"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #168, Thursday, February 5, 2004
So, you want to be a Teacher
... Dance Teacher of course. There could be several reasons why one would like to be a dance teacher. Not that this is the most lucrative and rich life style, I think most people are driven to be a dance teacher because of their "passion" for dancing. I sometimes compare dance teachers to artists and painters. Only a few become Picasso and Van Gogh but for them it is the only thing they can do, no matter what adversity and they dedicate their lives doing what they love most.
Getting Over the Psychological Barriers: Like a great coach (I cannot remember the name) once said that Dance Teachers are no different from students or any other dancers except that they spend more time and keep disseminating the information they acquire on a daily basis. So, if you want to become a dance teacher, just wake up one day and say "I want to be a dance teacher" and believe me either you are or will be soon. However this is easier said than done.
What is the most important thing for a beginning dance teacher? You must get serious about learning and retaining the information. Every single dance lesson you take as a student is your lesson also as a student teacher. All you have to do is the following:
1. Take notes and jot down every thing you heard in that lesson.
2. Go home, read all your notes again and try to act out the steps, etc., both as a man and as a lady. Read again and keep working at it till you take your next lesson.
3. Analyze and Research: You must try to get to the standard technique that is either available in a book form or a good video. Compare the notes to standard technique and try to reach some sane conclusions as to who is saying what and what makes more logical sense. Dance Teachers are plain human beings and subject to same idiosyncrasies as any one else.
4. Syllabus Orientation: Whatever style, you must get your hands on Basic Syllabus and get your dance terms right. The lessons you are taking are perhaps like a big jigsaw puzzle and your job is to fit these pieces in the right place. You will never get all the pieces and some missing pieces you will have to develop yourself.
5. Patience: Someday the puzzle will be almost complete but it will be a battle all along. Don't be discouraged.
6. Practice on a student model: There is always someone who will appreciate your keenness amongst your peers if you share the knowledge that you are acquiring. This friend of yours, he or she, will think you are doing a favor to them; actually it is the other way around.
7. How long will it take?. Well that is so variable. I know some have walked off the street and have been hired as a teacher by a desperate studio and then one can spend years after years and yet not get anywhere. I say average 2 years for each one of the style i.e. Ballroom or Latin.
In the coming weeks I will share with you some real life experiences to give you an insight and help you prepare for the Test. Best Wishes, Max