since dance jobs often require performers to spend large amounts of time together, choreographers generally prefer to hire dancers who work well with others.  So professionals know to be flexible and courteous team players.

Teach your dancers to be gracious by fostering a supportive class environment.  Encourage them to help each other and to applaud one another's success.  Train them to be flexible during your creative process and to always thank you, your subs, and your guest instructors.   

Here's the objective:  To help our students develop the skills that will improve their chances of success, and to give them an advantage that many of us didn't have.   

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