Ballroom Dance > Teacher Appeal

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DanceMentor, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Yes and no. A large part of improvement I arrive at personally comes from taking a small amount of information given to me by a coach and applying it across the whole of my dancing, seeing how a principle I learned in one dance can be applied in all of them. So as a result, a little bit of information is a *huge* teaching moment for me.

    Quality is much harder to pin down than prestige or cachet. I would argue that these come at a price and are probably well correlated for a given geographic region. Case in point: the worst prospective teacher by my estimation charged double what the others I tried charged. The difference wasn't her teaching skill, it was her status as a former national finalist, while the other coaches in the area are still making their names in the Rising Star category.
  2. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    Another factor I should have mentioned is the teacher's willingness to continue his or her own study of dance/movement.

    I just recalled several years ago talking with a new student and her newish teacher who were horrified when I mentioned to them that my Pro and his partner were away for several days taking some coaching lessons. They asked me why on earth I'd take lessons with someone who hadn't "finished learning everything" yet and was still taking lessons himself. The newish teacher informed me that he was now a professional teacher and had completed ALL of his dance courses. (He's long gone, by the way.)
    suburbaknght, chomsky, stash and 4 others like this.
  3. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    Everything that you mentioned is important at least to some degree. It depends on what you want to get out of your lessons that often determines which qualities are prioritized higher than others.

    When I am considering taking from a teacher, credentials and other student success are very important. I would be MUCH less likely to take lessons from a teacher whose regular students have not improved over time, especially if they have been taking private lessons from this prospect for YEARS. If the prospect is a master of their field, I would be more inclined to try private lessons.

    Once I start lessons with the prospect, communication and personality become very important. Can the prospect teach me successfully? Can technique be explained in terms that I understand? Is the prospect vested in me improving? Does the prospect love to teach, or is (s)he just in it for the money? Is the method of teaching very goal oriented with concrete evidence of my improvement over time? Does the prospect demonstrate "good character?" (Honesty, consideration, honed social skills, sensitivity, and respect.) How well can the prospect help to "bring out the best" in my dancing?

    Popularity is a low priority for me. There are some real "diamonds in the rough" out there who are anxious and ready to teach me! And there are teachers who are popular who may not suit my needs in other ways.

    Teaching style is important to me. My all time favorite instructor EVER (Ron Bennett) teaches his group classes in a very collegiate fashion with frequent (verbal) "pop quizzes" and questions for his students to test knowledge. This may not appeal to everyone, but this style is right in my wheel house!! It's no surprise that he teaches this way since there are four major universities within several miles from the studio where he teaches.

    Willingness to keep learning is important for a prospect. Are they, themselves furthering their own dance education, or are they resting on their laurels?

    MONEY (teacher cost) is important to me too since I am retired with a limited income.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  4. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    I would guess it depends on each persons personal goals for his/her dancing, but for me it would be - His/her superior ability to guide me in becoming the best dancer I can be, in a way that is comfortable and enjoyable for me.

    The limiting factors to that would be;
    • location
    • current dance skills (since I do pro-am the pro must dance in the partnership)
    • cost

    And a note about observing other students of the pro as a gauge, it can work. But I am always cautious in remembering that even if a pro is superior in every way, if the students are not doing their part in practicing and exploring what is taught, the teacher's actual skill level may not be evident.
    debmc and chomsky like this.
  5. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    their student's results are not as important as their student's improvements, and they matter only if they are similar to your age/style/effort. A great student result is not applicable if you are taking the one lesson a week path and they are there 3x a week.
    latingal likes this.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    for me, I just take care to make sure I look at more than a few dancers over time...because anyone can have one or two "fail to thrive" students...but if I see that a guy has a bunch of ladies that aren't good and/or don't improve, then he is going to be of no interest...because as LG notes, good guys can have ladies who aren't good because they really didn't want to do the work(maybe they thought just having the good dude was all they needed to do or they might have some limmitations), but if he can't get anybody to improve, then he either doesn't know how to explain himself or doesn't care to exert himself....
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
    debmc, cornutt and latingal like this.
  7. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Same here, and yeah, I'd probably say "huh?" to that too.
  8. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    Initially: Decided to check out the dance studio that happened to be next door to the gym where I worked out. I thought it might be a fun couples thing to do. Took whatever teacher we were given. No sense at that time that I/we wanted to compete; it was just a social thing. Later, started competing as a couple...but the studio we were taking at is primarily a social studio that dabbles in competition.

    I always said I had no interest in doing pro-am...well, unless I could dance with someone like my current teacher, who was at the time an amateur competitor, "But that will NEVER happen, or not for a lot of years." And then he turned pro at pretty young age, and the opportunity did actually present itself. 3 months after he turned pro, I was taking lessons with him. We had already started chatting on D-F long before that, so I was pretty sure we would get along, but I was still nervous: what if he isn't what I think it will be like? What if we don't have a good student-teacher dynamic? But I learned more technique in a month of lessons with him than I had in years at the other studio. 5 months after that, I did my first pro-am comp.

    So I guess my priorities are:
    -Someone whose dancing I really enjoy and find inspiring.
    -Someone who can communicate information logically and well to me. (Current teacher is fantastic in this regard.)
    -Someone I enjoy spending time with.
    -Accessibility. (He is currently splitting time between the east and west coast...and I'm just glad that he is still teaching half the week in Bmore, because I don't think weekly trips to LA would be feasible with my job!)
    SwayWithMe, chomsky and Mengu like this.
  9. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Well-Known Member

    My first teacher was two steps down on the "family tree" from the teachers I trained with later. Everything she taught me was accurate. My later teachers didn't have to correct anything she'd taught me. And it was all in more than sufficient detail for the dancer I was at the time.
    Gorme, stash and chomsky like this.
  10. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    The above may get me to take the first lesson, especially the credentials, but not the second. Whether I stay with the teacher has all to do with how they teach me.
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  11. Dupont

    Dupont Member

    I wish I were there to laugh.
    dancelvr and SwayWithMe like this.
  12. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    This. I also look at the pro's students, as good pros produce good students and good students seek out good pros. It is a strong indicator for me.

    Word of mouth (reputation) is also key, particularly if the same things are said from multiple sources.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2013
  13. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Oops, my reply to LG's post became one big quote....mods, can you fix?

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2013

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