A Dance Instructor That Makes All The Difference

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called ‘truth.'”  ~Dan Rather

Not all dance teachers are created equal.  There are many kinds of different instructors with different teaching styles. Some are better than others, depending on what you want out of dance.  To find the right one may take a while and you might have to go through several before you find the one that makes all the difference.

There are some awesome dance instructors that I would use for social dancing, some that are perfect for coaching with on specific technique or styling because that’s their specialty, and only a very tiny few that I would want to keep as my regular dance instructor because the relationship just works well.

I’ve had three very different dance instructors, each with different relationships that work, each with different teaching styles…

My first dance instructor, Valodya, is the one that made me fall in love with ballroom dancing.  He ran a big group class full of kids ages 5 – 18 or so, which always had such a fun, entertaining, learning environment.  He did a great job at taking the time during the group class to work with all the students, one-on-one.  Valodya had such an big, contagious, full of life personality and such incredible patience!  He expected only the best out of his students and always made sure that we knew he was proud of us.  It was like we were all one big dancing family :)  This is where my dance dream begin.  I can’t thank him enough for all that he did for us.  I wanted to be just like him.

My second dance instructor, Jim (aka Patrick Swayze look-alike), is the one that made me respect and appreciate and enjoy the technical aspect of dancing.  I took private lessons with him for about a year or so.  What I loved about him was how precise he was with technique and he made me work on steps until I got them right. He never accepted “good enough”; it had to be right.  Our student/teacher relationship was based on the connection of technique.  Because of him, I can work on technique all day every day and never get bored or tired of it.

My third and current dance instructor, Waylon, is the one that showed me that I’m capable of so much more as a dancer than I had ever imagined!  He is a combination of the first two dance instructors with his own unique teaching style. I love his passion for ballroom dancing and teaching.  He has excellent patience and he knows exactly what to say for me to “get it” and dance.  He isn’t afraid to tell me what I need to hear (notice, I said NEED not WANT) even if it does piss me off and I go home in tears, because at the end of it all, I realize (and he knows) that, well, he’s right (and I hate admitting that he’s right!).  He is the one that made me fall in love with ballroom dancing all over again and awakened my dormant dance dream that I once thought was impossible.  He is the kind of dance instructor that makes all the difference.

Like I said, not all dance instructors are created equal.  Each one of my dance instructors is very different and each one has a part in molding me into the dancer than I am today.  Who’s your dance instructor that made all the difference?


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