How to pick a dance instructor

learning and teaching

Too often a dance instructor is chosen by observing them dance and making the decision based on their ability to dance. Choosing a teacher like this is like finding the best tennis pro to teach you a basic game or the best golf pro to teach you how to knock off 18 holes on Saturday. Learning how to dance and learning how to improve your dancing is done best when you have an instructor that you can learn from. The best dancer in the country may or may not be able to teach YOU. If you are looking to learn to or improve your dance try to follow the tips below.

1. Realize what level you are in. If you are a competitor and are seeking to hone and refine your skills you need a coach rather than a teacher. If you are a beginner you need a teacher who can relate to the basics and new dancers.

2. Determine what your immediate goal is in dancing. If you are interested in competition then you need a teacher or coach well versed in the skills needed to bring you up to a competition level. If your goal is to become a recreational or social dancer then you need to connect with someone who can explain lead/follow technique, floor craft and dance etiquette.

3. Be truthful about what how fast you can progress. Most dancers need a little pushing but too much can lead to a set back. Some students can handle twice weekly lessons. Most take lessons once weekly and a few can only take them infrequently. Don't waste money on more lessons before absorbing previous lessons.

4. Determine how much practice time you can afford to set aside. If you cannot practice at least two hours for each hour of lessons (more or less depending on the difficulty level) then you may need to consider taking group classes and workshops only. At least you can practice with a fellow student.

5. Is the teacher well prepared? A good instructor has a lesson plan prepared that has been proven to work within the allotted time. Lesson should include review and should progress.

6. Is the teacher a positive person? A teacher who can only tell you that you are doing badly will soon grow tiresome. A teacher who offers praise and constructive criticism will make lessons easier to handle. A teacher who yells at or threatens a student needs to be fired immediately.

7. Is the teacher clean and well groomed. I don't need to elaborate, but when you are taking lessons the fewer distractions the better.

8. Does the teacher know the subject? The teacher does not have to be the best dancer but they do need to be well versed in the dance field. They should not only know enough moves and patterns to keep the lessons moving but also should know the technique involved.

When Judy and I attend a competition, ball or showcase where there are demonstrations we always hear the comment when the best dancers are on the floor. "I wish I could take lessons from them" We don't! We want to take lessons from the teacher who taught that couple. Behind every great athlete or performer is a great coach. Seek them out.


Article courtesy of Two Step Tidewater

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