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The #1 Most Vital Concept To Drastically Improve & Inspire Your Students

Free , Teaching Tips

Do you wish dancers would take more of your lessons and focus more on what you are teaching them? 

Whether you are teaching dance online or in person...

...it is frustrating when you know you have really important and valuable information to share and yet your students don't seem to get it. When they attend your lesson but don't really pay attention, or when they start attending less often, or even completely stop attending...

Ugh! That sucks!

If they could just understand how important and helpful what you have to share with them is, right!

Today, I want to share with you what I consider the #1 most vital concept to improve & inspire your students... 

...so they become captivated with your lessons and keep coming back for more.

Important Warning!

The concept below might seem obvious but...


...58% of teachers surveyed don't plan for this at all, very few plan it well, and even those that do can still improve in this concept.


Don't let the obvious nature of this concept stop you from taking action! Make sure you are implementing and improving on it!

In this article, after I share this concept with you...

...then I'll give you an example (the Show & Go) so you can see this concept in action, along with some tips to improve your implementation of the Show & Go.

Finally, I'll share a document with you to make it easy for you to start preparing to implement this concept right away.

But first, please allow me to build up to sharing this concept by asking you a question (or two) and sharing some survey results that I get from teachers all around the world when I ask this question. That way you can understand how well you are already doing with this concept. This can help you decide whether or not to skim the rest of this article, or read every single detail.

Feel like you aren't good enough to teach yet?

If you feel you aren't that great of a dancer or teacher yet, I know how that feels! Don't worry, this will help you too!

I started out as a really really "bad" dancer, you know the “yank-your-arm-off” dancer that many people avoided dancing with...

Still, I eventually got to a point where I have now had some of the best dancers/teachers in the world take my trainings (teachers in Lindy Hop, WCS, Fusion, and a whole lot more). Follow the strategies below and you'll be one step closer to getting there, maybe sooner than you think!


Alright, let's get back to how to drastically improve and inspire your students.

Let's start by asking the following question: 

What specific methods do you already use that are designed to improve &/or inspire your students?

Can you come up with at least 5 in the next 60 seconds?

Go ahead, set a timer and try it out. We'll wait 😉

If you came up with 5 or more in less than 60 seconds, great job! 

You are ahead of the pack and can probably skim the rest of this message (although a refresher ain't a bad idea). 

If not, don't worry, you aren't uncommon.

I ask this question to all the teachers I'm thinking of working with in more depth and just over 58% (yeah, my engineering brain had to go check the exact numbers)...

...over 58% of teachers surveyed don't have any methods yet, and very few can confidently say they have more than 5.

Common Responses

Here are just a few of the most common responses I've seen:

Methods To Improve Students

It is very common not to have methods to improve & inspire your students, but you don't have to be common!

So you can see, often dance instructors either only have a few options or they don't yet know what this means.


That means...

Most instructors are just winging it and hoping that their lessons will improve and inspire their students. 

This is what I call a "hope and pray" method.

Of course, it might work…

...but I wouldn't bet on it! 

This is just leaving it to chance. 

While this is the norm, doesn't it make complete sense that...

If you don't have methods that are specifically designed to improve and inspire your students, you are drastically less likely to improve and inspire your students.

And the flip side is true too: 

If you have lots of methods that are specifically designed to improve and inspire your students, you are drastically more likely to improve and inspire your students!

This is so important, it is worth repeating (and maybe even re-tweeting).

"If you have lots of methods that are specifically designed to improve and inspire your students, you are drastically more likely to improve and inspire your students!" Andrew Sutton #DanceNinjas

Click to Tweet

So I bet you can now guess what my single biggest piece of advice is going to be for this article... 

But I won't make you guess.

My single biggest piece of advice is... 

Start building a database of methods that are designed to improve &/or inspire your students.

(I'll share an example below).

Imagine the difference your lessons will have when you start making sure that every 60 minute lesson you teach includes 5 - 10 methods designed to improve &/or inspire your students.

Imagine the power of teaching a lesson where within the first 8 minutes, you've already used 3 of these methods and now your students are chomping at the bit to dive deep into a technique that they otherwise would have complained is boring.

Now you've got them wanting and craving for technique lessons instead of dreading them!

Imagine the day when you have 50+ methods to choose from and they are so ingrained in your teaching that you don't even have to think about using them. 

Improvement & inspiration just spills out of your teaching at every moment of every lesson...

That is where I want you to get as a teacher!

And now that you've read this, you are ahead of the pack and on the path towards constant improvement and inspiration! 

Now you might be wondering "What are these methods to improve and inspire?", so let's take a look at one! 

The Show & Go

This is where you show the move (or concept/technique) twice and only twice, and then let your students try it.

No explanations, just show it twice and let them try. Failure is totally acceptable, let them try!

Why does the Show & Go improve & inspire your students?

First, let’s break things down into 3 different scenarios. 

  • 1. Your student gets it right away
  • 2. Your student does NOT get it at all
  • 3. Your student gets some but not all of it

Let's look at each of these scenarios to see how the Show & Go Method improves & inspires in each scenario. 

How Each of the 3 Scenarios Improves & Inspires Your Students

1. Your student gets it right away 

If your student gets it right away, you save yourself the time you would have taken to break it down.


This means you are able to teach them more and much faster, thereby improving them more and much faster...


Improvement 


...which is also very inspiring. 


Wasting time is a drag on inspiration. Saving time is a boost!

  

Inspiration

2. Your student does NOT get it at all

If your student does not get it at all, and then you break it down for them and they eventually get it, you've just proven to them that you improved their dancing.


Improvement

 

Along with clearly improving them, the feeling of struggling and struggling and finally accomplishing something is much more inspiring than accomplishing something without ever having struggled.


Inspiration 

3. Your student gets some but not all of it

If your students get some but not all of it, you can pinpoint your instruction so you are only teaching them how to fix the exact thing they aren't quite getting yet.


This means you aren't wasting time teaching them the parts they already know which means they will learn faster...


Improvement 


...which as mentioned earlier is inspiring on its own.


Plus, it makes you look like a genius when you can pinpoint the specific issues they are having, and having a genius instructor is very inspiring too!

 

Inspiration 

Do you see how powerful the Show & Go teaching method can be?

If not, read the tips below, as they might provide some clarification for you.

Otherwise, read the tips below to ensure you are implementing the Show & Go effectively.

Here are some tips to make sure it goes well: 

Show & Go - Tips To Improve Implementation

1.

Tell your students you are about to do a Show & Go and make sure they know what that means. This isn't a test to see if they are paying attention, so make it clear that they should pay close attention.

You can say "We're going to do a Show & Go. That means I'm going to show you this move twice and only twice. Then I'm going to have you try it out before I break it down. So pay close attention. Ok, everyone ready?"

2.

After you show it once, tell them you are only going to show it one more time.

You can say "To be clear, I'm only going to show you this move one more time and then I'm going to have you try it out. Everyone ready?"

3.

Once your students are used to this method, you can just say "Let's do a Show & Go. Everyone ready?"

4.

Depending on the move, change your presentation angle on the 2nd 'show' so they see it from another angle.

5.

Show it slowly so they have time to process it. It doesn't need to be super slow, just try not to rush it.

6.

Choose something that you can successfully teach them by the end of class. It is not very inspiring to see something cool and then never be able to do it. It is ok if they can't do it perfectly, but they should feel like they can do it to some degree.

7.

