5 Dance Students in Every Halloween Bag
One of the most whimsical, magical seasons of the year is upon us. Fashion choices start to veer toward heavier fabrics and darker colors, and all across the country, home decor is taking on an autumnal - and decidedly spooky - theme.
Yes, it's time for witches to fly and ghosts to awaken. It's almost Halloween.
For the more practical among us, it's time to buy candy in bulk.
Autumn is also a time of year when many people feel invigorated to seek adventures and take on new projects. If your studio is anything like ours, the adventurous time of year carries over to dance students ready to try their hand at learning something new.
Thus I give you, in no particular order, five of the types of students who may end up in your grab-bag this Halloween season, as personified by classic, North American, Halloween candies.
Smarties are bright, curious, and fast learners. They're doing that box step on the first try and have no hesitations about underarm turns at high speeds. After your third lesson with them, you're pretty sure they'll be wrapping up the Bronze 1 syllabus in a month or two. Working with them is exciting and fun - and if you don't prepare adequately, a bit exhausting. Beware the ambitious nature of the Smartie: if allowed to run too wild, they just might turn into a scary "Stepmonster"! Help temper their enthusiasm with healthy doses of technique to help prepare their bodies and minds for the more intricate syllabus they are eager to rush towards. Keep their spark alive by referencing the big picture before returning to the task at hand or, like a certain bland, pastel sweet, your lessons may come across boring and repetitive to the active smartie mind.
Ah, Snickers! Sweet, popular, and a little nutty inside. As you might guess from the name, Snickers students love to laugh and have a good time. Their energy is infectious and invigorating - much like a sugar high. And like a kid who's been hitting the Halloween candy, a Snicker' attention span is all over the place. Your best bet is to turn to their namesake candy when planning out your lessons with these folks: think in layers. By changing the music frequently and switching dance styles every 5-10 minutes, you will recapture your Snickers students' wandering attention and keep them from straying to the next shiny object. Don't forget to have fun and keep things light-as-nougat on your Snickers lessons!
3. Candy Pumpkins
Little candy pumpkins, you're so adorable! Technically known as a mellow creme confection, these little guys are sometimes called "candy corn's first cousin." I do not know of a more divisive Halloween candy: people either loathe these things like the Grinch hates Christmas, or squeal with sheer delight at the sight of them. And in the studio, that's how most teachers land on working with Kids.
Kids are awesome!
They learn fast like a Smartie, and have fun like a Snickers... times one thousand. The key to working with kids successfully is preparation (So. Much. Planning.) and a readiness to be flexible and go-with-the-flow when things take a completely unexpected turn. Di you think that cute little pumpkin would be citrus-flavored, due to its orange-and-green color scheme? Surprise - it's marshmallow-flavored. Embrace the inquisitive, adventurous nature of your younger students, and feel free to add a co-teacher to as a pair you're never short on energy or preparation from lesson to lesson.
Coming in a variety of colors and flavors, no two M&M's are exactly the same, and yet, fundamentally, they kind of are. You know the gist of what you're getting when you open a bag of M&M's: milk chocolate and a colorful candy shell. Perhaps there's a peanut in there, maybe a pretzel or some caramel, but the base ingredients have been essentially consistent for 76 years.
Working with couples is a similar venture: Each couple has their own unique flavor, depending on how long they've been together and the life events that inspire them to walk through the studio doors. When you come right down to it, though, there are some things you can count on when it comes to couples: She wants to feel beautiful, he wants to feel useful, and they both want to walk away feeling special and valued.
The thing to keep in mind about working with Mr&Mrs is that they, likely, have established roles within their relationship that have become somewhat fixed over time. He's the red M&M; she's the green one. She's the planner; he's the pilot, etc. Take this opportunity to remind them of the rainbow of color and flavors they both still contain: through taking on this dance adventure together they can enrich their color palette and deepen the flavors of their union.
1. Hershey Bars
At first glance, you might peg Hershey bars as plain, but let's reflect for a moment: how many happy memories do you have with Hershey bars in 'em?
Mini Hershey bars taped to a holiday card in elementary school, the first candy you bought with your own money at the neighborhood convenience store, and the classic s'mores construction (and consumption)!
There's a solid reason the Hershey company used "Happiness" as a major ad campaign theme.
Your Hershey Bar students may not be Smarties. They're probably not Snickers, and they may or may not be a kid or a couple. But every week when you see their names on your schedule, you smile.
You look forward to seeing them in the waiting area. They're a pure, simple, breath of fresh air in your hectic world. Don't take these moments for granted: your Hershey Bars may not clamor for your attention the way others do, but that doesn't mean they don't appreciate it any less. Take a moment to let them know how much you value the time they're choosing to spend with you, and the positive impact they have on your day. Doing so will be the simple, sweet gesture these students deserve.
Wherever you are, whatever your autumn traditions, I hope that you and your fun assortment of dance students have so much fun in the studio in the coming weeks. May the magic, mystery, and mayhem that is Halloween fill your goodie bags with students and staff who are a treat to work with and be around. Now it's up to you to pass out some of your own sweetness into your Arthur Murray community and beyond.
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