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How to Turn Off Your Dance Teacher Brain

Published on March 27th 2019 by Hillary-Marie

Today we are talking about how to turn off your tap teacher brain! During my last Facebook Live Tap Talk in the iTapOnline Community Facebook Group, a member asked, “Do you have tricks to turn off your ‘teacher brain’ when you are playing student? How do you avoid critiquing another teacher’s class or rehearsal?”

Taking off the teacher hat and stepping into the student role: (1:09)

Being in class with your students as a student:

I love taking class while I’m teaching at tap festivals. Before every event I attend with my FutureSTEP Tap Company students, I let them know that if I’m taking class alongside them, that they need to direct all questions to the teacher in the room (not me!). I say this because 1) it is not my class and it is my turn to be a student, and 2) it is disrespectful to the teacher of that class to answer questions or offer critiques to other students. It is important to clarify for your students your role in a class that you are sharing together. 

Being in a class and having a desire to help other students in the class: (3:00)

You need to shut that part of your brain off and allow that responsibility to belong to the actual teacher of the class. That teacher may have a different teaching philosophy. They may want the dancer to fight for it a little, or have a plan for what comes next or another reason for not addressing the issue of the dancer having difficulties. Sometimes other dancers in class will approach you with their questions because they see that you are a strong dancer in the class. In that event, I would suggest that you kindly guide them to ask their question directly to the teacher.

Silent Criticism: (4:24)

I have a mantra when I am attending other tap dance events to prevent that inner dialogue that critiques the event, class or show: “Not my class, Not my show, not my event, not my festival. This has no reflection on me!” There is no benefit to having that voice that talks trash the entire time you are trying to be a part of somebody else’s journey! 

What about you?

Do you struggle to turn off your tap teacher brain in class or rehearsal? What is your biggest challenge: is it wanting to help the other students in class or struggling with critiquing the event or class you are participating in? Comment below or post in the iTapOnline Community Facebook group. Please comment and share your thoughts. I always write you back!  


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