The Spinning Dancers search for her New Top Smooth Ballroom Instructor starts tonight, on the CW!
Finding a teacher for privet instruction is a lot like buying shoes. You don’t just purchase the first pair of shoes you come across and when you do find a pair you like, you have to try them on to see if they fit. There are times the most comfortable shoe isn’t going to the be the most flashy, the most flashy shoe gives you blisters and makes your feet bleed and there are times when what you end up purchasing wasn’t what you were originally looking for. But in all cases, once a good shoe gets broken in, it’s going to be in heavy rotation from your closet to your feet for the life of a shoe.
I have a tendency to love shoes into the ground (this is still a metaphor for dance teachers). The sole will be blown out, the laces broken, heel worn to a nub and I’ll still be like, “Hey look, it’s still good!” (To translate that metaphor, I don’t give up on a teacher until the student teacher relationship is undeniably over and then I quietly exit out the back door.)
I am, again, looking for a new pair of shoes, I mean teacher. (It’s really time to stop that metaphor, huh, see.) I have asked myself, what are my goals now? Do I want to learn how to dance and compete or do I just want to learn enough to not look like an idiot on a dance floor? Answer: I want to compete. I’ve had a taste of it and for all of its, everything, bartender, I’d like another.
There are a few of us that actually want this and can afford this. I’m making the commitment to eat ramen noodles for the next year to pay for this, but that is how bad I want it. I know I am the exception. I know 90% of the students out there are really only looking to learn the steps. With only 10% of us looking to become better dancers and better competitors, finding a teacher is going to be harder.
(The lonely boulevard we must all take to find our teachers.)
Every time I change an instructor it costs me $500-$700 in lessons to get to the place where I was with my last instructor and that’s not including the first lesson. It might just be a throw away. I can honestly tell in the first ten minutes of a lesson if it’s going to work or not. It’s not always a personality issue. I’ve been taking lessons for ten years and I know how I learn best. Please picture an older bitter woman sucking on a cigarette and exhaling smoke as she says, “If the words don’t make sense to my body, it aint gonna work.”
I’m setting up lessons with two different instructors this week with the hope that one of them will be a good, if not great fit. Neither of them are people who in a million years I would have thought to have taken lessons with when I first started out in this mirror ball world. They were both far to intimidating in stature and talent then and now here I am hoping that one of them will be the best pair of shoes I’ve owned yet.
(Here I am depicted below, praying to the Mirror Ball Gods for a good American Smooth teacher. I trust that even with out my head I know the Mirror Ball Gods will guide me down the right path.)