Partner Week or Two is Better Than One

In my never-ending quest keep class interesting, for both me and my students, I tried something new a couple of weeks ago.  We had partner week.

For warm up I pulled a student up in the front of class to be my partner (if there was an extra one to be had - an even number of students meant I was on my own).  We did a simple pattern like 4 toes together then I did two stamps and then my partner did two stamps.  The fun and interesting part is that it was all done on the fly.  I didn't go through which partner would do what part ahead of time other than some general guidelines:

1.  Sometimes you and your partner will tap together and then do separate parts (like I explained above).

2.  Sometimes you and your partner will do separate parts first and then tap together (I do step heel stamp, my partner does step heel stamp, and then together we do three step heels and a stamp).

3.  When reverse a pattern or switching to the left foot, the partner on the left (this was not me) would go first for the separate parts.

In some classes this whole process went smoother than others but most students enjoyed the change of pace.  However the classes where I had no partner and could only motion towards my "invisible partner" had a harder time grasping how it worked on the fly.

After that we did a short combination traveling across the floor that had each partner trading off steps throughout the combo.  This went fairly well.

From there I gave each set of partners a short series of steps to work on with the main goal being to execute the steps as together as possible.  Having to execute this task together brought an elevated amount focus to the students' tapping that was well above what I usually see.  By and large the students did an excellent job tapping in time with their partners.

Then we moved on to turns and I had each set of partners turn at the same time in opposite directions.  Frankly that didn't do anything special for anyone.  I'll make note of that for next year.

After turns we did pullbacks, again adding some trade offs in a short combination.  This went fairly well too.

To finish we did our standard combination we had been working on for the previous three weeks.  Thinking back I would do partner week at the beginning of the month and start a new combination that also incorporated partner work.

All in all it was a great change of pace and earlier today I even had a student request to do it again.  It really brought a breath of fresh air into class and I highly recommend giving it a shot.


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