Ballroom Dance > who's the best dance teacher?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by LordBallroom, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    I remember at a studio I worked at the owner brought in someone who was supposedly from a 2 million dollar a year studio come to teach us how to be successful. I remember him asking "how can you tell who the best dance teacher in the studio is?" All of us had different answers but none if us had the correct one in his eyes which was "the one with the most lessons booked." I personally don't agree with his opinion but I understand where he's coming from. How would people here answer that question?
  2. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    There are all sorts of ways to evaluate a dance teacher, and they won't all come up with the same "best" result. The question really should be "who is the best teacher for... [social, competitive, rising star, pro, lazy, determined, fun-loving, etc. students]?"

    Most lessons is a good measuring stick that avoids personal bias. If someone has a lot of lessons/students, they're doing the best and giving their students what they want - although not every student wants the same thing. The only caveat here is that some teachers have high turn-over or use questionable tactics to rope in students, in which case they are the best salesman, not the best teacher. A high number of happy return customers is a good compromise.

    My preferred way to judge a teacher is by looking at their students. The type of student they generally teach is one indicator. A coach who fills each lesson slot with relaxed social dancers and hobbyists might be the "best" social dance teacher; meanwhile the "best" competitive coach might have several students competing at high levels, and several up-and-coming students.
  3. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    Heh, what a can of worms. In my opinion, I believe the best ballroom teacher is one people speak highly of, whether they're taking from that person or not (sometimes schedules, pricing, personal workload choice, etc. conflict and they can't, so the "if they're so great, why don't these people book with them?" argument doesn't really work- in my opinion), and has the best "results"- students who can dance consistently well for whatever criteria you personally set for your judgment- mine personally would be "Can they dance lead-follow with anybody, or do they have to have a routine?" or "So they compete- can they get a beginner around the floor one time without stopping/restarting constantly by dancing to their level/adapting?"

    Example- I danced with SEVERAL male students from one of the top pro-am teachers in the country a few years ago. All of these men were talented dancers and won contested championships with their pro in silver, but in a simple foxtrot mixer, ALL OF THEM had to flub up, stop, "count-bounce to eight", and then take off again from scratch at least three times before we got to the end of the floor because I only backlead people I know;-) and I don't know what happened, but "I've danced silver so long, I've forgotten bronze" is a pretty tired excuse (let the disagreements begin). Another man at the studio whom nobody liked to dance with because he had to count aloud got me through some pretty tricky stuff in some pretty tricky dances for two unacquainted people to try.

    So to me, that teacher might be great for them- they're getting what they want- but for me, I would seek other instruction, if her fellas couldn't lead a simple quarter-turn-promenade-twirl out to the end of the floor, after just toasting the competition at one Star, Emerald, Tin Foil, or Hare Ball or another the weekend before. I want a different skill set, and pretty is only part of it. Everyone else who knows her would think I've lost my damn mind. At this point, I'm jacked up on three kinds of cold meds, so maybe I have.

    Also consider that just because someone teaches "just" social, or "just" competitive doesn't mean that they aren't excellent on the flipside- maybe it just means that's what they WANT to teach, so that's what they do. If my coach had somebody under his tutelage who wanted to compete, I firmly believe he could produce winners- when he co-teaches with his wife and partner, they do produce winners, but he prefers the less-stress, more comfortable thing he has going on right now. He's a sleeping dragon though. If he ever chose to wake up, I do believe there'd be hellfire on the floor.

    There are many ways to split hairs on this one, and I, too, am curious to hear other opinions and see how widely they vary, and I'm grateful for everyone's continued tolerance of me expressing mine for the most part.

    Personally, I also have a certain moral code- is this teacher a cougar/womanizer? Does s/he have an addiction that's both obvious and interfering with their work? A recent record? Do they behave poorly when at social functions at drunk-thirty? I don't want to associate myself with someone who acts like a post-expiration-date Mouseketeer. Being talented and popular doesn't entitle you to be a destructive person to other people IMO (Abbreviations- got me some).
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    different people define success differently...if your goal is to make dough, most booked is the yard stick...if your goal is to produce awesome students for competition, results might be how you measure...if your goal is to produce good dancers, how well they lead/follow might be your measure...seems to me we have been here before many times with this OP...I wonder why we are going there again
    Hedwaite likes this.
  5. dancelvr

    dancelvr Well-Known Member

    Hmmm.....well, my DP has produced some excellent competitive students, happy social dancers, a plethora of "father/daughter' wedding students, and a faithful following of group lesson students....not to mention putting himself to school on my behalf (I am his ONLY International student, and he is a Smooth dancer). I'd say....he's awesome. He has a definite talent for teaching, and has adapted himself to our small local dance community. So, I'd say, a teacher who produces results in whatever kind of dancing he chooses (or has the opportunity) to teach.
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  6. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Sort of...his answer was really "the best salesman."
  7. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Honestly, the pro I see most often fits a whole bunch of "best" categories too. They're not mutually exclusive! :)
    dancelvr likes this.
  8. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    The best coach in my studio teaches the most lessons, and he doesn't "sell" anything - he doesn't have to. There's more than one way to fill your lesson calendar.
    Larinda McRaven and Hedwaite like this.
  9. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I think the better teachers move up to the role of "coach", though that is still a generalization with exceptions.
    middy likes this.
  10. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

  11. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    He "advertises" by the quality of his lessons, his own dancing, and his students (including training a good chunk of the open floor). None of which has anything to do with being a salesman, which is what you seem to be implying.

    Not appreciating the FTFY. :/
  12. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Haven't we had this conversation before? Not all studios base their entire system on sales.
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    of course we've had this conversation before
  14. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.

    (I have my suspicions on who the cylons are. /shiftyeyes)
    leee likes this.
  15. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member mortal could dance that much.............:D
  16. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

  17. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    What? Dance Forums beating a dead horse? Surely you jest! :p

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