Choose something that looks good/cool/inspiring. You are asking them to try it without giving much explanation about the value of being able to do this, so if it doesn't look exciting, you will have less buy-in.

There can be exceptions to this guideline when you are stacking this teaching method with another inspirational teaching method but on its own, it works best when teaching something that looks appealing to the eye.

8.

Just like anything, it is possible to overuse this, which could decrease the inspirational aspect of it. Find the balance that works for your students.

Thank You Joe Demers!

Thank you to Joe Demers from Denver, Colorado for teaching me the Show & Go many years ago.

While I have created many methods myself, I also learned many of them from amazing teachers that I've met along my travels to over 244 cities in 38 countries to teach and research dance. I try to credit them as much as possible, as having those examples has helped me to better create my own.

Do You Already Use The Show & Go? 

If so, that is great! 

I wouldn't be surprised if you already use a few more methods that improve/inspire your students without even realizing it. Often teachers do. That said, a key element to going from good to great and making every lesson you teach a raving success, is knowing your lessons are jam packed with these methods...

...not just assuming you'll use them if you wing it. 

So how do you know?

Prepare For Every Lesson To Kick-Ass!

Whether you realized this before or not, hopefully you are now at least starting to understand the importance of using methods to improve and inspire your students in every lesson.

Your next step is to make this concept easier for you to implement.

To do this, I keep a database of all my methods so I can quickly review them before my lesson and decide which ones I definitely want to include in the lesson and where I want to use them. I even did that with this article.

Sometimes I'll spontaneously add a few methods during the lesson, or switch which ones I'm using, but I find my classes always end up drastically more effective when I plan ahead of time and then adjust when necessary instead of just starting the lesson and hoping I'll implement some of my methods naturally.

If you aren't already doing this, let's get you started!

Important Tip - Review Your Database Before Each Lesson

  1. Keep a database of all your methods to improve & inspire your students. 
  2. Before each lesson, review your database.
  3. Decide which methods you definitely want to include in that lesson and where you want to use them.
  4. Be willing and ready to spontaneously add or switch methods during class when it makes sense for your students.

Create Your Database

If you haven't already created a database of methods to improve and inspire your students, here is a spreadsheet you can use to start building your database.

Add the Show & Go method to your database so you can be sure you don't forget it. 

Once you have 50+ methods, you'll likely start to forget some really friggin' powerful ones, and checking your database will feel like stumbling on these treasures all over again. 

It'll be like having access to birthday presents all year round!

Want To Learn More Methods To Improve & Inspire?

My upcoming Premium Private Lessons Program is going to cover a lot of these methods to improve & inspire your students, as they are a key element of teaching premium private lessons.

Your Next Steps

If you want dancers to take more of your lessons and value your teaching more...

Your next steps are really simple!

Start your journey to becoming an "uncommon" teacher with 50+ methods to improve and inspire your students so improvement & inspiration just spills out of your teaching at every moment of every lesson!

Follow the 3 steps below and get started:

1. Add the "Show & Go" to your database

Add the "Show & Go" teaching method to your database of methods that both improve & inspire your students.


Feel free to use this handy dandy "Improve & Inspire Database" Template that I've already started for you. It already has the Show & Go filled in so you can see exactly how I recommend you fill in your database.

2. Videotape yourself using the Show & Go during your next lesson

It will probably go great but in the off chance that it doesn't, you can review that portion of class to see what went wrong and figure out how to fix it for next time.


If you are teaching on Zoom, be sure to record both your screen and your student's screen so you can re-watch their experience and look for improvements based on the 8 Show & Go Tips shown above.

Important Tip

If it doesn't work, don't immediately throw it out!


First, try to fix it!


If a dance move doesn't work the first time you try it, you don't immediately throw it out right? This is a vital difference between average instructors and great instructors. Average instructors 'fail' and decide it doesn't work. Great instructors will try again and again, making the appropriate adjustments until they make it work (just like great dancers do in their dancing).

 

One way to make this easier on yourself is to share your 'failures' with a mentor and get guidance on what you can adjust to make it work. You will be able to do this with me during my upcoming Premium Private Lessons Program.

 

Prep yourself ahead of time and videotape a Show & Go (or several).

3. Continue to add methods to improve & inspire to your database

If you already have more methods to improve & inspire your students, add those to your database too.


Every time you learn a new method, add that to your database.

 

Let's fill it up with 50+ methods so you never forget any of these valuable teaching methods and are always a few minutes away from a kick-ass successful lesson that keeps your students coming back for more.

4. Request the details for the Premium Private Lessons Program!

Ok, you don't technically have to do this last step (or any of them, as of course it is your choice).

 

That said, it will teach you many more methods to improve & inspire your students...


...and I am only taking a maximum of 20 people into this first version of the program (as I'm doing some pretty crazy guarantees that require a small group for me to ensure everyone is successful)...

 

...so if you want to be one of the first to know when I open it, request more details about the Premium Private Lesson Program!

The Premium Private Lessons Program

Sign up to stay informed for when it opens and get some free teaching tips in the meantime. 

Sharing is Caring!

Confession: My Own Advice That I’m Not Following (& How I’m Changing)

Dancing Tips , Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

​(Website links mentioned in video are in the Resources)

I confess!!!

​Here is one way that I have not been following my own advice.

Let's explore this so you can learn from my "failures" and avoid doing the same thing I did.

"'Failure' is a normal part of the journey towards success. If you hide from it, it can create a huge roadblock on your journey to success. If you learn from it, you can eliminate the roadblocks and move forward."

Andrew Sutton

In this video, we'll learn from my "failures" by going into detail about:

  • ​the advice I was not following (0:53)
  • my lame excuse for why I was not following my own advice (1:29)
  • why it'd be smart for me to change this and start following my own advice (3:26)
  • a little bit of the background of how I realized this (5:19)
  • and how I'm going to change this right now! (7:53)

"My first step to recovery is recognizing my 'failure'."

Andrew Sutton

​The Advice I Was Not Following

There is a saying "Done is better than perfect."

The concept of this saying is that being a perfectionist isn't always the ideal choice. Of course, sometimes being a perfectionist is helpful as it means we are striving to be our best. At the same time, sometimes it can be harmful to ​myself and to others (as you'll see in "Why It'd Be Smart For Me To Change This​").

​Why I Was Not Following My Own Advice ​(aka: My Lame Excuse)

Sometimes I complete something but I don't advertise ​it even though it is completed because I know that I can make it better.

In this specific circumstance, it's recognizing that...

I don't advertise my ​membership site because I know how much I can improve on ​it.

​​I​t can be hard for me to follow ​my own advice here because I want ​my membership site to be perfect. I want it to be the absolute best ​it can be.​

​The funny thing is...

When I created my membership site I was actually very happy with it​. 

  • There's a ton of great content​ (which I'll show you later).
  • There's some really cool features (which I'll show you later). ​

That said, as I continue to learn more about teaching dance online and teaching teachers online...

I started realizing the​​​​ power of one-on-one coaching...

...​and so I started to move my focus to ​that style of coaching.

​​Almost everyone I've worked with one-on-one has been incredibly successful.​

From holding sold-out workshops to gaining over ​180 new students and...

...making over ​$126,000.00 in less than 6 days​!

​That's the kind of power that comes ​from working with someone one-on-one​.

So going back and focusing on my ​membership site is hard for me because I'm worried that I might not be as successful with ​it. ​

I might not help someone make a ​$126,000.00 in less than 6 days!

I might not have that much of an impact on them...

....​because I'm not getting to work with them one-on-one.

