We have taught dancing at all levels, beginner to advanced competitive to Professional, for over 30 years. Regardless if a student is a beginner or an advanced level student, they still deserve quality instruction and, always, respect.
In the ballroom world, I often inherit clientele from dance teachers who forget these precepts. Those students started out with great goals. Learning dance is supposed to be a fun and extremely enjoyable and fulfilling journey of personal discovery of aesthetics and ability. If the teacher fails to believe in the potential of their student, fails to deliver actual quality or, of utmost importance, respect the student, lessons and activities degenerate into a stressful experience of hard work, personal losses and overwhelming self-doubts. Since offering services for children, we discovered that it is no different. We have inherited children and parents who were either referred to us for our quality and care, or found us because their previous studios were simply not equipped to properly care for the child dancer. No surprise there when you consider my wife and partner (Cree) and our key teacher for introducing children to dance carry advanced education in early childhood development which you will typically not find in a dance school for children.
Some of the best moments I’ve had as a teacher have been as simple as taking a student onto the floor for their first performance, rooting for a couple I choreographed their wedding's 1st dance for, to as moving as winning championships with my pre-teen and teen juniors and up competitive ladies and couples. Teaching couples to dance well together is another joy of mine mainly because of the transformation I see in them as they gain confidence in something that they will enjoy together for the rest of their lives. We take great joy in seeing very young dancers learn to become independent, socialize and develop, as do we when our older dancers exceed what they thought were their limitations.
My own journey began after being inspired by the movie, "Dirty Dancing" with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey and shortly thereafter, discovering a want ad for people interested in learning how to teach ballroom dance. What I have since found as unique to my circumstances was the studio regularly brought in many high level trainers from across the world. I worked with them often and gained the perspectives of exceptionally talented and knowledgeable luminaries far above what one typically finds in many schools. No matter how insanely good they were, their successes were only as valuable as their care and respect for those they worked with.
During my years as a professional competitor, my teachers helped me realize the power of simplicity. My rankings improved to the degree my dancing felt simple and I was then free to perform and dance in the moment. As a teacher then, one thing I really work to make real to my students is that becoming better in their dance ability centers around simplicity. Dancing well is not (and should not be) a complicated activity and I sincerely believe anyone can be as good as they want. Of course, patience and practice are key aspects, but ultimately, simple is what you're going for.
I have since made it my mission then, to help my student's grow into their potential and enjoy the art of dance by helping them discover the simplicity of high quality movement with respect and courtesy, and just as important, FUN!
See you on the dance floor,