Teaching dance for more than 30 years has exposed me to a variety of wonderful students and interesting conversations. Thinking back, here are four of those conversations and the corresponding responses I wish I could preload into the minds of my students, allowing their learning journey to be the most rewarding and pain-free experience possible.
- “I wish I would’ve listened to you when you said [fill in the blank]”
- Funny how people pay for a professional service, then fight the person they hired to guide them.
- “I’m on a Full Bronze program. Why can’t I lead/follow/dance better now?”
- It seems obvious to professional instructors that both the skills and benefits of a course happen at the completion of said course, not at the commitment to it. The first step is a good plan, followed by doing the work, after which comes the reward!
- “It actually worked!”
- Yes, that’s why I told you to do it. One of my favorite learning mantras: “See It, Feel It, Trust It”.
- “I’m not comfortable” or “It feels awkward”
- All learning requires you to change, and can be particularly uncomfortable and awkward when it involves a physical activity like dancing. Just remember the four stages of learning: “Initial, Awkward, Conscious, and Natural Use”. The only way you’ll get to the promised land of “Natural Use” is to go through the valley of “Awkward”.
While not particularly funny, these are all feelings we need to go (and grow) through. Trusting the process, your mentors, and yourself will make the ups and downs of becoming an accomplished dancer (aka “The Curve of Learning”) happen in the quickest and most pain-free way possible.
We’ll see you on the dance floor!