When I embarked on my dance journey, I never realized how overcoming dance challenges would shape me as an instructor. Dance, just like any worthwhile endeavor, is a journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and personal growth. As a beginner, I found myself struggling with certain steps – the triple step in swing, cha-cha lock steps, and rumba walks. Each one felt like a dance puzzle that, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t seem to solve.
I vividly remember feeling lost and frustrated when I was first learning. The triple step in the swing was my initial stumbling block. No matter how often my teacher would say “Ball, ball flat, ball flat,” I couldn’t make my body mimic the movements. The cha-cha lock steps felt similarly elusive, especially in a group setting where everyone else seemed to get it immediately. Then there were the rumba walks. Despite my best efforts, I kept losing balance, unable to replicate the fluid motion my teacher demonstrated.
But each struggle taught me an invaluable lesson. I learned that I was a kinesthetic learner, someone who needs to physically perform an action to understand it. It wasn’t enough to see a step demonstrated; I needed to break down each movement, repeating it until my body understood. This realization transformed my approach to dance and eventually led to a breakthrough in each of the steps that had once been so challenging.
“This is going to be uncomfortable for a few minutes while we learn this new technique, but we will get it.”Shawn Nerdahl
My experience of overcoming dance challenges has allowed me to empathize with my students and adjust my teaching style to each one’s learning pace. Now, as a dance instructor, I carry these lessons into every class I teach. I know that nothing came naturally to me when I started, which makes me patient with my students when they’re struggling. I can empathize with their feelings of frustration, and I’ve developed techniques to help them navigate the challenges of learning to dance. One of my favorite phrases to use is, “This is going to be uncomfortable for a few minutes while we learn this new technique, but we will get it.” This mindset allows my students to accept the temporary discomfort of learning something new, knowing that they will eventually master it.
At AZ Ballroom Champions, we’ve built a culture that embraces this growth mindset. We give our students the space to make mistakes, to struggle, and to grow. We understand that each student’s journey is unique, and we’re here to support them every step of the way. As teachers, we continually improve our teaching styles to benefit our students and adapt to their specific learning styles.
Learning to dance can sometimes feel like climbing Mount Everest with a single ice pick. But it’s through these challenges that we truly grow, not only as dancers but as people. So, the next time you step onto the dance floor, remember, it’s okay to be uncomfortable. After all, it’s all part of the dance.
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