General Dance Discussion > Gripe: Self-appointed teachers

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by jennyisdancing, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. Zhena

    Zhena Well-Known Member

    And this is why I still miss my teacher who left the studio almost a year ago. When I had trouble understanding something, he would try another approach, and another, and another ... as needed ... until he found the one that I connected with. He had experienced many different types of students and had paid attention to their different ways of learning, so he had an enormous set of tools for communicating the concepts behind dancing well. Our current teacher is good for most concepts but she just doesn't have that ability to always understand my blockages and help me get over them. Sigh ...
     
  2. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    Interesting that you said this. I wanted to articulate this very idea but I couldn't quickly come up with the right words earlier.
     
  3. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    3 years, I was learning to speed skate and work on a technique commonly known (among rollerbladers) as stride-3. My left and right strides were not symmetrical and I wasn't making any progress. My coach at that time observed that I have a stiff neck/shoulder which I won't relax. After a lot of discussions and trials, I still didn't really get it. I never did master the stride and lost interest. (I still skate - but just not long distances or very fast).

    2 years ago, my dance teacher was helping me with basic movement and turns - and I was hopeless unbalanced and asymmetrical. She made the same observation using almost the same words. "Relax your neck and shoulder and you'll do way better. You have a stiff shoulder on one side and that's toppling your balance". I didn't get it. I asked my peers and they all agreed with her. But I didn't understand. Without understanding, I didn't know what to rectify...

    About a year ago, I went to a chiropractic for initial consultation. He tood some x-rays and explained that my longtime bad posture has been putting a lot of pressure on my spine in the neck-shoulder area and showed me some minor deformities in the x-ray that was causing me pain. He also showed the areas and muscles that were badly under strain. And then said the same word, "you aren't helping by keeping you neck/shoulder stiff. Try to relax and keep good posture" - and lo! it clicked. I've been able to relax since then. I tried stride-3 once after that, and I noticed that I could get the technique right with good left-right symmetry!

    I'm certainly not dumb - but sometimes, even good teachers can't communicate using the exact ideas, words and visualizations that makes sense to each of her (presumably good) students. So students constantly are forced to seek out the 'eureka' moments everywhere.

    This is a general statement - this is how it works everywhere. The distinction here is that with good teachers, the number of ideas that they are able to convey effectively is enormous and they only leave a few ideas communicated less-than-satisfactorily.I'm sure that this generalization applies to dance instruction as well.. :)
     
  4. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Definitely, Quix.. Though it sounds to me like your dance teacher and your chiropractor said basically the same exact thing. My guess is perhaps it made more sense at the chiropractor because you were shown x rays and could better visualize the problem? But that's a good example of how learning differs from one student to the next and one teacher to the next.

    ITA about the good teachers. As I said, I've had some really good ones and typically they teach about 95 percent of things well and are hit or miss on the other 5 percent. For that other 5 percent, I've had good success supplementing my learning with workshops or occasional lessons from other teachers.

    I also had a moment where I was able to help a friend with this kind of issue. This is a guy who competes in ballroom so I know he dances well. But he said he had trouble with salsa, that he couldn't get the rhythm of it. I just told him to stop on counts 4 & 8 and demonstrated it. He instantly got it and was so happy! Can't imagine how a teacher didn't already explain that part, but I guess you never know. But in reference to my original post, I only helped when asked and in a friend-to-friend kind of way. I didn't act as if I were a teacher or offer unsolicited advice.
     
  5. Me

    Me New Member

    And that is a very important distinction. :)
     
  6. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    So, the difference wasn't really what was said, but that you were ready to hear it at that time. Unless maybe the additional medical info and seeing the xrays helped put you in the frame of mind to hear it (or did the chiro give you a treatment that might have helped you to get the uscles relaxed the first time).

    That happens to me all the time. My pro will say something over and over, in all different kinds of ways, and I won't get or I'll get it temporarily and it won't stick. Then all of a sudden, when I'm ready, it will make a kind of sense it never did before and I'll get it once and for all (at least at that level). I usually tease him at those moments by asking him, "Why didn't you ever tell me that before?" :p

    I think the "aha" usually happens when the info fits in with something else that has been developing, either physically or mentally.
     
