General Dance Discussion > Would licensing be a good thing?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by KevinL, May 18, 2004.

  1. KevinL

    KevinL New Member

    This came up in the "What makes a pro?" thread

    I think it would be great if the US had a licensing requirement for dance teachers because that could greatly increase the quality of the dance teachers available.

    However, it could also greatly decrease the number of teachers available and thereby decrease the number of people dancing. To my knowledge there are only three certified dance teachers in the state of Vermont. There are several other teachers, though, and some of them are quite good. If they had to go through the effort to get certified and licensed, would they bother, or would they just quit teaching? Maybe, maybe not. Would the swing and salsa teachers, where the dances are very organic and club-oriented, need to be licensed as well? Who would be in charge of those certifications?

    What do you think?

  2. Laura

    Laura New Member

    A few years ago the NDCA discussed a proposal requring all dance teachers registered with the NDCA to also be certified by one of the NDCA's member bodies. So, people could be certified with Arthur Murray, Fred Astaire, the US ISTD, DVIDA, the US Terpsichore Society.... You'd think with all these certification options that passing this proposal would be a no-brainer, but it was voted down and that was the end of it.
  3. tj

    tj New Member

    Personally, I think it would kill salsa. Part of what keeps my local scene the way it is, are the many smaller classes that give newcomers a taste of salsa. Lots of classes are too crowded already, and it's these smaller classes that give some dancers better instruction and fundamentals.

    That being said, my local scene is also rife with many so called instructors, who really shouldn't be teaching. But hey, at least, they're getting lots of newbies involved.
  4. KevinL

    KevinL New Member

    Yes, this is what I was getting at. Even if the dilitante teachers aren't very good at least they are available to get people started. How many of us started with having a friend (or parent) show us a couple of steps so we could get out on the floor?
  5. tj

    tj New Member

    Guilty! :D

    On a related note, there's this one follow who's only been dancing <6 months, but she's getting quite good quite quickly. I learned recently that she's taking (among others) Private lessons from one of these "unqualified" guys. I know how this guy teaches, and it's not a good thing! Oh well, caveat emptor - maybe she finds something useful in what he teaches.
  6. tasche

    tasche New Member

    I think all dance teachers should be licenced in this country in all fields.

    Simply put incorrect dance instruction can lead to injury.

    A local non ballroom dance studio here has very young teachers young as 16 teaching and theres a lot of injuries coming out of that studio as a result

    You only get one body
  7. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    As we all know, licensing of doctors and lawyers and psychologists has led to resounding success in the quality of our doctors and lawyers and psychologists.
  8. spatten

    spatten Member

    Would you go to a doctor that didn't make it through medical school?
    I'm quite sure I wouldn't, even the best holistic or alternative docs have their medical degrees.

  9. spatten

    spatten Member

    Would you go to a doctor that didn't make it through medical school?
    I'm quite sure I wouldn't, even the best holistic or alternative docs have their medical degrees.

  10. tj

    tj New Member

    Well if you wanna use that argument, I'd take piano lessons from a teacher who didn't have a music degree if s/he could teach me well.
  11. tasche

    tasche New Member

    Though if you ever want to take any of the major graded piano exams ( and you may not) you'd have to go through a teacher certified through that particular methodogy.

    I think I mentioned previous that I had taken My teaching certifications in flute and was certified to teach up to a grade 5 level. Its a good thing to know that your sending your kids of your self to someone who isn't a quack

    Speaking of quacks I found it amusing to find out the other day the colonel of kfc fame used to practice law and medice without a license before he started his resturants
  12. tasche

    tasche New Member

    Just a question. Previously it was stated that someone would take piano lessons from a teacher with no qualifications as long as they could teach well. How does a student define what "well" is. Sure its easy to pick out bad but how can you define the other subtle levels, ok, good, very good, excellent if you dont already know what your doing. Maybe this is how the franchises prosper with the its not just good its good enough training

    Perhaps teachers need to be rated like resturants here in LA are with As, Bs, Cs. There are lot of resturants with B's that are still very popular and I once saw one with a C that had a line out the door
  13. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Like taking piano from, for instance, Fats Waller or Count Basie. My point exactly.

    How do you define good? Well, it's dancing. If it looks good, it's good. If you want to dance like the people on the floor, take lessons with them and if you feel like you're dancing better and understanding more, then terrific. Nobody needs to subject the arts to an authorizing agency. They are the most democratic state on earth--people either like what you do or they don't, and if they don't, then, my friends, all the paper credentials in the world aren't going to make one iota of difference.
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I love you tasche. :D I think you're right.

    Maybe this should be in a separate thread, but I've had numerous franchise teachers explain to me why they think it's okay to have a very junior teacher teaching new students -- because the teacher, no matter how inexperienced, still knows more than a beginner.

