A disturbing experience

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by LadydancerSF820, May 27, 2016.

  1. LadydancerSF820

    LadydancerSF820 Changui

    My recent trip to the beautiful city of Boise, Idaho has raised some interesting questions in the area of moral principals pertaining to dance instruction as a profession.

    There is something uniquely disturbing about the dance scene in Boise. Students who are still beginners in their dance training are claiming to be professional teachers. Most of these students have only just begun to dance, but are already offering lessons. Some have not had any professional training, but are only imitating moves they have seen on YouTube and think that this is all they need to know.

    What is shocking to me is that a lot of these new “dance teachers” claim to teach technique, of which they obviously have none, since they are almost always off time with the music. For me being out of time is the most significant aspect of social dancing. You can’t enjoy dancing if you are not in time with the music. Sadly to my disbelief, a "professional teacher" in the area was off time during our entire dance. Adding insult to the injury, the "instructor" then proceeded to invite me to his upcoming salsa and bachata classes at the JUMP, city's new hot spot. I would highly suggest to the new dancers in Boise, it is critical that you make sure the person training you is qualified.

    As a paying consumer, you need to be assured that you are receiving quality training. In most professions, it is crucial that training and qualifications are strictly regulated and verified, as it could be detrimental to the consumer otherwise. But in the dance industry in Boise, it appears to be a common practice to claim professionalism without any qualification.

    It is not enough to be naturally gifted at dance. Years of study should be dedicated to the art. Before that time, teaching is not valuable or safe. It’s not about what’s popular this year. It’s about where you decide to focus your passions and hard work over many years.

    To be an accomplished dancer, you must master the fundamentals by incorporating thorough knowledge of music, body awareness, mechanics, techniques and aesthetics.

    Here is the take home point: if you’re a dance student in Boise you need to check that your instructors are properly qualified. In doing this, you will ensure

    1. Less risk of injury, both short and long term.

    2. You receive training that can support an admirable career, if you hope to make dance your profession.

    3. Less risk of building bad habits which are very difficult to reverse.

    4. A sense of confidence that the same system that has trained many accomplished professional dancers in the past can work for you.

    5. The knowledge that you are getting value for your money as opposed to wasting it on fraudulent instructors.

    Don’t be tricked into buying a bottle of “fine wine” only to later discover it’s filled with vinegar.

    Finally, I have videos from the classes in the area and it is painfully cringing to watch. I am debating if I should share the videos here.

    Please comment and share any experiences like above and what should a person who knows better can do in a situation like this?
    premier, Live2dance, vit and 2 others like this.
  2. manzanadulce

    manzanadulce Sonero

    This post is literally everything that is wrong with the salsa world in general, and I don't believe this just happens in Boise. I've seen the same thing in New York many times. And yeah, I think the easiest way to tell that the person is not well trained is that they're off the timing.

    It's shameful this happens, anyone and everyone trying to make a buck when they obviously aren't qualified to be teaching dance. Just because someone has danced for many years doesn't mean they are qualified!

    Thank you for sharing this!
    Live2dance, vit and LadydancerSF820 like this.
  3. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I invariably edit my responses to someones post, primarily to get to the "crux" . But,, in this case, you have written , and summarised, all the systemic problems in the world of salsa ( It does happen in other genres of dance ).

    And.. Please share the vids..
    LadydancerSF820 likes this.
  4. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    I totally agree with others. It is not limited to your locality. I saw it in the UK, France and Italy. In the UK 15 years ago there was a guy who was literally stiff as a bone and dancing moving both his arm and the same side leg forward and backward. It made me want to scream! It was like the Genesis video clip. He learned some moves in one particular style and 5 months later he was "teaching" his own "exceptional" style. And people were paying for it! I think I even discovered a video of his on YT. :eek:
    LadydancerSF820 likes this.
  5. LadydancerSF820

    LadydancerSF820 Changui

    I agree it is probably not unique to the Boise area. I will be posting the video soon...Just wondering if I am allowed to post videos in the same thread? or I should start a new thread.
  6. khabibul35

    khabibul35 Tumbao

    You mean Marlon Silva moved to Boise to teach salsa?