Which means I'm not as easily able ​to pick apart what is holding ​them back from getting to ​their next ​level.​

​And part of what I pride myself on is being that problem solver that comes in and figures out why you aren't getting to your goals and how ​to change that (which is much easier to do one-on-one).

Why It'd Be Smart For Me To Change This​

S​o then the question becomes...

​"Why should I ​advertise my membership site if I'm probably not going to be able to make you $126,000 dollars or get you a ​180 new students in less than ​6 days."

I know, I know...

I'm sure it seems obvious to you.

But remember, my perfectionist side of me has a hard time doing anything that isn't the best it can be.

​That said, I ​can realize...

​The ​membership site is incredibly successful by itself.

​If I look at the dancing and teaching side of things...

I've inspired some of the top dancers in the world, some of my mentors, my heroes have traveled across the globe to come take my teacher trainings!

​I know the "Universal ​Learning Method" and "Reaction Based ​Lessons" (which I'll show you ​in a little bit) have the possibility of changing the world of partner dance. 

​The way we think about partner dancing, the way we teach ​it, and the way we ​practice it can ​be much more effective with these two concepts.

​I'll come back to that in just a few minutes...

​Then if I also look at the business training side ​of my membership site...​

That's inspired a brand new teacher​ to gain their first 40 students in less than 1 month just from watching a one-hour training.

George Longshadow - 40 students in 1 month

​Another teacher sold twenty private lessons in less than 24 hours!

So ​even though my one-on-one ​clients ​are having such huge successes, I can easily forget that there's still a lot of power in ​my membership site and if I advertised it more, ​it could be helping you ​all out a lot!

A Little Bit Of The Background Of How I Realized This

​It was actually thanks to one of my one-on-one mentorship students, Boris ​Naumann.

​He is ​holding a Virtual Lindy Hop Tour, where he's ​reviewing ​5 of his favorite online Lindy Hop learning​ platforms and showing people why ​they are ​his favorites.

He gives you a ​nice overview of ​each one so you can see from an outsider's perspective "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of ​each ​platform. That way, you can decide which one you want to ​join before you invest any of your hard earned money ​(​or time).

Plus, he is providing prizes and discounts to 4 of the 5 ​platforms (if you join the tour before it ends​).​

My ​membership site is one of those ​platforms.

I was watching his review and he was pointing out all the awesome aspects of Dance Ninjas and also the negative ​aspects too. ​Then he was ​saying how he doesn't really care about those ​negative aspects because the content is so valuable.

​​So I saw him doing his review and​ it reminded me that there is a ton of really ​valuable information ​in my membership site and I've been really slacking on letting people know about that for a long time.

So it is time to change that!

​How I'm Going To Change This Right Now!

​One thing I thought I could do right away is open up a ​​Dancer Training $1 Trial and a Teacher Training $1 Trial so those of you that are interested and just want to check it out can decide if my ​membership site works for you or not.

​That way, if you're annoyed by the things that I'm annoyed by and ​those things really ​are a deal killer for you, then it's only a buck that you spent to figure that out (or just check out my video to see a demo for free).

​But if you're like Boris and ​those little negatives ​don't matter ​as much to you because you recognize the value in the content, then you could get in on this training at an insanely great price!

Plus, it will improve your dancing in ​every partner dance, as you'll see when we discuss the "Universal ​Learning Method" & "Reaction Based ​Lessons" in the video below.

​The video below will start at 8:47 ​where I start comparing ​a new website ​page of mine to my membership site so you can see the things I like and dislike about my membership site compared to what I'm creating now.

​​Your Assignment

​​Hopefully you ​can also recognize that you don't need to be perfect. 

​And maybe there is some advice that you want to follow but you haven't followed it yet.

If so, ​remember...

​The first step to recovery is recognition.

Share ​what you haven't been doing, ​​how you are going to change, and ​bonus points if you make some small change right now towards that goal.

​Share ​​your own recognition in the comments below...

​...or share it on your Facebook timeline​, or anywhere else that is publicly acknowledging your recognition.

Of course, you are welcome to share any other thoughts or ahas in the comments below as well.

How We Used Email To Sell Out An Intermediate Dance Workshop 2 Weeks In Advance

Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

Let's look at how we helped Boris use email to sell out his intermediate dance workshop 2 weeks in advance.

I've put on lots of dance workshops and I've never had one sell out. The very first workshop that I organized with Andrew's help sold out 2 weeks before the workshop! It is so nice to know that the workshop will be filled well beforehand instead of worrying if people will show up or not on the day of the event. If you get the chance to work with Andrew, do it!

Boris Naumann

Lindy Hop Teacher, Germany

Btw, he also sold $3,715.00 in dance lessons (3,300.00€) from this 2-hour workshop (read to the end of this post for details on that)!

Below are two of the key steps we took to help him sell out the workshop.

The 2 Key Steps We Took

1.

We separated his contacts into 3 groups:

Group A = All contacts that have NOT requested information about the workshop

Group B = All contacts that HAVE requested information but have NOT purchased the workshop yet

Group C = All contacts that have purchased the workshop

Warning! Avoid This Mistake

Many people make the mistake of sending the same emails to ALL of their contacts. There are two main problems with this approach:


  1. If you send too many emails, you will likely annoy people who aren’t interested in this specific workshop. This causes unsubscribes, spam complaints, and upset customers.
  2. If you send too few emails, you likely won’t get many signups.

To solve this, let's look at step 2...

2.

We sent different emails to each group based on their current interest level:


Group A = These emails are designed to inspire them to request more information about the workshop...NOT to try and sell the workshop! Once they request more information (by clicking a link in an email), we then put them in Group B.

Key Takeaway - Get Permission!

Trying to sell a workshop to people who have not expressed interest is jumping the gun. Get their permission first!

Btw, ActiveCampaign can automate this process for you (FYI: that is an affiliate link).


Group B = These emails are designed to inspire them to purchase the workshop. Once they've purchased the workshop, we move them to Group C. 

Key Takeaway - Send More To Those Who Want More!

Since this group has requested more information about the workshop, you can now confidently send them more emails without annoying them.

Again, ActiveCampaign can automate this process for you.


Group C = These emails are designed to excite them for the workshop they just purchased & inspire them to bring a friend.

Key Takeaway - Excite & Inspire Your Attendees

Now that they have committed to attending, they are much more likely to tell others about the workshop, especially if you get them excited about it and give them a little encouragement. 

Separation = Relevance = Happy Contacts

By separating your contacts into these groups, you can tailor your messages to them based on their current desires, instead of spamming everyone with messages that aren’t relevant for most of them.

This means you no longer have to choose between annoying people with loads of emails or having low attendance in your workshops.

Smart Tip: Spread Out The Details

In all the groups above, don't tell them everything in the first email and then just keep sending them the same information in future emails. 


Spread out the workshop details amongst multiple emails. One email can have the basic date, time &/or location, another can share the main goal of the workshop, you can explain the details of one class in more depth, or even give them some sneak peeks of what they will learn. Think of it like a movie launch and use the emails to build excitement for your workshop.

Let Software Do The Hard Work 

If you want software that automates this entire process so all you have to do is write the emails, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Here are a few we've used:

We have tried all of these and we highly recommend ActiveCampaign. It is our absolute favorite CRM for startups that don’t want to invest several hundred dollars a month (as it costs as little as $9/month). 

ActiveCampaign Website Homepage

Plus, it is just as powerful (maybe even more powerful) than many of the more expensive CRMs.

