Hidden Benefits of Nutcracker: Teamwork
Learning how to be a part of a team—how to lead, how to follow, how to support, how to communicate—is at the heart of everything our dance team dancers do. We know that teamwork is a skill our competition students will benefit from for their whole lives, whether they choose to pursue dance long-term or not.
While all of our Nutcracker students develop their teamwork skills in class, it is our competition dancers who “level up” that experience with their extra commitments to dance. Within the group’s rehearsals and additional performances, the effects of teamwork become ingrained in each dancer, a part of their pulse.
Teamwork starts with bonding, something we encourage in our students with icebreaker games and team-building exercises. These activities can seem silly on the outside, but their purpose is much deeper on the inside. The dancers begin to develop a human connection with each other and feel more comfortable sharing words of advice and encouragement.
As the season progresses, our dance team dancers put their teamwork skills to the test while learning choreography and during practices. Some dancers will be asked to lead; others will follow. Each person’s role will depend on someone else’s, so everyone has to be willing to put in their full energy behind the movement. A common goal now drives the team forward: to put forth their highest group effort for the best possible result!
The teamwork skills that have been growing all season unfold at performance time, revealing the group’s strengths and support for each other. By this time the dancers are well-synced, but if a conflict arises, we want to teach them how to navigate through it gracefully. Teamwork isn’t always a smooth process—sometimes there are big emotions, disagreements, and occasionally tears. Our students learn that this is normal and part of the process of building their teamwork muscles. They’ll be even stronger teammates once they’ve worked through their problems.
In our experience, there is a point each season where our dance team dancers, after working together for some time, unite together with a new understanding. They discover that they can only go so far alone. To achieve their goal and put forth their personal best, they must work together to lift each other up and fuel the team with positivity. They realize that by raising everyone’s spirits, they also raise everyone’s potential for greatness. (And it’s pretty amazing to see this happen!)
Working as a member of a team is something every person has to do in their life—over and over again, with different personalities and ideas. Whether it’s a group project at school, a presentation at work, a family effort to pull together, or yes, a professional dance performance, teamwork skills benefit everyone in all walks of life. We love that we have the opportunity to instill this knowledge in our dance team dancers in a profound way.