Meet Jaylah Nakhoul

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This teacher just loves passing on the same cherished moments she learnt as a student.

Where do you teach?

I have been teaching for six years at various dance studios and am now with the Australian College of Physical Education, teaching open classes to students of the college after academic hours. 

What drew you to teaching dance?

Growing up as a dancer, I always had a passion for creating and choreography and wanted to share that with others from a teaching perspective. Taking classes in LA, New York, London and Paris have also helped me to share experiences and different styles from over the world and bring that back to the studio for my students to also experience.

I knew that undertaking the Bachelor of Dance Education course at ACPE meant I would have a career with dance and teaching for many years into the future. The open classes that I run focus on more commercial and hip hop styles in comparison to the contemporary and classical styles learnt within our required subjects. I wanted to introduce these classes for all levels of training to students of ACPE who wish to learn and expand their skills of various styles.

Do you specialise in a particular age group?

I teach a range of ages from students as young as two years old to adults. My specialty lies with the young children as I have always had a friendly, nurturing personality and I love watching them grow and learn new techniques that is second nature to us as adults. Watching them enter the studio each week with eager eyes and ready to have fun while also learning fundamental skills makes teaching so much easier and enjoyable.

Has the coronavirus lockdown left you with lasting changes to the way you teach?

The absence of face-to-face teaching has seen a decline in student engagement, communication and motivation so I have definitely learnt to become more flexible in relation to the way I deliver my teaching online. I am fortunate enough to continue my ACPE open classes through zoom and it has been very beneficial for everyone to get up and move after long hours of sitting at the desk on zoom and studying.

I will not take the studio for granted again!!

What is the most rewarding part of teaching dance?

Knowing that each lesson makes an impact on my students, no matter how big or small. I have the fondest memories of dance growing up, so I know how important it is to make each lesson special for my students so they can cherish these moments as much as I do. Teaching at ACPE has also been so rewarding as a student there myself. Teaching my peers at ACPE creates a comfortable atmosphere for us to enjoy each other’s company outside of the classroom setting where we can lift each other up and support one another through dance.

What has changed since you were a student?

I believe the impact of social media has changed the way a dance class is shaped in today’s world. When I was growing up, there was no desire to do a dance class to film it and post on social media, whereas today I see a big shift in regard to filming for other people’s approval.

In saying this, I do believe that social media offers opportunities for dancers to be informed of open classes where they can explore different styles than what they usually do. Dance schools have a way to unite with each other and instead of being in a competitive eisteddfod world, they are able to share each other’s posts, encourage each other and spread the gift of dance with one another.

This article is just one of a suite of teacher interviews in our Focus on Teaching special issue of Dance Australia (Oct/Nov/Dec 2021). Did you miss it? Suscribe and never miss an issue!


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