Reflecting over my last 20 years of teaching, much of studio life has stayed the same. Pre-schoolers still love stickers, there’s always great excitement regarding first pointe shoes, and the pride you feel when watching your students perform remains one of the best feelings in the world.
For all that remains unchanged, there’s plenty of differences as well. I’m old enough to remember my teacher playing music from cassettes and the frustration that accompanied that. I recall, just as vividly, teaching my first class with an iPod – true joy!
Once upon a time, marketing was as simple as placing an advertisement in the local paper. Now it’s a daily struggle to stay up to date with Facebook adverts, pixels, landing pages and click funnels.
Of course, technology hasn’t only changed the way we play our music or run our businesses. Its infiltration within the studio walls has been enhancing experiences and creating learning opportunities in ways I could have only dreamt about as a beginning teacher all those years ago.
It’s not uncommon for me to discuss anatomy and quickly take out my iPad to show illustrations to the students. A conversation around a certain step or style of dance may lead us to make deeper explorations via YouTube. With relative ease, we can change the tempo of our music or record our dancers in slow motion for analysis and feedback.
Exciting as these improvements are, the benefits only exist when students are actually in the studio.
Movitae is an online platform that takes learning beyond the walls. No longer “what happens in the studio stays in the studio”, and, believe it or not, that’s a good thing! This private space where teachers and students can share videos, feedback and communicate is useful in preparing for exams and sharing choreography. It has inspired my dancers to keep thinking about their dance in between classes. “It has been amazing to do some of my exercises at home. I like how I can watch them or I can put my phone to one side and do the exercises with the music,” shared one of my 13-year-old students.
Parents, too, are enjoying more access to their dancers in real time, which is wonderful if their other commitments limit their attendance at Open Lessons and the like. Parents are able to be more connected with their child’s dance journey without the need to be constantly asking their child questions or peering through studio windows. One of my parents commented, “It’s been fantastic as a way of motivating her to practice and improve!” Worth noting is how private and secure the platform is, an essential consideration when allowing any minors to participate in videoing sharing applications.
As the teacher, I can’t tell you how relieved I am not to be spending time uploading items to YouTube or battling with Facebook to upload and share content to multiple groups from our studio’s Facebook page. It has simplified the process of sharing video content with our students and truly is adding to their dance education experience. Better yet, the platform is set up in a way that respects the relationship between student and teacher, allowing us to keep our professional and personal contacts separate.
For more information, check out www.movitae.com.
By Jane Grech of Dance Informa.
Jane Grech is the founder and director of JG Creative, a South Australian company which operates Jane Grech Dance Centre, Pirouettes Dancewear and Adelaide Institute of Dance. An empowering leader, Jane’s businesses thrive from the power of a positive culture by design. Working with vision, her teams are a united and determined force. By embracing and enjoying challenges and celebrating success through having fun, her people are not only personally and professionally fulfilled but her businesses’ greatest assets.
Jane is an author and speaker on the topics of dance education, entrepreneurship and leadership. Passionate about encouraging, supporting and inspiring others, Jane writes articles for Dance Informa Magazine and at her own blog, Dance Studio Success. Previous speaking engagements include Dance Teachers Unite, Come Together Dance Teachers Conference, Exchange and, most recently, at Victorian Dance Festival. Jane shares her experiences with dance studio owners from around the world through her work as a Leadership Coach for Dance Studio Owners Association.
Jane works part time in an effort to successfully navigate the challenges of combining a career with her greatest role, that of mum to Alana, Caitlin and Liam, and wife to Brian.