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Re: Newbies need to proceed with caution.
Posted by anymouse
12/1/2010  1:38:00 PM
"I enquire as a teacher of 3 + decades and successful studio owner (14 years open) and am curious what the new dancers now are looking for"

"In my experience I have met so many students who have so much bad technique coming out of group classes that I spend many hours breaking patterns and re-teaching even for fun and social situations (NOT competitive only.) You have wisely supplemented your group with privates I applaud you."

If you own the studio, you are in a position to offer this kind of solid information in a group setting. This will not only promote the idea of serious study to those not yet interested in private lessons, it will provide valuable reinforcement and a practice peer group for those who are getting individual attention in the same topics.

Re: Newbies need to proceed with caution.
Posted by joelhwood
12/2/2010  8:50:00 AM
I like people new and dedicated dancers to find what they want. Dance provides so many benefits we all know.
when I refer to technique it is not always competitive needs but sometime just a comfortable posture, a correction of leg alignment or sadly feet imbalance (ie using the baby toe side to support your entire weight) which can lead to many physical problems if not detected and corrected early on. I support people getting on the dance floor anyway at all.

I am in a position to do this and am looking for the way it is being asked for by beginners so they can get the most benefit.

So I ask again what do u look for in a teacher.I did not ask how to purchase which lesson style.

I look for competency, certification and development, demonstration of male and female roles, break down explanations and at least 27 ways to say the same thing and above all else people skills in the wording, response and attention to details and nuance of students responses,

What do you want in teacher?
Two different questions.
Posted by jofjonesboro
12/2/2010  9:40:00 AM
So I ask again what do u look for in a teacher.I did not ask how to purchase which lesson style.

That may be the question in your original post but I was responding to the question that you posed in your reply to belle.
So how would you suggest a newby choose an instructor. (sic)

These are two entirely different questions because an experienced dancer knows what qualities a good instructor should exhibit while a newcomer does not.

My primary requirements are competence and honesty.

However, a newcomer would not be able to distinguish the competent professional from the slick pretender. You would be amazed at how many first-timers choose an instructor purely on looks alone.

Also, certifications may be helpful but they are not a guarantee of good instruction. They simply indicate that the holder of the certificate could pass an exam.

Re: Two different questions.
Posted by Ladydance
12/2/2010  12:38:00 PM
JJ is absolutely right on the money. The newbie has no idea who is a good competent instructor and who isn't. Unless, they ask, they won't know. I look like an awesome dancer to a newbie and I'm strictly bronze. I could pass my self off as dance instructor easily and many do with less experience than me. All you have to do is know a few steps and heap on the praise and you are adored. I know 'instructors' who haven't taken a lesson in 20 years. They lose all their students eventually and those students often leave feeling bitter that they wasted a lot of time and money learning almost nothing. As well, they have to relearn almost everything.
I steer all newbies to groups for several reasons. We hire the instructors so we know they are good. Also, newbies often think dancing is easy and they get frustrated easily in a private lesson. When they are in a group, they see everyone struggling and they relax.
Re: new? wat do u look 4 in a teacher
Posted by belleofyourball
12/2/2010  6:18:00 PM
I think it is really hard for a new dancer to get involved in the scene. I made my fair share of errors.

I think maybe if someone just offered an introductory to understanding what ballroom dancing actually is seminar it would really help. Forget group lessons and privates and everything else if someone put together an afternoon sit down class or even a web course I think it would help ballroom immensly.

You see I was almost dancing for two years before I understood enough to even know what I wanted. I did group and private and tried competitions and showcases and bounced back and forth trying to figure out what it was I was looking for.

Group classes and private classes don't clarify the ins and outs of ballroom for people and it would save them a ton of money and wasted time.

So now I know what I want and I wasted a lot of time figuring it out.

My instructor has to be physically the right size because I am tall. Believe it or not that is a difficult point.

My instructor must be schooled in all the major areas of dance that I want to dance. He needs to actually be able to dance any step he is going to teach me and he needs to be able to do it better then I can. (By the way I have had instructors who couldn't dance as well as I could and when that happens you have to change instructors.) He must also be able to understand my learning style and get me to understand. He must hit the technique and not let me be sloppy even when it would be more fun to be sloppy. My instructor is a little high tempered and though I haven't made him mad enough that he's yelled at me several of my peers have and that's okay because he isn't really yelling at us, he's yelling at how we are dancing and he wants the best each one of us can do, no exceptions and when we aren't giving it to him he will push us. He won't let any of us compete if we aren't ready no matter how much money there is available to him because he knows it reflects badly on him.

I love that dancing is his profession and his passion and that money is just a by-product, not the ultimate goal. I couldn't dance with anyone who didn't feel that way.

I have to actually enjoy my instructor even when he's being a dictator. I need to feel he is a nice guy who isn't cheating me of my time or money and also that he believes in my ability and not my cash.

I can't stand high pressure sales guys so that can't be there either.

