Teaching the Unteachable: If You Can Imagine It, You Can Achieve It

I understand how you feel. With some students, you feel like you are endlessly adding fuel to a dying fire. You correct feet, arms etc to discover that they un-correct the moment you let go. It is like working in a factory on an item that will not sell. Our task is to sculpt bodies, but some bodies will never execute the correct technique. These students are not lazy. Most have an outstanding work ethic. They always show up, ready to dance and take whatever is before them with great attitudes. But life in general often dishes out great injustices. These people are endowed with few physical or often mental assets to help them with the demands of dance. Their bodies forbid them to advancing, some more than others, let alone have a dancing career.

We as instructors painstakingly aim for strong legs, a 3/4 releve beautiful arms and supple bodies. Luckily we gain strength, stamina and some style. For dance it takes three main attributes- talent, passion and the ability to implement corrections. Some people only come with passion or drive. You can correct the technical problem but there is no improvement. you cannot beautify their line. It is so unfair you want to cry. You wonder if what you are doing has any merit what so ever.You wonder what you are doing wrong.

You need to keep a mental list of the positives that come out of a quality dance education even if it does not produce a dancer.It will instill poise and fitness for life and a cultural education.It teaches alignment, body awareness and a way of presenting oneself in any situation. Helps to develop an appreciative audience. Gives physical and mental exercise that prevents senility, and aids in the formation of new connections to the brain made even stronger with the added use of music.

With all this in mind, remember all students, even those with little aptitude benefit from taking class. This type of thinking will give you the strength to continue doing, what you do so well, week after week and class after class.

This idea came to me after discussing with another teacher of mine about her choreography and observing classes and teaching every week. With keeping the positive thoughts that benefit any student of dance, do not give up. Teaching is a hard career to choose. Constantly remind yourself that not everyone has the passion for dance, the ability in body mind or spirit. r the talent. The benefits are great!

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What Do Kids Need When Taking Dance Classes?

If you're interested in signing up your children for dance classes, one of the first questions parents ask is 'What will my child need?' Most studios have rules on the type of clothing and shoes that need be to worn during the class, but parents aren't sure why these special items are necessary. Before signing your child up for dance lessons, learn what they will need to participate and, more importantly, why they're necessary.


A leotard and tights are some of the most common clothing items worn during lessons. Some studios even require that students all wear the same type of uniform such as black leotards and pink or white tights. But why is this important?

Leotards fit closely to the body because this way an instructor can easily see the dancer's movements. The instructor will be able to easily see if a student needs further instruction or practice when going through the steps. Additionally, having everyone wear the same clothing means that instructors can tell with just a glance whether someone is dancing off beat or needs more help staying in tune with the music.


The type of shoes required depends on the type of lessons. A ballet class, for instance, will require special ballet slippers, while a tap class will require tap shoes. As dancers become more skilled at different types of dances, different shoes may be required. An advanced ballet class will likely require toe shoes, while an advanced tap class might require tap shoes with a small heel over flats. Before purchasing footwear for a ballet class, ask the teacher if he or she prefers pink or black. Typically teachers will want each student in the same color.


If your child's hair is longer, she may be asked to pull it back during classes. Teachers often request that the hair be pulled back in a bun, though a ponytail might be sufficient. This is because hair that is kept off the face allows the teacher to better see the lines of the neck and back.


Most dance classes celebrate the end of the year with a recital for parents, grandparents and other loved ones. Students often work for the entire year on their recital routines and this typically means that they'll have a themed costume for each routine. These costumes can include sequins, tutus, headpieces and more. The cost of these recital costumes is usually above and beyond the cost of dance lessons and can cost anywhere from $50 all the way up to $300. If the cost of a recital costume is a concern, make sure to ask before you sign up for classes.

Extra-curricular activities such as a ballet class can be a fun way to keep children active and off the couch. Before you sign up, however, know what is expected of you as a parent. Check to see if your child will need anything special like clothing or shoes so there aren't any surprises when you arrive at the studio for your first lesson.

