Barbara Ambroz – Dancing Happens Here and Now | The Teacher’s Corner
Finding your life’s mission
I feel that everybody is born with a particular mission in life and our purpose is to discover it and find what you want to do with it. I was lucky enough to realize at an early age that I wanted to dance and that it’s the present that counts. I became aware that dancing happens here and now!
I have been a competitive dancer until the age of 18 – that was the moment I decided to start teaching (which was quite early). I have the teaching license for 31 years now, and with an overall experience of 38 years.
My first years of teaching
Once I started teaching, I just felt that it was what I was meant to do. It came very natural to me. Maybe it’s part of my inheritance and my genes had something to do with it – my mother worked in a kindergarten and my aunt was a teacher.
My first experience as a dance teacher was with primary school kids from Ljubljana. After two years of working with them, we started our first competitive group with those children that were interested in a future professional dancing journey. Our first Junior/Juvenile generation!
We went to great competitions such as Blackpool Dance Festival. Many of them managed to achieve great results worldwide in Under 21 category as well.
My teaching approach – Keep your eyes wide open!
I firmly believe that there is no single approach that could work on every student. Why is that? People are different and as a teacher, you have to understand your students and customize learning to their particular needs. You need to have your eyes wide open so you can really see what type of person you’re dealing with. Be adaptable!
The most important aspect of teaching a very diverse group of students is that you need to find a subject that can be understood by everyone, yet stimulating and inspiring. If you are sharing your energy, people will go with the flow.
It is very important for the dancers to take their time to experiment with the information that the teacher gives to them. They need to translate the information into their body and senses. After that, they feel confident enough to play with the information – that’s when the magic begins.
Improving yourself will improve your dance
In order to be able to pull the potential out of people, you’ll need to give them the right guidance and stimulation. How do you do that? You keep yourself updated with everything new and relevant.
I am lucky to have great friends and colleagues like Prof. Dr. Ruud Vermeij or Peter Townsend with whom I share my thoughts regularly. Honest criticism is a two way street. We attend each other’s lectures, we discuss new literature and we give each other feedback.
Through your own interests, passions, and desires you will manage to improve your own world of awareness!
Cuban Experience and Back to the Roots
The Cuban Experience project started in 2014, in Havana. We have already filmed a documentary based on it, in which we focused on the implementation of the Cuban authentic values into the international competitive style of dancing. Click here if you want to watch it.
When I was preparing the script for the documentary, I realized I have more things to say and share with the dance community and I needed a medium for that.
That’s why I have organized all the materials I collected along so many years of lecturing, in a three chapter book called Back to the Roots. It’s mainly about awareness in dancing, how to be inspired by Cuban values in competitive dancing and going back to the source of music and dancing. If you’re interested, you can get the book here.
Dance in the present
Nowadays, I see mainly two ways in which people approach dancing: either they use the dance to present themselves, or they use themselves to present the dance.
Unfortunately, we live in a material world focused on winning, achieving and becoming (as fast as possible). This is sad because this way of thinking will make you lose contact with yourself.
Being driven by the destination and not the journey, will stop you from noticing what’s here and now and be inspired by it. It’s only in the present where you can react, be creative and get inspired.
Teachers are like a bridge between the past and the future. It is very important to know the past and think about the future, but the present is the most important because it is here when you act: WE ARE WHAT WE DO!
My ultimate motivation: the sparkle I see in my student’s eyes when they invent or discover things.
Article written after the Dancesport Life podcast with Barbara Ambroz.
With an experience of over 30 years of teaching, Barbara has an open eye for every student. She loves to see how they translate the information they receive into their own style of dancing. Being connected to the present and remembering the roots of dancing are two essential aspects if you want to be a great dancer. Read more about her project, Cuban Experience: here