One of the few certainties I had during my college search was the resolution to not attend a big university. I didn’t—and still don’t like— crowds. I already knew about dreaded auditorium classes. Those prerequisite classes that would make me one of hundreds of students. I’d disappear into the sea of people, and the chances that my professor would know me was would disappear, too.
I needed direct and accessible communication to my professors. My learning style thrives on feedback and constructive criticism. The prospect of a teacher saying “Who are you again?” as I walked into his or her office was inconceivable.
That’s why, after much agonizing thought, I’ve decided to look for a new dance studio. This hurts a lot. I’ve been dancing since it opened, so we’re both a little over five years old. This needs to be written down to help me come to terms. Please, bear with me.
I’m not a casual dancer. I’m a passionate hobbyist willing to put in the needed hours to become the best I can be, within reason of course. And I’ve found that I am not longer able to do that at my studio. The reason is simple: we lack experienced male teachers. Ever since Tommy left, it’s been up to Eddie to fill in for his former students. I’ve had plenty of lessons with Olga, which are always enjoyable. But let’s face the facts, I need to dance with a man if I want to mold myself into a competitive dancer.
Eddie is also the co-owner of the studio. He’s busy running the place, arranging events, teaching his regular students, and frequently out of town for competitions. His students are also competitive dancers. It feels like I’m one of thirty. I don’t care how talented you are, a single person can only do so much. My goal this year is to reach Silver rank, and it’s been slow going because we’re understaffed when it comes to experienced dancers. We do have a new male instructor, but he’s still learning to dance. Most of Tommy’s former students have been dancing for years. It be inappropriate to pair him with any of us.
Finally, I’ve been unhappy. The life has been sucked out of my ballroom dancing. My desire for Team Matches and shows have been nonexistent. Sure, I want to stick around until things get better. But this is a business relationship, not a marriage. There’s no point in spending money, especially when I’m still an entry level worker, on an already-expensive venue that doesn’t meet my needs. I need an experienced male instructor that will help me reach my goals. I need to be one of fewer students, so I can get more attention towards my dancing. My teacher needs to know my strengths, weaknesses, and who I am as a student. Eddie isn’t ignorant of those things. But again, he’s only one person.
I’ll stay at the studio until I find another. I’ve taken year-long hiatuses from ballroom before because I couldn’t find a venue or a teacher. There’s no way I’m letting myself do that when I’ve come so far. Like I said before, this hurts a lot. But, to be cliché, an essential life lesson is knowing when to go on your merry way.