PRONUNCIATION & DANCING (ALL LEVELS)
Beth Zielinski posted the following message to a Pronunciation forum on 24th February 2014.
“I have recently had the experience of having dancing lessons, and on many occasions could see the parallel with teaching and learning pronunciation. Here are some of the parallels I noticed:
- When I first started, as well as finding it difficult to learn, I felt very uncomfortable and silly using the correct stance (head position, frame, hip movements etc. ), and thought I would be able to get by without it and dance in my stiff, understated way. But as time went on and after many lessons (and a lot of money!) and because the teacher expected me to dance in a particular way, I gradually became accustomed to it and in the end, felt uncomfortable and silly if I didn’t use it.
- I was inspired by the better dancers in the group. I knew these better dancers looked amazing, but no matter how much I watched them, I was unable to imitate them. I needed explicit instruction on numerous aspects of my dancing and was gradually learning how to do the things they did. I was chuffed when some beginners were watching me dance one day and said to their teacher – I want to dance like that!
- I had to learn some things before I could go on to others.
- Once I “got” a particular aspect of dancing (e.g., hip movement in the Cha Cha), I had to practise it over and over again in front of the mirror and then without the mirror, so I could get my own sense of what I was doing. And then I had to concentrate on integrating it into the dancing, another challenging process.
- Real dancing with my husband (on a dance floor with lots of other people) was very different to dancing with my teacher (who provided a lot of support and monitoring) in my dance lessons.
- My teacher’s use of different visualisations was enormously helpful at times. So rather than telling me where to put my foot or hand, she had me imagining that I was stepping over a puddle or unfurling a scarf.
- And the most frustrating aspect of learning to dance as an adult – I forgot what I had learned from one week to the next!”
Do her observations chime with you? Would you like to add some of your own, on the experience of learning to pronounce?