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It is your money....choose wisely


  • It is your money....choose wisely

    In today's world... it appears as if there is an "instructor" at every corner. There are plenty who THINK they can teach. This is a disservice tot he dance community. SO... what to do? YOU as an aspiring student should/must do some research. Ask around....

    Below are just a few things to look for in an "instructor". This is not an all inclusive list. I am sure others could add some great qualities not listed here.


    ALSO... it is YOUR money that you are spending so please choose wisely!

    Qualities of a Good Salsa Dance Instructor

    So you have decided you are going to take up Salsa dancing. You are excited. You have heard so much about Salsa and your friends know how to dance. You also decided that you are not just going to learn from just anyone. You want a quality instructor.

    What are the qualities of a good salsa instructor? Listed below are a few qualities to look for in a good Salsa instructor.

    Knowledge – The instructor must be knowledgeable. This is very important. The instructor should be able to answer the questions of the students with ease. The instructor must be the expert in the dance. The instructor must be a “student of Salsa” herself/himself. The students should never walk away wondering if the instructor knows what he/she is teaching. A knowledgeable instructor would have taken countless instruction himself/herself. The instructor that is knowledgeable should be able to demonstrate and/or explain well the topic at hand.

    Experience – The instructor must be an experienced dancer. This means the instructor has danced socially for a while ( a few years) and has danced with a wide range of dancers. Dancing with a wide variety of dancers creates an experience that is unmatched. The instructor doesn’t need to have won many competitions or even involved in competition. This doesn’t make the instructor a good instructor. If you are looking to compete or perform then you must seek an instructor that has those kinds of experiences.

    Clear – The instructor must be able to present the information clearly. The instructor must also be able to find different ways to explain the move or combination. Not everyone learns the same way. The instructor must be able to find a way to get through to each student. Clear demonstrations are important. Clear explanations go a long way.

    Caring – The instructor should care about the quality of instruction being taught and the well being of the students. It is very beneficial to the student if the instructor cares about whether the students are understanding and learning or not. Students react positively to a caring instructor.

    Patience – The instructor that shows patience will win the hearts of the students. Some students learn slower than others. Giving the students time and being patient in explaining the combinations will generate good dancers. Being patient shows the instructor wants the students to learn.

    Passionate – The instructor must be passionate about Salsa. Anyone that has some knowledge about Salsa could try to teach it but it will be very evident that there is no fire. Salsa is a sexy, passionate dance. The instructor must and should be able to show this passion and love for the dance. The instructor will normally be energetic too!

    Personable – The instructor must be approachable and personable. Having a drill sergeant has it’s place in the dance world but not always. The instructor that has a great personality, loves the dance and encourages the students to ask questions will have many repeat students and referrals. Students learn well when they are comfortable with the instructor. A snotty instructor will always push students away. A great personality will win over good looks any day.

    Social Dancer – The instructor should be a social dancer. The best Salsa instructors (like Edie the Salsa Freak, Super Mario, Ismael Otero, etc) are all social dancers. They dance with everyone. They go where Salsa music is played. It is all about the dance. There is such a rewarding feeling to the student when the instructor dances with them in public. How do you know if the instructor is really good if you have not seen her/him dance socially? In the SALSA world, the good instructors are out in public dancing. Go to a popular ‘Salsa’ club and you will see many instructors there. Their dancing is one of their BEST advertising tool. But a word of caution, a good dancer doesn’t always equate to a good instructor. Teaching requires a different kind of skill set.

    Enjoys Teaching – The instructor that enjoys teaching and teaches well will make the students feel they want to take more lessons from that instructor and will not hesitate to recommend the instructor to others. It is contagious! The passion is shown, the instruction is clear, time flies by so fast AND having fun is at the forefront. The energy level is normally high here! The students WILL see this. The students WILL feel it. When the instructor enjoys teaching and has FUN doing it, the students do learn faster.

    In Control – The instructor that is in control of the class will be given respect by the students. This doesn’t mean the class is like a military training camp. It means that the instructor doesn’t allow the class to get out of hand. The instructor knows how to balance goofing around with actual learning time. The instructor commands the class.

    These are just a few things to look for in a Salsa instructor. Actually in any dance instructor (minus being an expert in salsa). You will not know many of these qualities unless you have done your research (talking to other students and getting their feedback on the instructor or by interviewing the instructor).

    Take your time and choose well. If one instructor doesn’t work out for you, go to the next one. Remember, you are the one paying so this means YOU are the one that needs to be satisfied. Many can dance and many can dance very well but this doesn’t mean they can “teach”.

    Good luck in your search for YOUR Salsa instructor.

    Author: John “salseroblanko” Morey – SALSA SPECIALIST

    • macguy4321
      macguy4321 commented
      Editing a comment
      I'd like to add being committed to teaching. I signed up for a series of group lessons with a "brand name" teacher here in L.A. She is an amazing dancer, don't get me wrong. But we had one lesson, then she had to postpone the rest of the lessons because she had to go judge such and such competition and then do some Salsa cruise or something. 6 months later she continued the series and she taught two more classes and then left us with a substitute teacher. I really didn't think that was fair. Needless to say, I moved on and found some teachers that I really enjoy.

    • ediester
      ediester commented
      Editing a comment
      If she understood the "Black Belt Salsa" system that would have never happened. Unfortunate that some of the world's top dancers don't know how to run a business.
      Last edited by ediester; 06-03-2012, 09:59 AM.
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