This is the 4th and final part of ‘A Guide to Different Types of Zouk Classes’. Click here to start with part 1 if you’ve not read it yet.
In this series of blogs, I’ll share my thoughts on various learning methods, comparing the different class types and who they may be most suitable for.
The effectiveness of the different courses and classes will certainly have many other factors including but not limited to;
- The limit of their experience, knowledge, and understanding of the dance.
- Their understanding of how the different body parts work in unison or isolations.
- A great dancer doesn’t necessarily make a great teacher.
- Everyone has their own preference of teaching styles that they are more receptive to.
- Whether a teacher continues to develop themselves is an important factor for me because the ones that don’t, tend to be left behind as Zouk is a constantly evolving dance. What they know today, may not be entirely valid tomorrow. This is particularly true because the more I have developed as a dancer, the more I realised what I don’t know and even what I thought I knew before were not entirely fully developed. A teacher is just another dancer with much to learn.
Ways around this: It’s simple, learn from as many different teachers as possible. When you start learning from many different teachers, it will open your eyes and mind.
You will find that the best teachers are the ones who are guiding you in such a way that it will bring out the best in you, as a person and as a dancer. They would motivate you to learn other dances, learn from other teachers, to start traveling, have fun and enjoy learning the correct ways.
I’ll reiterate again, you won’t actually know who’s the best teachers for you unless you’ve learned from many different teachers.
The students that are attending
- The ratio of male and female is important, where ideally equal ratio is the best.
- The level of each student also plays a factor. Ideally equal experience across the class, however, this factor is one of the most difficult and almost impossible to control. If there are too many students with lesser experience taking a class far too difficult for them this tends to interrupt and stalls other students’ development and holds back the overall class progression.
- The size of the class also plays a huge factor. For obvious reasons, the smaller the class the better!
Ways around this: Tough one, it would require an iron fist teacher that people respect or a teacher who is articulate at letting students know they are not ready for a particular class level.
The easiest way is for students to do themselves and everyone a favor by letting go of any egos. Set yourself a more realistic view of where you are really at with your dance skills.
This is also the main reason why I prefer learning techniques and concepts because they are generally open level topics.
Your mood and mental state
- Fatigue and negative mood swings may affect your receptiveness and ability to absorb the information e.g. if you are too tired and mentally drained from work.
- If you are going through a tough time in your life trying to cope with the stress and unhappiness.
Ways around this: Simply don’t dance until you’ve sorted your sh!t out. There have been times in the past where I’ve tried to dance or go classes when I was stressed from work or staring down the pits of doom.
I found this to be a terrible idea because to me dance isn’t a place to escape when I was emotionally down. The best way is to focus on resolving the problems in your life, re-organise your thoughts & emotions, and when that’s all done, then come back to dance.
Dance is a place that I love to go when I am in a happy mental state. This is important because partner dancing is a share of emotions, and the last thing I want to do is spill over my unwanted negative feelings onto my dance partners.
- Actually practicing what you’ve learned.
- Too busy to find time to practice.
- Can’t find someone to practice with you.
- You still don’t know what you are doing.
Ways around this: Focus on only a few techniques and concepts at a time. Avoid procrastination by parking that long list of different things you’ve learned from taking hundreds of classes.
Practice on your own; twerk at your desk, engage that core, feel where your axis is, watch your weight transfer and footwork as walk to work, do body isolations everywhere and anywhere!
Most beginners will feel that they need a partner to practice because it’s a “partner” dance. WRONG. The thing you need to practice all the time is how to control your own body; your footwork, where your axis is as you shift it along with weight transfer, and actively being aware of your body parts (isolations) can all be done out of class.
If you don’t know what you should be practicing, then what have you been learning in class? If you’ve learned nothing in class, then ask yourself why? Have you asked questions and got an explanation that makes sense to you? If all that fails, then I think it’s time for you try a different teacher (no, this isn’t an excuse to level jump!)
No excuses for not practicing now. 🙂
There you have it, plenty of options depending on what you are looking for.
If your preference is convenience and learning a few moves on a dance floor is what you want, then it goes without saying which classes are suited for you.
However, for those of you looking to learn how to dance, the price you pay for traveling, attending ZoukDanceCamps, bootcamps and doing privates, are proven facts to be much more time/cost effective!
At the end of the day, it’s your choice. For me, TIME is something I value the most and am very careful about how to spend it.
Thanks for reading and happy learning!