    So maybe the bronze, silver and gold teacher certfications would work. What are the ISTD designations again? Associate is bronze. That much, I know for sure. There's one problem with ISTD at least. From what I hear, the teacher exams are quite expensive, so most teachers do the associate certification and don't go beyond that, no matter how high a level they're qualified to teach.
  15. tasche

    tasche New Member

    I think if a person is taking formal lessons then the instructor should have formal qualifications. We already have formalised things like syllubuses why shouldn't the teachers be qualified against the syllabus? Just makes plain sense to me.

    A good dancer may not have the best techique. Seems counterindicitive but true. Most people can develop their dance skills within their own physical limitations but that may not apply over to others

    Example dancers of the NYCB are considered to be some of the best ballet dancers in the world and the places at the school is highly sought after. However their technique is not the best in regards that they value asethetics over safe technique. Many of the dancers careers are cut pitifully short as they over force turn out and other things. Many other companies in Norway and Germany and other places have struck a balance between asthetics and safe technique

    So the best looking dancer may not be the best one to teach you
  16. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    And what makes you think that licensing would change that one bit? Not that it's in any danger of actually happening--so this is all strictly hypothetical. How would supporting licensing of dance instructors change the fact that some teachers are better than others? Do you really think that representatives of some licensing body would walk into individual dance studios and micromanage the way technique is taught? Or that this would even be advisable?

    Every time I hear people talk about how standardization will make things better, I wonder why nobody's teaching Alexis de Tocqueville anymore.
  17. tasche

    tasche New Member

    Its not the "license" persay that would change the way a person teaches but the education/testing that would assumably be tied into the license. Why would someone choose to teach the wrong way if they know the right way

    Look at it this way. You want to drive a car. You got to a driving school, learn and pass the test. Most people once they know the road rules tend to stick to them and are good drivers. Sure there are those that dont but as a percentage of the driving population they are few. Of course having taken the drive test in the US compared to the drive test overseas the US is sooo easy but I digress
  18. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I think it's very hard to come up with a licensing system that is better at raising standards than it is at reinforcing the political landscape of an industry. This would be especially true if licensing were retrofitted into an existing industry - requirements would end up tailored in such a way as to sustain the more or less decent and/or established portion of the industry, while inhibiting alternatives, largely irrespective of their merits.

    This ends up being true to a degree in most skilled trades. Or in my own field of engineering, licensing requirements simply didn't keep up with recent developments - with the end results that today it is primarily only the civil engineers who embark on the multi-year path towards the PE certification. I'm not sure I've ever even had a boss who was certified - which would have been one of the first requirements to seeking licensing myself. Even if you look at Tasche's example of driver's licenses they are fairly ineffective at teaching driving skill - mostly what they serve to do beyond the teenage years is have something to REVOKE when someone demonstrates incompetence or irresponsability. In short, we have licensing requirements in those situations where safety concerns are of greater concern than inflexibility issues.

    Looking specifically at dancing, a likely organization to do testing would be the ISTD, since they already offer respected but voluntary programs. I happen to like the ISTD, the traditions and technique it stands for, and am very impressed with some of the people involved in its US branch. But I don't want to trust the ISTD, or any other organization, with the power to control dancing. There is already some seperation in many people's minds between what they practice and teach, and what they would dutifully recite or demonstrate to an ISTD examiner. A little of that is a tolerable situation, but should some faction gain control of the ISTD and make unpopular revisions to the technique book or syllabus, I think it would be critical for the dance community to have the option of rejecting those, and carrying on with it's own traditions. But of course as long as ISTD certification is voluntary and generally stands for something worthwhile, I'm glad to see it on a teacher's or judge's resume.
  19. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Well, Chris, as usual, has laid it all out so clearly and elegantly I have little to add. There is no single "right way" or "wrong way" to teach anything. And certainly no licensing or certifying agency is going to raise the bar. Just have a good long look at public education in America before you cheer for certification programs! :shock:
  20. tasche

    tasche New Member

    The american system of education is certainly very sad indeed (I'm from NZ originally) I took a college level english class and was shocked to be covering things at what I considered to be a Form 3 level

    Back home we have regulations that state if a dance teacher/music teacher wishes to teach for money then he/she must have the appropriate credentials in the style he/she wishes to teach. This prevents the phenomenom of dolly dinkle schools

    Intrestingly enough we have a very effective car licensing system as well my driving test back home was 1hr here is was 11minutes during which I was told that it a) I didn't need to keep on my side of the road and b) didn't need to wait for pedestriations to finish xing before turning. In contrast mack home I had to back around a corner and into an angle park

    Of course in small countries its easier to achieve such things but to me its an ideal to strive for

Share This Page