Want More Help?

If you want help creating all the emails so you can be confident you are using a proven strategy to sell out your next workshop, or you want help making sure your email system is setup to automatically send each email to the correct people at the correct times so you can set it and forget it, book a 15 minute Discovery Call with Andrew Sutton to learn how we might be able to help you.

Selling $3,715.00 In Dance Lessons From A 2-Hour Workshop

Lastly, how did Boris sell $3,715.00 of dance lessons from a single 2-hour workshop?

​...I just sold two programs for a total of 7.260€ and the process Andrew teaches to learn how to do this was very clear and simple to do.

Boris Naumann

Lindy Hop Teacher, Germany

He followed our Premium Dance Strategy. To learn more, register for our Premium Dance Strategy Webinar here.

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STOP Dancing On The Beat?

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

STOP Dancing On The Beat…

This is Part 3 of a 4-part series on redeveloping techniques so they work with everyone you dance with:

By now, you understand…

why this is so important for your dancing

and…

the first guideline for turning any technique into your own Universal Technique.

If you don’t, click the links above before reading below.  Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back. 🙂

Ok, now that we’re all caught up…

Let’s take a look at the second guideline for creating Universal Techniques:

2. Make it “reaction ready” instead of “statically styled”

Many times you have probably been told to do something on a specific beat(s).

 “Stretch on 1.”

“Go into counterbalance on 3&4.”

“Rotate on 5.”

Anytime you learn anything that is “supposed” to happen on a particular beat…

…it is very important to reframe so that you can make it happen on any beat.

It is extremely rare that all your partners will do the same technique all on the same beat, even if they are all taught the same way.  Some will start it early, some will start it late, and some will do things at completely different times from what you were taught.

Creating habits that happen on a particular beat is a recipe for a “statically styled” dance that is NOT reacting to your partner or the music, regardless of whether you are leading or following.

Whereas, reframing these concepts so you can do them on any beat will make them “reaction ready”, so you are ready to use each concept at the exact moments that it makes sense in each individual situation, with each partner and/or the exact moment in the music that it feels best for you.

 

Example: Counterbalance

For example, if you are “supposed” to go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4 in any particular movement (or go in at the beginning of the dance), this is very static and unchanging.  It happens at a particular time, regardless of what your partner does.

Below we will discuss how to adjust this as both a lead and a follow to make it reaction ready.

If you really want to be one of the most skilled dancers, learn how to reframe each technique/concept both as a lead and as a follow.  That way, within any aspect of the dance (counterbalance, grounding, matching arms, etc), you can help improve the experience by subtly adjusting your lead/follow role, making each aspect of the dance more clear (as a lead) and more in sync (as a follow) while still remaining in your primary role.

Reaction Ready Reframing For Follows

For follows, you will want to change this from the statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement as shown below:

Statically Styled Reaction Ready (for follows)
Go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4. Go into counterbalance when your partner goes in and come out when your partner comes out.

Now this might sound obvious, but I can’t stress how often it doesn’t happen (especially in classes).  Even when the follows think they are waiting and reacting, they are often a split second ahead of their lead.

But follows, don’t beat yourself up!  It’s most likely not all your doing.  Of course you are naturally going to do this in the above situations.  It’s being conditioned into you!  How can we expect anything else, if you are constantly hearing that you should go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4.  Of course, you are going to be inclined to make that happen (thereby leading it) when you hear it described this way over and over…

…unless…you do something about it.

That’s why it’s soooo important to actively reframe any statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement EVERY TIME you hear or think a statically styled one.

In fact, I’d recommend restating it in a reaction ready statement, out loud, twice for every one time you hear it statically styled.  Of course, restating it once inside of your head is better than nothing.  But for every time you notice it, there are probably a few times where you didn’t notice it, so restating it twice and out loud (especially if the static statement was said out loud) will give you more chances of overcoming that accidental conditioning. 

If you actively do this every single time, you will improve your following dramatically and jump lightyears ahead of the average follow.

Follows, want an easier way?

Reframing everything you learn takes a lot of time and effort that could instead be spent on improving your musicality, connection, body awareness, and many other aspects of your dancing.

At Dance Ninjas, we are very aware of how our words affect your learning experience and we are constantly making sure we are using reaction ready statements, so you don’t have to reframe everything that we teach you.

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training so you can spend more time on the key aspects to improving your dancing with everyone.

Side note: Not all your leads will be skilled enough to clearly lead every single aspect of the dance.  If that is the case, and you don’t understand what they want for counterbalance, no problem…just use the reaction ready statement for leads (see below) and subtly get your partner to go in and out of counterbalance when you want them to.  Then appreciate your awesome ninja like skills of being able to do this without them even realizing you are helping guide them.

 

Reaction Ready Reframing For Leads

For leads, you will want to change this from the statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement as shown below:

Statically Styled Reaction Ready (for leads)
Go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4. Get each individual partner to go in and out of counterbalance at different moments of your choosing (including but not limited to the statically styled version).

There are two important aspects to the reaction ready statement for leads.

1. “Get each individual partner” reminds me that there are a variety of ways to succeed in this task and the same method won’t work for everyone.

So by focusing on what it takes to get each individual partner to do this, I increase my chances of finding more successful methods that will work on the social dance floor.

2. “…at different moments of your choosing” trains my body to be able to adjust the timing of the movement.

If I train my body to do things on a specific beat, then it will be harder to adjust my body to change based on my partner and the music because I will be working against a static habit that I  trained into my body.

Whereas, if I train my body to be able to change at any moment, then I am teaching my body to be able to automatically adjust. That way my body can automatically choose a version of the counterbalance that will work best depending on how my partner is moving and the exact moment in the music.

That’s why it’s soooo important to actively reframe any statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement EVERY TIME you hear or think a statically styled one.

If you actively do this every single time, you will improve your leading dramatically and jump lightyears ahead of the average lead.

Leads, want an easier way?

Reframing everything you learn takes a lot of time and effort that could instead be spent on improving your musicality, connection, body awareness, and many other aspects of your dancing.

At Dance Ninjas, we are very aware of how our words affect your learning experience and we are constantly making sure we are using reaction ready statements, so you don’t have to reframe everything that we teach you.

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training so you can spend more time on the key aspects to improving your dancing with everyone.

Side note: Not all your follows will be skilled enough to follow every single aspect of your lead. If that is the case, and you can’t seem to get the outcome you want for counterbalance, no problem…just use the reaction ready statement for follows (see above) and subtly go in and out of counterbalance when your partner is going in and out of it while leading the other aspects of the dance.  Then appreciate your awesome ninja like skills of being able to do this without them even realizing you are adjusting for them.

 

So leads and follows…

STOP dancing on the beat…

…that you were taught is the “correct” one and start making each aspect of your movements reaction ready so you dance them on whatever beat your partner is asking you to or whatever moment the music is calling for.

 

Remember, this is the second of three important guidelines to creating Universal techniques.

To sum up all 3 guidelines again, they are:

  1. Turn judgments (or rules) into options with descriptive benefits
  2. Make it “reaction ready” instead of “statically styled”
  3. Continuously redevelop for all possible variations

 

We will cover the last guideline soon.  

Join our mailing list to get updated when it’s ready and you will also get an awesome free tip: The Ultimate Tip For Month Long Dance Highs.

In the meantime, think about this:

To learn to dance at the highest levels, you will want to create Universal Learning Methods for every aspect of your dancing, including:

  • Counterbalance
  • Grounding
  • Body vs Arm Leading/Following
  • Musicality (and a variety of subcategories of musicality)
  • Stationary Spins and Traveling Turns

…and much MUCH more.

