In the age of oversaturated media and 'fake news' how do we know what advice to listen to and what to ignore?
A quick YouTube search for 'how to dance the Waltz' will bring up THOUSANDS of results. Everything from someone talking in their garage to world champions at a conference of experts will populate your results.
So how do we filter out the bad and irrelevant info and find the good and useful stuff? It's not easy.
The same problem can come up when searching for a place to learn and practice in, like a dance studio. Sometimes it seems that everyone is an expert, many certainly present themselves as such anyway.
All I can do is share with you what I do.
1. The first thing I want to know is ARE THEY CERTIFIED? Certification is proof that the teacher has studied and has been held to a certain standard by a leading dance expert. Think of it like this. Would you want to have your house wired by someone who hasn't done the study and been signed off as a competent electrician? I'll bet the answer is no. Why then would I want to invest time, money and emotional energy into someone who may or may not be able to shape me into the kind of dancer that I want to become?
2. The second thing I look for in a dance teacher is GENIALITY and PROFESSIONALISM. Are they a nice person? Do they value my time? I won't name names but in the past I started taking lessons with someone very well respected in the dance world but who was consistently late and detracted. Also, frankly they were a bit full of themselves. When I dropped them for slightly less experienced coach I was asked 'Isn't that a downgrade?'. But it was an upgrade as my lessons were full, rich, punctual, attentive and well planned out. I learned twice as much from my new coach and had an infinitely better time learning as I genuinely liked my new teacher!
3. The third thing I look for when looking for dance information is PERSONALISATION and VARIETY. I might come across a certified expert that is very nice and clearly a good communicator, but they can only teach me the Salsa say. Lets say I want to learn a variety of styles for dinner dances and cruise ships. The Salsa may get me started and give me enough to dance to one type of music but won't get me through the slower songs, Rock 'n' Roll or the more traditional Waltzes. I want someone that can teach me the styles that I want to learn and make informed suggestions for new things to learn based on the kind of outcomes I want. If my teacher/studio offers a large variety of dances I can get everything I need in a consistent and continuous environment.
I hope this helps you navigate the information overload and gets you motivated to start learning :-)