There are a lot of great ballroom dance coaches and a lot of great Pro-Am couples, all working hard to better the quality of Ballroom Dancing. For myself, having competed in the Pro-Am and Professional divisions for over 20 years and now as judge and coach, I have some insights from my experience and would like to share my thoughts.
Notes for Pros
Professionals when you have scheduled a coaching lesson for you and your student make sure:
1. You have the dance rehearsed. Wasting time trying to remember routines – it’s frustrating for everyone. If the coaching lesson is for choreography, have the music selected and ready to play and be very specific what level of choreography is suited for the student.
2. I love when students and teachers have questions, but when they interrupt me (especially repeated times and off subject of what I am speaking about) it can ruin my train of thought, and my point could be lost. Sometimes it can be helpful to have questions written down before the lesson begins.
3. Do not teach or correct your student while on a coaching lesson. It is the coach’s job to guide and teach the student with the teacher’s help.
4. Do not talk over the coach while the coach is instructing. Teachers do not let your ego get in the way, the coach is there to offer a third eye (the teacher can’t possibly see everything that is going on while dancing with the student). Also the coach is there to reaffirm what the teacher has been instructing or offer a different way to explain techniques.
Notes for Students
For the students who are on a coaching lesson with their teacher, they must have faith and trust in the professionals or they shouldn’t be there. I know when I have a student who is attentive, focused and is putting their best effort forward, I become a better instructor – a good student can bring out the best in an instructor or coach!
Coaching Encourages Creativity
Keep in mind every coach has individual ideas and preferences. Your teacher will ultimately decide on how to use the coach’s information. While we hope all the info is applicable, sometimes you might have to curtail a technique or piece of choreography for future use. But the most important thing is for the dancer to gain experience from coaching lessons and realize all the possibilities – all the possibilities will keep us challenged and learning and therefore never get mundane.
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