General Dance Discussion > Help I can only seem to dance with my Teacher

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Vanessa Knowles, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    Well maybe not social dancing in particular... A practice lead would do her much better.
     
    Loki likes this.
  2. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    I have seen many ladies that spend $5,000 on dance lessons. They think they are great dancers until they get a reality check when they go to a social dance.

    I'm not sure why, but this rarely happens to men that take private lessons. Maybe the pros assume most men want to learn social dance (but I'm only guessing). I would be curious to hear from some of the pros here why this happens mostly to women.
     
  3. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    One year is not much in the way of getting to be a competent dancer, especially if one
    doesn't already have a dance or dance-related background. Different people also learn
    at different rates, some excelling early and others late, and some remaining mediocre
    and some becoming expert, in whatever types/genres of partner dance of relevance.
    People also learn in different ways, some needing explicit instructions and others
    primarily preferring self discovery.

    Although the improvement process may take quite a while, one can start thinking about
    one's goals all along the way, to home in on what one really wants or makes one happy,
    honing the appropriate skills to get there.

    A lot of dancers are happy just taking lessons and doing comps or shows, not finding
    social dancing with many people of much value. You mention that you find private
    lessons most enjoyable, but yet want to be good at social dancing (eventually).

    If your goal is really to be competent at social dancing, then you just have to do
    things to head that way. You need to ask the instructor to show you things which
    are more geared for easy dancing with many partners (if instructor can), rather than
    fancy moves that only work with one partner. You need to go out and dance socially.
    You need to get over the embarrassment of being clumsy. You need to figure out
    how to be more coordinated. The learning process involves both instructions
    for understanding better technique (and recognizing bad technique) and practice
    to hone one's instincts. Of course, there's mental/physical/emotional/etc. development
    that goes along with learning, be it in dance or any other activity.

    Even experts will lose toe nails now and then, and likely suffer much heavier injury.
     
  4. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    Let me comment on the toes getting stepped on, which I'm sure most ladies will disagree with. I had an instructor who said that 90% of the time a lady gets stepped on it's her fault. If she keeps proper frame a guy shouldn't step on her even if the guy steps on the wrong foot.

    My first really good dance teacher asked me upfront if I want to learn social dancing or do I want to do competitions. I chose social dancing and that is what she teaches me even to this day. It's worth considering that she is 6 time World Country Champion so she knows something about competition.

    I chose social dancing because I figured I wanted to dance with as many ladies as possible -- although I really didn't understand why there would be a difference. For me I made a wise choice.

    I suspect that most instructors don't ask this question. Shame on them!

    The OP would be well served to take a lesson or two with somebody else and tell them you want to do social dancing only. Then compare your two teachers to see what the difference is. It wouldn't hurt to discuss this with your current pro.
     
    LateToTheDance likes this.
  5. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I would say that if both partners are competent, if one or the other gets stepped on, it's probably their own fault whether they are the lead or the follow. On the other hand, I dance with a fair number of newbies on Friday night, and I've developed the ability to tell when I'm about to get stepped on and move my foot at least far enough so that her heel can't get me.
     
    ocean-daughter and RiseNFall like this.
  6. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member

    I started probably just before you, about 1.5 years ago. After 4 months of private lessons, I was encouraged to go to studio parties and after 6 months, I started going to group classes as well. I also go to socials outside of the studio as well (because they are probably trained differently).

    The first studio party, I was nervous as heck, but all the instructors helped me dance with other people. If anything, at least dance with an instructor other than the one doing privates with you. You should try dancing with beginners and intermediate students. Sure, it may not feel good sometimes, but it'll help you adapt.

    I've danced with beginners in some classes (though they were intermediate/advanced classes) and as a lead, I've had to help them adjust their timing (as a lead) because they just try to get through the pattern without letting me lead.

    Eventually, you learn how to adapt. It's a matter of being able to read people no matter how long you've danced with them. And as some people have said, your instructor is a professional, so they know how to cover up mistakes. I've had instructors who purposely dance poorly during private lessons to help me learn how to lead properly. e.g. they pretend they don't know the step, they act really heavy or they act really light.

