I just took a series of private lessons from an instructor visiting town, and they've reminded me of how private lessons should be, and how they should make you feel afterwards. Some background first: many people have the luxury of studying with a particular teacher consistently in a style that they want to have. I don't have that luxury. Private lessons are few and far between. I don't have a teacher I can point to and say that's my style. I've taken lessons with many different teachers of many different styles, so my dance is a combination of things that work for my body and feel good to me. A lot of private lessons I've had were of the lecture variety. The instructor watches you dance/dances with you, then goes down the laundry list of things they think you should do differently, a lot of which you were doing on purpose. Any explanations you try to give on why you were doing it this way are met with sad shakes of the head and an insistence that this new way is WAY better, way more comfortable. You're left with confusion, and a lot of disparate pieces of information that you question whether you can/should incorporate into your dance. This series of privates was more a dialogue. They started the same way: some dancing, then going over a list of things to do differently. However, when I told the instructor "I want to lead this this way because I feel X, but you're telling me Y," the instructor took a moment of introspection and seriously thought about and considered what I was saying. Then she tried it out with me, thought some more, and either said "that's wrong because..." or " that's valid, but if you're going to lead it that way, try this small change to make it better." So refreshing! An instructor who recognizes different styles, really listens to their student, and can work within different styles to improve a student's dance with where they are at, rather than where the instructor is at. I left the lessons with technique that felt fundamental rather than style-based. I left feeling hopeful that I can make MY dance better versus depressed that I'd have to change everything I do to be a better dancer. I left feeling like the instructor listened to me, and cared about my dance. I wanted to share this with you all, as some of you might be taking lessons and feeling overwhelmed or confused, like you've wasted a lot of work on the wrong things. A good lesson makes you feel listened to. You should leave feeling torn down, worked, drained, but hopeful. I'd love to hear everyone's experiences with their own private lessons.