Swing Discussion Boards > Kicked out of class

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by hepcat, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    I had a horrible experience at an event recently. I'll keep names and places out of this because it's not my intent to bad mouth anyone or any event.

    I was at a workshop. I'd driven a whole day to get there and got very little sleep on a friend's floor, so when I was there, I was fatigued and not really "feelin' it", if you know what I mean. My legs and arms were sort of shakey and my head just wasn't in the game. You know, sometimes you feel "on" and sometimes you just feel "off" and that particular morning, I was feeling off and was just sort of going through the motions. I'd been having a stressful few weeks at work.

    Well, I'd registered for an advanced class, but I wasn't worried despite the verbal disclaimer that it was only for advanced dancers. The really good dancers don't know me because I never compete. I get too nervous and rarely ask really good dancers I don't know to dance. [Yes, I know I should get over it.] Ironically, I told a somewhat lesser experienced follow who had accompanied me that if she felt like it was over her head, she could come to me and I'd take the class with her out of rotation. Well, we were warming up and dancing a bit with different people before the class officially started. I think I was doing OK. I certainly was displaying a competent grasp of some complex moves - just maybe without quite my usual dynamic or creativity. Then all of a sudden one of the organizers came over and told me I couldn't take the class! She'd asked me where I'd learned and I told her (honestly) mostly from tapes and workshops (since there's no one who teaches it near where I live). So she told me I had to go to the beginner class! But after I sort of stood there in shock for a moment, she said "or you can find someone to stay out of rotation with you."

    Now, as I said, I've been having a rough couple weeks and this weekend was a chance for me to unwind and here I was getting essentially thrown out of class! I felt like I was going to cry! I'd had one other run-in with this girl who was throwing me out before a couple years ago, so I knew she was a rude and mean person and had avoided her since, but it was little consolation since I didn't feel like I'd been dancing well at that particular moment. I retreated to my friend with this girl at my heels and asked her if she'd stay out of rotation with me, as otherwise, I'd have had to leave. She of course rescued me and we took the class. We got through it no problem. The move was advanced, but I got it fairly quickly. It was essentially a combo of two moves I do all the time with a little fancy footwork added in. Still, the incident had ruined my day.

    Later that day, I went along with my friends to the dance, but I was still in a rather sour self-conscious mood. I danced with my friends when they asked me, but other than that, I sat out all but the last (maybe) 20 minutes of the dance just feeling generally miserable. One of my buddies took first place in the competition, so that sort of helped extinguish the bad mood a little. By the end of the dance, talking with friends, joking around, and encouraging a beginner friend who was reluctant to ask leads to dance, I was finally able to lift the fog and start asking the local girls to dance. I first danced with one woman who afterwards exclaimed "That was awesome!". She was a better dancer than I - very good. I'd told her a little bit about how I'd been essentially kicked out of the advanced class earlier that day and she was shocked. She asked me for a second dance (of the style taught in the class) and I obliged. Later, she said that of all the leads there that weekend, including the instructors, she ranked my basic lead as number 2 (i.e. better than all but one of the instructors - all of whom she danced with)! She said that the organizers would be getting a letter from her (as she personally knows all of them). I asked her not to, but she said that it wasn't for me. She said that enforcing proper levels for the classes was a new thing this year and that the system they'd used to enforce it was obviously broken. She didn't want other people to have the same bad experience I did and consequently not return for other events. I'd admitted that I'd had thoughts along those lines although I knew I'd have gone again anyways just to have fun with my dance friends.

    When I left on the last day, I'd found her to thank her again for being so nice and she said that she wasn't just "being nice". She reiterated that it was simply true.

    One of the last classes I took that weekend was the masters class (a step above advanced). It literally denoted on the schedule "super advanced only". Given I'd developed a complex about being worried about being kicked out, I'd pre-arranged for my friend to again stay out of rotation with me. And again, the class was no problem - challenging, but not beyond me. I'd actually learned the moves before from the same instructor, so it was a good chance to polish them up.

