March 29, 2023

Why some dance schools are slowing down your progress?

We have long wanted to talk about this rather trending topic.

Have you ever noticed that in network dance schools people are being trained for many years with little progress?

What does a network dance school mean? A network dance school is a franchise business, just like McDonald’s. Each school has its own owner, but all of them have the same or similar structure that they follow. The general policy of such schools is focused on keeping the students as long as possible; hence, they slow down the learning progress, so their clients keep coming back for lessons.

The questions is how to find out if you are being held back from progressing? Here is what you might want to pay attention to:

1. In one lesson, you are taught 3 or more dances at once.

On an average, the duration of one lesson is 45 minutes, 10 minutes of which is a mandatory conversation. Give yourself another 5 to 10 minutes for a warmup, and you are left with 25 minutes to learn three new dances. It's only 8 minutes per dance, which is less than the conversation or warmup time.

Dancing can be compared to a body language. In each lesson you learn to speak as if every dance is like a new language. There are related languages, as well as there are similar dances. For example, Waltz and Foxtrot; each has a completely different dialect that requires time to be learned. On the other hand, there are completely different languages as well as dances such as East Coast Swing and Tango.

What would you say if you wanted to learn a new language and you were taught three languages at once in one lesson: 8 minutes German, 8 minutes Italian, and 8 minutes Chinese? How much would you remember? You would have everything mixed up in your head, right? But that's what happens when Rumba, Foxtrot, and Tango are being taught all at once. You will keep taking lessons and stay at the bronze level for years. Some do that for decades.

This is a specific approach that gives the impression that you are learning many different dances, but, in fact, you are not learning nearly as much as you think.

2. Furthermore, you are being taught just the steps but nothing about the dance itself is being explained.

You don't know what type of dance it is and what is the difference between them, where it is from, or why it is danced this way. You are being taught just a set of movements that are not related to each other without explanation on how they can be developed. It's like learning a language from a dictionary by just memorizing individual words, and not knowing how to put them in sentences. Yes, you can learn a certain amount of words, but words are not a language. Eventually, you will be able to explain what you need, but you will never be able to communicate freely with others.

So, a set of steps is not a dance!

The instructor’s responsibility is to first give a general idea, an understanding of  the dance as a whole system.

Why is it important? Because understanding the whole gives you perspective and escalated progress in the dance.

3. You are being “sugar coated”.

Your dance instructor makes you feel like you are the best dancer if not in the world then at least in the studio. They compliment you all the time, showing their interest in your dog’s daily routine… If you make a mistake, they prefer not to focus on it, or will apply the normalization method without explaining why it’s happening and what would be the process to fix the problem.

What is the normalization method?

During special trainings, dance teachers are taught how to enter into emotional contact with their students and most importantly create a feeling in them that they are the coolest and everything works out for them. If a student makes a mistake, tell them that it's okay and don’t concentrate the attention on that. It is important to create the feeling that the student is making great progress with little effort!

How do you know if this method is being applied to you?

Your instructor praises you and says that everything is working out great for you, but  your questions are left unanswered, and deep down you feel that you’re not being told the full truth; however, you like hearing that. Be careful not to become addicted to compliments.

With that being said, sugar coating slows down any learning progress, including dancing, since nobody pays attention to your mistakes and helps you to fix them. Instead, you become addicted to “feeling good” and loose your focus on the progress.

Now, knowing the secrets of slowing down the learning progress that many dance schools use, you can determine for yourself if this is something you’re willing to pay for with your time and wallet.

In the US, most dance schools do not provide dance instructions but only commercial services.

Dance Amadis Ballroom is proud of its unique way of teaching that allows our students to progress in their skills faster and truly look beautiful on the dance floor.


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