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Teaching

Circle Dances

Each evening we try to teach at least one circle dance for the first time or re-teach a dance we have forgotten. We try to teach the dance twice, once slow during beginners and once fast during intermediate. We also play the dance once during advanced, so someone who comes early will get the dance three times.

During beginners, we have a mix of dances that we do for warming up and enjoyment. When beginners are there, this helps them to get comfortable with many of the basic patterns. We also review dances that we taught in the past so people that missed the teaching, can learn dances that are requested later in the evening.

Teaching a Dance

When we teach a dance, we teach each few measures and review with music. We keep adding onto the dance and playing the music again, so as to build up the muscle memory of the dance in each person. We usually only teach one circle dance like this each evening, and we usually only teach a particular dance this way once. Typically this can take 15 to 30 minutes to teach a dance.

Reviewing a Dance

The other main method of teaching we use is what we call review. We quickly review the whole dance, or just parts of the dance, without music. We show people just enough to help them follow the harder parts of the dance. During the dance, the leader calls out the patterns.

The idea with our review method is to learn how to follow, and to learn by doing. We emphasize learning how to travel in the correct direction, putting together sets of patterns, and not worrying about individual steps. Faking it is good. We suggest to people that they try to avoid looking at people's feet. Become a stalker. Follow the person, go where they go, and your feet will follow.

Typically, the review takes only a minute or two. This way we get in a lot more dancing and a lot less lecturing. People learn how to follow dances they have not seen before and enjoy themselves.

Order of Teaching and Dancing

The first hour of our group, we cater to our regular weekly beginners. We go slow and teach dances.

The second hour is intermediate, and we go faster. We quickly teach any new dances we taught during beginners. This way, someone coming to beginners, will get the dance taught twice, which helps a lot to have it sink in. We also review dances that we have been learning over the last recent months.

The last two hours are advanced dancing and requests. We do not teach or review circle dances during this time, unless really needed.

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