Question by User californiastateuni
Stupid question but I’ve had several experiences where I just feeze when dancing with an instructor. One instructor credited me for getting better after watching me dance socially, but I don’t want to look like an idiot and so my friend and I said we felt embarrassed. They’re literally the people we most often look up to and it feels awesome but also just a little weird when they’re at the same social dance club you’re at…
Maybe I’m thinking too much about this, I do feel honored when they watch. If they’re trying to strike up a convo with me and it often goes into advice, I’d like to respect their work but I don’t want to seem like I’m digging for free critiques. It still helps. But I’m not sure why we feel confused about this. It’s great to befriend but then it can get a little awkward back in class, I’ve had one who seemed awkward or flirty but I’m just there to dance and be better. Anyone else get confused sometimes? Where can we draw some lines?
You just have to get better at dancing to not freeze when dancing with them. But (most) teachers are not constantly evaluating people they dance with. If they are there to dance, they will dance and most likely if suddenly asked for feedback will draw a blank.
But teachers and instructors are just normal people. You can talk about normal things. Probably better it they are not dance things. And if you know the teacher and you are in their class, don’t be an idiot who thinks you are suddenly a better dancer or that you can/should talk/joke more than usual. They are still the teacher and it is their class and you are the student. One of many.
Some people don’t want to get to know the teachers as it might erode the authority. Some have no such issues. Some teachers don’t want to mingle with the students for the same reason. Some do to be a good example and it might help people relax (and they can have more opportunities understanding what people know and what needs work–yes, this is contrary to what I said before, but it is usually a more general assessment than person by person).
Just like everyone else you meet in life. If you have something in common, start getting to know them more. If you can, speak to them them outside of class/socials/dancing venues, because it’s more personal.
Word of caution: don’t befriend a dance teacher just because they are a teacher. Teachers sense this and take advantage of it. You might think they actually think of you as a friend, meanwhile all they care about is their business and squeezing as much money out of you as possible.
Even after dancing for years, I still get anxious when dancing with someone who I think is a better dancer than me – someone who I am convinced can tell when I make a mistake. I’m better at coping with it now, but I’m not sure that performance anxiety will ever completely disappear.