Ballroom Dance > Have you fired a student?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by twnkltoz, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    there are also folks who have spent a lifetime doing whatever they feel like doing and creating a reason why nothing is wrong with that...and they often believe it themselves even though it leaves others incredulous.... but some know....some know what they are doing
    Sania likes this.
  2. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    This may be starting to drift off topic, but I can't tell you how many times I've had the experience, or seen someone else have the experience, where they acknowledge a certain dysfunctional behavior, pay lip service to how it's wrong and they know they shouldn't do it, and then, for whatever reason, they realize viscerally, not just intellectually, what has been going on, and everything changes at that point, and they realize they had no idea what they were talking about before then.
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yea...i'd say we've drifted :p
  4. Sania

    Sania Well-Known Member

    There are many whose perception of themselves is vastly different from how they are viewed by the majority of those with whom they interact
  5. UMASSshoesandcostumes

    UMASSshoesandcostumes Active Member

    Maybe not a suggestion specifically for you, but generally for your team. I think our team has a sort of similar structure in which Captains teach the rest of the team (or at least that's what it sounds like) this past year we restructured our team in such a manner as to try to take pressure off the Captains, and also make our Newcomers feel more included in the team and get our upper levels more involved with our Newcomers. Basically what we did was we started a mentoring program where we would partner up our Newcomers and break our Newcomer class up into groups of 2 or 3 couples who would then me assigned Mentors, who would be a pair of upper level dancers, one Bronze level and one Silver level. These two dancers would make themselves available to the Newcomers whenever necessary-- each Mentoring pair had a different way of working with their Newcomers, my mentoring partner (who became my dance partner at the beginning of Second semester) and I met up with our newbies once a week for 2 hours and even that was enough to get them on the right track (we had the best track record on our team with our Newbies, of our 5 couples we mentored over both semesters 3 placed at their first competition-- 1 of 2 last semester and 2 of 3 this semester, and the couple that we had last semester who didn't place did place this semester), but other mentoring partners met with their Newbies only when asked for help, or for a couple weeks before competition. The bottom line being that group lessons aren't for everyone, and Newcomers really don't know how to practice on their own and if they are only getting material at their one 2 hour practice a week then it's hard to absorb it. In regards to your particular student, maybe that is part of the problem? If he had a steady partner and an upper level team member who was not the captain investing time in him and his partner perhaps it would get him much more interested and focused on his dancing. Giving them the individual attention let's them review the material and work on the things that are specifically difficult for them which made our Newcomers feel a lot more supported by the team than they had been in the past. We found that our Newcomers over the last year who came up through this program were much more dedicated to the team as a whole, and much more focused on improving their own dancing than groups before them (even after mentoring ended when the first group we had moved up to Bronze almost all of them kept up regular practices outside of their one 2 hour per week team practice-- this compares to 1 year ago when I was in Bronze, my partner at the time and I were the only ones with a regular practice schedule outside of our weekly practice).

    As a final note, I just want to say that I've found the more I learn about ballroom the more I realize I don't know-- when I was a Newcomer I was coming from a ballet background and I picked up material very fast and I thought I was good, when I moved up to Bronze things started getting harder and particularly at competition I realized that I was very much middle of the pack and things were okay, this semester I moved up to Silver and because of the speed I learned material and put routines together my partner and I developed some very bad habits in our dancing and now that we've got all our routines down we're only now realizing how far our technique has to come in order to do them well. Perhaps if he is not absorbing the material well then it is easiest for him to believe he is very good, whereas the students who really understand the material really understand how difficult it is.
    fascination likes this.
  6. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

  7. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    Ah! Thanks for the awesome reply! I really appreciate your help. Right now our team is relatively small- we have 4.5 newcomer couples and 4 silver dancers currently co-teaching the newcomer class. I do like the idea of having a "pledge family" like many greek organizations do, although I"m not sure if we have enough upper level dancers to make this feasible. I like that they get individual attention- although in a class of only 9 people with 4 instructors, I feel that there is lots of opportunities for individual attention, especially since we all make ourselves available outside classes for private lessons.

    Update on the particular student: he came to lesson today and apologized for (his words) "throwing a tantrum" which was much appreciated by both myself and my co-captain. I told him that I would be happy to work with him to figure out "homework" assignments to help structure his outside practices, and he seemed to really like that idea.

    True story about knowing less and less every time I walk in to a lesson. My goal someday is just to be able to do a natural turn, change step and reverse turn perfectly, and I would have accomplished my life goal. :rolleyes:
  8. UMASSshoesandcostumes

    UMASSshoesandcostumes Active Member

    Well that's much smaller than our team, so that's a little bit different. Our team generally has incoming Newcomer classes of about 30-40 dancers, so 15-20 couples and a waitlist beyond that (we have to hold tryouts and everything) and currently we're over 100 active members and growing (before this program about 3/4 of every Newcomer class would drop the team, but now with our new program we have almost nobody dropping out so we easily have enough members to support our mentoring program). But we are so huge that it really means that before this new program they never got individualized attention unless some upper level team member volunteered their time. This program was actually my recommendation because my former partner's girlfriend was a Silver dancer on the team, and she was the one that made us get on a regular practice schedule and came to our practices 3 times a week for about a month and a half to teach us how to practice, and then let us progress on our own once she felt like we were able to do so-- if she hadn't I'm not really sure how we would have learned how to practice on our own because it's hard when you're new and don't really have any direction to it. So the program is supposed to teach people how to practice on their own and get them in the habit of having a regular practice schedule-- and it really seems to have done a very good job of that. Before, all the time upper levels would talk about how they'd like to help the newer members but nobody really had a mechanism to do it because you didn't want to insult the new members by being like "Hey, do you want some help?" and make them feel like they looked like they were struggling or something but new members were all so intimidated by upper levels that nobody asked for help. So it worked out great for everyone in the end, and I think every large team would benefit from something similar (and small teams too, but often small teams don't have enough members to support that kind of program, so it's much harder to do).
  9. Titoxd

    Titoxd Member

    Sounds to me like you guys got the whole recruitment thing worked out. I can think of plenty of schools (mine included) that would like to know how you get 40 newcomers every year without for-credit class support. (Mods, please move this off to another thread if this is straying too far off-topic.)
    llamasarefuzzy likes this.
  10. Titoxd

    Titoxd Member

    I'm glad this seems to have worked itself out. :)

    On a general note, as someone who was a rather slow learner, I will ask those of you who are considering dropping a student to ask yourselves if the student is still intent on learning. If the student's primary motivation in taking lessons is not to learn, then asking them to find a different instructor may be the most constructive approach in the long term. If the student is still trying hard to learn, even if he is frustrated and not understanding what you are trying to instruct, then step back for a second. Are there any different approaches you may try?

    Some people are visual learners, and can map patterns in their head, while others are kinesthetic learners and must feel the concept you are talking about. In another camp, you have those who need to read the Grey book to have their brains process the concept fully. Then you also have those who need to write their own notes for their long-term memory to be fully activated. As an example, I cannot gleam patterns from YouTube videos if my life depended on it; but once I am taught how the pattern feels, I can dissect it to an extreme level of detail, and explain the forces and moments that act upon both the lead and follow to create that pattern. (Yes, I'm an engineer... :p)
    ajiboyet and llamasarefuzzy like this.
  11. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    this skill comes after....

    these have been mastered
  12. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Well, living in the Northeast makes a huge difference right from the start.
  13. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    wow, I'm stealing this, many thanks!

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