one guys beginning dance struggles

Bailamosdance

Well-Known Member
In group classes, especially step oriented ones, the possibility that you will be able to do all that is asked of you is slim since technique is not usually the major focus. Without technique, it is memorization of patterns and such. Pattern recognition is dicey also since the instruction will rely on the student actually doing it based on a visual, which as we know is 2 dimensional, and also does not include the body movement (since the body's use of contrast etc is invisible).

For the student to succeed in a group class they should not measure success by how they do the pattern. Their success in the class is how after a few days or weeks they have internalized the instruction (which may have very little or nothing to do with the pattern they are being shown) and how they can apply it to their dancing. For instance, a class about a natural turn might be about remembering the pattern of the feet for some, but the actual focus might have been about making the body respond to the right action.

Of course, everyone has a different reason for being in the class but I imagine that if doing what is taught well determines whether you actually participate in the class, trying your best to do what is taught, you will eventually be a better dancer for it. And, the other participants are also there to learn as well, and by ignoring what is taught and doing what you think is a good substitute, you are denying them a learning process, and will obviously make them less interested in dancing with you in the future.

At the social, if you must, stick to what you 'know', but you take a class to learn what you don't know. So does everyone else....
 

Bailamosdance

Well-Known Member
Probably 2 out of the 3 ladies were snotty and gave me sneers but one was totally cool with it (she made my day and we practiced basic steps).
The 2 ladies were right to feel that you were wasting their time. You need to apologize to them and make it up in your next class by actually dancing what the class is about.
 
The 2 ladies were right to feel that you were wasting their time. You need to apologize to them and make it up in your next class by actually dancing what the class is about.
No, they were not right. The instructor was obviously teaching stuff that many of the leaders aren't capable of doing. If those ladies should be snotty to anyone, it should be the instructor. The instructor should've saw that many other men were flubbing through the routine, so he should have corrected the issue. This is a basic beginner class, so the instructor shouldn't be doing stuff that will make students feel lost.
 
Let me give a specific example. In a WCS class we did a series of routines -- all of which I could do (although most of them were pushing my skill to the max. I couldn't do the last move at all. When the instructor said to put everything together I was totally lost and very confused.

We did three rotations. I have no doubt that the ladies that were rotated to me knew how to put all of this together provided they had a partner that could provide them with a very strong lead (none of them knew enough to backlead it because I asked them if they could). I knew I couldn't put the lead together and felt very uncomfortable with the idea of doing any of the combinations together in a sequence.

I just had to tell the ladies that I'm going to lead them with the basic step and not do the routine the rest of the class was doing. I felt very bad for the ladies because I knew they wanted to practice the entire thing -- but I wasn't going to do something that was way over my head. Probably 2 out of the 3 ladies were snotty and gave me sneers but one was totally cool with it (she made my day and we practiced basic steps).

I saw many other men flub the routine entirely so I was hardly the only one who was lost -- and I would argue that my partners got more practice just doing the basic steps than dancing with a guy that flubbed badly.
If I'm hearing you correctly, this sounds like a really messed up class and is not your fault. I would suggest trying another instructor or studio. I was in a similar situation in my first dance studio and this was completely resolved when I moved to a different place.
 

Bailamosdance

Well-Known Member
No, they were not right. The instructor was obviously teaching stuff that many of the leaders aren't capable of doing. If those ladies should be snotty to anyone, it should be the instructor. The instructor should've saw that many other men were flubbing through the routine, so he should have corrected the issue. This is a basic beginner class, so the instructor shouldn't be doing stuff that will make students feel lost.
Er, the teacher may be teaching things that NOBODY in class is capable of doing - YET. But that is what the class is about. Unless it is a steps only before the social or such... then, take a basic step and add a turn etc. Otherwise, go to a class that challenges you. or get out of the way of people who are trying to progress....
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Without technique, it is memorization of patterns and such.
I think this is a very common flaw in how people teach. Over and over again I've been in classes where they just keep adding another step or pattern without regard to whether or not people can memorize the sequence of movements. They are essentially teaching choreography.

Because of this, I feel I've wasted a lot of time and money. And it's a major reason why I don't often take classes anymore.

When I DO find myself in this situation, I let my partner know I'm not sure I can get through the entire sequence. Usually they will either offer to help, or they will say something like, "I'll follow whatever you lead."

It's more about the partnership, two people cooperating to create a dance, than it is about my leading.
 
Er, the teacher may be teaching things that NOBODY in class is capable of doing - YET. But that is what the class is about. Unless it is a steps only before the social or such... then, take a basic step and add a turn etc. Otherwise, go to a class that challenges you. or get out of the way of people who are trying to progress....
That's fine, but if people in the class are lost and the instructor isn't doing anything about it, what good is the class??
 

danceronice

Well-Known Member
That's fine, but if people in the class are lost and the instructor isn't doing anything about it, what good is the class??
I think you both have a point. However, if the ladies were getting it, and other leads were getting it, is it the class? Not everyone will get everything taught in one group lesson, but to throw up your hands and refuse to even try certainly isn't going to help you get it.

And really, why not raise your hand and say "I'm sorry, I'm not comfortable with X, would you mind going over it again?" If the teacher has a conniption when someone asks for clarification, THEN it's a teaching problem (unless you're asking every single time they teach something, in which case, see posts about the class being over your head.)
 
rbazsz said....

I saw many other men flub the routine entirely so I was hardly the only one who was lost -- and I would argue that my partners got more practice just doing the basic steps than dancing with a guy that flubbed badly.
This statement is what worries me. If MANY other men are flubbing, what is the instructor doing about it?
 

wooh

Well-Known Member
Perhaps if rbazsz and the other men were paying attention to the instructor instead of taking notes on who was flubbing what, they might have learned the pattern?
 
I have been in class where me & DP finds it really hard to follow and we are open comp dancers taking many privates a week.
We generally barely managed to do the steps at the end of the class with me mostly backleading poor DP and then forget about it straight after anyways.
Now, the rest of the class mostly are ppl not doing much private lessons at all so they are totally and completely at loss.

We stopped going to the class since we don't think there is any benefits for us.

I am not sure why some teachers are teaching like that I think it is more show off attitude than anything.

Good teacher should know how the general level of the class and match material to it.
 
A good teacher teaches to the level of the class. If one or two people can't keep up, they are in too advanced a class. If more than half the class is lost, the instructor is teaching the wrong class. And it may be that they need to advise the class of the appropriate class to take in the future, but you teach the students you have, not the ones you wish were there.
 
I have been in class where me & DP finds it really hard to follow and we are open comp dancers taking many privates a week.
That's not uncommon. A very slight factor in the teacher's defense would be the difference in emphasis between your approach to dancing and those it's apparently targeted at - which can actually give those less skilled dancers more capability than you at dealing with choreography.

But I'd basically join your low opinion of such offerings.
 
That's not uncommon. A very slight factor in the teacher's defense would be the difference in emphasis between your approach to dancing and those it's apparently targeted at - which can actually give those less skilled dancers more capability than you at dealing with choreography.

But I'd basically join your low opinion of such offerings.
All the biggest classes I've been to, in terms of attendance, have been amalgamation factories. I.e., they teach new figures and choreography every class. Classes putting focus on technique have been some of the smallest group classes I've attended, sometimes amounting to semi-private lessons. You may not like it, but more people seem to want to pay for choreography than for technique.
 
The 2 ladies were right to feel that you were wasting their time. You need to apologize to them and make it up in your next class by actually dancing what the class is about.
They owe me an apology for being snotty. At least I was willing to do the basic steps with them -- I could have just told them that I'm going to do nothing.
 
IME, some places emphasize choreography, even in supposedly lower level classes. The problem is that the choreo can be too complicated for many in the class to pick up, especially the leads. I had experiences where I flat out told a rotation partner that I was lost, but I'd try to stumble through. A ploy to sucker people into privates? Dunno.
Yes! You did an excellent job described the situation.
 
If I'm hearing you correctly, this sounds like a really messed up class and is not your fault. I would suggest trying another instructor or studio. I was in a similar situation in my first dance studio and this was completely resolved when I moved to a different place.
I never came back to that group lesson. There are other group lessons in the same studio by different instructors that are very good. In this case I have to put most of the blame on the instructor.
 
I think this is a very common flaw in how people teach. Over and over again I've been in classes where they just keep adding another step or pattern without regard to whether or not people can memorize the sequence of movements. They are essentially teaching choreography.

Because of this, I feel I've wasted a lot of time and money. And it's a major reason why I don't often take classes anymore.

When I DO find myself in this situation, I let my partner know I'm not sure I can get through the entire sequence. Usually they will either offer to help, or they will say something like, "I'll follow whatever you lead."

It's more about the partnership, two people cooperating to create a dance, than it is about my leading.
You are correct about the choreography. Both the leads and follows did a set routine that never changed because that's the only way so many movements could be accomplished in 1 hour. Unfortunately the choreography that they taught is useless without a partner that can follow the script also.

Instructors like this are fooling people into believing they learned a lot when just the opposite is true.
 
Of course, everyone has a different reason for being in the class but I imagine that if doing what is taught well determines whether you actually participate in the class, trying your best to do what is taught, you will eventually be a better dancer for it. And, the other participants are also there to learn as well, and by ignoring what is taught and doing what you think is a good substitute, you are denying them a learning process, and will obviously make them less interested in dancing with you in the future.

At the social, if you must, stick to what you 'know', but you take a class to learn what you don't know. So does everyone else....
Those two are now on my "don't ask list" so they are free to dance with leads that learned the choreography.
 

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