A Step Above Dance Academy offers dance classes in Batavia, IL. The school offers a number of different dance lessons in Batavia for students of all ages. If you're interested in learning more about a ballet class in Batavia or want to view a class schedule, visit their site.

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Choosing the Right Latin Dance Instructor

There have been concerns from beginners not feeling comfortable about the honesty of some instructors. There are smaller communities with fewer Latin dance Instructors to choose from, and then there are the larger communities which are saturated with instructors. So how does a beginner dancer know which dance instructor is being honest, and which dance instructor is 'trying to make the studio rent for the month'? As with many personal endeavors, there is only so much research that can be done. After that, one has to give it 'face time' to get the real feel whether the dance instructor chosen will be best suited for your dancing experience. Maximize your personal investment to experience all that comes with Latin dancing. Is the instructor honestly pulling out your full potential? Is the instructor right for your style and demeanor?

Checking Instructor Credentials: Most dance instructors will have a website with short instructional videos of dance styles provided in their dance school or academy. Review the videos and make sure you can feel a connection with that particular dance instructor's style of teaching the dance.

Beware of Recommendations: Of course friends will have recommendations, and being in a dance class with someone you know makes the beginner or intermediate experience less stressful. However, you will need to be the judge and decide if that style of dance instructor will be best for you. Similar to choosing your dance footwear, just because a friend recommends a certain style of dance shoes, doesn't mean that style will fit you. And of course, should a dance instructor not be a fit for you, use cordial etiquette with a smile, and give your thanks but no thanks, as you continue your search for the instructor that fits your needs.

Beware of Sales Pitches: In selecting a dance school or instructor, be realistic in fulfilling your dancing needs. Paying a higher price for lessons does not always guarantee quality instruction. Do the dance classes move too fast and the instructor seems to be watching the clock too often? Does it seem to be too much, or not enough instruction for one lesson? When you ask a question is it honestly answered to your satisfaction? Granted there are other students, but if you are paying and the cost is high, you should feel every right to get a full answer, and not be rushed on to the next phase of the lesson.

Consider Group before Private Lessons: When a personal decision is made to get involved in social dancing, most would think about taking private lessons. As with everything, there are pros and cons to this decision. Private lessons are best when comfort is found in connecting with an instructor that honestly understands your level and how to grow your dancing experience. A rush to private dance lessons can sometimes go to waste because you are missing out on the social aspect of dancing. Once the private lessons are done, there may still be a level of insecurity or lack of confidence to experience what you've learned when at a real dancing event without your instructor as a partner. For this reason, getting involved in group lessons is recommended first for beginners. Dancers are always meeting up at clubs and dance events, so it's no mystery that group lessons are the way to go.

Although this is not the bible on how to choose the right dance instructor, it is a brief guideline on where to start. The thought process for choosing any Latin dance Instructor is just like choosing your dance footwear. Is it a style you like? Are you comfortable and confident? Is it a great value? Social dancing is super fun, and just as in life, using your common sense feelings in addressing your comfort level can be applied to the same process in choosing dance lessons or a dance instructor, just as if you are choosing your first dance shoes. Keep dancing, and keep smiling!

Miguel "Mambo" DeLeon has been a Latin music entertainer for over 30 years. He is known in the Midwest Salsa and Latin Jazz scene as "The Pioneer" - "El Pionero" since the mid 80's. From the mid 70's he worked alongside Orchestra Charambo and backed up various vocalists from the Fania All Stars. Other artists include such legends as Larry Harlow, Ismael Miranda, Willie Colon, Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe, Ruben Blades, Tito Puente and many more.

Motivated by his fans with questions about dancing and what shoes to wear or not to wear, he has opened an online store which specializes in comfort fitting dance shoes with style. Visit Classy Dance Footwear today to find your desired dance shoes.

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