General Dance Discussion > Dancing with your instructor

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by SuzieQ, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Haha... maybe that's what our problems are! It just could be that we have to be more serious with our teachers than we do with the others, but if we hired the others as teachers then they could easily change that way too! You are full of interesting insights Vince! :raisebro:
  2. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Lol! MQ you always make me laugh! But SuzieQ knows what I mean though, so I must have gotten my point across lol! :p
  3. cl5814

    cl5814 New Member

    I came to the same conclusion. Dancing with my instructor wasn't always very good or "pleasant" for the reasons already mentioned. At least we have heard from a few dancers that it seem to be "natural" occurence to not feel so at ease with your instructor to "just dance". Dancing with my instructor at friday night parties, when i knew he was watching my dancing, yet made no comment till next lesson; what a few stressful minutes that used to be.

    I have tried to keep my social dancing arena("just dance venue") and my instructor's place of teaching ("dance the best you can") as 2 different venues.

    Edit : And i think the more _serious_ you are about your dancing, the worse your "dancing" can be in front of your instructor. I played the keyboard (and took a few lessons) just for the heck of it, yet i could play just as well in front of instructor as i did alone. He and I knew that i only wanted to play for fun and that mistakes was just mistakes and ok while i was learning a piece. Probably also because i didn't have to _face_ the instructor during play part of keyboard lessons.
  4. icering

    icering New Member

    I know what you mean, when i am in classs I become a total beginner at Salsa but I didn't tell my instructor I was taking Salsa on 2 every here and there when I had time with my friends. But when I get to the dance studio I mess up and forget steps on the 1, I guess I get nervous.
  5. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ New Member

    I could relate this in some way to the old "I did this perfectly when I was practicing" line I used to give my piano teacher--but there I think it was more nervousness and "fear."
  6. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    I had the same feeling for the first two years or so of taking lessons. But I don't see it as a problem. It just seems like a natural component of the student-teacher situation, especially at the beginning. It's hard to be a beginner at anything, because you're constantly making mistakes and constantly being corrected. That's tough on the ego. (By the way, SPratt, that's why I wouldn't necessarily recommend switching teachers just becasue you have more fun with someone who isn't your teacher. Of course you do, but it might not last when that person becomes the one who's constantly correcting you.)

    It's also hard to relax and emote when you're concentrating on technique, which you probably are more when you're dancing with your instructor than others.

    For me, the feeling did pass. Social dancing with my instructor is still different from dancing with others, but that's because he knows my capabilities so well, so he can pitch the dance at just the level that's challenging but doable. At least once every dance, he pushes the envelope with something I don't know or haven't done before. Sometimes I nail it and we're both thrilled. Sometimes I blow it and we both laugh, because we both know what he's doing.

    I just realized that the turning point came when I finally knew enough to begin correcting myself pretty often. Sometimes now, a "correction" means we stop, he gives me a look, I say "yeah, I know," and we do it again with me fixing what I did wrong. When correcting me became more of a mutual project than a one-way street, my anxieties about dancing with him faded away.
  7. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ New Member

    Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head! I know he's challenging me and I appreciate that! And he does give me that look with a smile. I guess I'm just hoping that someday I'll cross over that line--even if it's just for a few moments at first--where we become dance partners instead of teacher/student. The only thing is, I'm not a beginner anymore and sometimes it seems to be getting worse instead of better! And I also know he expects more of me because I'm not a beginner anymore.
  8. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    WCS only . . . I tend to stay on the swing side of the UCWDC, but we'll see how I do, then who knows . . . but I'm signed up for the UCWDC comps in Fresno next month . . . Memorial Day weekend . . . one of the best events out there!
  9. jhpark

    jhpark Member

    It took me a few months before I got over being nervous about dancing with my instructor. I think it finally sunk in that she knows my dancing better than I do, so there's not much point in getting nervous... At some point it just stopped happening, but I'm not sure why. Heh, guess that's not much help!

    It helps that she tends not to correct me on my dancing during milongas. So I know if she says something good or bad it's significant. Like yesterday she mentioned that something was working really well, and then I was grinning like an idiot for half a minute or so. :)
  10. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ New Member

    My daughter went to Fresno two years ago--she said it was the best one she'd been to. Have fun! I hope you do well and enjoy it.
  11. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    You know SuzieQ I think that is my problem as well. We want to look at our instructors as dance partners, and well... they may take us to competition, they may take us to the championship, but they really aren't our partners. I think that this is why maybe next year or when I become good enough that I'll find a partner, and go that route instead of counting on my instructor as being my partner. Because the thing is that they've already had their partners, so they aren't looking at us that way. I think that this is one of the reasons why they are looking at us more like a student than a partner even though we are looking at them as both an instructor and a partner right now.
  12. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    We've been going for about ten years . . . maybe I know her???

