top of page

An adult dance syllabus: unlocking progress in technique, artistry, and musicality

Updated: Aug 28

In this post, you'll discover:

Introducing our adult dance syllabus

One thing you, as an adult dancer, may have encountered, especially if you started dancing later in life, is the yearning for progression. As a specialist in teaching adult dancers, I've come across a common lament that revolves around the experience that adult dancers often struggle to be taken seriously and are not given the same opportunities to progress as their younger counterparts. Additionally, there's a sense of having patches in your training, with certain steps or movements left unexplained and unexplored.

But fret not, for at Dragonfly Dance, we understand your aspirations and the unique journey you're on. We believe in bridging those gaps in your training, providing you with the guidance, support, and structured learning you deserve as an adult dancer.

Our syllabi have been meticulously crafted with adult dancers like you in mind. They address the specific challenges you face and offer a comprehensive framework that empowers you to navigate the dance world with confidence and purpose. We also hope eventually to share our adult dance syllabi with other teachers of adult dancers.

No longer will you feel overlooked or left behind. At Dragonfly Dance, we are committed to breaking down the steps, guiding you through the intricacies of technique, and unraveling the secrets of artistry. Together, we will build a solid foundation that nurtures your growth as a dancer, ensuring that every step you take brings you closer to your dreams.

At Dragonfly Dance we have been crafting our own unique syllabi for each dance style we teach. With years of experience and a passion for excellence, we have created comprehensive syllabi that take dance education to new heights.

But why is a dance syllabus so important? Keep reading to discover the value of a dance syllabus designed especially for adult dancers.

The birth of a syllabus: uniting our dance community

When our studio started, we were mainly a performing group, with a few classes here and there. At that time, our classes were best described as ‘open classes’, which means that the teacher is not using a set syllabus, is not referring to structured levels, and is free to offer whatever they consider appropriate for that class. Open classes generally mean that there is not a set ‘level’ in the class, so the dancers in the class will vary considerably, with the teacher offering different modifications and progressions to accommodate different skill levels.

Open classes can be great fun, but they have their limitations. If a dance class attempts to cater to all levels, there is a high possibility that individual dancers will find the class either under challenging (too easy) or over challenging (too hard). Open classes don’t tend to offer dancers the opportunity to progress either. Sure, a dancer may feel as if they are doing more advanced movements as they strive to pick things up, but the reality is that they won’t be doing the foundational work to help them improve. It’s a bit like building a house on unsound foundations.

As our studio expanded, accommodating dancers across various levels, the open class model no longer sufficed. We aimed to establish consistency across classes, ensuring that a class of a particular style and level held more than once per week, would offer the same experience, even if taught by different teachers. To achieve this, we needed a framework that teachers could refer to, guaranteeing a shared approach. That's why every adult dance class at Dragonfly Dance, regardless of the teacher, follows the same syllabus for that style.

Adapting existing dance syllabi designed for children proved unsuitable for our adult dancers. Children and adults have different needs, including varying imagery, music, cognitive skills, and physical abilities. Consequently, we embarked on the mission to develop our own syllabi for each dance style. These syllabi empower our teachers, providing guidance on the necessary movement mastery before progressing to more intricate techniques. They streamline class planning and eliminate the need for reinvention, allowing instructors to draw from their previous teachings and keep their material fresh.

The power of set exercises: mastering technique and expression

In a dance syllabus, set exercises play a pivotal role. These specific movement sequences, designed to enhance technique, coordination, balance, strength, flexibility, and musicality, foster the development of dancers' technical skills and expand their movement vocabulary. By internalizing set exercises, dancers free up mental energy to focus on expressiveness, artistry, and musicality.

As dancers advance through the levels, set exercises increase in complexity and difficulty, challenging them to grow and excel. With each new step, they embark on a journey towards unlocking their true potential as artists.

Unveiling the dance syllabus: blueprint for success

An adult dance syllabus, be it from various dance societies or our very own Dragonfly Dance syllabi, serves as a roadmap for dancers' progress. It outlines the technical skills, vocabulary, and choreography required to advance to the next level, while also providing insights into proper technique, musicality, and performance quality.

Within a dance syllabus, individual exercises and combinations target specific skills such as flexibility, coordination, and strength. Dancers encounter set pieces and variations that showcase their technical prowess and artistry, allowing them to shine on stage.

Furthermore, a dance syllabus guides assessment and evaluation, establishing criteria to measure student progress and achievement. It offers teaching methodologies and strategies, including demonstrations, corrections, and feedback, to ensure effective instruction.

Embracing the benefits: why syllabi transform adult dance training

While open classes undoubtedly have their place in a dancer's training, the advantages of a syllabus are plentiful. Let's delve into the benefits that make our syllabi a game-changer.

1. Structured learning

A set syllabus provides a clear and organized learning environment for dancers. They can track their progress and understand the expectations at each stage of their training, leading to a sense of achievement and growth.

2. Consistency

With a syllabus in place, all dancers within a particular level work on the same material. This promotes consistency and standardization across classes, ensuring that every dancer receives a uniform dance education.

3. Balanced development

Our well-designed syllabi cover a wide range of technical skills, including strength, flexibility, coordination, and musicality. Dancers develop a well-rounded skill set, nurturing their abilities in multiple areas of dance.

4. Building repertoire

Through set exercises and choreography, our syllabi provide dancers with a diverse repertoire of movement vocabulary. This repertoire becomes a valuable asset, enabling dancers to draw on their knowledge and skills in future dance endeavors.

5. Goal-setting

A syllabus helps dancers set and work towards specific goals. Whether it's reaching a certain level or passing an exam, the syllabus provides a roadmap for their dance journey, instilling a sense of purpose and direction.

6. Improved technique

By following a set syllabus, dancers can focus on refining their technical skills systematically. This focused approach leads to significant improvements in technique over time, ensuring dancers reach their full potential.

7. Enhanced expression, artistry, and musicality

When dancers are well-versed in the sequence of movements taught in the syllabus, they can shift their focus from remembering steps to expressing themselves artistically and exploring musicality. This allows them to fully embody the dance and connect with the audience on a deeper level.

80 Improved memory

Working with a set syllabus enhances dancers' memory capacity in various ways. It strengthens their pattern recognition skills as they become familiar with exercises and dances. The challenge of remembering combinations from week to week sharpens their encoding, storage, and retrieval abilities, leading to improved memory overall.


At Dragonfly Dance, our syllabi unlock the potential within each dancer. We believe in the power of structure and creativity intertwining, empowering dancers to reach new heights in their technical proficiency, artistry, and self-expression. Join us on this journey, where the synergy of syllabus and dance artistry creates extraordinary performances and lifelong passion for dance.


Get more tips and information from Dragonfly Dance

Join our mailing list


bottom of page