The Truth About Students that Every Instructor Should Know


Just because a student knows something, doesn’t mean the student will do it.

Being a dance teacher is one of the most personally satisfying professions, but also one of the most frustrating. One of the most frustrating things is when a teacher believes that just because they teach something, that the student should know it. A teacher really sets him or herself up for even more frustration with the belief that just because a student knows something, that the student will do it. Of course a few students will all the time, some will most of the time, and most will some of the time, and then there are the other times. Here are just a few of the reasons why the other times happen.

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  1. The “Mini Nap With Eyes Open”
  • Everyone has done it. It is part of life. That mini-mind blank.
  • It happens more often with fatigue, hunger or distraction, but sometimes happens for no reason whatsoever…even during a lesson or competition.
  • We just hope it does not happen during the triple spiral that goes into the elevated arabesque and death drop in your cabaret routine.


  1. The “Not So Sure I Agree”
  • While it true that the instructor typically has many years of experience, and a depth of knowledge that far exceeds the student, sometimes the student may think the coach is just wrong for one of many reasons, …or just because :).
  • Just because the student is Novice/D-level/Intermediate Bronze, does not mean that he/she can’t shake things up a bit and develop a brand new technique.
  • It may not be in any manual, but it might end up being awesome! …really!
  1. The “Fish Climbing A Tree”
  • We are all better at some things than at others.
  • A student could know a step or technique well but it initially feels very wrong because requires actions that are the opposite of their strengths.
  • With this the student might just cut corners to make it more similar to things he or she is good at
  • Being good at something is waaaaay more fun than kinda sucking.


  1. The “Optical Illusion”
  • So many things in dancing look like they are accomplished one way, but are really accomplished another way
  • Sway come from the action of knees, not upper body movement….a leader leads with the body not the arms…tango’s sharpness comes from how quickly and sharply you stop, not start.
  • It is so very easy to think you know something based on what you see….a bit of a blow to find out your advanced self-teaching is pretty much wrong…ouch.
  1. The “Fun Factor”
  • Let’s face it….some things are more fun to do than others, especially when you are learning. Basic drills to train body control are general only fun for very “special” people, whom I have yet to ever meet, but they are essential. When something is not fun, we may try to make it more fun (which could be great or disastrous), or we get distracted (back to point #1)


  1. The “Click That Happens Tomorrow”
  • It takes a while for the yeast in bread to make it rise. It takes a while for the marinade to soak into the steak.
  • Sometimes when the students says…”just wait…the next time (after 20 attempts) will be awesome”, he or she is actually right!….Just wait….

Good news is that all of the 6 points can be considered stepping stones to the absolutely awesome performance that will result once the challenge is mastered. Students…it happens to the best of us.

New show in progress:) Will get better when my ass will start listening to me:)))

-Edita Daniute (January 2015)

Instructors, stay calm and carry on…. :)

Author: Miss P [Celebrate Dancesport] 
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review