So pick a technique you want to redevelop and get started on this today.  You can always revise and improve it as you go (and if you’re anything like me, you will do this many times) but if you don’t start, you won’t have anything to improve.

Want To Take The Fast Track?

If you want to get a jumpstart on learning universally and experience a bunch of techniques that have already been redeveloped for you from thousands of hours of classes in over 231 cities across 34+ countries…

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and get all 5 of the above techniques (plus much more), which will all be taught using the above 3 guidelines for Universal Learning so you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

Have questions? Feel free to ask them below!

The Universal Learning Method: A Unique Method For Dance Teachers To Have 100% Verifiable Proof That You Improve Your Students AND Ensure They Love Your Classes

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

The Universal Learning Method

A Unique Method For Dance Teachers To Have 100% Verifiable Proof That You Improve Your Students AND Ensure They Love Your Classes

Dance Ninjas Universal Learning Method To Improve Your Students AND Ensure They Love Your Classes

This is Part 1 of a 4-part series on redeveloping techniques to be universal so your students have 100% verifiable proof that you are improving their dancing:

Yay!

You’ve finally found it!

You know it’s super important to:

  • improve your students
    AND
  • AND make sure they love your classes

But…

But how can you make sure you do BOTH during every single class you teach?

We are going to show you a very unique and powerful method…

BUT…

You might need to make some subtle changes to the way you teach.

Let’s start by getting into the mind of a dance student…

As a student, have you ever learned a dance technique that only works as long as the person you are dancing with uses a particular technique?

I’m sure you’ve noticed this happen plenty of times. (ex: when you learn about frame it becomes super important that your partner uses their frame in a particular way)

Isn’t it frustrating to learn a cool concept and then not be able to use it with some of the people you dance with?

Well, now you can change that and make every technique and concept work universally (aka: with everyone you and your students dance with)…

…by using Dance Ninjas Universal Learning Method.

This new learning/teaching method is a big part of why I’ve been hired to teach dance in over 231 cities across 35 countries, and it’s the exact same method that’s used to create all of the techniques taught in our online trainings

…and now, for the first time ever, I’m sharing it so YOU can use it too!

This will be a game changer for your students.

Each time you teach a student how to use a technique with everyone… 

…that previously they could only use with some people… 

…you are showing them 100% verifiable PROOF that you are improving their dancing.

They couldn’t do something with some people before and now they can.  That is proof that they’ve improved.

And guess what?

They will love you for that!

Of course, we are going to teach you HOW to do this but…

…first let’s start with some more reasons…

Why A Universal Learning Method Is So Valuable For Your Students

The most clear and simple benefits of using a Universal Learning Method are:

  1. Your students will no longer need their partner to know a specific technique or react a specific way for their dances to be awesome.
    and
    This means you are giving them the power to have more amazing dances, instead of them relying on someone else to use a specific technique.
     and
  2. You are training your students to react to the music and the partner instead of learning to habitually do movements at specific moments.
    and
    You may think you are already teaching them to react, and maybe you are, but double check yourself when we get down to the counterbalance example below (and the how to teach universal techniques blog post).
     and
  3. Every dance can be it’s own dance.  Each partner and each song changes how they move and creates the dance for them.
    and
    Even dancing the same song with the exact same moves will be totally different depending on their partner and you will be training this into them every time you teach them.

 and

There are a couple additional benefits of using a Universal Learning Method that might not be immediately obvious.

  1. By creating a habit of adjusting to each partner and song, you are teaching them to learn new stuff and adjust on the fly as they social dance.
    and
    That means they will improve even outside of class, which makes your teaching even MORE VALUABLE to them!
     and
  2. They can create their own style(s) just by changing one small aspect of their movement (like the direction of their counterbalance).
    and
    This is advanced for sure, but isn’t that something that would be awesome to instill in someone right from the beginning, so when they are ready, they don’t have to relearn everything they thought they knew.
    and
    Yay, for added bonuses!
     and
  3. You are teaching them how to dance instead of teaching them a dance.
    and
    Our d’ancestors didn’t do a dance, they danced!
    and
    This is the ultimate way to bring someone back to the roots of any dance form.  Teach them not to imitate our d’ancestors, but to seek what our d’ancestors sought.

And

Best of all…

…by providing the benefits above, your students will dramatically improve their dancing which will ensure they love your classes even more than they already do!

So now let’s look at…

How The Universal Learning Method Was Created

Over the past 18 years, I have taken thousands of dance classes…

…and as much as I love taking all sorts of dance classes and they definitely improve my dancing…

I always wanted to find a way to use the techniques I was learning so they worked with everyone…

…and a lot of the time they were not presented in that way.

For example, when I learned about counterbalance, I was taught that I was supposed to lead it and my follow was supposed to follow it.

Seems normal enough, right?

But the problem was…

…some of my partners wouldn’t follow it when I wanted them to and others would automatically go into it when I never asked them to.

Can you relate?

Have you ever experienced a moment when your partner did something they weren’t supposed to do (or didn’t do something they were supposed to do)?

Not sure what counterbalance is? Watch the video below for a quick explanation and example.

I found this really frustrating and started getting annoyed when my partners did things they “weren’t supposed to”.

If my partners:

  • ignored certain aspects of the music
  • didn’t dance grounded
  • had “bad” frame or even just a different type of frame
  • didn’t bounce (or pulse) the way I learned
  • had a very light (or heavy) lead/follow
  • or did something different from what I was taught…

…in those cases, I didn’t know how to dance well with them and it was frustrating.

The more I danced with these people, the more annoying it got and eventually I started to avoid dancing with them (even though I used to enjoy dancing with some of them before I learned these certain ways to dance).

That’s crazy!

I don’t know about you, but I want to increase the amount of people I can have amazing dances with as I improve my dancing…not let that slowly dwindle.

I figured there had to be a way to learn these techniques that would increase my skills and increase my enjoyment with EVERYONE I encountered…

…and that is exactly why I started to search for…

A Universal Learning Method

(Little did I know, it was going to improve my dancing more than almost anything else I would learn in 18+ years of dancing and allow me to travel the world teaching dance.)

So I decided to take techniques that I was learning and figure out how to redevelop them so they improve my dancing with everyone, instead of just the people who know that technique.

And that is exactly what I want to share with you here…

Dance Ninjas Universal Learning Method

So let’s take the example of learning counterbalance and see how using the Universal Learning Method turned this cool concept into something I could use with everyone.

Want To Take The Fast Track?

Everything we teach in Dance Ninjas uses the Universal Learning Method.

If you want to save yourself the time of redeveloping hundreds of techniques so they work universally and instantly get a whole bunch of universal techniques to share with your students…

…check out our teacher training.

Example: Counterbalance

Instead of learning that I was “supposed” to lead the counterbalance and my follow “needed” to follow it…

…I decided to learn that counterbalance was an awesome part of dancing that I could both lead and follow (regardless of whether or not I was the official lead or follow).

That way, if my partner didn’t have the knowledge, skill level, or desire to follow my counterbalance, it was no big deal because I would just separate that aspect out and follow their counterbalance while I was leading everything else.

To be able to do this, I had to learn to do any movement:

  • with or without counterbalance
  • with varying degrees of counterbalance
  • with different directions of counterbalance
  • at different speeds and durations
  • in different positions

…and to be able to change any of this at any point during any move.

