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5 Common Mistakes Dance Teachers Make At Congresses

With over a hundred students in one room, Dance Teachers are challenged in their teaching skills. Most Dance Teachers are extremely talented at Dancing that made them well known for their art and mastery within this field. But when it balls down to teaching, they can fail drastically!

Being an effective Teacher will draw in Students and gain even more popularity. Failing so, can put students off forever attending another one of their classes, no matter how talented of a Dancer they may be.

As a Dance Student, my initial aim was to experience as many different Teachers as possible. Assessing each style, teaching method and personality. My main goal was and still is to become a proficient Dancer on the dance floor within the shortest amount of time.

Dance Teachers with the better teaching skills had always been top of my list because I can see myself benefiting most from their clear and precise instructions. Those lacking teaching skills would only hinder growth, cause confusion, decrease in confidence, loss of enthusiasm and wasting a valuable session.

Now... Lets get to the 5 Common Mistakes Dance Teachers Make At Congresses...

1 Forgetting to Rotate Partners!
Don't you just hate it when everyone is so quick at grabbing a partner like it's a Christmas or New Years sales. Failing to do so, you'll end up without a partner and standing there like an idiot. No one likes that, so please Teacher, reassure us that we are not left out!

2We Can't See You! 
Being a short-arse at only 5ft 7inches, I know how difficult it is to see over the shoulder of Giants. Not being able to see what the teachers are demonstrating can be extremely frustrating, especially when they have moved onto the next part of the sequence and you are still trying to work out what the previous part was!

3 zZz.. Talking Too Much! Please Move On!
I've been to classes where we really really really wished the Teachers would move on to the next part. Looking at everyone's bored and yawning faces, you can see the enthusiasm completely drained out of them! Yet... the Teacher would still ramble on!

4 Long Routine = Brain Overload!
With only an hour and a massive class filled with people of different levels, it is very difficult to teach long complex routines!

There may only be a couple of geniuses within the class capable of remembering the entire routine and executing every move perfectly. Unfortunately, I am not one of them...

Long routines are mentally challenging, prone to more mistakes and last thing you want is muscle memory storing any bad habits and mistakes because you were trying too hard beyond capacity.

Bite size learning had always been an effective and efficient way to learn. Even teaching a short routine but focusing on getting it right and spending the time to fix student's mistakes would offer much better results.

"Classes that taught one single complex move are the one's I can still remember without any additional practice. All the long routines classes I have completely forgotten!"

5 Dumbing Down An Advance Class!
Do you think this is a wise choice? I have mix feelings for this one.

During many Advance classes, I've noticed how some Teachers ask the Students to have a dance to a song and they would observe and assess the majority level of the Students. They would then teach according to their assessment.

The question is why does the Teachers do this? Is it because they want most of the Students to be able to get something out of this class? On the down side, it means the Students who are capable of learning Advance Classes would not benefit. This was suppose to be an Advanced Class after all!

Being modest, I would call myself an Intermediate Level Dancer. Having previously joined classes beyond my level, not because I think I could handle it, but to get a little experience of what Advance Classes were like. If the Teachers lowered the teaching material, it kind of eliminates my point of testing the water to see where I, myself stand when it comes to Self-Assessment.

I personally think this is a mistake! Many would probably argue; "A Teachers' role include helping their students gain confidence rather than teaching materials beyond the students' level and utterly destroying all the confidence they have to begin with."


What are the possible solutions to some of these problems?

We could suggest that the Congress Organisers produce a guideline/checklist for their teachers. This means, there will be common teaching practice across the entire congress.

Overall teaching quality would increase. Congress would get more praises, Students would be happier! Everyone benefits! WIN:WIN:WIN scenerio!

The Teachers' Guideline/Checklist!

This Guideline/Checklist came about by combining ideas from different Teachers' teaching methods.

  1. Warmup.
  2. Introduction (if required).
  3. Ask the class to grab a partner, make a circle and let students know that those who doesn't want to rotate to be outside of this circle.
  4. Reassure those who doesn't have a partner that there will be regular rotation.
  5. Explain who will rotate (Ladies or Gents) AND the direction to rotate (this sounds simple, but really us students do get confused).
  6. Tell the class what you plan to teach.
  7. Demonstrate the whole concept you plan to teach.
  8. EACH time you demonstrate and explain the next step, please ask the front row or inner circle to sit down so the people behind can see.
  9. Explain the Male Leading part.
  10. Explain the Female Following part.
  11. Explain common mistakes. Add some humor!
  12. REMEMBER to rotate partners!
  13. Half way point, it's comforting when teachers walk around helping those who are having difficulties before progressing any further. (You have to a time schedule to keep and can't assist everyone, we understand that).
  14. Final Demonstration step-by-step with summary explanation for filming.
  15. Final Demonstration with music for filming.
  16. Thank the class for attending and do your sale's pitch to SELL SELL SELL your CD's, DVD's, and other merchandises! $$$

Most teachers would have done majority of this listing, but not all. If we don't give them feedback, who will? Is there anything else you really think ought be on this checklist? Don't be afraid to voice your opinion! Please comment or if you prefer to be anonymous, send me a private email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Update: I have highlighted and updated the Guideline/Checklist Point 3, due to feedback. A fellow Zouker and Friend suggested this point to be extended because she felt that it should be a Teacher's role to explain class etiquette to Students.

The problem was some students who refuses to rotate whatever their reason and they are standing in the class circle that affects the rotation and causes confusion to why they are not rotating.

This solution came when one Teacher actually told the class that it's okay for those who does not want to rotate but to please move to the outside of the circle.

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