Meet Naomi Hibberd

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Photo by Mark Adams.
Photo by Mark Adams.

What drew you to teaching dance?

I wanted to share the knowledge I had acquired whilst training and working professionally in the UK and Europe.                 

 Do you specialise in a particular age group?

I specialise in full-timers which can be different ages but always teenagers. My classes are most suited to students who are on the path to having a professional career in dance and by full-time students on that path.

 How do you balance the importance of technique with the importance of artistry in your students?

I take a holistic approach: where I teach you can't have one without the other. When setting exercises or correcting the students I describe the artistry within the technique and the technique of artistry. One can’t exist without the other.  

 What is the most rewarding part of teaching dance?

I have two: one of the most rewarding things for me is seeing a student feel confident and good about themselves, and I also love to see dancers pushing themselves to launch out of their personal comfort zone.

 What has changed since you were a student?

I feel classes are a lot more fast paced these days with more variety of teachers. This can be good as students get more choice and may have things explained in different ways, which is useful. However, at the same time, dance students may not get the same personal connection with a teacher and the value from repetition can be really useful when growing and nurturing a young dancer. 

What advice would you give your students if they decide on a teaching career?

No two dancers are the same. If you can be malleable and fluid in the way you teach for different students and take the time to listen, you will get a lot more out of them and you will continue to develop as a teacher as well.

If you had to choose one main line of advice to pass on to your pupils, what would it be?

Persistence is key. Whether it’s trying to get an extra pirouette or trying to get your first job. If you stick at it for long enough, it will happen for you. Don’t be in a hurry to make things happen immediately, because sometimes the long road is the best road to success. 

Naomi Hibberd is a contemporary teacher at Alegria Dance Studios, Sydney.

This interview is extracted from our Future Makers teacher special in the current print issue of Dance Australia. Print is for keeps. Buy your copy at your favourite retailer or online here or here.

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Naomi Hibberd teaching class at Alegria Studios in Sydney.
Naomi Hibberd teaching class at Alegria Studios in Sydney.


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