Article written by Chris Lynam of Arthur Murray California
They’ve heard it. Don’t worry.
The concerns, the feedback, the knawing, vein popping, nerve shattering problem, don’t worry… it’s all good. There are plenty of things you can say to your dance instructor, but sometimes they may want to have a list, like this, to answer your, you know, “concerns” once and for all.
25 Things You Should Never Say to Your Dance Teacher
- “Teach me this move I saw on YouTube”
YouTube can serve as inspiration, but if you want to abandon everything you’re working on in place of some YouTube material could just mean that you need to change the pace of your lessons. It’s much quicker and easier to watch great dancing, than it is to become the best version of you. But you’ve done enough sitting and watching in your life.
Think of this like: Looking at the exterior of a cake mix, and then being upset when there isn’t a fully-formed cake inside the box.
- “Why didn’t you ever teach me that?”
They did. There’s a point when your brain and body are able to receive bits of information that were previously unavailable.
Think of this like: Asking your mother why she never asked you to clean up your room.
- “I’ll be back in the fall”
The fall has held, for many years, a mystical allure for the procrastinating dance student.
Think of this like: Telling yourself you will wake up early in the morning to pack your suitcase.
- “I’ll be back after the Holidays”
With the increasing popularity of online shopping, this grandfathered in reasoning for skipping your dance lessons is beginning to lose its luster.
Think of this like: Your explantation for not taking out the garbage.
- “We’ll be back after our Honeymoon”
Weddings can sometimes be a distraction to everything non-wedding related. So it is easy to postpone all of your non-wedding life until after the honeymoon… including dance lessons.
Think of this like: Unwrapped wedding gifts. Open them quickly, or they’ll stay on your to-do list forever.
- “I’m going to take a break”
This is never good. Self assessment is the precursor to many statements like this. A pebble can seem like an avalanche when you lose perspective. That won’t change when you’re on a break.
Think of this like: That time you used sad music, unhealthy food, and drab clothing as your strategy to get over a breakup.
- “I’m going to practice at home”
Arthur Murray professionals can program you faster than they can reprogram you. While practicing may seem like a productive activity, it can lead to a loss of time in the long run.
Think of this like: Staying home from school, and trying to convince your parents how academically productive you’ll be.
- “Can we just focus on this one dance?”
Students tend to say this when they feel they have forgotten material from their previous lesson. You can actually learn to dance in the same amount of time it takes to learn a dance.
Think of this like: Working out. Getting in shape requires working on a variety of muscle groups – because they all connect together. Same thing for dancing, sometimes the dance that you care about the most can only be unlocked by a different dance you hadn’t thought of.
- “That’s not what my other teacher says”
This is a cry for help. Students that say this probably feel like their teacher doesn’t listen, and someone just needs a hug, coffee, and a goal setting chat.
Think of this like: Telling your current boss about how cool your other job was.
For more tips on setting up strategic goal setting chats, we recommend:
- “I’m not going to perform until I feel ready”
You will never feel ready. Think of “ready” only in the past-tense. It’s after the event you realize you were ready, but rarely before.
Think of this like: In Star Wars any pilot who said they were “ready to take on the whole Empire” before the fight started got shot down and died.
- “I was at home watching the video of my dance perfomance…”
The video of your dance performance is encoded with technical dance progress data that only your teacher can unlock. Any attempt of you doing so can result in a meltdown of your dance confidence.
Think of this like: Trying to fix something yourself that you’ve never actually fixed before. Your car, IKEA furniture, or your garbage disposal – to name a few.
- “The other students were telling me that I shouldn’t….”
Always, always, always consider the source. Arthur Murray students all want to help, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the intent 9 times out of 10. The delivery, however, can erode some of the construction that your teacher has started.
Think of this like: Amateur golfers love to give other amateur golfers advice. The result is more amateur golf with just a bunch of extra stuff to think about.
- “Dancing just isn’t my thing.”
Are there things that you’re better at? Sure. But you weren’t born being good at those things. Chances are, you went through the same process, built up your skills, and forgot the rough parts of the journey.
Think of this like: The awkward use stage, in any hobby, is not sexy and something to brag about. Keep pushing through it and dancing will catch up with your other hobbies.
