Help us to raise $9,000.00 for our five young teen teachers in training as they work hard to make their upcoming trip to New York City possible! Adrian Pierce, Leanna Cotton, Josie Adams, Zhenya Scott and Emily Boynton are between the ages of 13 and 16. They have been training at the dance studio, alongside Director and Instructor Kea Tesseyman all year long, to learn all about HOW to teach, WHY being a great teacher matters, and WHAT they can create in this world through quality leadership. Each student puts in an average of 3 – 6 hours each week learning about basic business skills, how to interact with clients, how to talk to kids and their parents, how to manage money, registration, and even the online store. They have learned how to organize a dance production and the importance of team work with in the production tasks.
In addition to understanding the basics of small business management, they have primarily been training in the classes of the young kids (ages 6-11) by assisting Kea while she teaches. This has been paramount in their education, as they have to understand the foundation that must be laid for young people, the tenderness and gentle quality that information must be delivered in, and the firm and clear guidelines that must be established to keep the classes focused and on track so that the dance instruction can be delivered in a quality and efficient way.
The Kids Contemporary class has 13 participants, and the Kids Hip Hop class has 26. Leanna Cotton and Emily Boynton focused primarily on learning contemporary instruction and delivery, while Josie Adams, Zhenya Scott and Adrian Pierce focused on the Hip Hop class, which was where they felt most strong. Each student was required to rotate out to the front desk and be present during studio hours to answer questions for parents, give information and reminders, take payments and maintain a presence at the entry of the business – a very important spot to fill. This allowed the students a chance to find out more about themselves. Some of them really wanted to be in the classes working with the dancers all the time, while others really enjoyed sitting in the entry way at the desk and being ready for visitors. (Maybe there was a little added bonus that they could do their homework while waiting.) Either way, the opportunities provided in these scenarios allowed room and flexibility for the five teenagers to create opinions about what they like and do not like, where they were comfortable, and where they needed to expand their comfort zones in order to learn what is necessary about being a teacher, a leader and an entrepreneur.
While the students only had so much time each week to fit in the lessons for Level 1 of teacher training around their very busy schedules of sports, school and family, the subject that was revisited often was “What drives YOU? What do YOU think the business should offer? How should this dance be presented? What is the message we are conveying and how will that help people?” The common denominator in these questions is that the students were constantly asked what THEY think – and creating a voice of confidence and willingness to explore new ideas and perspectives is priceless. We want to nurture thinkers and believers and these five teenagers are just beginning their training of understanding what being an entrepreneur really is all about.
Visionaries is our focus for our next level of training and they can not advance to that level until they complete Level 1. The completion of Level 1 is by immersing themselves into a culture-rich environment of dance. Where they can be exposed to multiple styles of dance – but more importantly- different styles of instruction. Their assignment is to take fifteen different classes with at least ten different instructors and find out what in the teaching styles of the different instructors, helped them as dancers to learn dance better, and what hindered their ability to receive basic instruction. They must pay attention during these classes and find out what exactly the teacher did that helped them as a student to understand the lesson, feel confident and supported and to have an incredible time. All students trying a dance class, whether for the first time or hundredth time, should feel full of joy, supported and excited, and it is important that these young teachers in training experience what different instruction looks like so that they can create their own opinion about what is good for students and what is not. We believe that this is the best way for our young people moving through this stage of student to teacher, to envision how THEY want to be teachers and leaders in this world.
In order for us to make this experience and completion of their Level 1 of training possible, they must travel to New York City, the dance capital of the country, and immerse themselves into dance lessons with incredible teachers.
We have created a rigorous schedule for them which includes dancing at three top studios in the city: Broadway Dance Center, Alvin Ailey and Gibney Dance. Each studio offers very different classes and has incredible teachers. The teachers in training will take at least three classes each day for six days, learn how to safely travel in the city and how to take care of their bodies in between lessons. In the evening after classes have been completed, they will be reviewing each teacher they learned from, and recording the most essential parts of each class that helped them to understand the technique and choreography they were taught. They will record a video of themselves remembering anything from the classes that they can and also learn how to write choreography.
Not only will they become better dancers, meet new and incredible instructors, and learn priceless lessons about safe traveling and staying calm and centered in such a busy environment, but they will be able to have something to compare their training in Maine to. They must be challenged and exposed to new things in order to make choices about who they want to be in this world so that they can pass that valuable lesson on and help guide the students they work with in the future in the very same way.
Thank you so much for your help in our efforts to give these students the instruction and experience they need to become teachers, equipped with the skills necessary to share the joy, magic and excellence of dance every future student deserves to learn.