the mixed-level approach

Mixed levels again in class

but that’s a good thing

Lately it seems that every class of mine has students who know different levels of TOBD; from just learning the Slow Combos (and no lead-throwing), to full on “Anything Goes”. Well, the range of knowledge isn’t quite so diverse, but each class level is mixed to some extent.

What’s really good about this is that the lower level students get to see where things are going in terms of the overall group improv format; and the upper level students become even more aware of group dynamics when they have to adjust how they lead a mixed group or a partner at a lower level.

Right now the Basics class includes brand new students just grasping the Slow Combos, and students who are learning the Fast Combo repertoire including various lead-changing moves and stage formations. Just last week one student was introduced to basic lead-changing – always an exciting development! Here’s a post that explains the simplest way to handle the new information:

In fact, it really makes my job as a teacher easier when upper level students, just by the fact of their dancing, demonstrate how it all goes together. Quite often after we dance a song together we’ll have a short feedback session when anyone can ask for clarification on something; or suggest a specific drill they’d like to do as a group; or even point out anything that didn’t work when they were dancing. These quick chats are very helpful for all of us.

One thing I’ve known for a while though, is how important it is to actually keep the group from moving too quickly through concepts. Each new variation in the format needs a lot of drilling, dancing, and experiencing for each and every dancer in the group.

“Steady as she goes” for the Tribal Ship to sail smoothly on the Sea of Group Improv!

(End of Post)

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