    I couldn't look that girl (who tried to throw me out) in the eye the entire weekend and I occassionally wondered if she'd changed her mind about my skill after possibly seeing me dance again. That's the worst I've ever felt at a dance event and despite the nice woman who encouraged me at the dance, it's gonna take me awhile to shake that experience.

    -Hepcat
     
  2. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    I don't do swing, but ouch! I think some instructors shoud be bashed with a baseball club. :mad:
    Don't feel bad, hepcat. You were obviously out of shape at that particular moment and she dismissed you as a beginner. It was very un-professional of her. I also consider it really wrong and sort of rude that she asked you where you learnt. That's like saying that unless you're taking classes, you're no good. What was that all about? Honestly, I think your friend was right about writing a letter to them.
    I know it feels bad. but don't let it get to you. It was her fault, not yours. :hug:

    Twilight Elena
     
  3. normalized

    normalized New Member

    At the risk of sounding like I'm siding with the "bad" people, I think in your position, I would have had a conversation with the woman to find out why she objected to you being in that level. It might or might not be warranted but could also impart a new insight into things you're doing that you're not aware of. If most of the learning you've done had been with videos or weekend/week workshops than it's very possible that your dancing has technical issues that certain teachers will notice. Possible things (for lindy at least): triple steps being off or nonexisting, the connection is off, the postures is incorrect, the swingout is not quite there, etc. etc. And the critique of you is independent of the fact of whether you can learn the material or not. But whether you should be there.

    I'm saying this because I had a similar thing happen to me, I went to a lindy camp far from home, enrolled in the "intermediate advanced" level with many dancers from my home scene that I believed I was in the same level with and told to go down a level. The way they did this was to pick you out of the class and you were told to audition in front of all the teachers. This was very nerve racking and I did poorly. There was no way you could protest this and I had no idea who made the decision and why. Adding fuel to my anger was the news that people who just never showed up for audition were not dealt with in any way, ie: they stayed where they were. The follows who knew me were also incredulous that this had happened.

    The rest of the camp consisted of me asking all the teachers on a one-to-one basis for feedback and basically being told they did not mark me down. Finally I found out it was a certain well know teacher who noticed certain technical things I had, mostly that I had a tendency to do the "outstretched arms" things during leading. I only know this because I ended up booking a rather pricey private with this teacher just to know what happened.

    the things I took away from this is that, you might be doing something wrong and not knowing this, and judgement can be subjective due to who's noticing and when. It might not be a dealbreaker but it might be to a certain teacher. Also it made me want to get my basics down. Beginner's have a tendency to quickly go past this phase in order in their minds to get better quicker. Also, I now have a tendency to place myself at levels I should be or lower, ultimately classes that deal with strenghtening your basics end up to be more useful than the "advanced" class that teaches special, difficult techniques/moves.

    And it's always better to be a better dancer in that level rather than someone who's struggling. Work on your dancing so that no one can doubt your level and you know it, because we've all known dancers who think they are better than they are, don't be one of them.

    And until that happens, be humble and learn, cause' after that you'll be kickass....
     
  4. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    Wow! And I thought the ballroom world was brutal! I can't imagine being treated like that at a workshop.
     
  5. normalized

    normalized New Member

    That's what I said too, however I attribute this more to the poorly organized/thought out nature of the camp, I know that for that camp, many people were very dissatisfied with the level they were placed at. Now, I tend to save my money for privates and try to be more selective with my camp choices.

    Also another thing is that in ballroom, the standards are pretty much well known, in Lindy there is no syllabus and there probably shouldn't be one, but that means it's harder for dancers to know where they stand. I also attribute this to teachers not really giving enough feedback unless it's in a private.
     
  6. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    If I got such treatment I would not show up again. I do not take being treated poorly just sitting down. There would have been plenty of fireworks.
     
  7. normalized

    normalized New Member

    Well, there was one woman I knew who ended up leaving the camp mid-week and driving the 13 hours back to san francisco because the level she was at was too basic and she couldn't move up. This too was a common complaint.

    On top of that many people were hit by a 2 day flu which incapacitated them. Talk about jinxed!

    As for myself, I decided to get the most out of my level. And I found out that you can learn anything in any level, and that really for "tracked" camps, the material was pretty much the same but maybe a little faster for the more advanced classes, which was okay with me.

    And I was open to the fact that maybe I was overjudging myself. If someone thinks I shouldn't be where I am, then I'm curious as to why they think that and what I could do.

    But still things were pretty screwed up at the camp, I definitely won't go back, that's what happens with volunteer run organization......
     
  8. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    I know what you're talking about normalized. I've seen beginners taking advanced classes that perhaps shouldn't have been there. At the risk of sounding arrogant, this was definitely not the case here. Yes, I got a start learning from videos, but I've been running a weekly practice for over a year and get to dance with people who visit from Albuquerque or vice versa every week. Besides that, I've performed on stage in shows and as a part of a troupe and have been dancing other forms of swing since '98. I'm trying to keep this post vague so as to protect the innocent, so I'll keep the type of swing ambiguous.

    Despite HOW I learned, I have some skill. I'm not the best, but I'm solid. I'd mentioned the incident to my favorite follow at a dance tonight and she was livid. I told her how I'd gotten that nice compliment from the one woman who thought my basic steps were better than all but one of the instructors' at the workshop and she earnestly nodded her head. I looked at her skeptically because I never would have put myself in league with any national level instructors even if we're just talking about the basic steps, but she insisted that my basic steps were on that order. I still don't believe it, but I believe I was at least good enough to deserve to be in that class. It's just that the organizer didn't know me and had caught me at a moment when I was fatigued and shakey and just not "feeling it". Then she "confirmed" what she'd seen in a sense by hearing that I'd learned from tapes and workshops.

    Let me give you a little detail about what had happened before the confrontation. They had announced the two classes and people got into two groups based on what class they wanted to take. A student asked about the advanced class and how advanced it was going to be and the instructor (a very nice person) listed off some basic skills you needed to have, all of which I was personally confident about, but right after they'd listed these things off in a casual, helpful fashion, this same girl had interrupted and vigorously stressed that this would be a very advanced class and that it's only for advanced dancers which really rather conflicted with the instructor's description of what you needed to know to take it. I'd heard all this take place, but hadn't really thought about it until after when my partner in the class had been talking about the incident to our friends who we'd met up with afterwards. She'd gotten the impression at that moment that this girl was a mean exclusive sort of person, so I was glad to hear that other people thought of her that way too by drawing their own conclusions because I hadn't forgotten how rude she was to me back in 2002 at another event I'd gone to. It's nice to be validated every once in awhile.

    But anyway, so when my partner was telling this to the friend of mine who'd taken first place in the competition, he was surprised too and suggested it may have been whoever she'd seen me dancing with, but I told him no - that at that moment, I wasn't in fact dancing my best. I hadn't been worried based on the instructor's description of the class and what you needed to know, so I hadn't been trying to push myself past that tired/fatigued "not feeling it" stage. I really was just going through the motions. I did a few moves that I consider cool and moderately flashy, but like I said: without much dynamic or creativity.

    Personally, I think that kicking people out of classes in general is a bad idea. I'm an easy going person and I think dancing (especially swing) is not something that serious. I think it's OK if people want to test up a level or have an audition, but to let someone register for a class and then kick them out is just wrong. I tested up on the Frankie XC cruise. I'd signed up at intermediate level, but after the first class, realized that it was lower level than I'd expected, so I tested out of it to move up to int/adv. When I got there, I was more in my element and was able to get a lot more out of the classes. However, there were others there that were struggling with some basic connection issues who I knew were in over their heads. However, I think that kicking them out would have been the wrong way to handle it. But that's just me. I avoid confrontation. I think it's better to just be easy going. Enforcing proper levels should be done up front with good descriptions of classes/levels and of what one needs to know. You will get some goofs who take classes over their heads, but that's why we have rotations.
     
