The upcoming DEL Workshop is very close to my heart as I will be sharing lessons and courses that I developed later in my career as a dance educator. For many years, I taught dance to elementary aged students and also specialized in early childhood dance with my Stories in Motion dance studio.  I absolutely loved teaching younger children and deliberately kept clear of the middle school set because they intimidated me with their seemingly loud, rude, hormonal behavior.  Elementary children adored me; looked up to me and actually followed directions (for the most part), but teenagers—yikes, no way!

However, when I moved to Massachusetts, I came across the incredible Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School which is a regional charter school for 7th – 12th graders. Despite my fear of working with teenagers, I enthusiastically took the job as a full time dance teacher and subsequently became the Director of the Department. Jumping into the world of teen culture was a bit like landing in a foreign country; I needed to learn to speak the language if I was going to survive! So I embarked on a wonderful journey to discover how to succeed with this age group in the dance studio, using all the tools I had acquired from my 20 plus years of teaching.

The DEL Weekend workshop: Success in Middle School Dance: Learning and Teaching to Transform a Teenager’s Mind is an interactive and fun workshop which will share some of these strategies, courses and lesson plans I developed which helped me to ultimately succeed and overcome my fear of working with teens. These courses and strategies came out of recognizing what is important to a teen age mind and body and are focused on setting up a learning environment based on collaborative learning, relationship building, self advocacy, mentoring, improvisation, humor and play. Add snacks, dance games, technology, youtube, and a large amount of compassion to the mix and you have a recipe for success!

I can’t wait to share all this with you! It’s going to be a fun weekend and one that I hope will transform your experience working with teens. Also, I am thrilled that Edwin Brathwaite will be a guest visitor during the weekend! See you in April.