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Academy of Dance Hong Kong

Academy of Dance Hong Kong

Over the New Zealand summer holidays, I had the privilege to teach at Academy of Dance Hong Kong (and what a journey it was!)

Coming from a studio on the second floor of a building, my jaw dropped when I took the lift to the 25th floor and walked into a studio with floor to ceiling windows overlooking Shek Mun. Having already surpassed all expectations I had; I couldn’t wait to start working with the students.

I learned very quickly that the willingness of kids in New Plymouth to talk to a new teacher is taken for granted. My first week of classes I don’t think any student said more than “yes” or “no” to me their entire class (except for the Advanced jazz girls who welcomed me with smiles and conversations <3)! There was one issue that this caused; if a student didn’t understand something or was unsure of how to do a move that I was teaching, they wouldn’t speak up or ask questions. This created a learning curve for me as a teacher as students in New Plymouth (even the quiet ones) will very openly tell you if they don’t understand something. I found that to get the students to engage with me and ask and answer questions, the best thing I could do was focus on one student at a time rather than addressing the class as a whole. During my second week of teaching, I made sure to engage with each student individually and although it used more class time, by the end of each class, students were actively seeking conversation with me rather than being too shy to answer a question.

Even once moving past the quiet and reserved phase, these were the most well behaved students I’ve ever met. Even from preschool classes, students knew where they needed to stand, and followed every instruction without hesitation. This, in combination with longer class times, meant that we were able to cover so much more in each class.

When I arrived at the studio, they had just completed their dance exams which meant that I was able to create fun combinations in each class and tailor them to the students’ strengths. Working at a new studio in New Plymouth means that most of my students are younger and I get to teach them from the ground up so having the chance to teach majority elementary (10years) to advanced classes really allowed me to push myself with more challenging choreography and really have fun with the students. It was so clear to see how hard the students work and how much they pride themselves on performing. The older classes always made sure to get a video of what we had done that class (sometimes four or five to get the perfect one) – at the end of one of the senior contemporary classes they asked if I wanted them to video me doing it to which I told them I teach them the cool moves because I can’t do them myself which we all laughed about.

It will never cease to amaze me how much of a universal language dance is and how it can bring together people from such different countries. I had such an incredible time teaching the students at AOD Hong Kong and will be forever grateful to Sonia for giving me the opportunity and too all the HK teachers and staff for welcoming me with such kindness and helping me every step of the way!

Big aroha to all the students and staff in Hong Kong <3 Hope to see you again soon ;)

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