Ballroom Dance > What Makes A Good Teacher?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by SDsalsaguy, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Listening with the intent to understand, instead of listening with the intent to answer.
    j_alexandra, IndyLady and madmaximus like this.
  2. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    So Lord of the Ballroom, since you're in the front lines of the dance world, what is your advise for this situation:

    One fine afternoon, a student came to my ballroom looking for a lesson (he's had a couple of Merengue and Salsa lessons with another teacher).

    When we started the lesson it became immediately apparent that he's too full of himself to listen to what I had to say (he got really busy pointing out that I don't have any idea about this or that figure) and would rather pontificate and argue with me than discuss it respectfully.

    Can you imagine? He tells me that I haven't taught long enough to argue the finer details of a move, because, get this... I haven't learned anything in my over 20 years of dance (socially, competitively, and professionally), and should listen to him instead.

    What do you think I should do with a guy like that?

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  3. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    Ah... much like explaining the color of the sky to a blind man.

  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    why are you so fixated on them?...particularly if you have the whole thing figured out and are wildly successful?
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member on, that was a long time ago...I refuse to comment on my perspective on that now:cool:
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  6. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member




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  7. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    I think first of all you need to clearly explain your credentials to him and not assume that it's a foregone conclusion that he'll know that you're competent based on a miniscule exchange of words.
  8. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Having watched a similar dynamic before, LB, beware.

    1) Unless the "advanced" teachers in your studio have some proof of their level, such as placement in competitions, what I once called "advanced" I now call something else. Unless they are competing, they don't really need to get any better than is necessary to teach their most advanced students.

    2) Teachers with too elevated a sense of their importance or their abilities, real or imagined, end up clashing with management, and being shown the door. I have seen this scenario repeated many times. Some go sour on the dance business, some find a different venue that will take them in, and they realize they are not so indispensable as they thought.
  9. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    Here's a thought I'd like to share. I now work with some highly skilled dance pros. These are guys that not only understand sales and teaching but have the accolades from competitions to prove their dance skills. I'm starting to get the feeling that the biggest benefit of these awards and the skill needed to achieve them is when marketing and advertising your services. From what I've seen, the vast majority of students that come into a studio make only miniscule progress toward achieving a highly decorated instructor's skill level. I'm getting the impression that most of the time hiring such an instructor is kind of like buy a 100 watt guitar amp to do the job a 10 watt amp can more accomplish. Sure there will be specific instances in which the 100 watt amp is necessary but those instances, for the amateur guitar player are the exception, not the norm.
  10. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Top dance pros? Name one please...
  11. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Well I don't think he necessarily has to name them. He is trying to be anonymous after all, unless he really wants to name his school and the top pros there.... but I don't think we have to push it. It is a moot point.

    Unfortunately that is the whole problem with anonymous internet... anyone can proclaim anything they want, because they are behind a screen.

    le sigh
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  12. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    In any case none of that discussion has anything to do with the OP of the thread.... What makes a good teacher.
  13. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    Larinda, I agree. I also stated one of the qualities, I think that makes a good teacher is that the teachers I take from allow us to e-mail them at their studio e-mail address. Then the teacher can decide if he or she wants to e-mail us back their responses from the studio e-mail address or from their home email address. They have told us to do that if we have a question we did not get a chance to ask during the class, or if we forgot how to do a pattern. Fascination stated she wondered if that was a good idea, and what pro's thought about that. After, thinking about what she said, I am wondering what your thoughts are regarding teachers corresponding by e-mail with their students regarding dance related questions? I would also add that I live near Johns Hopkins, and some of my doctors are there. I note that some of those doctors though not the majority have their office e-mail address on the Johns Hopkins website, and the patients can correspond with them through e-mail.
  14. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Humility is one characteristic of a good teacher...
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  15. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    My instructor has a fairly similar policy, where she's explicitly told me to feel free to text her if I have questions during the week. I try *really* hard to not abuse it. (As in, I think I've done it once ever. A local instructor corrected me doing an exercise that she'd wanted me to work on. Said correction seemed to be diametrically opposed to what she'd told me, and I wanted to make sure I hadn't misunderstood her.)

    I don't necessarily think it's a hallmark of a good instructor though, at least not directly. I'd say it's more one of a generous instructor. Time is money, and I consider their time to be valuable. I wouldn't count it as a mark against an instructor if they preferred to wait for lessons to answer questions.
  16. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    I'm still learning about the ballroom world as well as the language used. When I say "top dance pros" I didn't mean to imply that these are nationally known pros or people like Larinda who travel the country coaching. I just meant to say that these are people who have enough accolades to prove that they have mastered the advanced curriculum. My point was that the vast majority of students seem to never even get close to the point of having to need such knowledge.
  17. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    I understand your 'walking back' your comment; did you mean top dance pros in your studio, then? What curriculum?
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  18. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    My point is simply that they know how to dance well and that they've proved it in competitive competition.
  19. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    I too am wondering what "advanced curriculum" you are talking about? I know that there are a number of different curriculum's-ISTD, Dance Vision etc. Which "advanced curriculum" are you referencing?
  20. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    What competitions, then? And what technique? Remember, all the folks on this forum are REALLY into dance and are very happy to support their fellow dancers, and applaud them in their successes.

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