I’ve been dancing for almost four years now, so little frightens me. Well, one thing still scares me: coaching. Yep, I’m going to have my first coaching lesson on June 18th. It may be hard to believe that I haven’t had a single coach put me through my paces, but there was a valid reason.
They are expensive. They tend to be $130 to $140 a lesson. That’s why my parents didn’t allow me to take coaching. I needed to have a job first. This is my “finished-junior-year-with-great-grades” present, and believe me, I’m grateful. (As for getting a job, I’m going to wait until after I graduate. I want to focus solely on school right now.) Moving on, who are coaches, and why take a lesson with them?
Coaches are the crème de la crème. They are often champions, finalists, or judges. A brief tangent, becoming a professional ballroom judge is rigorous to say the least. I tried to briefly research the criteria for how one becomes a judge but couldn’t find the specifics. Nevertheless, I’d recommend going here if you’re curious as to what is expected of judges by the NDCA (National Dance Council of America). It’s a lot, isn’t it? To summarize and over-generalize, an ideal coach really, really knows what he or she is doing. Unfortunately, I can’t really cite specific people because I’m not really in the loop when it comes to who’s who in the ballroom.
Taking a lesson with them is an invaluable outside perspective, especially if you’re aiming to be a primarily competitive dancer, like yours truly. As qualified as your instructor may be, he or she is only one person. They’ll have their own style of teaching, biases, etc. Oh, and he or she is likely to have something of a personal relationship with his or her student. Having a truly seasoned professional with no personal ties dissect your dancing helps polish those rougher areas. Do you catch my drift? To use another example, my ballet studio took some of their students on a trip to Austria a couple of years ago. There, they observed professionals and probably participated in master classes. “All this just for dancing?” some may ask. Yes, because when live a dancer’s life, you put as much energy into it as you would a relationship with another human being.
Hmm, but I haven’t told you everything, dear reader. My parents did allow me this lesson as an “end-of-the-semester-present”, but most of the persuasive force came from who the coach is. Mom practically jumped when I told her. So, a hearty “thank you” to my Mom and Dad for allowing me to take a coaching lesson with Jonathan Roberts!
P.S.: Tommy decided to work on Smooth for the coaching lesson. I’m quite excited at the prospect because Smooth has always been a worthy challenge for me. Sure, Rhythm suits my personality and its more social, but Smooth is just…separated by how wonderful it is. I’m definitely going to blog about what he tells me to focus on, what I could fix, what I’m doing right, etc. I’ll try to get it up by next Wednesday or Thursday.