  9. LindyKeya

    LindyKeya Member

    Actually, kicking people out of classes can be a great idea! (I'm not saying yours was warranted, but based on what the "mean girl" saw/heard from you, I probably would have at least asked you to stay out of the rotation too.)

    Disclaimer- this all sounds terribly mean, but it's really not meant to be. (Oh, and it's not directed specifically at you, hepcat, but is meant to be an explanation of the issues involved with running workshops.)

    This all involves three related (and sometimes conflicting) issues - keeping the customers happy, providing quality workshops, and keeping the instructors happy.

    1. To keep the customers happy, it is necessary to let everyone be in whatever level they want, regardless of their actual skill level. This will, however, result in the actual advanced dancers being irritated by the fact that there are rank beginners running around everywhere. This means that you will find "advanced" balboa classes with self-proclaimed "advanced" dancers who can't even do a come-around. This is turn irritates the actual advanced dancers, who thus are not happy. If you restrict classes to keep the levels appropriate, some people will invariably be annoyed that they have been placed "too low." Asking people perceived as lower level dancers to stay out of the rotation can help keep everyone happy, because they aren't impeding anyone's progress (except, maybe, their partner), but they're still allowed in the class.

    2. To provide quality workshops, it is necessary to keep the workshops moving at a strong pace for each skill level. If people aren't learning anything new (or at least re-learning something they've forgotten/neglected), the workshops aren't any good. If the workshop instructors are from out-of-town, this also invovles getting something out of the workshops that local instructors can't adequetely provide (whether that be the hype associated with the 'names' or something actually related to dance).

    3. Keeping the instructors happy can mean a number of things. Do they want/not want the levels restricted? What do they actually want to teach, compared with what the organizers want them to teach? Ideally, this is all agreed upon in advance, but sometimes opinions on what constitutes one thing or another varies, and thus the participants will get conflicting explanations from instructors vs. organizers. Also, good instructors try to teach to the whole class, but this can be rather difficult if the skill levels in the class are too varied. Imagine teaching 2nd grade through 12th grade all in a one hour class, and having each student learn something (without becoming bored). Maybe this was the norm in schools in the 19th Century West, but most instructors now aren't that skilled. Given such a wide variety of skills, instructors can choose to teach to any segment of the population. Either the low end, middle, or top. Does what they choose match what the organizer wants?

    The problem with "enforcing proper levels. . . up front with good descriptions. . ." is that even with stellar descriptions, anywhere from 10-50% of participants will mis-judge their level (either lower or higher). Even rotations are worthless if 50% of the people in the class should be at a lower level.

    Oh, and if you like to avoid confrontation, avoid organizing anything. Ever. Seriously. Organizing = confrontation (there's always something). You just can't please everyone all the time.
     
  10. normalized

    normalized New Member

    Hepcat, my post was not to suggest that you were'nt qualified or up to snuff but rather to let people on to the fact (as you well know) that these evaluations are totally arbitrary and can be based on one moment that someone saw something about you. That's why I would be curious as to what this woman saw that suggested you weren't as advanced as she thought you should be. There's one thing about being confrontational and another about asking for sincere feedback. I think most people know the difference.

    I myself would be curious, and we all know in lindy that "standards" and "levels" are a big mess. People could reel off the "minimum" requirements for levels but it's more than those as well. This woman could just have not liked your style, in which case a conversation with her would have bought that out. This was a workshop and you would've justified to know why you were'nt qualified for the class and I think "you're not advanced enough" would not have cut it.