It seemed crazy hard at first, but it was actually pretty easy once I made it my focus.

And it created a totally different way of looking at counterbalance that I am constantly still improving and learning more about every day I dance.

Now, when I dance with people who don’t use counterbalance in one of the ways I was taught, instead of getting frustrated and having a mediocre dance…

…I get to learn more and improve my dance skills while I’m social dancing.

Do you see how different this is than the normal method of learning (and teaching) counterbalance?

Let’s put them side by side so you can see the exact difference in how you would teach with each method:

Normal Method Universal Method
How You Teach Counterbalance You teach a specific movement that either has counterbalance, doesn’t have counterbalance, or has counterbalance at a very specific moment(s). You teach how to go in/out of counterbalance with different positions, speeds, directions, durations, etc and then practice adjusting to each partner in any moment of any move.

and

Want to see the difference in how you might teach counterbalance with the normal learning method vs the universal learning method?  Watch this video:

Unfortunately, if you use the Normal Learning Method to teach counterbalance, it is extremely likely your students will come across many social dancers who were taught to use counterbalance in a different way…

…and dancing with them will likely feel less than amazing (and sometimes downright “horrible”) if neither person knows how to adjust.

Of course, the more classes they take from other instructors with different styles, the more they will learn about the different ways to use counterbalance…

…but this could take several years to gain the knowledge you can give them in one hour, if you use the Universal Learning Method.

So give your students the advantage!

There are a lot of teachers out there teaching people to dance well some of the time.

Go above and beyond…

Be a teacher who teaches your students to dance well ALL OF THE TIME!

This is our unique method to have 100% verifiable proof that you improve your students and ensure they love your classes.

To be that teacher, your next step is to read this blog post: How to turn every technique you teach into a universal technique

…or if you want to save some time…

Take The Fast Track

Everything we teach in Dance Ninjas uses the Universal Learning Method.

If you want to save yourself the time of redeveloping hundreds of techniques so they work universally and instantly get a whole bunch of universal techniques to share with your students…

…check out our teacher training.

So…

Do you or will you use this in your classes?

Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

Stop Practicing With A Partner

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

Stop Practicing With A Partner

Dance Ninjas Universal Learning Method

This is Part 4 of a 4-part series on redeveloping techniques so they work with everyone you dance with:

By now, you understand…

why this is so important for your dancing

and…

the first guideline for turning any technique into your own Universal Technique.

If you don’t, click the links above before reading below.  Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back. 🙂

Ok, now that we’re all caught up…

 

Let’s take a look at the second guideline (and then how to give yourself the advantage):

2. Make it “Reaction Ready” Instead Of “Statically Styled”

Anytime you learn anything that is “supposed” to happen on a particular number (or beat)…

…it is very important to reframe so that you can make it happen on any number (or beat).

It is extremely rare that all your partners will do the same techniques all on the same number (or beat), even if they are all taught the same way.  Some will start it early, some will start it late, and some will do things at completely different times from what you were taught.

Creating habits that happen at a particular number (or beat) is a recipe for a “statically styled” dance that is NOT reacting to your partner, regardless of whether you are leading or following.

Whereas, reframing these concepts so you can do them at any moment (or beat) will make them “reaction ready”…so you are ready to use each concept at the exact moments that it makes sense in each individual situation, with each partner and/or the exact moment in the music that it feels best for you.

 

Example: Counterbalance

For example, if you are “supposed” to go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4 in any particular movement, this is very static and unchanging.  It happens at a particular time, regardless of what your partner does.

We will discuss how to adjust this as both a lead and a follow to make it reaction ready.

If you really want to be one of the most skilled dancers, learn how to reframe each technique/concept both as a lead and as a follow.  That way, within any aspect of the dance (counterbalance, grounding, matching arms, etc), you can help improve the experience by subtly adjusting your lead/follow role, making each aspect of the dance more clear (as a lead) and more in sync (as a follow) while still remaining in your primary role.

Reaction Ready Reframing For Follows

For follows, you will want to change this from the statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement as shown below:

Statically Styled Reaction Ready (for follows)
Go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4. Go into counterbalance when your partner goes in and come out when your partner comes out.

Now this might sound obvious, but I can’t stress how often it doesn’t happen (especially in classes).  Even when the follows think they are waiting and reacting, they are often a split second ahead of their lead.

But follows, don’t beat yourself up!  It’s most likely not all your doing.  Of course you are naturally going to do this in the above situations.  It’s being conditioned into you!  How can we expect anything else, if you are constantly hearing that you should go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4.  Of course, you are going to be inclined to make that happen (thereby leading it) when you hear it described this way over and over…

…unless…you do something about it.

That’s why it’s soooo important to actively reframe any statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement EVERY TIME you hear or think a statically styled one.

In fact, I’d recommend restating it in a reaction ready statement, out loud, twice for every one time you hear it statically styled.  Of course, restating it once inside of your head is better than nothing.  But for every time you notice it, there are probably a few times where you didn’t notice it, so restating it twice and out loud (especially if the static statement was said out loud) will give you more chances of overcoming that accidental conditioning. 

If you actively do this every single time, you will improve your following dramatically and jump lightyears ahead of the average follow.

Follows, want an easier way?

Reframing everything you learn takes a lot of time and effort that could instead be spent on improving your musicality, connection, body awareness, and many other aspects of your dancing.

At Dance Ninjas, we are very aware of how our words affect your learning experience and we are constantly making sure we are using reaction ready statements, so you don’t have to reframe everything that we teach you.

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training so you can spend more time on the key aspects to improving your dancing with everyone.

Side note: Not all your leads will be skilled enough to clearly lead every single aspect of the dance.  If that is the case, and you don’t understand what they want for counterbalance, no problem…just use the reaction ready statement for leads (see below) and subtly get your partner to go in and out of counterbalance when you want them to.  Then appreciate your awesome ninja like skills of being able to do this without them even realizing you are helping guide them.

 

Reaction Ready Reframing For Leads

For leads, you will want to change this from the statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement as shown below:

Statically Styled Reaction Ready (for leads)
Go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4. Get each individual partner to go in and out of counterbalance at different moments of your choosing (including but not limited to the statically styled version).

There are two important aspects to the reaction ready statement for leads.

1. “Get each individual partner” reminds me that there are a variety of ways to succeed in this task and the same method won’t work for everyone.

So by focusing on what it takes to get each individual partner to do this, I increase my chances of finding more successful methods that will work on the social dance floor.

2. “…at different moments of your choosing” trains my body to be able to adjust the timing of the movement.

If I train my body to do things on a specific number, then it will be harder to adjust my body to change based on my partner and the music because I will be working against a static habit that I  trained into my body.

Whereas, if I train my body to be able to change at any moment, then I am teaching my body to be able to automatically adjust. That way my body can automatically choose a version of the counterbalance that will work best depending on how my partner is moving and the exact moment in the music.

That’s why it’s soooo important to actively reframe any statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement EVERY TIME you hear or think a statically styled one.

If you actively do this every single time, you will improve your leading dramatically and jump lightyears ahead of the average lead.

Leads, want an easier way?

Reframing everything you learn takes a lot of time and effort that could instead be spent on improving your musicality, connection, body awareness, and many other aspects of your dancing.

At Dance Ninjas, we are very aware of how our words affect your learning experience and we are constantly making sure we are using reaction ready statements, so you don’t have to reframe everything that we teach you.

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training so you can spend more time on the key aspects to improving your dancing with everyone.

