How do I find the right teacher for me?

Finding the right dance teacher is a little like finding the right shoe.  First, you need to know what you are shopping for.  Do you want practical and sturdy, a shoe that you can wear most days?  Do you want flashy and exciting, a shoe that is sure to help you turn heads?

I began my search as an adult for a shoe, I mean dance teacher, who provided a lot of support.  I was recovering from an injury and was still in pretty precarious physical condition.  My teacher was my mother’s age, a nurse by training and created a safe environment in which to recover as I learned to dance.  I felt safe and secure, and I thrived.

Most articles written about finding the right teacher focus on the characteristics of the teacher.  Although we will do that in part 2 of the article next month,  I believe that the search for the right teacher begins with you.

  • Are you interested in learning how to perform, have your sights on the glittery costumes and want to get there as fast as you can?
  • Are you interested in learning how to perform, have your sights on the glittery costumes and want to get there as fast as you can?Do you want a regular fitness program that is fun and aerobic?
  • Do you want a place where you can recover/learn to exist with a chronic injury while getting gentle movement?
  • Finally, do you want to learn the technique, history and context of the dance?

Once you have determined what you want out of a dance class, it is time to do some research.  You Tube is a fabulous way to watch different styles of dance prior to committing to taking lessons.  When you have narrowed down your style, then you look around at the different locations near you that provide that style.  Price and convenience are important.  Equally as important are the studio’s policies about taking classes, trying classes and making up classes.

Now you have narrowed your choice to a style of dance and a particular studio.  Talk to the studio owner about the strengths of all of her (sic) teachers.  She will be able to guide you into the right fit for you.  At our studio, I speak at length to prospective students about what they are looking for.  We have a no risk policy, so you can always try your first class free.  If you don’t like it, then you don’t register.  In addition, over the next month, you will be able to find demonstration videos of most of our classes.  You can “try it on” before you buy it!

Stay tuned to part 2 next issue where I will actually talk about characteristics of the teacher.