    At the same time, from the sounds of it, it seemed like a poorly organized event, much like the experience I had. From what I've seen again and again (and this is a separate topic) tracks and levels at Lindy camps/workshops are a big mess, there's a lot of egos/hurt feelings/exclusions and most camp organizers don't know how to deal with it. It's one of the things that have really turned me off to the camp experience.
     
  11. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    Shoot. I'd just typed a big response and lost it. Maybe I'll try again later.
     
  12. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    OK, I recovered it from cache...

    Well, that's sort of why it bothered me so much because as I'd said: I didn't feel myself like I was dancing my best either. I just don't think that seeing someone dance for a minute or two is enough to make that sort of judgement. Maybe most of the time it is, but who knows what circumstances are surrounding the person's performance: in my case fatigue, being sore from sleeping on a floor, and sleep deprivation. Plus, I think it was simply inappropriate given the instructor's description of what the class would cover and what you needed to know. I was definitely showing I was at least reasonably competent with the moves that were mentioned.

    No worries.

    I agree this can be a problem. I don't claim to have a solution either, however from my experience, this hasn't been a rampant problem. It's constant (i.e. is always present) but I haven't seen cases where say more than %15 are where they shouldn't be, but of course, I'm not as sure about that stat as far as leads go. Whenever the beginners come to me, I give them what advice I can and generally try to help. I ran across a few at that weekend in other classes. As long as the rotation keeps moving, I don't really see it as an issue that really needs addressed. The people who get upset about it seem to me to have a chip on their shoulder. No offense intended. I would never say that directly to anyone, no matter how rude they are. I.e. That's not directed at you LindyKeya. I've been to some events where they actually advertise the fact that they are not going to be "level nazis" and I think that's a good policy. Of course, they stress that you should pick an appropriate level and I think on average people respect that.

    At least, I think that perhaps a good idea is to put any very advanced classes on the last day (i.e. classes where they really want to enforce propper levels). That way, there's been ample opportunity for the instructors/organizers to guage the dancers. This had been the first time I'd bet that this girl had seen me dance (aside from the bad encounter a few years ago and I didn't even know this particular dance back then).

    I think, as long as the rotation moves fairly frequently and the number of misplaced dancers is what I've seen to be the average, the only reason it would impede the class is if the instructors find it necessary to review basics or spend lots of time with the ones struggling. The only attention I personally received was in the masters class and all the instructor did was lift my arm a little and in that instance, the follow had been pulling down on me. So I think that's really what someone who's enforcing propper levels should keep in mind: "Will this person slow down the class", as opposed to "Will this person annoy someone". Stipulation: "Will this person hurt someone" is a valid concern too.

    [tangent]
    It's funny. I just heard an NPR "story of the day" the other day that was about one-room school houses. Apparently there's still a few hundred in the US. And in fact my mom went to a one room school until high school.
    [/tangent]

    Anything over maybe 15% would be a problem, I agree and I don't have a problem with enforcing propper levels. I just think there's bad ways to do it and good ways to do it. The goal should not be to appease specific people or strive to achieve 100% level accuracy. While it would be noble to recognize that a particular person might benefit more from a lower level I don't think it's anyone's job to force someone into that level because it will not achieve the desired effect. All you will do is bruise that person's ego such that they will get less out of either class. People have to figure it out for themselves. I think it's fine to suggest, but force: no. The goal should be to achieve a happy medium, and to do it in a non-offensive way, because like I said: it's all about having fun. If some people are determined to be upset about something or other, that's just the way they are. There will always be something. Just let them be.

    ;) I'm a step ahead of you there. I don't ever want to be a manager at work either. I do well to help out when an event comes along, but I do not envy people who have to juggle conflicts between dancers. There's a guy here who does admirably and is very even tempered and moderate. I myself DJ and I really dislike doing so sometimes because no matter what you play, someone will invariably complain eventually. Some people like fast stuff, some like slow, etc. I've found a happy medium and pattern the selection of songs based on that medium, but if I ever get a request that breaks my pattern, I usually hear a complaint. It's not that they're aware of the pattern of songs I go for. All they know is that there was maybe one more song that they sat out than they're accustomed to.