    Once you've danced with different people, it will feel good.

    Now, let me ask you this question. How was your first lesson? Did it feel good? I'm guessing probably not, so it'll be a similar experience. It's all part of the learning experience. Keep with it.
     
  7. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member


    Just a wild guess here since I'm a student, but looking at the posts:
    -Women want to feel good and a pro does that for them.
    -Men just want to be able gain confidence on the dance floor. However, I think a lot of men that take private lessons only, are already in a relationship, but the others all dance socially.

    Wild guess.
     
  8. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Not true in my case. I dance socially with many different women with a wide range of skills, and also take private lessons. But my lessons focus on technique, as learning competition or showcase routines is of little value for social dancing.
     
  9. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member

    I think that's my point. You dance socially. I'm talking about people who take private lessons only, no social dancing and no group classes. I'm talking about someone who exclusively does privates and nothing else.
     
  10. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Trying to understand why someone would take private lessons and then not use the skills somehow. While some may choose to limit this to competitions or showcases, that's at least using your skills. And dancing exclusively with a spouse/significant other could count as a use as well (I would call that unsocial social dancing ;). But to _only_ take private lessons? Maybe as a short term thing, but eventually you should "leave the nest".
     
    ocean-daughter likes this.
  11. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member

    Well, what if they their SO was a dancer and they weren't and they were trying to surprise them? And are you saying you can't "socialize" with your SO? No wonder the divorce rate is so high these days!! j/k.
     
  12. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member

    But seriously, my point to the OP is that you will only feel comfortable dancing with others through practice and patience.
     
    Loki, Mr 4 styles and RiseNFall like this.
  13. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Not saying that. You can socialize with your SO, but to only dance with that SO is not really social IMO. I know married couples who dance with each other. I have a friend whose husband only dances Standard and she likes to dance smooth with me.
     
  14. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member

    HAHA. You know I was being sarcastic and joking right? lol.
     
  15. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    This sounds like an insult thinly disguised as a question. I would be curious to hear why you harp on women so much (which I have seen in numerous other threads).

    Most studios lean primarily either social or competitive. Instructors tend to steer students towards the studio forte if the student doesn't walk in with a clear reason for why they are there.
     
  16. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    It's already been said, but if you want to get good at dancing with other people, you have to go to socials. I tell this to people all the time at my studio.... you need to attend the weekly practice party if you really want to cement your knowledge and develop the ability to dance with different partners. The first few will probably be rocky but it eventually gets easier. Group classes are a good intermediate step to what you are trying to achieve, but at the end of the day, it's the socials/parties that are going to enable you to accomplish what you are trying to do.
     
  17. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    In order to be a social dancer you need to be social and be dancing
     
  18. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    So talk more while dancing? You got it! :wacky:
     
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  19. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    Sooooooo can't wait to talk/dance with Maggie :p:p
     
  20. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    While studios do have social or competitive focus, my experience is that pretty much all studios
    steer students towards comps/shows because that's where the money is. It's pretty difficult
    to teach partner dancing with the goal of "social dancing" as no instructor can convey to students
    all the crazy things that can happen on the social floor. The "social" studios may push the
    social agenda by sponsoring social dances and events that encourage student mingling and
    interactions, but it's the lessons with the aim for comps/shows (and wedding couples) that sustain
    the business. From the student standpoint, the definitive goals of comps/shows/wedding-show also
    makes sense over the ethereal notion of random steps and fuzzy technique.

    Of course, it becomes the onus of the student to figure out how to translate the material
    from lessons that focus on specific ways to do moves to social dancing that usually smears
    the ways, sometimes by a little and sometimes a lot.

    The trend of dance events/comps to squeeze out social dancing from their schedules is
    also evidence that social dancing of itself is bad business (for studios and instructors,
    not social dance organizers).
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016

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