How do you choose a good kizomba course or teacher? What makes someone into a good or great teacher? In this post, I will give you some important criteria to help you pick
First criteria – Do they know the topic?
First of all, does the teacher know the subject? What does it tell you if a kizomba teacher offers a kizomba course but have never really taken a kizomba course themselves? What about a kizomba teacher who learned from youtube? Would you spend your money on someone who has not spent their own money to learn? I am not saying it is impossible to learn on youtube, because there are classes, and there are also some good classes. I know it is also possible to learn kizomba in online courses, as I offer them myself.
But, I believe it doesn’t make much sense for a student to pay to a teacher who has not invested time and money in their own education. No matter the teacher’s level of dancing or teaching, if nothing else, investing their own time and money is a signal that they are eager to learn. They are eager to learn so they can give value to their students. It means that they are not only in it for the money. They actually care. They want to teach and they want to do a good job. It means they value their students’ investment and try to deliver some value. So, make sure your teacher actually knows what they are doing. What have they done to learn this specific dance (kizomba, or any other dance). How much time invested? How much money invested?
Second criteria – Can they teach?
Being a great dancer doesn’t mean that someone is a great teacher. People can be both, but it is not always true. When I studied capoeira in Brazil I realized that to find the best teachers, I needed to look at the great students. Who are their teachers? It wasn’t always the most impressive capoeiristas who had great students. And the great students didn’t always have teachers that were very impressive capoeiristas. So, look for someone who has good students. Look for someone who you like how they teach, someone who doesn’t only show you what to do, but can explain how to do it.
Third criteria – What do they teach?
It doesn’t matter much if the teacher is great if he/she teaches you totally useless stuff. Usually, a great teacher wouldn’t teach you useless stuff, but you get what I mean. How much of what someone teaches is actually usable on the dancefloor? Is it mostly moves to show off how great a dancer the teacher is? Or is it stuff you can actually use on the kizomba dance floor? Here you have to take several different things into account:
- Can you do this move with someone who didn’t take the class? Is it really, I mean really, “leadable” and “followable”? Does the action the follower should take actually make sense from the signal the leader is sending? Is it “natural” to react this way?
- Can you do this move with any size/shape of girl or guy? Some tricks, for example, are very hard or impossible to do if the follower is bigger/heavier than the leader. Another reason for not teaching this kind of thing is to not embarrass anyone in the kizomba class.
- Can you do this move in a normal kizomba social where there are many people around you, on a crowded floor? Or is it only possible to do it when you have a lot of space?
The more “no”s you get, the less value you get from the kizomba class. The less you can actually use what you learn. I try to always teach things to which I can say yes to all of the above. It should really be lead and follow. It should be possible to do with anyone. And it should be possible to do a move I teach on a crowded social floor.
Fourth criteria – Do they teach you how to dance, or how to be a copy?
Are you taught long sequences of steps that you tie together on the dance floor, without really listening to and adapting to the music? Or are you mostly taught techniques and concepts that you can use to create your own dance, as you hear the music? Do you learn “production” of dance or do you learn “reproduction” of dance, becoming a carbon copy of the teacher, without really listening to the music? The best teachers encourage the students to learn how to use the tools and then create their own dance. The best teachers encourage their students to learn all the basics well, and then start experimenting, finding their own style.
Fifth criteria – Do they want you to become as good as possible, or do they want you to be “their” student forever?
There is something that is pretty common around the world, and it is teachers who try to prevent “their” students to take classes with other teachers. It can also be common that in certain schools the students are not encouraged, or rather discouraged to go to parties or socials that other schools organize. I have never understood this. I have always wanted my students to become as good as they possibly can. I have always told my students who ask to go and take other classes too, and to find what works best for them. I have always encouraged them to go to as many parties as they can because that is how you really learn. You need to practice, you need to spend time on the dance floor, you need to get moves into muscle memory so you don’t need to think how to do them, but rather can focus on dancing to the music!
Those are my five criteria! Do you have any additions? Do you agree or disagree? Feel free to comment and let me know what you think! =)
And if you are interested, take a look at my kizomba classes online. =)