    I should stipulate though that I do very much enjoy a good argument. I draw a distinction between argument and fight. The only difference is emotion. So perhaps the phrase "I try to avoid conflict" is too strong.
     
  13. normalized

    normalized New Member

    To reply to LindyKeya's comments: Yes, I know what the intention is and the reasons, but the end result is that more than a few people are left pretty unhappy. And granted the lindy scene is small and people talk and the business will be affected. It is by no means a perfect scheme, these days I would actually prefer to see people in whichever class they want, the instructor has no obligation to slow down the material, it would be sink or swim. If the people have no clue as to their level then they will not be able to take in the material.

    As Hepcat says, sometimes in rotation you'll get beginner's you do your best to help them without being patronizing.

    Obviously the best solution would be to have an audition for everyone, but even that can be difficult and further more, events/teachers don't have the time/resources/desire to do this.

    This was getting to be a big problem at Herrang when I was there in 2004, they had an audition for the advanced levels that consisted of somebody watching you dance for 1 minute, many people were dissatisfied with their ranking. I even knew people who used their friendships with teachers to get another audition to get the results they wanted. On the latest DVD there's a skit making fun of this process with Frida sitting in a complaint tent addressing all the dancers that wanted to move up. At Herrang this is notoriously hard because dancers come from all over the world with different levels and whose standards do you use? To be safe I placed myself in intermediate only to find out it was a pretty beginning level, believe me it was a struggle to get moved up.

    For myself I wish there was a better solution but lindy events sometimes tend to have the worst combination of disorganization, refusal to address issues like this and tempermental people running things. Not all but many that I've encountered.
     
  14. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    One other thing I just thought of: the "masters" class on the last day was actually a class I'd taken from the same instructor at a different workshop last year and at that workshop, it wasn't a "master's" class. It was advanced, definitely. I had some difficulty with the moves back then, so it was nice to take it again because this time I did a lot better with it (I felt like I nailed it aside from the footwork finness which I need to practice). My point though is that I think the organizers had over-estimated the level of the class. Conceptually, I don't have a problem with that. It helps enforce propper levels. Having "super advanced only" on the schedule is fine even if it's not necessarily masters material so the instructor can get into high level details, and I'd probably even be OK with strict enforcing of levels in a masters class, but I don't think it was masters material. I think intermediate and advanced dancers could've done fine in the class. Oddly enough, I wasn't approached in the masters class and asked to leave. Even when I'd mentioned to the instructor that I wasn't going to rotate, she made a face as if she didn't feel it was necessary for me to not rotate. It was sort of a dismissive "don't worry about it" gesture and implied to me she had been over the issue with the organizers. She even complimented one of my moves during the class.

    I really just think the organizers were being over-zealous about levels.
     
  15. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    I'm totally new to this forum, but wanted to add a suggestion.

    I think every activity has a group of "super advanced" members. Tennis has the 5.0+, volleyball has AA etc. The thing about this core group is the community is very small. So they all know each other. Events love the high end because for every "super advanced" who shows up there are 10 wanna plays that come. Otherwise, this small community could just hold their own events. So even is you can ski as fast as Body Miller, he has no interest in training with you and isn't going to let you join him.

    The approach that seems to work as you get close to the level is to partner up with one of the core group. If they like dancing with you, you will be invited to the class and the tryout is just a formality.
     
  16. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    Sounds reasonable to me even though I'd probably be left out. I tend not to dance with the super advanced people mainly due to the intimidation factor. Whenever I do work up the nerve, I get great compliments that send me buzzing for weeks, like recently from Carla Heiney at an Albuquerque workshop or during the Frankie Cruise from Sylvia Sykes.

