I was taking class today. The teacher is brilliant he enthuses participants, he gives energy and focuses on the individual to bring out the best. He is great at building confidence (something I seek) but also corrects and identifies what is wrong. Arm lines, energy, dynamic are all identified. He has a warm up with stretches and alignment, usually travelling and a routine at the end. My observations of these qualities are not without recognition that in his day this man was a good dancer. He has also been on a diet since I last saw him and more in shape.
The reason for this post is to question why with all these positives his class in pineapple studios, the centre of dance in London, has only three participants!!!
I’m forming a list;
1. His warm up is vigorous. I find it hard to follow as the movements are changing fast and I’m not feeling the benifit of the stretch as I’m moving into the next position. This happens in other classes where students attend each week and know the routine, so not the reason.
2. He is not technically proficient anymore. This may be a problem for those who seek to follow and admire their teacher. For the teacher who likes to demo for their own benifit at the expense of the class. This isn’t a real problem-as a participant I need the movement broken down enough for me to interpret it and corrected to make me proficient. This does not nessacarily depend on the teacher being the best but perhaps he needs to do class for himself too.
3. Passion: the teacher clearly loves taking class. He picks one or two individuals and brings them on. Motivating and enthusing. Next lesson he picks a different two. This is good for the moral of the individuals and hugely flattering. In the week where there is no motivation for the previous individual I wonder if they loose enthusiasm in the class. I do not know if this has an impact. I feel the best teachers somehow manage round all of the class every lesson!!
4. The teacher is good but has never been the best. This teacher seems to copy the style of others rather than teaching what he knows. He does not command attention or leave an air of mistique. He chats to his class informally, he works within pineapple at the cafe and covers other teachers when they are off. I wonder if the very confidence he aims to bring out in his students is the very confidence he lacks.
I feel complete empathy for this teacher. I have taken classes, like Zumba where there are 178 people for weeks and over time the number drops. What you deliver is the same but no longer appeals. It fills me with dread when I go to the Largs class and the numbers are down one week due to a new class starting up afterwards. The teacher perhaps needs to change the focus or the class to what is current. Zumba out metafit in etc… It’s identifying the next trend before it happens. This remains a problem for all community dance teachers.
As a teacher belief in what you are teaching and demonstration of what you aim to achieve are key. I have finally learnt it is not what you know-it is what people think you know. The world is passing me by because I do know stuff but those who know less are more confident and so get ahead.
I am not closer to what this teacher lacks. They have a perfect time slot and a large room. The passion for teaching.
I change my question: would I go to his class? No, not every week-only if there was nothing better on. I feel other teachers are more technically correct, I should learn more and have more modern choreography. And there it is..I have just contradicted myself. This man is supplying confidence, energy and enthusiasm and I am saying no even though I did enjoy his class.
It seek I also seek a professional manner that gives me confidence but is not over relaxed and joke related. A balance.