We caught up with dance teacher, Jancy, to see what she looks for in her dancers and to give us an insight into her day as a dance teacher. Jancy Camilleri has been a dance teacher for 15 years and has been dancing since she was 2 years old.
What’s a typical day as a dance teacher for you?
I have to make sure I’m ready and prepared for all my classes for that day. I have to make sure my kids in each class are engaged and having fun but also learning at the same time. I look after the babies, from 18 months up until 10 or 11 years old, therefore, with the younger ones you need to make sure they stay focused on the dancing and stay entertained. Even from a young age, classes are largely based around concentrating on technique.
With the younger kids, if they’re free classes I tend to go with the flow more, I do have an end goal for what I want the kids to achieve by the end of the class but it is more relaxed on what I teach.
With regards to the syllabus classes, obviously I need to stick to the syllabus so that determines what each lesson is based around.
Even at a young age, when you’re teaching, aside from technique, what other qualities are you looking for?
Technique is massive, but performance is also key. You have to shine and to do that you must work hard. Performing is obviously a key part of dance so it is really important.
I’m also constantly looking at their legs and feet, looking for ballet legs and ballet feet! You might not realise it but even at such a young age you can see a dancer’s body developing. I get so excited about it!
Mindset is also a key feature. It’s important to be yourself and find your own performance and your own love for dance - don’t just follow suit. Believing in yourself is definitely a massive one. If you believe in yourself, it shows in your dancing.
What was it that made you decide to be a teacher?
I’ve always loved to perform but I was drawn to teaching - I just felt like it was my thing. I love watching the kids faces when they achieve something new that they’ve been working on or when they’re doing a show. Seeing both their faces and their parents faces is the biggest reward for me.
You start many dancers on their journey, teach them the basics and then pass them on to other teachers, what have dancers you taught at a young age gone on to do in the world of dance?
A handful of children have gone on to do amazing things, a 16-year-old boy I used to teach competed in the Dance World Cup and won gold. Many ex-students have performed all over the world on cruise ships and one girl I used to teach is now at Disneyland in Hong Kong playing Tinkerbell which is amazing - the pictures are insane.
Other dancers have gone on to the Royal Ballet and trained there whilst still coming to the dance school. I teach them so young and pass them onto another teacher and another teacher so it’s really nice to see what they end up doing. I start them at the beginning of their journey and then they gradually grow into this budding ballerina - it’s incredible to see the progress!
And finally, do you have any words of wisdom to give our aspiring dancers?
Look the part, be different and push yourself!
So there you have it! That’s what it’s really like to be a dance teacher, do you think you have what it takes?