One of my best teachers is a gentleman who isn't my regular teacher. I have been coached by him some, and he imparted to me some of the best advice I have ever received from a ballroom teacher when I asked him what I should do to improve my ballroom skills: Perry Gingerich advised me to learn ballroom syllabus and dance fundamentals over all else. He inspired me to learn the "nuts and bolts" of ballroom and suggested I avoid the distractions of other's choreography, as there would be time for that later. His advice is paying off because the more I have learned about the various figures, basics, terminology, etc., the more versatile I have become overall. I have avoided many pitfalls since taking his advice. You'll find many good teachers on this site, too.
My best teacher is was and ever will be Radomir Pashev. He is an excellent dancer and an even better teacher.
He always pushes me right to the edge of my ability. He sees through my weaknesses and can clearly explain what I need to know.
I don't know if I could have handled his method of teaching when I was just beginning to dance, but as someone who is dedicated to taking my dancing as far as I can go there is no better choice. I leave the studio sweating, usually bleeding and almost always bruised, frustrated and excited to go back or go home and practice.
He was one of those word of mouth referals and I went and watched his teaching and his students and I knew he was the teacher for me.
Bellofyourball, Hmm, maybe I need to question my dedication to learning how to dance. I'm OK with my lessons leading to sweating and frustration - I expect that. But, I draw my line at leaving my lessons usually-bleeding-and-almost-always-bruised. I can survive only occasional bleeding or bruising!
The best advice given to me from my coach was 'always have fun doing what you are doing. It makes learning easier and always wanting more." There was/is no better coach than Sam Sadano. His sessions were always fun, you left learning a lot and having a good laugh along the way. With that said, I also learned a great deal from Patricia Traymore, one of the most graceful dancers I have ever seen. She was a little stricter in the way she taught but when she was finsihed with you...you could dance. I also trained with Vicki Venka...now there is one hell of a drill sgt. She was all business but she made sure that you learned the art. On the lighter side, if you fed her (yes, I said it) she would lighten up. BUT three of the best in the business.
I have had two instructors and several coaches over the past four years that I've been taking ballroom, and my best overall instructor has been and still is Mario Ornelas of Gemini Ballroom in Reno. He has me focused on school figures, technique and fun. I'm learning the nuts and bolts in such a way I understand why I'm doing what I'm doing and how it is best done. I'm all for understanding. He is a brilliant instructor and out of this world fabulous leader. Thank you Mario for teaching me. I look forward to every class.