The Useless, Inattentive Dance Assistant

You, the best assistant ever.

Audience, you Rock!

Some subjects require a direct approach. That’s why this article is not titled, “Top 10 Tips to Becoming the Best Dance Assistant Ever."

Dance assistants play an important role. Whether you’re assisting for an 'in studio' class or on a convention or festival, it’s serious business.  When it comes to assisting, you’re either adding value or you’re a battery drainer.

I receive countless requests from students who want to assist. As part of my research for this article, I contacted hundreds of thousands of dance teachers to get their input. Here’s what they had to say.

Useless assistants:

1. Do not think. They stand around day-dreaming and enjoying the limelight.

2. Get or bring water for themselves only.

3. Are not proactive. They do nothing to anticipate what instructors need next.

4. Drag along with a ho-hum shuffle. They have no pep in their step and they look bored.

5. Distract class by talking with students or other dance assistants. Really?

6. When asked to record video for the class, miss the mark and record students who don’t know the choreography. Note: While holding the camera we actually need you to think.

7. Never ask,

 Do you need me to do anything (else)? 

8. Mark choreography. This is the absolute worst offense. Dance Assistants play a big part in creating tone and energy for the class. DANCE!

9. Do absolutely nothing when we announce to the class,

 We’re going across the floor.
 Hello, that’s your cue to help create lines.

10.Stand by after class and watch us leave behind music, shoes, phones or other items. Please, say something. We need your help. Grab our stuff, especially if we’re moving to another class and time is limited.

Bonus item and the offense I find most annoying … 

You realize I’ve lost track of time. How do you know? Because I’m about to teach more choreography and class is over in two minutes. You may be reluctant to say anything for fear of being seen as rude or aggressive. Go ahead, take a risk and signal to me that class is over.

Then afterwards, ask if that was ok. Ask if there’s a certain way you should communicate during class. Dance Assistant

Tell me you’re trying to figure out how I work and that you want to be of service.

Every teacher is different. The only way you’re going to know what we need is to ask.

If we have to babysit and instruct you throughout the class, you’re a liability, not a dance assistant.

Ask us what works. Ask if there’s anything you need to do differently. Then, pay attention, engage, look alive, dance full-out, be passionate, sweat and of course, have the time of your life.

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