Side note: Not all your follows will be skilled enough to follow every single aspect of your lead. If that is the case, and you can’t seem to get the outcome you want for counterbalance, no problem…just use the reaction ready statement for follows (see above) and subtly go in and out of counterbalance when your partner is going in and out of it while leading the other aspects of the dance.  Then appreciate your awesome ninja like skills of being able to do this without them even realizing you are adjusting for them.

 

 

Here is the 3rd aspect:

3. Find All Possible Variations Of A Technique

 

Let’s look at examples of what we mean by each approach when we are learning a specific topic.

learning a move that requires counterbalance at

Over the last 15+ years, I have studied many styles of dance but this method will best be explained if I use one dance form to explain the Universal Learning Method.

Since Lindy Hop is the dance I have the strongest background in, I will use it to share this concept.  If you do a different dance besides Lindy Hop, bare with me and you will see how this applies in your dance too.

 

 

To give you an idea of how much I have studied Lindy Hop and it’s various styles, out of the 51 teachers that taught for Frankie 100, I have taken from 48 of them so far.

but my point will be better served if I stick ) and and I learned a lot of techniques

There is a new method to learn to partner dance and to best describe it, let’s compare it to the standard method of learning to partner dance.

1. You can learn a style of partner dance (Lindy Hop, Tango, Salsa, Blues, WCS, etc). We will call this the Styled Learning Method.

2. You can learn to partner dance with everyone you encounter regardless of their style of dance.  We will call this the Universal Learning Method.

Of course, you can mix and match these methods, but we are separating them so you can clearly see the differences and benefits of each.

If you take most of your classes from one teacher, then you are probably learning a style of the particular dance.

Of course, you can also combine these methods and learn to partner dance with emphasis in a specific style and we will talk more about that later.

The first two methods might sound similar but the results can be very different depending on which approach you use.

Here is how you would practice or learn in each method:

  Style Method Universal Dance Method
What You Practice You practice one very specific movement.  Anything else is considered “wrong” or “bad”. You practice a variety of ways your body can move and choose the one that works best for each partner.

Let’s look at examples of what we mean by each approach when we are learning a specific topic.

Let’s say we are learning about “Bounce” or the concept of your body moving up and down during certain moments of the music.

Here is how you would learn to bounce in each of these methods:

  Styled Method Partner-Styled Method Universal Dance Method
What You Practice You practice one very specific movement.  Anything else is considered “wrong” or “bad”. You practice at least two very specific movements in a category and try to use the one that works best for each partner or song. You practice a variety of ways your body can move and choose the one that works best for each partner or song.
PracticingBounce Practice making sure your body is at it’s lowest point on each beat of the music and at it’s highest point in-between the beats. Practice these two options:A. Your body is at it’s lowest point on each beat of the music and at it’s highest point in-between the beats.B. The exact opposite of A.After practicing these concepts in your own body, you then practice them with a partner and change your method when your partner changes their method.  

Let’s look at examples of what we mean by each approach when we are learning a specific topic.

 

  Styled Approach Partner-Styled Approach Universal Dance Approach
What You Practice Your body should do one very specific movement and that is what you practice.  Anything else is considered “wrong”. Your body should do one very specific movement but there are other great ways to move as well, you just won’t practice them in this class. There are a variety of ways your body can move and you will practice many of them during this class.
ExampleForBounce Your body should be at it’s lowest point on each beat of the music and at it’s highest point   By using compare and contrast, you can actually choose

 

 

 

 

Learning a Style of Dance vs Learning to Partner Dance with Emphasis In A Style

 

 

You can learn a concept that

Dance Ninjas’ Universal Dance Approach is often referred to as “Fusion”.

If you have already heard of the concept of Fusion, beware!  The concepts below might be drastically different from what you thought Fusion was.  We believe Fusion is a great name for our approach because our mission is to have amazing dances with anyone to any music.  If we want to be the best we can at this, it requires us to “fuse our movement with our partner and the music”.

You might read that and think “that is just good dancing”… in some ways, I agree, but still… I dare you to look deeper into just how well you are doing this in every aspect of your dancing.  In my experience, 99.9% of us don’t do this in a large amount of our dancing (including myself, especially before I started analyzing and improving).  But it is not because we don’t want to, it is because we have been trained not to (and we usually don’t even realize it).

 

, then when someone uses their arm instead of their body to do that movement, it can be much more difficult to connect well with that partner.  Imagine instead of being trained to only be able to connect well with a partner who uses their body, what if you were trained on how to connect well with partners who use their body AND partners who use their arms AND partners who use both their body and their arms.  You would then be able to have amazing dances regardless of what style of connection your partner is using!  Dance Ninjas’ Universal Teaching Method takes a concept like body leading/following and looks at how to have great dances when people are using the concept AND when people are not using the concept.

 

For the rest of this article, we will use the word “Fusion” when talking about our Universal Dance Approach to teaching dance.

Here are some interesting concepts:

 

 

 

3. Fusion is the simplest way to start dancing and the hardest concept to master.  It is the simplest way to start because everyone else’s job is to make the dance amazing.  Since everyone is trying to fuse their movement with yours, nothing you do is wrong to them because they are trying to be able to have an amazing dance with anyone, even a complete beginner, no matter what the circumstances.  Notice that nowhere in the definition does it say “fuse your movement with your partner unless they are not doing it right” (side note: watch carefully and you will see that is how our culture tends to teach dance, some people more than others but I have been working to delete this from my methods for over 7 years and I still notice myself doing it in subtle ways).

WARNING: Be careful, I did NOT say “anything goes” for you… I said “anything goes for your partner”.  There is a big difference in these two statements.  The first says I can be reckless and wild and have no technique.  The second says I am constantly learning new and vastly different techniques so that I can dance with anyone no matter what their technique or skill level.  Fusion is the hardest to master because if you truly want to have an amazing dance with anyone (or 100% fuse with them), you need to understand every single way of moving possible, and if you really want to 100% fuse with the music, you need to understand every form of music and every way to move your body possible so you can 100% match up your movement to the music and your partner.

4. Fusion is about putting your connection to your partner and the music as a higher priority over the dance style you are learning/teaching.  It can be done in any dance style and if it were done, many people would probably call it “just good dancing” or “just good teaching” but it is definitely not the current fundamental starting point in classes today and so there are so many ways we as dance teachers are not teaching this concept… or interpreted another way, we are not teaching “good dancing”!  The more and more I watch how people teach (including myself occasionally), the more and more I see how the way our culture teaches dance makes it very difficult for people to learn to have amazing dances with anyone to any music (or to truly fuse their movement with their partner and the music).  It has been my quest to change this in my teaching (and hopefully in other people’s too).

5.  Maybe another way to look at it would be that the ultimate goal of a Fusion dancer is to be able to have the most amazing dance to any music (100% fusing to the music) with anyone (100% fusing to a partner).  At the highest level, a dancer who has never danced salsa in their life could go out and have a fantastic salsa dance with any salsa dancer and no one would even know they had never done salsa before.  They have the ability to do this not because someone taught them that they should move this way because that is what you do in Salsa (which is putting the dance as a higher priority over the partner and the music). Instead, they have learned about how to fuse their body with a partner and how to fuse their body to the music at very high levels and they are doing that… which means they are putting fusing their movement with their partner and the music as a higher priority than doing the dance.  The dance happens because it actually makes sense to happen instead of because that is what they were taught is supposed to make sense.

