Teaching the Guildford Youth group

Tomos writes about his experience teaching the Guildford Youth Group and what he has learnt from them…

I joined Stopgap Dance Company last July and in September was given the responsibility of leading our Guildford Youth Group.This was interesting as I had not much teaching experience, apart from when I was teaching occasionally over in France.

I was able to rely on the skills I had learnt from being taught myself, looking, watching, responding I started to store these elements and hoping to be able to use them at some point. This came through when I needed to prepare a class and plan for the creation of a piece on the youth group.

This experience has been an eye opener, as a teacher I feel that their is so much one needs to look for; responding to the energy of the group, knowing that sometimes your plan which you prepared may change in the blink of an eye and never tying yourself down to a plan that there is no space to readjust.
I also think that keeping things fresh is as important, meaning it looks and feels the same but the delivery is new, adding layers to the tasks and explaining it in a slightly different way.

My choice of words have also changed throughout this experience. I am still learning and also practising inclusive language, this is an interesting challenge as when you have been trained and learnt all the technical jargon for movement, stripping this away and changing my delivery makes this occasionally conflictual, as these words creep back in. However, I now have more confidence in using open language, it seems to sit a lot better nowadays.

Throughout my time teaching the Youth Group, I have learnt that I must adapt to a constantly changing group, patience is definitely a virtue, the beauty of working with the group is that a same piece will never be performed the same twice.

My challenge now is to seek a way to ask more of the group, allow them to reach new levels of movements, determine where those boundaries are and how much more they can be pushed.

 I have enjoyed the time in developing and practising these skills. I now feel I can go further and am looking ahead to the week intensive at The Point that I am leading. 

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