    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  7. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Please permit me to add a different perspective. Over and over again I have seen bad (or worse) salsa teachers doing well - often very well - for themselves. Whilst another teacher in the same locality who can both dance and teach well has less students (and if they do parties they have less people going). Why is that? The only conclusion that I can come to is that most students have their own criteria for what they want in a teacher, and often decent teachers don't fulfil those criteria. To therefore criticise the wack teachers for responding to that demand, or warn the students that their beloved teachers are in fact a bit crap is, in my opinion, a futile exercise.

    (Also, I know a lot of advanced salsa dancers - even some teachers - who think that any dancer who is not on1 or dancing so called ET2 must have timing issues. I assume that is not the case here.)
    wol and LadydancerSF820 like this.
  8. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    khabibul35 and Live2dance like this.
  9. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    Are you kidding me? This guy is light years ahead of the guy am talking about.

    By the way I still do the thigh move once in a while, still works...I acknowledge it is old fashion but it still makes the ladies smile !
  10. LadydancerSF820

    LadydancerSF820 Changui

    First of all, I understand your perspective and I will soon add the video here...Absolute beginner students, when they start dancing they are not aware of what they are looking for and what they need. They don't know and even if they think what they want it might change drastically after some proper quality training. Secondly, any quality trained dancer can pick out a non dancer/bad dancer-teacher just by simply observing the body language within 10 seconds or may be even less. Of course, the dancer I have mentioned is not dancing on1 or on2 but rather have no clue to what timing/rhythm amounts to.
  11. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Every time I take an LA Class, I go to one that is 1 or 2 levels under what I would have gone to, if I were to attend a NY class. The patterns taught in those lessons are obviously well-known to me, but I always get amazed of how different that dance is from the NY-Style my first instructor taught me.

    Every single time I keep asking myself:
    "God, why do they teach us to lead it that way...when we can make the girl do exactly the same...that way?"
    Always. Always always always I end up not agreeing with most of the ways we are being taught how to lead. I find them stupid, old-fashioned, perhaps misinformed. I keep getting the notion that a lot of things here are based on old DVDs that some old instructors once watched and copied, and then added to them their own ways and methods, inventing some justifications to whatever they were doing, and then it passed on and on to the next generations of instructros) - most of the time, when I suggest a different way to do something, instructors lack explanations why do it their way.

    Anyway, I still do it "their way", but later, once I believe I grasp it, during the practice songs, I return do doing it "my way". (And "my way" of leading is usually, lighter, closer to the girl, abuses her momentum instead of killing-it and-forcing-it again, less "big", many times, to an observer, it is almost "invisible").

    Now to the main story:

    A guy who was late to the lesson decided to join as a follow.
    I figured he was a usual dancer at that place, who has joined that place's instruction-course (That has started a month ago).

    I guess he has gone all over this place's syllabus already, and he knows some "advanced" moves,
    but his posture was horrible, his stepping was horrible, he was also a horrible follow, and later when I saw him leading a girl (whose partner went to drink some water for a min) I noticed how unclean his leading (and therefore forceful) his leading was. He's still at the part when his dancing is all about repeating his instructors' choreographies; I doubt he really understand leading and following.

    The second time he became my follow he tried fixing my leading technique.
    I had to try soooooo hard not to be mean to him.

    Now, I always welcome help, tips, criticism, and I don't often assume the "I am right" role. I also don't care who the person teaching me is (A correct thing is correct, not matter who said it), but that situation was very irritating.

    "Look, It is really nice that you are taking that instruction course and you came to fill as a girl, and you try helping me and all, but honestly, you have no idea who you are talking to, and much worse than that - you have no clue what you are talking about". This is what crossed my mind, when he tried to teach me how to prep. (That very horrible prep that they teach there, not that I understand why I need to stop the movement of the girl, and rotate her two times, just to see her not prepping, so she can then do...one spin, a very imbalanced one, may I say). I'd rather shift her alignment just a bit throughout her basic step. She would turn naturally, it doesn't stop the dance in the middle, and it can be done using my fingertips and wrists only. He just couldn't see me doing it, and when he joined and I lead him - he followed like a robot, if I didn't do that very certain prep, he wouldn't turn, or attempt to spin...He kept giving me incorrect tips, supported by flawed logic, and didn't understand that I don't do it his way, not because I don't know, but because I know better.

