General Dance Discussion > my instructor got mad

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by sbrnsmith, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    I was at one of my private classes recently when I mentioned how a certain sequence in the chacha does not look good on me and I can't do it well. Out of the blue, my instructor got quite upset about it. He pretty much blew up on me. As a background, I don't know how to 'play the part' and 'act'. I know it is expected in dance and competitions, but I have the hardest time getting out of myself and not feeling totally stupid when I am showing emotion or the feel of the dance. I have the hardest time doing that, and my teacher knows that. I was caught off guard by his anger, which I thought was unjustified. I'm just trying to find my way, not making his job more difficult. I understand his frustrations, but am I not allowed to ask or question anything as a student? Bottom line, we did not clear the air and resolve this and next class was very awkward, with both of us being very quiet and none of the usual friendliness nd now I don't know what to do. I have to work next week and I don't see him till Saturday. I don't want our next lesson to be as awkward and weird. Should I bring it up and try to clear the air? My feelings were truly hurt by his outburst.
  2. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    It was certainly unjustified, but you have to understand that teachers are people too. They're not always perfect, and sometimes they have a bad day. It probably had nothing to do with you.

    If you feel the need to bring it up, go ahead. But don't dwell on it.
    skyblue likes this.
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    certainly people have their bad days...that being said, a teacher ought not be surprised that a student would have inhibitions, or be angered by that...and whatever frustration or impatience they have ought to be softened by " professionalism"....that being said...most things aren't comfortable for most of us and they don't look good on us until we get over it and learn to do it well...and a teacher can't really get a student to let go of inhibitions...they can be more encouraging than impatient...but you have to be able to set those issues aside
    skyblue and danceronice like this.
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    My take is that he should be apologizing to you for blowing up.

    I'd say that if this guy intimidates you into not asking questions, you are ceding the right to ask questions. Meanwhile, I'm guessing you are paying good money to him to teach you. And he probably has no idea how to coach you to "show(ing) emotion or the feel of the dance." If he did, he would probably be willing to teach that to you.
    (for me it's just knowing it so well that you don't have to think about what you are doing...other than that I can't help you..)

    You have the right to tell him that you expected to be treated with respect and that DOESN'T include being the target of him blowing up.

    I did this with one of my favorite WCS partners after she walked off the floor, then came back on, avoding her, having her ask what was going on... Complicated calculation but...she showed an interest in why I was avoiding her.

    Or, you could look for a teacher who can give you what you need, and is more in control of himself.
    Big10 and debmc like this.
  5. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, my teacher and I have a past of flirting and crossing lines as in my previous detailed posts under "crush on instructor". Nothing ever happened to that and I put a stop to ay flirtatious on my part, but I don't know if this has anything to do with it. The entire incident was unfortunate, and I felt he was struggling with his emotions rather than just being my instructor. For that, I have myself to blame as well. All said and done, I was totally caught offuard by his anger, and felt intimidated to where I feel I can't question anything, just go with the flow. To those that have followed my posts on the "crush on instructor" thread, I have really removed myself from a romantic connection and tried everything in my power to move beyond it.
  6. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Cheers for that, in any case.

    They say "experience is the great teacher." It sounds like you're bumping into harsh versions of that, in the domain of student/teacher relationship-building. The process of learning to dance can be fraught without such complications, so I sympathize.

    Very early in my dance education, I wasn't getting along quite as well with my first teacher as well as I would have liked. Frankly, I was a difficult student with a tendency to insist on doing things my own way (which never changed, by the way). I got the impression that she wasn't taking me seriously and was not really invested in my progress as a student. When we weren't in a lesson, she never had a spare moment to chat.

