Friday, November 9, 2007

Watching Students Grow

Most instructors love people, enjoy teaching and take pride in helping you succeed. One sure sign of success is when people start going to different clubs. It's easy to dance where you take lessons, but going to a totally new club means you're making progress as a dancer or you are becoming addicted.

I was at a club last night and a couple who started in one of my classes was out dancing and having a good time. They didn't know I'd be there, but it was really great to see them having fun. I consider it a sign of success when students in my class develop enough confidence to dance at other clubs. If they just stay at one club, that's not bad, but it's an obvious sign of progress when they start exploring additional clubs.

Even if you're not a paid instructor, there is a joy in helping others get to the point where they are comfortable going to different clubs. When I started, I took lessons for almost six months before I started going out into the club scene. It was too self conscious with all the more experienced dancers around. At first I only went to places where I could take a class before dancing. One of my goals is to get people out in the clubs as soon as possible, as it helps them grow faster. Once they get into the scene, it pushes them to improve.

When you get a chance, be sure to help someone else learn this great dance or feel more comfortable attending clubs. The more people we have dancing, the better it is for everybody. And sometimes it's not dance advice they need, but rather someone who says "hello" and is nice to them when they show up.

Most of us get used to socializing with our existing friends, and we have a tendency to ignore people we haven't meet yet. Every night you are out, see if you can expand your circle of social contacts by a couple people.

Watch for people you see in more than one club; those are the ones who are more likely to be around in the future. Say hi and welcome them to the new club. We all benefit as the scene grows.

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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero