Private lessons vs. group classes and DVD's?

Toothlesstiger, thanks. I agree. Do you have any suggestions that you could give to students who are trying to determine whether their teacher is a good teacher; or, students who may not think their teacher is a good teacher? In other words, are their certain criteria or standards that a beginning student could use that in your opinion would be helpful?
Without stating a student's particular goals (compete? perform? social? technique yes/no?), I think it's hard to be specific.

In general, I think it can help to look for students whose dancing you admire and then ask who their teachers are. On the other hand, it can be difficult for beginners to identify students who dance well. When I first started, I thought everyone at silver and up looked amazing. ;)
 
Fascination, is the reason you state that you "would have started with the best pro possible" because you knew that you wanted to become a good competitive dancer rather than a good social dancer? The reason, I ask that question, is because the cruise ship instructor that I had told me that there are big differences between being a good competitive dancer and a good social dancer. In addition, I got the impression that she thought there may be differences between teaching someone to be a good social dancer and teaching someone to be a good competitive dancer.
It depends on how one defines "good social dancer". The prevailing definition is: social = casual approach to technique, competitive = serious approach to technique. In this case, then yes, there would be a big difference between a good competitive dancer and a good social dancer.

I prefer to define "good social dancer" as one with technique equal to that of a good competitive dancer. There may still be differences, but slighter. I like what toothlesstiger said.
In my limited understanding, the difference is more in the order of what you learn, rather than where you end up. Making it feel good is the first order of business for social dancing. Making it look good is more important for competition dancing. But if you want to keep improving as a social dancer you're heading for the same place.
This is the social dancing to which I aspire. :)
 
It depends on how one defines "good social dancer". The prevailing definition is: social = casual approach to technique, competitive = serious approach to technique. In this case, then yes, there would be a big difference between a good competitive dancer and a good social dancer.

I prefer to define "good social dancer" as one with technique equal to that of a good competitive dancer. There may still be differences, but slighter. I like what toothlesstiger said.

This is the social dancing to which I aspire. :)
TC, thanks.
 
TC, I had the class tonight instead of next Thursday. The instructor started off by saying that he knew we were having a lot of problems with the quarter right turns-and that he would walk by us as we were dong them with partners and make comments. He came by me and my partner and said very good. Then, he let me and her demonstrate the correct way to do the step in the group class. TC, the exercise you gave me was the only reason that I was able to do that step correctly and meet his expectations. Thank you again for the fantastic exercise that enabled me to do the step well. You truly demonstrate what this forum in large part is and should be about.

Pertinent sharing freeageless, I am happy to know that TC’s ‘advice’ worked well for you.

A straight point...Since you were able to practice sans an instructor and apply the written exercise instructions, many detailed instructions received from bronze DVDs might as well be working for you .;)

Apart from this point, I am delighted that you are a 'good' student, having ventured to differ on the role of some teaching aids...:friend:
 
I prefer to define "good social dancer" as one with technique equal to that of a good competitive dancer. There may still be differences, but slighter. I like what toothlesstiger said.

:)
Appreciate very much your description TC, and I also feel that ‘must play a game with rules’. Like in any games like chess, very little scope for changing the rules.

The casual approach to social dancing may be due to lack of commitment to learning and with the underlying feeling that one can make it merrier even by breaking the rules, fearing no repercussions.

But I do not see any difference in the order of priority in social dancing for 'feeling it good' and 'looking it good', only saving grace may be that there are no judges around to award marks; but in club dances also styling, techniques can go a long way, whether the outcome is judged or not, right? ... hurray!
 

Bailamosdance

Well-Known Member
I find many times that folks who make statements that differentiate their goals between social dance and competitive dance as the reason not to understand technique or to practice good dance quality are simply showing their lack of commitment and/or lack of understanding.

To be a good social dancer, based on quality of dance, can take years. But, it sometimes appears that, ased on anecdotal commentary (Joe is a good social dancer), it takes mere weeks. Why? The 'bar' is so low for what is good at a social that a male leader simply has to know his 3 basic steps in a dance to be useful at a social. Popularity at a social has nothing to do with dance ability. Ok, a little, but more to do with enthusiasm, looks, and showing up.

Don't think for a minute that that same dancer will not be upstaged by a better dancer. The better dancer is better not because he has mastered the art of the box step but has the ability to move his body and the body of the partner in pleasing, aesthetic, and comfortable ways. This, unfortunately, takes time and work. The average Joe who goes to a few group classes to 'learn to dance' will not really do these things.

The higher quality dancer will be more in demand at a social by partners who are looking for a good quality dance. The 3 step 3 month fellow will be left out in the cold. Don't think for a minute that the average Jane will choose a worse dancer over a better one, unless it is for friendship, obligation, or relationship.

I am not trying to be negative here, but I AM trying to be honest. This forum gets on a weekly basis folks who make judgement calls on what they 'want to be'. It's sorta like someone saying they want to work out but not too much, because they don't want to look like a bodybuilder. Don't worry, at your level of commitment, the only thing you'll get from your workouts will be sweat.

It's ok to have goals and it's ok to make those pronouncements but please let's be real.
 
The better dancer is better not because he has mastered the art of the box step but has the ability to move his body and the body of the partner in pleasing, aesthetic, and comfortable ways. This, unfortunately, takes time and work .
Bailamosdance, I agree, and you have stated what constitutes a better dancer very well.
 
I am not trying to be negative here, but I AM trying to be honest. This forum gets on a weekly basis folks who make judgement calls on what they 'want to be'. It's sorta like someone saying they want to work out but not too much, because they don't want to look like a bodybuilder. Don't worry, at your level of commitment, the only thing you'll get from your workouts will be sweat.
That's a good analogy. I know that when I mention going to the gym, people sometimes tell me, "Oh, be careful! You don't want to start looking like Arnold. That's just gross." ... as though one could achieve that level of development through sheer carelessness rather than through years of intense, deliberate effort.

Dance is pretty much the same way. It takes time and effort.
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
I have a side question.... heavy gym, that tightens muscles gel well with dancing?
Perhaps the moderators will move this to its own thread, since it is not relevant here, but...
This is a myth of resistance training, that you will get "muscle-bound". If you do it right, you won't get tight muscles, you will only get strong muscles or, if that's what you are shooting for, big muscles. Flexibility is part of doing it right.

That being said, it might be fine for social dancing, but the male competitive dancers I know shy away from bulking up, as it negatively impacts the line they are trying to create. So if you want to compete, and you want to get stronger, you choose a training approach that builds strength but not bulk.
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
On learning for competition versus social: I first learned from teachers that only taught social dancing, and never competed themselves. Six week wonders, in other words. Now I am learning from high level competitors and former competitors. I am now getting a grounding in technique that I wish I had much earlier. But I still got value from those first teachers. I learned to lead in a social context, I learned connection, I had a lot of fun. But videos of my dancing are embarrassing to watch. So now I would like to get to the point that I can watch myself dance. And for that, I need to learn how to look good.
 
Perhaps the moderators will move this to its own thread, since it is not relevant here, but...
This is a myth of resistance training, that you will get "muscle-bound". If you do it right, you won't get tight muscles, you will only get strong muscles or, if that's what you are shooting for, big muscles. Flexibility is part of doing it right.

That being said, it might be fine for social dancing, but the male competitive dancers I know shy away from bulking up, as it negatively impacts the line they are trying to create. So if you want to compete, and you want to get stronger, you choose a training approach that builds strength but not bulk.
TT, interesting points. I usually use an elliptical maching for about 30 minutes a day, and I left some weights daily-though not long. If I do this on a day that I have a group class, party, or lesson, I find that the exercise relaxes my mind, calms me and helps me concentrate on the class and or lesson.
 
On learning for competition versus social: I first learned from teachers that only taught social dancing, and never competed themselves. Six week wonders, in other words. Now I am learning from high level competitors and former competitors. I am now getting a grounding in technique that I wish I had much earlier. But I still got value from those first teachers. I learned to lead in a social context, I learned connection, I had a lot of fun. But videos of my dancing are embarrassing to watch. So now I would like to get to the point that I can watch myself dance. And for that, I need to learn how to look good.

Though competitions harness and sharpen all areas to the nth degree, one acquires all these skills only when deliberately focus, learn and retain.


Glad you have found merits in all category of teachers and have no regrets. :)
 
You forgot that, so I added it for ya. ;)

Everyone around here seems to blame their beginner habits on their beginner instructor. But I really believe, it doesn't matter who's teaching you, you're going to develop bad habits as a beginner and eventually have to fix them.
Sure, I think my first instructor sucks. But mostly because I've developed a bad opinion of him on a personal level. When I'm being honest, I have to admit, he does encourage an enthusiasm for dancing. And he doesn't scare people off. I guarantee, if I'd started with one of the instructors I've taken lessons from since then, it wouldn't have mattered how good they taught me technique, I'd have quit almost immediately.
I truly believe, teaching an enthusiasm for dance, and getting a beginner into good habits like actually practicing between lessons is more important at the start than any technique. Either way, I'm going to have bad habits (because it doesn't matter who your teacher is, you aren't going to be a world champ after one lesson, you WILL be doing something wrong.) But had I started out with the scary Russian woman that I adore lessons with now, I'd have run screaming from the studio and never looked back.
Wooh, I think that there is a lot of truth in what you state above. From my beginner perch, I certainly think that if the instructor is able to get the beginning student enthusiastic about dance, and is able to inspire the student to "practice between lessons"-he or she is a great dance teacher-certainly for beginners.
 
I second it. I think this one of the most critical skills required for a beginner instructor. Usually it takes several months before a student develops awareness in this regard.
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
I've got to question a little bit this need for a teacher to encourage an enthusiasm for dance. We have a self-selecting group here. If you get a bad teacher, are you more likely to say that dancing sucks, or that that teacher sucks, and find a new one?
 

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