one guys beginning dance struggles

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by wiseman, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    I generally agree. I think in some cases though, the instructor gets a little carried away, possibly because they have a hard time getting back down to a really basic level or maybe they just want to show off. (And, agreed, then they should not be teaching at that level.) Or maybe the group skill levels are just too spread out and they can't keep everybody happy.

    IME, some places emphasize choreography, even in supposedly lower level classes. The problem is that the choreo can be too complicated for many in the class to pick up, especially the leads. I had experiences where I flat out told a rotation partner that I was lost, but I'd try to stumble through. A ploy to sucker people into privates? Dunno.
  2. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    Well it all depends. My first two dance studios I went to were like that and here's how I know....

    -My first dance studio would show the moves extremely quickly and the whole class was so confused. So, the instructor said to the class, "Ok, I'm not going to clarify this any further. If you're confused, take a private." Since the whole class was pretty much confused, you can see where this guy was getting at.

    -At my second studio, I had this one instructor that taught extremely fast in a Beginner class. He would teach like 5 moves in one class and speed up the music like crazy. When the class ended, he said to class, "It seems as though many of you are struggling since this is your first time here. If that's the case, then you must take a private class to catch up."

    So, you can see why I have a hunch that some instructors do this on purpose. But please understand that this is not necessarily the case with all instructors. But I'm just warning people to look out for stuff like this because it does happen at some places.
  3. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    All this makes me recall my advice to beginning dancers: try different studios and different instructors. Unless there is only one studio in town, there's no reason to put up with poor instruction, high pressure sales techniques, and bait-and-switch tactics.
  4. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    Let me give a specific example. In a WCS class we did a series of routines -- all of which I could do (although most of them were pushing my skill to the max. I couldn't do the last move at all. When the instructor said to put everything together I was totally lost and very confused.

    We did three rotations. I have no doubt that the ladies that were rotated to me knew how to put all of this together provided they had a partner that could provide them with a very strong lead (none of them knew enough to backlead it because I asked them if they could). I knew I couldn't put the lead together and felt very uncomfortable with the idea of doing any of the combinations together in a sequence.

    I just had to tell the ladies that I'm going to lead them with the basic step and not do the routine the rest of the class was doing. I felt very bad for the ladies because I knew they wanted to practice the entire thing -- but I wasn't going to do something that was way over my head. Probably 2 out of the 3 ladies were snotty and gave me sneers but one was totally cool with it (she made my day and we practiced basic steps).

    I saw many other men flub the routine entirely so I was hardly the only one who was lost -- and I would argue that my partners got more practice just doing the basic steps than dancing with a guy that flubbed badly.
  5. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    In group classes, especially step oriented ones, the possibility that you will be able to do all that is asked of you is slim since technique is not usually the major focus. Without technique, it is memorization of patterns and such. Pattern recognition is dicey also since the instruction will rely on the student actually doing it based on a visual, which as we know is 2 dimensional, and also does not include the body movement (since the body's use of contrast etc is invisible).

    For the student to succeed in a group class they should not measure success by how they do the pattern. Their success in the class is how after a few days or weeks they have internalized the instruction (which may have very little or nothing to do with the pattern they are being shown) and how they can apply it to their dancing. For instance, a class about a natural turn might be about remembering the pattern of the feet for some, but the actual focus might have been about making the body respond to the right action.

    Of course, everyone has a different reason for being in the class but I imagine that if doing what is taught well determines whether you actually participate in the class, trying your best to do what is taught, you will eventually be a better dancer for it. And, the other participants are also there to learn as well, and by ignoring what is taught and doing what you think is a good substitute, you are denying them a learning process, and will obviously make them less interested in dancing with you in the future.

    At the social, if you must, stick to what you 'know', but you take a class to learn what you don't know. So does everyone else....
  6. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    The 2 ladies were right to feel that you were wasting their time. You need to apologize to them and make it up in your next class by actually dancing what the class is about.
  7. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    No, they were not right. The instructor was obviously teaching stuff that many of the leaders aren't capable of doing. If those ladies should be snotty to anyone, it should be the instructor. The instructor should've saw that many other men were flubbing through the routine, so he should have corrected the issue. This is a basic beginner class, so the instructor shouldn't be doing stuff that will make students feel lost.
  8. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    If I'm hearing you correctly, this sounds like a really messed up class and is not your fault. I would suggest trying another instructor or studio. I was in a similar situation in my first dance studio and this was completely resolved when I moved to a different place.
  9. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Er, the teacher may be teaching things that NOBODY in class is capable of doing - YET. But that is what the class is about. Unless it is a steps only before the social or such... then, take a basic step and add a turn etc. Otherwise, go to a class that challenges you. or get out of the way of people who are trying to progress....
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I think this is a very common flaw in how people teach. Over and over again I've been in classes where they just keep adding another step or pattern without regard to whether or not people can memorize the sequence of movements. They are essentially teaching choreography.

    Because of this, I feel I've wasted a lot of time and money. And it's a major reason why I don't often take classes anymore.

    When I DO find myself in this situation, I let my partner know I'm not sure I can get through the entire sequence. Usually they will either offer to help, or they will say something like, "I'll follow whatever you lead."

    It's more about the partnership, two people cooperating to create a dance, than it is about my leading.
  11. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    That's fine, but if people in the class are lost and the instructor isn't doing anything about it, what good is the class??
  12. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I think you both have a point. However, if the ladies were getting it, and other leads were getting it, is it the class? Not everyone will get everything taught in one group lesson, but to throw up your hands and refuse to even try certainly isn't going to help you get it.

    And really, why not raise your hand and say "I'm sorry, I'm not comfortable with X, would you mind going over it again?" If the teacher has a conniption when someone asks for clarification, THEN it's a teaching problem (unless you're asking every single time they teach something, in which case, see posts about the class being over your head.)
  13. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    rbazsz said....

    This statement is what worries me. If MANY other men are flubbing, what is the instructor doing about it?
  14. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Perhaps if rbazsz and the other men were paying attention to the instructor instead of taking notes on who was flubbing what, they might have learned the pattern?
  15. I have been in class where me & DP finds it really hard to follow and we are open comp dancers taking many privates a week.
    We generally barely managed to do the steps at the end of the class with me mostly backleading poor DP and then forget about it straight after anyways.
    Now, the rest of the class mostly are ppl not doing much private lessons at all so they are totally and completely at loss.

    We stopped going to the class since we don't think there is any benefits for us.

    I am not sure why some teachers are teaching like that I think it is more show off attitude than anything.

    Good teacher should know how the general level of the class and match material to it.
  16. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    A good teacher teaches to the level of the class. If one or two people can't keep up, they are in too advanced a class. If more than half the class is lost, the instructor is teaching the wrong class. And it may be that they need to advise the class of the appropriate class to take in the future, but you teach the students you have, not the ones you wish were there.
  17. nottomention

    nottomention New Member

    That's not uncommon. A very slight factor in the teacher's defense would be the difference in emphasis between your approach to dancing and those it's apparently targeted at - which can actually give those less skilled dancers more capability than you at dealing with choreography.

    But I'd basically join your low opinion of such offerings.
  18. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    All the biggest classes I've been to, in terms of attendance, have been amalgamation factories. I.e., they teach new figures and choreography every class. Classes putting focus on technique have been some of the smallest group classes I've attended, sometimes amounting to semi-private lessons. You may not like it, but more people seem to want to pay for choreography than for technique.
  19. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    They owe me an apology for being snotty. At least I was willing to do the basic steps with them -- I could have just told them that I'm going to do nothing.
  20. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    Yes! You did an excellent job described the situation.

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