    Thanks . . . I will have fun . . . not there to win . . . just to be on the floor instead of the seats. I won't even stick around to see how I did! Enjoying that 90 seconds is what it is all about!
  13. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Yep, this feeling seems to be one that is natural at some point (or forever) in the teacher/student relationship. I admit to being struck down by it also, and know many others that have the same problem.

    In my case, it's a problem in my court. My pro is doing what he's paid to do, correct my technique when I dance with him, unfortunately that seems to have side effects when we dance in front of our instructors (fear, self conciousness, concentration on nothing but technique).

    As has been discussed in some other threads about expressing the dance, breaking through in emoting the dances only came after my technique was solid. And a further step was required when emoting with my pro, I had to be more confident of my own dancing and more comfortable with him. It's a rocky road, some days I have it, some days I don't. I'm working on having more "have it" days then not.

    One thing that helped me (which I've mentioned in other threads - sorry for being repetitive), we took a break from latin and did something completely different - just for fun. It allowed me to do work latin on my own for awhile and just enjoy the movement and develop confidence in it. And, it also let me cultivate a different environment in which I could work in a "looser" manner with my pro.

    This is a hard problem to get over, and unfortunately there seem to be no easy fixes. In some ways, it might be a rite of passage into being your own dancer....
  14. PasoDancer

    PasoDancer New Member

    I dance like a complete and total horse's knat with everybody else but my partner. I lose connection, my footwork goes to hell, I can't do simple twinkles- it's horrible. In fact, nobody asks me to dance but one or two regular guys- the male instructors of the studio won't ask. They dance with people who know how to dance... well.. with other people. It's not that there's a "rule" with my partner and I, but he's scared to dance with other women, and has indicated that he doesn't WANT to dance with any others but our instructor and one or two he's comfortable with. I think everyone gets the impression that I'm "not allowed" or something, and just don't ask. That, and why SHOULD they dance with someone like me, if I completely lose everything once i step out of my "safe" zone?

    I've resigned myself to being a wallflower whenever I don't dance with "the usual". It's for the best, if all I do is bungle things up and surprise people to the point of "I thought you could dance better than this- I watch you with so-and-so all the time, and you do just fine..." Yeah, well... :headwall:
  15. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    Paso, do you want to learn to dance with other people? It kind of sounds like you do. Just like anything else, the only way to learn is to practice. You'll probably have to do the asking yourself for a bit until people realize you're open to dancing with other people. You could ask the other instructors and explain to them that you want to improve your ability to follow other people, so would they help you out?

    Some of what happens when you dance with other people may not be your fault. You can't maintain your connection if he's not maintaining his, you can't always do your footwork correctly if he rushes you or steps wrong himself, etc. Plus it sounds like you probably have to concentrate on reading the lead, so it's natural that you can't pay as much attention to technique as you do when dancing with someone whose lead you know well. I do find that I have to "relax" my technique when social dancing with some partners, because that's the only way it can work. That's the hitch with social dancing if you are also training. I think regular social dancing has made it a bit slower for to get new techniques into muscle memory, because I often "backslide" at socials. But I enjoy social dancing and I'm not dancing to a deadline.
  16. PasoDancer

    PasoDancer New Member

    I feel that if I'm to be "a good dancer" (that's a variable perspective, too), I should be able to be a good follow- period. With my partner, with another lead, with a teacher, with a newbie. And I'm not. Having only part of it isn't enough, so I'll just take time. I've waited this long to start, I can wait longer to improve, and do all I can in the meantime.
  17. Laura

    Laura New Member

    I was pretty much terrified of my previous Pro/Am instructor for about the first six months that I was dancing with him. But I got over it, and took lessons from him and did Pro/Am comps with him for about seven years.

    I'm not having this issue with my current Pro/Am instructor. But then I was friends with him for years before I ever took a lesson from him, so the inter-personal dynamic is different.

    PasoDancer, you've got the right attitude. You'll get past this weird period eventually.
  18. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yep...its just part of the learning curve and it will pass...but like all things, only if you are willing to subject yourself to a little humiliation
  19. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ New Member

    Actually that is a help. You are right--he knows my capabilities--I can't pretend or fake with him as I can with some others--sometimes the "great dances" I have with others may be because I'm a better dancer than they are (or just more advanced) and so I can relax and have fun. I know he expects things from me that others don't.

    Well, he does correct me, and I appreciate it, but maybe if I relaxed a little he would not feel the need to do that so much! I think you've helped me a lot--and I'm glad to find out that I'm not the only one with this problem!
  20. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ New Member

    Yes, I getcha about not sticking around--I thought about that last time!
    If you have the time/desire you can see Gretchen's picture at Click on the 2006 Texas Hoe-Down, then portraits-she is in several but #200 is with her dance partner. I don't remember what color hair she had two years ago, so she may look different! Also #20 & #21 are with our teacher.

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