3 Steps to Instilling Accountability Among Dancers

One of the most common topics I discuss with dancers, instructors, and parents is accountability. There is a common misconception that accountability discourages autonomy or self-expression. However, in my research and experience in working with dancers, I’ve learned that you can be creative and independent while holding yourself accountable. In fact, accountability enhances authenticity, creativity, and autonomy. With that, I am curious about how to instill accountability among dancers, while ensuring a safe space to explore, create and learn. It’s all a matter of incorporating a framework that allows them to operate in harmony. Let’s discuss 3 simple steps that will encourage a mental framework of accountability.

Remember, this framework is meant to complement your teaching style. So, feel free to incorporate these topics/discussions in a way that feels natural and comfortable to you and your dancers. This could be the most valuable 5 minutes you spend on yourself, your dancers, or your child.

1. Brainstorm a List of Values

Brainstorm a list of values with your dancers. Be sure to write them down! Try to narrow it down to 5 core values; this will help avoid repetition. Feel free to use the prompts below to guide your discussion.
What are values? Values can be understood as characteristics or principles that are prioritized throughout the learning experience.

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For younger dancers, it helps to explain values as something that is important to them, or something that they strongly believe in.
Why are values important in dance? Values provide a mental framework that can orient dancers toward specific behaviors.

2. Understand Shared Norms

Once your dancers have established a set of values, you can introduce the concept of shared norms.
What are shared norms? Shared norms are best understood as behaviors that are guided or influenced by values and principles. It is the operationalized version of a value. For example, let’s say a dance team listed commitment as one their core values. How can a dancer demonstrate commitment to uphold that value? Perhaps it’s related to time management – being on time, and not excessively missing rehearsals. Why are shared norms important in dance? Shared Norms are a set of behaviors that must be in place for a group of people to diligently uphold their core values.

3. Consequences: What is Your Impact?

What happens when dancers do not abide by shared norms and values? Consequences.
What are consequences? When a negative event or situation occurs because of behaviors/actions that are not in alignment with the established core values.

Why are consequences important in dance? Simply speaking, the concept of consequence teaches dancers cause and effect. Consequences lead dancers to understand how their actions impact the team (macro-level impact) and their own personal growth (micro-level impact).

When values and shared norms are clearly established, dancers understand the consequences of their own behavior thus, instilling accountability.

Stay tuned for next month’s blog post as we dive into how accountability increases productivity and enhances a sense of community.