    One day I spent the first 20 minutes of a lesson (my nickel) sitting with her on a bench, impressing upon her my respect for her as a teacher and my commitment as a student. Everything changed. She ran that lesson nearly 20 minutes late, and she and other teachers at the studio started giving me extra time in lessons, spare moments before/during/after group classes, and pointers while my partner and I practiced in the studio.
  7. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    If I remember correctly, you stated that you had left that teacher-that you had started taking lessons from to a different teacher that you had no past with. Is that correct? Based on your prior posts that were filled with your experiences of human misery, I don't understand why you would even consider taking lessons from a teacher that you had a past of flirting with. Maybe, I am interpreting your post incorrectly. Perhaps, you have no history with your current teacher. If so, I apologize.
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member's the is difficult to change the dynamic while I applaud the decision not to be flirtatious, the sudden " I can't emote the feeling of the dance" may ring very hollow to him...which doesn't excuse his behavior...but once a boundary has been blurred, things tend to stay blurry
  9. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Of course, we're only getting one side of the story. What was your tone and what words did you use? I'm not saying that anger is justifiable, but on the other hand, did he feel like you were attacking him by complaining about your choreography? It just seems like there's more to this than him just blowing up out of the blue.

    In any case, yes, if you want to continue your working relationship, you need to have a conversation about what happened and clear the air. It will take five minutes...way less time than waiting for it to blow over, and if you don't do it, there may always be lingering negative feelings.
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    my guess, only from a similar breach in formality, is that once there has been a sense of personal involvement, a sudden issue with emoting/intimacy may feel like a trap for him or simply an frustration...shrug...once it is messy, it is hard to salvage the all
  11. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    To be fair, I have always had trouble emoting to the character of the dance. This is well known to him. I used very non threatening language/ words, in fact I was surprised and taken aback by the anger. Having said that, I agree, once it's become messy, it tends to stay messy, which I am unfortunately learning at this stage.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    that's the thing...once it was personal....therefore it becomes harder to behave professionally and to not read personal things into it
  13. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    IMO, it can be very frustrating to teach or work with someone who is always dwelling on things like "I CAN'T do X" and "I've NEVER been able to do X" instead of making an honest and consistent effort - even if it means failing along the way. Don't hold yourself back.

    Again, it doesn't excuse a teacher blowing up at their student... if anything, I'm posting this to help you with your dancing, which is (or should be) a lot more important than your teacher/student relationship.
    bia likes this.
  14. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    It's true I hold myself back for fear of looking stupid. That has got to be frustrating for him. Still I feel his reaction was out of proportion and took me by surprise.
  15. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    My solution to the "fear of looking stupid" part was to focus very precisely on technical details. I grilled my teacher for very specific technique homework, very obviously practiced what I was taught, and trusted that over time technical correctness would lead to good dancing (which I daresay it did). Once my teachers realized that (and how) I was studying in earnest, all my relationships with them became easier (student/teacher, customer/vendor, occasional bar companion, casual friend, etc., etc.).

    I agree with others that we don't know the whole story firsthand on both sides; and I explicitly refrain from opining on the teacher's behavior as described in the original post. Nonetheless perhaps the personal experiences I was able to relate will turn out to help (I hope).
  16. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    I'm sure it was... that said, personally, I would not dwell on it. Your time is better spent working on your dancing - on learning to emote in your dancing, or on any other skill/technique - and not worrying about your relationship with this coach. And yeah, dwelling on whether he was wrong/overreacted/etc. is still dwelling... not a good use of your time IMO.

    So, back to the dancing... IMO learning to "mess around" with dance, to the point where you're intentionally doing something that looks stupid and silly, can really help break you out of your shell. Learn to over-do it. Make outrageous faces. Exaggerate the particularly cheesy parts of your routine. Learn to laugh at yourself.
    leee, fascination and Gorme like this.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    and, thing is, part of learning to dance is looking stupid a lot of the time whether we know it or why should this one part be any different? really isn't ...and you have to treat emoting as exactly that, a technical neccessity
    leee and twnkltoz like this.
  18. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Very true!
  19. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    2 of the best posts I have read in a long time.
    j_alexandra and Mr 4 styles like this.
  20. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    sbrnsmith, he´s only your instructor. Only if he was your teacher, I´d really bother.

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