  7. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member


    all the academic discussion about pedagogy aside,the point remains that unsolicited advice should be only offered very very carefully taking care to establish that despite not being asked that such advice is not unwelcome, and even then done sparsely, and at that very tactfully...
     
  8. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    x-rays, comparision with baseline, explained in front of the mirror shirtless.. also massage :)
     
  9. Me

    Me New Member

    Ooohh... Sounds kinda kinky. (Ha ha, chiropractors, kinky... okay I'll shut up now.)
     
  10. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Kinky jokes aside, it does sound like you understood the situation better because of more direct visuals and more physical contact with the muscles in question. But you were in a professional medical setting. However, your dance teacher can't massage your problem areas or ask you to remove your shirt! It would be unprofessional and possibly considered sexual harassment so she was more limited in the ways she could help you. Not that it isn't a fantasy if the teacher is attractive. :wink:
     
  11. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    Well, if my pro is trying to get me to understand how to activate certain muscles, he'll have me put my hands on him as he does it and/or put his hands on my muscles so I can feel where to activate. :raisebro:

    Of course, that's limited to the back, shoulders, and upper abs--not when we're talking about activating the inner thighs!
     
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    sort of like today...I felt like I was some new recipe that pro was trying out...he had the coaching notes in one hand and me in the other, lol...and we'd step and then he's stop with his hand still on me and read some more...since he's been to chef school it sort of reminded me of stirring with one hand and reading the recipe with the other...guess ya had to be there...I found it very very amusing...like being ingredients to some new thing he was whipping up...
     
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    but BOT....learning...wherever it can come from is a great thing..often I find that I learn when fellow students ask me for help
     
  14. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member


    I just laughed so hard when I read this paragraph. It was very cute, because I can picture that happening lol!

    But out of all seriousness, if I question someone's ability, I'll just flat out say that my instructor only wants me to learn from him, but thank you anyways! It works, and my instructor is more than fine with it since we do have our own agenda right now anyhow. It's firm, polite, and I haven't had one question me yet after that. Not to say that they won't, but it's worked so far! ;)
     
  15. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    I didn't think of the kinky joke angle... mostly because the chiropractor in question was a guy... :doh:
     
  16. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Larinda, I think I've danced with that guy....

    I've only ever gotten REALLY ticked at one dance-floor teacher. When it comes to different teaching styles getting through, though, I just had a minor 'aha' moment regarding that. With my ex-pro, Swing used to be my problem dance. I could NOT get it, to the point I told my current pro I hated it. It's now my best dance with him. The group lesson (taught by my ex-pro) this month is Swing and as he was teaching the basic, it hit me what the problem had been--he was asking for exactly what my current pro was, but he was phrasing it in a way that was just not getting through to me. Even knowing now what he was looking for, listening too much was throwing me off. They both were conveying the same information, but my current pro happens to present it in a way that makes sense to me. Whereas I'm sure there are people for whom the ex-pro's method works great. Sometimes it does matter who's presenting the information, and that's between two very qualified professional teachers. It's like my littles in skating and their swizzles--some grasped the concept instantly, others I'm still trying to come up with a way to convey the information that will make sense and get them to do physically what I'm trying to describe verbally. It's not a competancy issue on their part, it's a learning style thing.
     
  17. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Matching teaching style to learning style is still my favorite pont to make here, but you guys seem to have covered it while I was away. :)

    Best dancer (and even best teacher) in the world won't help you learn somethign if they can't find a teaching style that matches what you need to learn it.
     
  18. meow

    meow New Member

    I hate it when I see a mother of a child on the sidelines of the floor trying to instruct them. They are not a teacher and they are usually wrong and just put the kid under undue pressure. Part of dancing is enjoyment. Some mothers need to know when to butt out.
     
  19. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    You have omitted the most important thing...that which the OP objected to in the first place. The problem is that the unsolicited advice had better be RIGHT. And most often, it is not.
     
  20. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    I totally agree here! The same applies for every situation in life like what you have said, not just dance. But it's not only that though, some people just don't know how to teach. Just because they are a great whatever, that doesn't mean that they can teach the subject. I've learned this throughout my lifetime. The only thing that you can do at this point is to find someone that works for you. It's your money that you are spending, so it's your decision as to who you want to go to. No one else can decide this for you even though some may try to.
     

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