William Pino – Stay True to Yourself and to the Dance | The Teacher’s Corner
“Music was and still is my driving force”
Growing up in a dance studio
Life is so unpredictable. We have no way of knowing in which direction our career will go. I was surrounded by ballroom dancing as a kid. My parents were into ballroom dancing and they had a dance studio. I was spending a lot of time there.
However, when I got older (at about 9, 10 years old), my passion for dancing awakened. At that age, the complexity of dance wasn’t very appealing to me. Despite that, I was motivated to dance. Why? Music was my driving force. I just loved to move to the rhythm of music.
Whenever I’d hear the Waltz, the Tango, or other songs, I’d immediately feel as if I were stepping right into another world. Everything else would disappear. It would only be music and me.
Considering my parents had a dance studio, the door for ballroom dancing was wide open for me. I took dancing seriously, and started training to meet certain standards. It didn’t take me long to become successful.
I was already an A-level dancer by the time I was 14-15 years old.
Anyway, I was doing fine with my partner until 16-17. But, when I met my new partner Alessandra Bucciarelli (now my wife), my life got a profound twist. From that moment on, everything that we did was fierce and powerful. We were unstoppable.
By 20, we were the only couple in the world that won all the major championships – Blackpool, International, German Open etc. At 21, we were top 6 in the world, at 26 world champions, at 27 already professionals.Needless to say, we were very happy and grateful for making such accomplishments.
Some people would say that our career was relatively short because we retired at the age of 31. Yet, we wouldn’t want it any other way. Our career was long enough for us. Besides, our tempo was so intense and strong that I don’t think we could have kept it up longer than that. When we retired, we completely focused on our teaching careers and helping others achieve their goals as dancers and/or teachers.
The starting point of my teaching career
When we retired, we were by then professional teachers. We were experienced since we had started teaching at a very young age.
We even taught couples who were competing against us. I know, that sounds strange, but we didn’t mind; we really enjoyed teaching.
As someone who has been in the world of ballroom dancing for quite a time I learned a thing or two about teaching:
Stay true to yourself
Many people try to be something they aren’t. Some people do what they do because of money, other people or their surroundings, their background. But, I think that only when you do something you were born to do, you can achieve high goals.
For example, dancers are good at dancing. They work on their skills in order to create a moving masterpiece. That’s why their performances are so compelling.
I wanted to be a ballroom teacher, not someone else. In that way, I was honest with myself.
Also, I always felt responsible for what I delivered to my students. That’s why I always looked for more information, which I got from both dancers and teachers. I wanted to promote my skills and my knowledge, because ballroom dancing is very complex and there is always room to grow.
Who do you want to be? Maybe you don’t know that yet, but eventually you’ll find that out. and when you do, make sure to stay true to yourself.
Keep the history of dance and build on it
A lot of people think that the evolution of dance automatically means you can change the structure of dance. No, it doesn’t mean that.
Ballroom dancing is the mix of music, two people and the environment. Obviously, ballroom dancing starts in a ballroom, so you need one. Then you need two people and the environment. If any of these elements is missing, then we aren’t talking about ballroom dancing, we’re talking about something else.
That way, the difference between ballroom dancers and for example, ballet dancers won’t be noticeable. Ballroom dancing has lot to give, so, don’t try to change the meaning of it. It’s called ballroom dancing for a reason.
That being said, evolving means knowing what you want and making that happen for you. It means making SMALL adjustments so that you can turn it into a personal experience.
Alessandra and I were trained by top-notch teachers/dancers. We would learn from them, and then we’d add our individual touch to choreography, clothing, everything. That’s why we seemed so confident and natural when performing. You should do the same, learn from others, but personalize what you learned. Make it your own!
Be able to say “I did it my way”
Today, more than ever, the highlight is on marketing. For example, if a trend is all about running, we should all run. When it’s about slowing down, we should all do the same. So, most people in dancesport follow the crowd.
But, I don’t think that’s the key to success. Alessandra and I weren’t fans of doing what everyone else was. Instead, we tried to do it our way; we wanted to be the ones that influence the next trend.
Walk the Talk
I already mentioned a few times that ballroom dancing isn’t simple. It’s much more than fancy clothes and glow.
In order to be a teacher at a high level, you have to walk the talk.
People think that it’s enough to learn how to teach theory to become an expert. However, what you learn should be put into practice.You cannot learn anything fully without actually experiencing it.
Since we came to the end of my article, I’d like to tell you one more thing. I think that it’s crucial we ask ourselves from time to time why we do something. Music was, is, and will be my driving force. Dancing and teaching are my passions.
So, what about you? Why you do it? If your “WHY” is strong enough, you have better chances to succeed.
Photography: Dmitriy Plevnev