A New Perspective

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Today we talk of the student/teacher dynamic specifically in ballroom and even more specifically my experience yesterday. There are different personality types and each one brings a different set of challenges. Sometimes, you get a good mix and you have a teacher who can truly inspire a student to greatness. Sometimes, you get a bad fit and you probably have a student leave before they should. And sometimes you get a volatile mix which may work in the short run but will eventually blow up.

And that’s also why two students can have very different results and opinions about a given teacher. I suspect two teachers dealing with the same student may also end up with different opinions. One may find a student “difficult” and another might find them fun to work with.

Last night my scheduled lesson was with JoNY but she was out with an illness so they just moved me to my other instructor. Which worked out because we missed our lesson last Thursday due to my headache from hell. I’ll admit that last minute changes aren’t always fun for me. I kind of walk into the studio in one mindset and then I have to change and be ready to do something different.

So we get started and the plan is that she’s got a whole new International Waltz pattern for me. It takes up one long and one short wall but it also uses all of the Bronze figures. (Well this is the Famous Franchise version of the Bronze figures – your experience may vary). We had actually done most of them so there were only four new figures to learn plus a change in the order of some.

One thing I’ve not given enough credit for is the work a dance teacher needs to prep a lesson when new choreography is required. She mentioned something about how long it took to weave all these patterns together but that she was determined to get them all in. And actually kind of excited to show them to me.

I did write them all down and they are buried in my notes but I’ll have to share them at a later date since I don’t have my notes here and the steps aren’t quite fresh in my head. Certainly we didn’t get into technique so the focus was just on introducing the steps and then dancing them a few times to get used to the pattern.

One of my personality traits is to be way too hard on myself. I set standards that aren’t achievable and then beat myself up for not meeting them. I know I do this and I’m working on it. Another thing I do is downplay what I’ve achieved. Like “well that was OK but this part could have been better”. Stuff like that. Do it all the time.

So we get to the end of the lesson and I’ve sort of danced it through a couple of times. Certainly needed some help and suggestions at points. And then she starts telling me how much of an accomplishment it was to pick up those four steps and dance the pattern all in one lesson.

Really? It didn’t seem like that big of a deal. Which is part of my problem of not looking at what I’ve done and celebrating the victories. OK, the steps seemed easy to me. But even that is an accomplishment. Through some combination of talent and training, I’ve gotten to a point where picking up steps that are similar to things I’ve done before is relatively easy for me. That’s a good thing. Right?

I wonder about the whole passion thing. I mean you need some to keep going to the studio night after night. But I do think that somewhere along the way it had dimmed just a bit for me. There is a natural hierarchy at the studio. Those who go to the events and spend the most money get the most attention. It is just the way it is. They’ll get the little extra tips and tricks because they are going to the comps. If you stop at Showcase, well you get a slightly lower level of attention. Or maybe I’m just saying that the studio has a way of making you feel truly special. And maybe I haven’t felt that in a while. Nothing against JoNY but ours was kind of an arranged marriage when Kid T left. And Kid T was also kind of an arranged marriage because OwnerGuy didn’t have a lot of options once dancing with Z became a no go.

But here’s an extremely talented dancer who competes and she seems to see something in me. Again, this is taking nothing away from JoNY who has put in a lot of work dealing with me and has advanced my dancing. Its just different for some reason.

Presuming the ice stays away, I do have another lesson with her tonight. Review of the waltz and back to V Waltz. Should be fun.

I hate the trial and error part but I think this is correct.

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