Choosing the right dance instructor can be tricky, especially when you’re starting out. However, if you do some leg-work in the beginning, it can set the tone for how much you enjoy your lessons, and how successful you can become in your dancing. I’ve compiled a list of 5 questions you should think about when you’re starting or re-evaluating your dance journey.
1) Do they have experience?
Depending on your goals the amount of experience necessary for your instructor may vary, but big picture your instructor should be qualified to teach your dance needs. When you’re working with an experienced instructor, they have the ability to see the big picture for your dancing, and because of this, the journey will be more fun and successful.
2) Are they a good dancer?
This is an essential ingredient for a dance instructor. They don’t have to be an undefeated world champion in dancing, but having proper dance skills serves as the foundation for their teaching, and their understanding of dancing. Also, dancing with an instructor who has strong dance skills will make your lessons more fun and inspiring.
3) Are they a good instructor?
This one is a no brainer; we all understand how important this is for a dance instructor to teach well. One thing to note, its one thing to be a good dancer, but being able to teach somebody to dance well is an entirely different matter. Good instruction includes things like planning for your lessons, clarity of explanations, following through on what they’ve taught you (you shouldn’t be learning random things all the time) – this type of instruction will make your lessons flow nicely and achieve results.
4) How do their students look?
This is an important one – the quality of the student the instructor produces is like their resume. You should like the style that their current students dance at their appropriate level. The other thing you should look for is that their students aren’t stagnant – they should be getting better over time. This correlates with question 2 & 3; every instructor can bring you to a certain point that matches their level of experience. For example, someone can teach you a few basic things and get you comfortable with that – and somebody can actually teach you to become a world class dancer, either socially or competitively for years to come.
5) How do you feel when you take a lesson with them?
A part of making you a good dancer should include you feel successful about the progress you are making. The actual progress should come before the feeling of being successful; you do not want an instructor who is blowing smoke about how well you are doing when you’re not actually progressing.
If you are in a constant state of overwhelm, and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel it’s probably not the best fit. You want to be challenged, but a qualified instructor knows that you need to focus your energy on achieving “one thing at a time”, versus “all the things, all the time”.
When you are looking for an instructor feel free to test it out! You are investing your money and time, and you should get results while enjoying the process. Take a few lessons with them, and analyze it throughout. On the opposite end, if you’ve been with an instructor for a long period of time and are just treading water, you may need to analyze your situation and see if it’s time to move on.
As always, the best conversations happen in the comment section. I want to know:
What is the most important factor to you when choosing a dance instructor?