Teaching: the supreme art

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Jane Evans, from the National College of Dance in Newcastle, NSW, has been teaching for 45 years.

PHOTO: Joshua Hogan
PHOTO: Joshua Hogan

What drew you to teaching dance?

I changed ballet schools when I was about 10, and my new teacher explained to me why I had difficulty with some things. My legs were challenging – I was hyperextended while being bow-legged. She helped me understand and retrain. That sparked a quest for more knowledge specifically relating to ballet.

When dancing professionally, I was involved with the children in various productions, often asked as a guest teacher. Over that time I found it personally very rewarding in a totally different way to performing. I love and value the opportunity to educate, excite, inspire and nurture another generation.

Do you specialise in a particular age group?

I enjoy teaching all levels and have that opportunity at NCD. I love to nurture and teach younger students, as I firmly believe that if their early foundations are strong and technically correct, and they have an awareness and understanding of their bodies’ physiology, they are on an easier path to more advanced work.

How do you balance the importance of technique with the importance of artistry?

I believe that correct technique is a basic necessity – a “must have” –  it creates safe dance practices and avoids unnecessary injuries. But technique alone doesn’t make you a dancer. Artistry is that elusive quality that sets you apart. It is what the art of dance is all about. So I encourage students to explore the way music or movement makes them feel and to express those emotions.

What is the most rewarding part of teaching dance?

Enabling students to become knowledgeable, appreciative, enthusiastic audience members while nurturing each to achieve their goals.

This article is included in our special Teacher Focus feature in the current Oct/Nov/Dec issue. Print is for keeps! Buy your copy from your favourite dance retailer or online here or here.


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