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  • Writer's pictureHolly Derville-Teer

The 3 H's

If you are looking for a sendoff ritual, I highly recommend ending your classes with one of the Three Hs: a high five, handshake, or hug.

I encourage my teen dancers to thank me after class. I appreciate having this time to congratulate them on a job well done, to give personal encouragement about their goals, and to let them know that I care.

I wanted the same opportunity with my younger dancers, but they rarely approached me after class—mostly because they didn’t remember they were supposed to. Sometimes I had to remind them to clap, too. I needed a fun sendoff ritual that allowed me to connect with them like I did with the teens.

I found it when my son told me that his second-grade teacher asked the students for a high five, handshake, or hug as they entered her classroom. I thought the idea was brilliant because it let the student decide on the kind of contact, yet provides the personal connection I was looking for.

I tried it in my ages 6- to 12-year-old jazz classes with great success. The kids loved having the choice of farewell. The girls mostly wanted hugs, although a few reserved types opted for handshakes. All of the boys wanted high fives. One girl gave me a high five, thought about it, and then went through the line again and asked for a hug. Some of the kids loved it so much that they got into line several times. Some started giving me their own made-up handshakes. I did have to set aside three minutes at the end of each class for the new ritual because of the students’ enthusiasm, but the results made the slightly shorter class worth it.

The best and most noticeable change has been in the students who are new this year and in the dancers who are generally more reserved. Both groups have become more open and responsive, and they seem more comfortable in class.

© Gold Standard Press, LLC. All rights reserved. Republished courtesy of Dance Studio Life

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