Dance Teaching Idea: Ask & Tell

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If you are teaching more advanced swing dancers (Balboa or Lindy Hop) this teaching concept might be interesting for you.

I didn't invent it, though. I've got the inspiration from The Balboa Experiment, where it was used in several sessions.

In Ask & Tell lessons the students teach each other. I guess it even goes further: the students get inspired to watch other dancers on the social dance floor and to ask for a step, a variation or a move they like.

How Ask & Tell works

Teaching idea: Ask and Tell

There are different ways to use the concept, here is one possibility

  1. Divide the class in two halfs.
  2. Define a subject (look for foot variations, styling, pure bal, and so on); in this example we take foot variations
  3. Let one half of the class dance and ask them to use foot variations, the other half is watching, then switch and repeat. You can even rotate partners and repeat the whole procedure.
  4. Ask the students to call out a dancer whose foot variation they like
  5. The student who got called out shows now, how he/she is doing the foot variation and teaches it to the group
  6. Divide the class now in small groups of two couples and let them try to dance the foot variation and to give feedback to each other
  7. Option: If the class is on a high level you even could ask them to take the variation as inspiration and let them create a new variation (a variation of the variation). After a defined time, the small groups show their solutions to the rest of the class.

Role of the teacher

The teacher isn't teaching anything, he/she is coaching. He/she is leading the class and giving feedback. If nobody dares to call out a dancer (pt. 4) the teacher does it.

What do you think about this teaching idea? Did you use this or a similar concept already? Please share your thoughts!

Photo credit: melodi2

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  • Michel Hendrisken

    I was playing with an idea like this in my mind. Also nice to have them pick-up stuff from youtube or whatever to show to the group. Makes them more selfsufficient in their dancing as they learn to  pick-up steps from other sources

    • That’s a good idea with YouTube. Although it must be a group of people who likes to work on their own as well. This might not be the case in regular classes.

  • Lauren.

    This sounds really interesting: I might give it a try next year.  Speaking of Youtube, a friend ran a class recently where she showed a handful of youtube clips using a projector, and had people pick styling elements to try out: she said it worked very well.