Find the Answer to This Question: Are They the Right Teacher for You?
Maybe you want to change your current teacher or just want to start expressing yourself through the art of ballroom dancing. It’s hard to know from the beginning whether you’re going to be a professional or not, but finding a good teacher is what you should aim for if you want to get the most out of your experience.
A dance teacher is more than a mentor to his students. I was taught discipline, endurance and how to overcome hardships. I was taught how to never stop learning. For all of these things, I am grateful to my teacher.
You might say that the technical skills or the amount of the awards one owns, will definitely make them the right teacher for you. Actually, there’s a flaw in this type of thinking because dancing is very different from the act of teaching someone how to dance and training them to become a professional. Of course technical qualifications matter, but that’s not the only thing. I will go through some steps to let you know what to look for in a teacher.
How much do I need to take into account his years of experience as a teacher? What character traits is he required to have? Should I talk to his actual or former students? Does the school matter?
Before even attending classes and seeing what their teaching methods are, check their dancing background. For how long have they been active in the ballroom world? Their former education is very important because you get to know the people from whom they have learned.
Talk to them about why they are dancing in the first place and what’s their motivation for being a teacher. It’s important that they are passionate about it and that they care about their students. A teacher with no motivation or much rather show of emotion should not be teaching a dancing class.
You can’t be a teacher if you lack empathy and you fail to get a sense of the needs of your students. No matter how skilled they might be, the moral qualities of a human being make all the difference.
Go and watch how they act in the class. Are they supportive of all the students no matter what their skill levels are? I know this may seem hard at first sight but a good teacher is able to adapt according to the level of his students and inspire them to become better. Also, he is there to help you understand and not repeat your mistakes. It’s the only way to grow.
Remember when you were a child and you had those teachers in your class that made learning seem like something extraordinary?
Why was that happening?
Because for them teaching is a way of life. Just like a professional dancer, they are fully focused and they also feel good about it. They show you a particular step while paying attention to how you’re feeling and how much you’re able to understand. They are dancing with you but they don’t look down on you like you’re just a trainee. Good teachers have patience and trust that under their guidance you will get there. Even more, they make sure to leave space for you to think on your own and question their methods. Not because they don’t believe in what they’re doing. They just want you to be a self-motivated dancer.
Is his class more like a family than just a regular teaching space? Is he able to bring all of his students together and help them overcome any conflicts that may arise? Answering these questions will help you get a better idea of who it is that you’re dealing with.
There is no such thing as the perfect teacher and you should be ready for downsides. Still, I believe there are those who are able to inspire the passion of dancing in the next generation of ballroom dancers.
Photography: Stefan Strassenburg
Dancing has been my passion since I was 13 and since then I've been doing things in that direction. Writing, creating and putting together the biggest community for dancers around the world!