Yeah...that's me so anyone out there who can do it without bias...how about putting together a Ballroom Basics class that moves people through the morass....
A ballroom orientation would be great but,
Posted by jofjonesboro
12/3/2010  5:50:00 AM
as you point out, it would be difficult to find someone whom both sides of the equation (professionals/instructors and amateurs/students) would consider to be fair minded.

For example, were I to teach such a course, I would feel compelled to present the same cautionary, consumer-oriented advice that I provide on this board. Many pros would howl in protest in the same way that they do on this site.

Still, because the purpose of the course should be to help new students to make good consumer choices, I would maintain that it must be presented by an experienced amateur who is not beholden to any studio or professional.

The presenter would also need to be independent of any of the major governing organizations such as the NDCA or USA Dance.

In other words, there's virtually no way that such a course could be offered meaningfully.

BTW, if you don't mind my asking, Belle, how tall are you?

Re: A ballroom orientation would be great but,
Posted by anymouse
12/3/2010  8:48:00 AM
"In other words, there's virtually no way that such a course could be offered meaningfully."

The issue is not with offering it, but with promoting the offering. It is offered, in both organized and informal forms. It's just not advertised to the general public. Generally it works best within a community of potential amateurs who already have a non-dancing reason for associating with each other or at least being aware of each other. For example, such an orientation is one of the most key services that college teams provide to both competitive and social members.

One reason it can work is that there isn't really much conflict between the interests of serious amateur couples, and that of the highly skilled, generally independent professionals who coach them. Business gets handled in a very straightforward manner - good pricing one lesson at a time, discretionary cancellation policies based on respect and trust, etc. While there are regrets and disagreements from time to time, those pros aren't really threatened by amateurs providing guidance to eachother - in fact, they get a large part of their business from referrals arising out of it. Actually, with the majority of advanced amateur competitors now themselves teaching , the difference between pros and serious amateurs is really just a continuous spectrum of degree, from well-informed hobbyist through heavy schedule amateur competitor and perhaps part time teacher, through to full time professional. The real distinction is between those whose role in dancing is primarily focused on the dancing itself, and those whose involvement with dancing is more that of purchasing or providing a consumer product.

Its only where people try to make money off the margins of ballroom - employing semi skilled teachers to spend time with students of marginal commitment, and using a package commitment to try to hold it together long enough to make a profit - that there becomes serious conflict between interests.

Those personally skilled pros who try to own studios with employed teachers can get into some conflict there (usually resolved by viewing the clientele in two tiers - their own competitive couples who are immune to the official business policies, and their employee's students who are subjected to it). But professionals who only do their own teaching and do not try to employ others basically avoid this conflict.

And in many ways, the serious amateurs also establish a two-tiers view - personal friends and potential colleagues get specific advice. The general public isn't refused answers if they ask, but going far out of ones way to vocally pick a fight with people in what is basically an irrelevant business segment isn't wise, unless one is more interested in being a consumer advocate that in personally dancing.
Re: A ballroom orientation would be great but,
Posted by belleofyourball
12/3/2010  9:15:00 AM
I'm 5'10" but by the time you add heels I'm over 6'
Posted by jofjonesboro
12/3/2010  10:44:00 AM
I'm just under six feet (5'11-3/4" in my socks) and I love dancing with tall women, even some who are taller than I (one is 6'5" - soaking wet).

I'm currently sharing my lessons with a wonderful lady who's probably about a half inch shorter than you (she won't wear heels of more than one inch). We also take an advanced Smooth class together. The fact that she's always come to me to get the amalgamations straight makes me feel good because there are three guys in the same class who are taller than I am.

Coupling with a tall woman is great for they guy because he really has to maintain his extension. I've always wondered whether it's helpful to the lady, though; I imagine that the answer would be "It depends on how good a dancer the man is."


Re: Wow.
Posted by belleofyourball
12/3/2010  11:56:00 PM

It depends on the dancer :~} When I take group lessons I find that really most of the men about your height are the better dancers. Many of the very tall men tend to dance small and hunch over and try and compensate for the fact that a lot of women are somewhere in the lower 5' range. When they do that it puts a lot of weight on me and it makes it more like slogging through mud then dancing.

To be honest though I am always happy to dance with anyone who is actually trying to dance. The only exception are the jerks who have been dancing two or three months and think they should be in advanced classes and then blame the woman for any and every mistake that gets made. I know some women who do that as well so it isn't a gender specific problem.

If the girls are coming to dance with you it means you aren't only a good technician but a nice person to dance with. It says alot about you at least from my perspective.

For wingspan (extension) it is nice to dance with someone who can match mine and be able to really fly, but that doesn't mean he has to be a lot taller, it just means he has to have a good frame and mean to have it.

I do have a minor addiction to Italian dance shoes so my latins are 4" and my smooths are 3" heels but if I were practical at all I would be in 1" heels as well.

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