Reasons for a New Teacher in Couples Dancing

The first thing that is most non dual teacher is that there really is no such thing as a good teacher or a good student. There is really only such thing as a good student teacher relationship. Admittedly, some people can teach in many different types of relationship and some people can learn in many different relationships. We might be inclined to say these people are good teachers and students respectively, but it is still the relationship that is important. This is important to realise because it allows us to deal with the relationship and not any individual.

What do you want from dance?

I recall talking to a fellow student who danced because she wanted a break from work. She was an executive woman who was thinking all day and taking on many challenges. The last thing she wanted as another challenge in her life. So when her instructor said to her ‘If your dance is not improving, then I am failing as a teacher’, she felt a lot of the fun in dance evaporate. In truth, she probably wanted to be pushed around the dance floor for an hour a week by a man who knew what he was doing and maybe who would offer the occasional pointer on how to improve.

I also recall another fellow dance student who started going to technique classes because he felt the his usual classes, while being enjoyable, were not helping him develop as much as he wanted. He definitely needed a challenge in his life and dance was what he wanted to provide him with that.

The above two examples show to extremes, but even that might not cover what you want. Do you like learning about lots of dances; do you like to know about their history; do you simply want to dance better than others; do you simply want to be able to say you can dance; have you reached a new level that needs a new approach to teaching (this is often the hardest one to realise because it happens slowly)? Chances are you want a mix of these and some other things out of couples dancing.

Before you can determine if you need to change instructors you need to be clear about what you want. It’s also worth noting if this is different from what you once wanted too. Things change. If your teacher is not suitable for what you want out of dance, then that is a reason to change.

Changing your teacher first

You will be surprised how responsive a teacher might be when you talk about what you feel you’re not getting. Step one is to tell them what you want, but feel you’re not getting. How you word this is up to you, but I good start is ‘I feel like I can’t…. as well as I would like’ or ‘I feel like we are not… as we could be’. See how in each case you actually never said anything directly about the teacher. This can help you raise a concern without feeling like you are criticizing anyone, which we sometimes have troubles doing. Then see what they say. Typically, they will want to accommodate you, and you might find that they will start to ask if you want things to change.

Another option is to take advantage of their wisdom. Sometimes they forget what they know. Try this line ‘I have a question: how can I…?’ This will open up the dialogue, and you will possibly find that it will allow you to raise many other concerns that can be dealt with. This will then potentially lead to a better relationship for you.

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