    If they want to have a class on the down low that doesn't detract from the event as a whole (i.e. extract a popular instructor during class time and leave a room empty), I don't think it would bother me. I think the out-of-towners who might not know the locals would be somewhat slighted, but I think it would avoid conflict and hurt feelings.

    I think you put it pretty well kayak. If you offer something, people are going to want it. You buy it and just when you're about to receive it, it's taken away. That's just cruel no matter how much you may or may not have deserved it.
     
  17. LindyKeya

    LindyKeya Member

    I couldn't agree more. It sounds like the person in question clearly went about it the wrong way.

    I wonder if this may be more of an issue for follows though. I know when my husband and I have been in the same workshops together the proportion of leads with problems bothers me way more than the situation with follows does him. (Or maybe follows are just better at placing themselves, though I doubt it ;) )

    The "sink or swim" theory would be great if more instructors would do it. Indeed, the best workshops I've been to have included instructors with this theory. But while it's not too hard to ignore 3-5 people who are struggling, ignoring 30% of the leads is rather difficult. And how does an organizer force this on the instructors?
    I've also had good experience with "Masters Classes" where the instructors specifically chose the students. While it still results in bruised egos, it's at least off the organizers.

    And I don't think there's a "refusal" to address such issues. It's more a question of how to address such issues. If you moniter levels you're a "level nazi." If you don't, you end up with "advanced" classes that aren't advanced. You either have quality workshops with some people dissatisfied about their level, or crappy workshops with people dissatisfied about the quality of the workshops. In my experience, allowing instructors to pull people out of the rotation (but still in the class) seems to be the best happy medium. (The key word there is instructors :) )

    Oh, and hepcat - don't be intimidated! I can honestly say that most people who are perceived as being in that top echelon aren't actually there - they just self-promote so much that others believe they are!
     
  18. chandra

    chandra New Member

    Agreed with all who have said, this levels thing is a hard issue.
    Since are dance isnt syllabized, its very subjective who is what level. I would assume lindy is worst than WCS, cause we have the points system, and actual competitive rankings. But even then, you get into trouble. Im a novice competitor, (ie beginner) but probably as far as studios go, Id do fine in an intermediate class. Depending on the studio, maybe even advanced. Ive taken an "advanced" WCS class before where there where people who have never danced before.
    So what do you do? Dont police levels, and you piss of the better dancers, who want good workshops, police them, and you annoy the lower level dancers in need of an ego boost. Most better dancers I know have stopped taking workshops, unless taught by certain teachers or on certain subjects.
    And then of course, there are those who are placed incorrectly. Itll happen al the time. Maybe advanced courses should be invitation only? and you can ask for an audition if you dont know the teacher? IDK.
    Its a tough situtation, and although I love how freeform swing is, its situations like these that make you wish for a few more standardizations and rules.
     
  19. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    You have my sympaties hepcat, situations like that are never fun.

    But I can understand the teachers and arrangers too, it has to be very diffivult trying to make everybody happy. So I do understand why some might feel the need to enforce the levels. But there is of course a lot in how things are being said.

    Thankfully I only attend classes, so I've never had to deal with this problem. But I can add a couple of stories.

    Last time I was in Herräng I entered the intermediate (or was it inetermediate/advanced?) class. The class was really bad, and most of the decent dancers immediately transfered up one class, which then became overfilled. So I stayed with my class, and felt I got very little out of the weekend. Since then I haven't been to Herräng, and I think if I go this summer it will be without taking classes, and just for social dancing. (Or maybe I'll take Bal.)

    Some friends of mine recently went to a workshop. They had registered for the highest level, I think. But when they got there, the arrangers took all the good local dancers and put in an advanced class, leaving these really good visitors in a lower level class. I think that is really bad practice. When people visit from afar, having paid a lot of money to get there, I think they deserve to be treated a bit special. Not the opposite.
     
  20. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    You know, I was thinking about this from another perspective today. I come from a fairly small town. There is 1 (uno. single. lone. count him! AH ha ha ha) instructor here that is any good. He doesn't even like this particular form of dance as was being taught in that class I almost got kicked out of. The ONLY opportunities people like me can get hands-on high level instruction is at workshops which we have to shell out big bucks and take off work and suffer travelling woes for. I can get beginner and intermediate level instruction occassionally if I commute 2 hours from work, so I have access (inconvenient as it is) to beginner classes. So when I go to a workshop, I want to learn something that I can't learn where I live. True, I could potentially get something out of a top notch instructor's beginner class, but in terms of pay-off (for me), I will learn more in an advanced class. Although it's arguable that it could be to some people's detriment. But if an advanced dancer thinks my basic moves feel better than all but 1 of the instructors, whether she's right or not, that should prove I can get a lot out of an advanced class even if there are some aspects of my basic that may need a little work. My point is, I can get that instruction elsewhere without paying big bucks and travelling.

    I'm deviating from my point. Despite my personal situation, I think there's something to be said about let's say intermediate level dancers challenging themselves in an advanced class. Now, I'm not advocating that everyone do that. You also need a solid foundation and everyone, no matter what their level, can always brush up their basics. I'm just saying that the issue is not black and white.

    I considered myself a beginner dancer (again I'm going to avoid referencing the style to keep this post ambiguous - although I will say that I'm not talking about the type of dance that was taught in the aforementioned class) for years. I don't pick it up quite as fast as other people. And I've considered myself an intermediate dancer for a few more years. The transition between the two was pretty sudden. Everything just started clicking and follows started telling me in surprise that I'd improved by an order of magnitude (this was when I got back from being away to a couple dance events in a row). I've only recently started to consider myself in the "hazy" intermediate/advanced realm because I'm finally making some breakthroughs in areas I've struggled with for awhile (mainly breaking out of patterns, adlibbing, and musicality - Those aspects were hard for me to get used to, but now I'm getting it and it's starting to snowball, although this transition in skill level has been more gradual than the last). I've only recently started feeling up to the challenge of taking advanced classes and so far I've felt quite at home in them. I get compliments and sometimes *sighs* from girls in rotation. There are ones that even say "Awww!" when the instructors say rotate. I do still get constructive feedback once in awhile from some more advanced follows and I always extremely appreciate it and try what they suggest. And you know, it's that sort of feedback that I find the most useful in a class.

    So even if a class is a bit of a challenge for some dancers, I truly believe that [barring beginners who just don't get it] the individual dancer is the best one to choose their level (given good information and suggestions from the instructors about the class). (Note, I'm not omitting the possibility of advice given to a dancer who misplaces themselves.) I believe this for the two stated points: getting maximum value out of a workshop which is their only exposure to high level instruction (i.e. they cannot learn some moves other than at a workshop they have to travel to and it gives them something to work on), and the valuable feedback they can get from better dancers in rotation.

    Now, I should also stipulate that if the moves taught are too much of a challenge, they could go home and work on it and solidify bad habits, but I think that's simply not true in all cases. If they're good enough to get the move so that it feels right and the light goes on at least a few times in rotation and take good notes, then I'd say they have a good chance of perfecting it when they return home. And since there's no way they could ever be taught an advanced move at home in a small town, I'd say it's well worth the challenge to take a class that's a bit of a challenge. See, people in small towns are at a major disadvantage. Everyone else who has access to great instructors can learn at a much faster pace. So I think it's not untoward to suffer some partners in rotation who might have a little difficulty with a move.

    I'm not saying this either for myself. I believe my case to be an outlier. I'm saying it for my fellow dancers who choose their level fairly accurately and every once in awhile want to challenge themselves so they can get better because I've been there. Don't kick them out. Help them out. True, sometimes helping them out means suggesting a lower level, but give them a little leighway, especially if they're from out of town.

    -Hepcat
     

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