You Will Always Need Dance Education
At some point in your career, you’ve probably asked yourself: “When will I know enough?”. This might sound strange. We all start dancing by finding a dance studio and a teacher; it’s only when you find them that your dance education starts.
We can’t even think about dancesport without thinking about dance teachers. But this is not the case in every discipline. Just think about how many football or basketball players have reached high levels without a coach’s advice. Or, if we think about the arts, think of how many self-taught musicians are out there selling tickets to their performances.
In dancesport, I’ve never seen anything similar. I’ve never met anyone who’s told me: “Well, I have to dance at this competition today. I have no expectations because I’m self-taught, but I can dance!”. No, this doesn’t happen in dancesport.
Before They Were Teachers, They Were Dancers
How did this teacher-dancer connection begin? In the past, dancing was only about an orchestra, a ballroom, and the couples. There were very few teachers or dance schools. Dancing was a means for people to release their feelings and express their ideas.
The style of dancing in the 1920s, for example, was quite different from what we see today. But there were some great names such as Vernon and Irene Castle, Alex Moore, Elsa Wells, and Victor Silvester that gave ballroom dancing its start, and so to the teacher-dancer connection.
These dancers won some of the first ballroom competitions ever recorded and in doing so, created a style. Naturally, everyone wanted to emulate the best, so top dancers became teachers and trained other dancers who eventually taught, as well.
Teacher, Trainer, Coach, Mentor
You can’t dance; they teach you.
You can’t perform; they train you.
You can’t face defining moments of your career; they guide you.
You become a champion; they show you how to become better still.
These simple lines are enough to understand that the figure of the dance teacher evolves with you. You grow, they grow.
Be afraid of those who show off and try to please you and themselves with spectacular but difficult lessons. If you are a beginner, you need simple concepts. The same natural turn can be explained in many different ways, it just depends on the level of the student who is listening. A teacher should give you what you need at that moment. “A teacher is ready when the student is ready” my teacher once told me, and I only understood long after I first heard it.
Other Means of Dance Education
Your dance teacher is the most important person when it comes to guidance and education in dancesport. But what about acquiring extra information?
Back in the day, the only information available was from your teachers and an occasional congress. Later on, books on dancesport techniques started to appear. Some of these are extremely precious, such as Walter Laird’s The Laird Technique of Latin Dancing.
But nowadays, we have the Internet, so access to information happens in an instant. We should take advantage of that.
Many resources are available online, including books, dances and routines on YouTube, and online courses or recorded camp lectures like the ones we have on Dancesportlife Academy.
In this age, you can educate yourself very easily and from a multitude of sources: your teachers, books, articles, congresses, and of course, the Internet.
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Italian, dancing since the age of 5 and currently based in Moscow. With his partner Ekaterina Utkina, he is in the top 50 WDSF Adult Standard World Ranking, representing the Russian Federation.