    Sorry for talking like a snob, but that guy, despite probably having a big heart and great desire to teach - probably has no clue about leading, or following, and apparently - about reading the his students as well...

    This guy is not yet in a level where he can notice bad habits and fix them,
    teach good habits,
    give important points about what he's teaching....Focus students on what they should notice.

    2-3 months from now he's going to be an instructor at that place, and people are going to mimic and copy his weird ideas and explanations, that he probably copied from someone who copied from someone who copied from someone...
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
    LadydancerSF820 likes this.
  12. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Is this an absolute-beginner lesson?
    Was this a part of the actual lesson, or some fun chat that occurred after it?
    If the answer to the first question is "yes", then:

    This guy wasted an entire (yes, that's a lot) minute just to fill the heads of his students with things they should really not worry about yet, and they probably still can't relate to anyway, and then he wasted another minute to demonstrate what he said. (Instead of explaining and demonstrating at the same time to begin with). Then they wasted some other 2 minutes in a similar fashion...keeping their students IDLE during he whole process!

    I was taught that when you teach salsa,

    -You say what's important and and relevant, and you do it short and clear.
    -You demonstrate while talking (Instead of talking, and then showing)
    -And hell - If you dare saying more than 3 sentences without making your students move, you better have a damn good reason for doing that.
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
    sofar, Jag75 and kbitten like this.
  13. LadydancerSF820

    LadydancerSF820 Changui

    Sad and harmful to the art of dance!
    This was a part of the lesson when they were trying to show what "they can do" ...I am just speechless. I am shocked how one can decide to become a teacher and know absolutely nothing about the subject matter. Dancing takes both knowing and doing!
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  14. khabibul35

    khabibul35 Tumbao

    Well, that video was definitely style over substance. And I'm not sure how much I liked the style at that. However, if you watched the videos I posted, I think you'll see that it can get far far worse than that. This is really only even scratching the surface of bad teaching.

    Your point about timing is something that I really lament myself. It's hard to make newbies appreciate the importance of timing. To make it worse, some teachers just say $#%& it when it comes to timing, and while it make class seem more fun, it's hurting the students in the long run in a way that they'll probably never recover.
  15. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    I am not sure in what sort of instructor-crisis that place is, but they had their students in that instruction course do an entire lesson. Alone. After mere 2 lessons.

    I came early. The girl who was supposed to do the beginner lesson was completely freaking out. This one is a wonderful dancer, BTW, but she knew nothing about instruction, and they just threw her into deep water. I offered to join her lesson as a follower, ask her the right questions when she get stuck, and help the boys who lead me during the practice sessions...

    I am not even getting to their dancing.
    If what you are saying is right - according to what I see - those two are not good at instruction.
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
  16. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    The lady is pretty decent, and he ?.. well, I've actually seen worse ( Not much ) .
  17. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    The notion that "advanced moves " is an automatic pass in to the teaching world , is systemic and unfortunate .

    Now.. to the bigger picture. What concerns me more , is this ; You said he was on a teachers training course, so does this imply , THAT is the teaching standard ?. If so, it will not surprise me !!!
  18. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    Am glad you said it because my personal feeling is that if you have a problem with these two then you have a problem with about 90% of the salsa instructors. Not that I blame you. But I agree with Terence. There is much much worse out there. But perhaps this merits a new thread, i.e. what teachers teach that you do not like/ disagree with and why /or cannot implement? Do we have already something like that?
  19. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    That is not what Terence said. The guy is a complete car crash - I have seen worse in my life, but very rarely, and only one of whom has ever put himself online (afaik). In fact I invite you to post vids of anyone else who is of a similar level.

    (Even his outfit is an eyesore.)
    LarsM and LadydancerSF820 like this.
  20. wol

    wol Sonero

    Exactly. Students are very, very diverse and what they want to learn often is not technical part of dancing. Some just want to socialize, some want to have fun, some are looking for exercise, some for significant other, etc. I have been to so many lessons and almost nobody is looking for technical lessons, only very few who get to the more advanced level :(
    Sometimes good and technical teachers manage to create excellent lessons, but most of the time they are not sufficiently "fun" to be attractive to the beginner students. This space is filled with "fun" lessons from inexperienced, but fun loving teachers. And the inexperienced, but trying to pretend to be technical, usually disappear very quickly.
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.

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