I’ve just finished up my first week of classes at TYO and I have to say that they have been much more challenging that I anticipated!  However, I think I’m getting the hang of things as the second class for both my moms’ dance class and my youth theater class ran much more smoothly than the first.  The cardinal rule about traveling and teaching is to adapt, adapt, adapt!  As I rework my teaching methods to better suit my students, I can already see my students getting accustomed to them.Workout Classroom Sundays and Tuesdays I will be teaching 45-minute dance classes to help the mothers and young women in the area have a chance to get a little exercise.  The ladies were a bit skeptical as to the health merits of dance, but I’m on a mission to disabuse them of this notion and I think that it is working!  My goal is to have them all be very tired and very sore at the end of each class, from not only having had a great time, but also from having used every muscle in their bodies.  As the women start to really get into the aerobic portion of the workout, I hope to have time to explore different dance techniques with them—ballet, jazz, Latin, hip hop and swing are all in my planned curriculum!  I really want them to see that working out doesn’t have to be boring and that you don’t have to run laps to get a great cardio routine in.  Over the coming weeks I will hopefully have a chance to stress healthy eating and exercising habits so that they all really feel good about their bodies and love to exercise!

Mondays and Wednesdays you can find me teaching theater to my 9-12 year olds.  We have some very strong personalities in our class and I can’t wait to channel all of that energy and confidence into performance!  In my introductory week I tried to show the kids some theater games, which are great for building group dynamics and teamwork.

Some games worked better than others and by Class Two I was much more prepared for my students.  Even simply adding chairs for each student to the classroom (theater classes generally use too much body movement to necessitate chairs) provided the structure that was missing in my first class and made for a better environment for the students.  And environment is absolutely key, which is why I am hoping to transform my classroom into TYO’s very first black box theater!  Black box theaters are simple performance areas that can be used for a variety of shows and rely on the creativity of the performers and directors (rather than fancy set and lighting) to put on a show—so they are perfect for schools, small venues, and TYO!

All in all I would declare my first week a modest success.  I will definitely be learning, changing and growing a lot and I hope that my classes continue to adapt and be enjoyable for my students!