- “I’m not trying to be a professional…”
Woah, woah, woah… there’s an application for that, and a totally different set of criteria. In all fairness, this is common and usually takes place when you are beginning to learn dance technique that’s not just for basic dance survival.
Think of this like: In the words of traveling consultant, Bob Long, “you can enjoy a game of tennis without playing at Wimbledon”. Translation – you don’t need to be a professional, or competitive, to be good at your hobby.
- “I’m too busy at work to come in for lessons”
No offense, but the reason why you could probably benefit from a dance lesson is because you are so busy at work.
Think of this like: That one time when you came up for air, visited the outside world, and went back to work much more productive.
For more ideas on how to mix work and dancing, we recommend:
- “I’m too busy at home to come in for lessons”
If you have kids, there’s never going to be a perfect time for a shower, let alone, dance lessons. Nevertheless, those small ventures into adult land help to maintain your sanity, and keep you at the top of your parenting game.
Think of this like: The last time you put something off that you really would have enjoyed, only to regret it. (Like a shower, or a vacation)
For more tips on how great parents can become great dancers, we recommend:
- “I thought you said we were only doing that one more time.”
You’re right. This is one thing that dance teachers say that is rarely true… and in the time it took to point that out, you could have kept doing it.
Think of this like: Whether it’s a personal trainer, dance teacher, midwife, or a tightrope walking specialist – “one more” really means, “one more, until the next time I say one more, until the job is done, and then you’ll forget how repetitive this seems.”
- “Why don’t I look like that dancer over there?”
Comparisons happen all the time, and they are rarely beneficial to you. Unless the person you were comparing yourself to was a hologram of what you could be dancing like a few weeks from now – avoid making them.
Think of this like:
For more tips on Dance Comparisons, and how to overcome them we recommend:
- “How is it that a celebrity on Dancing With The Stars can learn a routine in less than one week, and it takes me this long?”
This is smoke and mirrors. They can’t televise the 30 plus hours the celebrity worked on their routine, they only have time for a quick montage. Truth be told, only a small fraction of the celbrities continue dancing after the show is over. Your dancing is built for long term use, not a flash-in-the-pan once a week performance.
Think of this like: Before and after photos make that diet pill seem so enticing – what they forget to tell you about is all the crunches you have to do.
- “I heard they offer cheaper lessons at the Rec center.”
They do, but there is a difference when you are taking lessons with full time dance professionals in a full time dance school.
Think of this like: Shopping around for a plastic surgeon. Cheaper is not always the best option.
- “You never seem to share much about your personal life.”
This is by design. Your dance teacher’s top priority is helping you reach your goals in the most fun and productive manner possible.
Think of this like: Your doctor. They should be personable, but also professional with your goals in mind. While margaritas may make your doctor more personable, it wouldn’t help in any other regard to your health.
- “I am so sick of all these new students.”
Hang on there champ. It wasn’t very long ago that you were one of those new students, and if more advanced students said the same thing, you may not have felt welcomed or comfortable. New students are an opportunity to pay it forward, and they are the leaders and followers of tomorrow.
Think of this like: Having a new sibling.
- “I don’t even know how I ended up here in the first place.”
Whatever hallucinogenic induced time portal brought you into the studio, chances are, your subconscious mind thought it necessary that you take dance lessons.
Think of this like: Shopping for underwear, running into your neighbor, and pretending that you had no idea you were in the undergarments department.
- “I can dance already, just give me more flashy moves.”
Yoda, “and that is why you fail.” Only people who need dance lessons ask for “flashy moves”.
Think of this like: Trying to take a shortcut with learning a language, driving home, or cleaning your house when company is coming over.
- “I have two left feet.”
Upon close scientific inspection, you don’t. What you may be lacking in is dance instruction, and dance skill related humor… but you’re normal.
Think of this like: Anything that you’ve put off doing for a long time. You need an out, a rationale. The two left feet argument has been around forever…. but we are putting a stop to it.
You could actually say all of these things to an Arthur Murray instructor today, all at once, and you could be better for it. Just like weird drink orders for a seasoned barista, they’ve heard them all before. As problematic as this list may seem, the worst problem is not communicating at all. Internalizing your concerns about your dance hobby is like bringing an anvil to a pool party.
Say something, or you may not have a chance to say anything to your dance teacher… even goodbye.
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