Instructor For A Night (Part II)


The story starts last Wednesday.  I worked up the courage to tell Tommy about my opportunity, and he graciously let me use a portion of my private lesson to teach me about, well, teaching.  For example, I only had thirty minutes to teach salsa.  So, he taught me the concept of “stretching” my teaching.  All you do is hone in on one or two aspects of your material and expand it the duration of your time limit.  The general plan was to teach the basic to the whole group, partner them up, teach a two-hand hold and frame (optional), teach the basic in halves (front then back), put the whole basic together, and teach the girls & guys’ turns (no hands).  Hmmm, now what was that quote about plans?  Ah, yes: “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.”

I’d written everything down in my dance notebook, touched-up my make-up, brought my jazz shoes, stretched a little, but no one showed up.  We had three other instructors besides myself.  They were the only ones that actually came to the event, aside from two or three of their friends.  Hence, there was no group class.

I’m not gonna lie: that was very disappointing.  Thinking about it one day later, and it’s still disappointing.  That’s why I’m changing the subject.  Eddie and I were talking about teaching dance one day.  He told me that many people ask him for a job because they love to dance.  He said it was great that they loved to dance but emphasized that the dancing you do is not yours.  It’s for someone else.  The question was “Could I derive just as much enjoyment from teaching as I did from learning?”  If I didn’t, I’d have to ask myself some hard questions.

Thankfully, my friend, Emily, and another woman named Jasmine stuck around long enough for me to teach them.  Emily had said to me before that she wanted to learn salsa, and this couldn’t have been more perfect.  Since my pre-set teaching plan was out the window, I taught her the basic, side-basic, and girls & guys’ turns.  She picked it up very quickly, and I was quite happy.  Then, I began playing waltz music because it was just the instructors and friends.  I gave Jasmine a crash course in waltz and led her.  She also proved to be a good follow.

As I said in my last post, everyone has to start somewhere.  I began dancing in running shorts, shoes, and a t-shirt.  I began teaching with only two people at a flop-event.  Now, the awkward teenager the in dirty, green running shoes has transformed into a beautiful and versatile ballroom dancer.  And to think it’s only been a little over four years since I began dancing consistently again.  Who knows where I could go with teaching?  I’ve already proved to myself that I could do it and really enjoy it, the real win of the night.  I don’t need fame, just committed students who are willing to push themselves and come to love what they’re doing.  I hope and pray that my next opportunity comes soon.

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