This is exactly how a dance is created, someone moves the way it feels best with the partner and the music.  Then everyone watches them, codifies how they move and tries to teach others how to do that … but I feel like they are missing the point of the initial teacher.  They are seeking to imitate the master and do what the master did, instead of seeking the same thing the master sought after.  Another way to look at Fusion… Fusion is the creation of dance (even dances that have already been created) instead of the imitation of dance.  Again, watch how we all teach dance while keeping this in mind and you will see how this is NOT the current fundamental starting point of how the current teachers today are teaching.  Many are trying, some come closer than others, but very few are really nailing it yet… of course, I am always on the look out and open to suggestions!  I take from everyone in the hopes of them not just teaching me more dance ideas but also to find more ways I am missing this in my own teaching.

6.  *shameless plug*  These happen to be the methods that I use when teaching and you can experience them in my online dance school, www.DanceNinjas.com!  Teaching this way has been a work in progress for somewhere between 8-12 years and I keep on learning more ways to refine it.  Ok, you don’t really have to keep this one in mind when continuing to read on… however, I would like it if you did!  🙂

 

In order to become a great dancer, do you need to learn specific dance forms?

I think that it is incredibly helpful to learn specific dances but I wouldn’t say that if you have 100 hours to take classes, then 50 hours of Fusion & 50 hours of a specific dance would be better than 100 hours of straight fusion or 100 hours of a specific dance.  It really depends on what your goals are and who is teaching you.  Is your goal to imitate dance or to actually create dance?  Which are you and your teacher setting yourself up for (regardless of whether you are teaching a traditional dance or not)?  For example, right now, in Lindy Hop, many dancers do a Rock Step on count 1-2 because that is what they learned.  They don’t realize why it makes sense, when it makes sense, and maybe more importantly… when it doesn’t.  They just do it because that is what they were taught.  To an outsider this might look better than someone who is aimlessly moving to the music.  But for the person actually dancing this way they have no better connection to the music than the person aimlessly wandering, it just appears they do.

Also, who is a better dancer… the person who can do a bunch of moves that people associate with Lindy Hop and just happens to rock step at a time that makes sense most of the time or someone who can only walk forward and backward but understands why they should switch from moving forward to moving backward and when it makes sense and when it doesn’t and understands when it should happen in any music (not just Lindy Hop music). Now it is possible that a teacher teaches their students the purposes behind these movements and when they make sense or don’t make sense and I would argue that some teachers do.  But then I would ask, are you telling them this concept and then moving on in your class or are you actually setting them up to succeed in this concept?  If you are setting them up to succeed in this concept, then I would say you are prioritizing fusing with the music over doing the dance.  However, most teachers prioritize the other way and just make sure that the person can do the swing out.  Most teachers are not setting them up to succeed in this concept and the proof can be shown by asking any Lindy Hopper to start their Rock Steps on 3-4 or 5-6 or 7-8 and still make the transition on 1-2 look like it makes sense to the music.  Most wouldn’t be able to do that.  So yes, specific dance training can help… but if we take one person who only studies Fusion and takes 10 hours of Fusion, and one person who studies 5 hours of each, we can’t say that the person who studies 5 hours of each is going to be better or worse.  It just depends on what and how they are taught and what their goals are.

 

Should Fusion be taught from the beginning stages of dance?

I absolutely think Fusion (in my definition, not to be all snobby as if mine is the best but just to be clear on what I am talking about:) should be taught from the very start!  Now, if someone only defined Fusion as combining two different dance styles, then I would agree that it would be disadvantageous to teach a beginner this.  (side note: for me, that concept of combining two styles is included in my definition but it is a very small subset of my definition and it would almost completely defeat the purpose of my definition if that was the main focus).

Today, many people learn and constantly reinforce the concept of putting the dance as a priority over their partner and over the music (including myself unfortunately but I am working non-stop to change that).  It was not until several years after I started dancing that I started to realize the difference and now 15 years later I am still trying to get rid of some of those habits that I learned that make it difficult for me to have great dances with anyone and teach my students to do the same.  I want to keep taking dance classes to continue to improve but as I do that I also constantly have to fight against the habits that the teachers are training into us because of the way our culture thinks about, teaches, learns, and practices dance in the world today.  I wish someone had taught me the concepts I know now so that I could have been combating those bad habits during the first few years too (and I am sure I will say the same thing 5 years from now about what I know now compared to what I will know then).  To some degree, it saddens me deeply and to another degree, it excites the hell out of me because it means I get to be at the forefront of something that is changing the world of partner dance!  Still, I would be a much better dancer today if my fundamentals had started with the concepts I now teach and share with beginner dancers which all come from making “fusing my movement with my partners and the music” the number one priority… and keep in mind… I primarily get hired to teach Lindy Hop so I am doing this within a traditional dance form a lot of the time.

Do you need frame & connection to have a great dance?

I disagree with the common notion that without frame or without connection you can’t have a great dance.  I have had some amazing dances that were all based on visual lead/follow.  I have had some amazing dances where technically our connection was about as much of a train wreck as I have EVER seen or experienced on the dance floor.  I love connected dances too but they are not a requirement for me.  I also don’t think the only thing you can teach in a fusion class is frame and connection.  I would first teach the fundamentals of frame and connection (as best I understand them) but once people learn these fundamentals, I can take them to higher levels of understanding these topics.  I would also argue that the “fundamentals” of frame and connection are rarely taught in any beginning (or even intermediate) lesson.  Maybe some people teach them but I have taken a lot of classes from a lot of teachers and what I usually see is “a style of frame or connection” being taught rather than what I would call “fundamentals” of frame/connection.  I can give examples if needed.

Does how you are teaching support the Fusion mindset?

As a teacher, you can teach people the mindset of fusion and that is great for when they take other people’s classes and for all the mistakes you are going to be making in your classes… but maybe even more important is to keep the mindset at the forethought of how you teach and make sure that what you are teaching supports the mindset.

For example, tone matching is a great example of a concept that is perfect for a Fusion class.  The only question is how are you going to teach it?  Are you going to teach it in a way that allows people to have better dances with people who tone match but leave them frustrated when they dance with people who don’t?  Or are you going to teach in a way that allows people to use or not use tone matching to improve every dance with every person?  The latter is using the Fusion mindset to teach.

Delving into specific dance forms when teaching

Eventually after teaching basics of fusion it would make sense to delve into particular dance styles (and certainly you could give examples of styles along the way and how they apply to what you are teaching).  Still, when working group lessons or private lessons with people I haven’t reached the point yet where I feel like it would make sense to delve more into a specific dance form.  Pretty much every time I am working with someone, I need to bring them back to some basic concept that they never fully grasped because they were taught a style of dance instead of how to dance… For me, our current culture of teaching dance is like teaching people grammar before you have even shown them the alphabet…  and I work with some of the best dancers in the world in Lindy Hop, Blues, WCS, Finnish Tango, and loads of other dance forms so I am not just talking about the average intermediate dancer.  Even the best of the best are missing a lot of the alphabet… which is kind of cool to know that someone can be soooo freaking amazing and still have soooo much more to learn!

How most dancers teach aesthetics on accident

Even when teachers are not trying to teach aesthetics, I would argue that many of them  do it on accident all the time, in fact, more often than not.  For instance, most people teach people to have a specific type of frame, put your arm here, resist here, relax there, etc… but each teacher is teaching a slightly different style of frame.  These in turn create aesthetics.  When it comes to teaching frame, I think the only way to not teach an aesthetic (that I can think of) is to teach someone a myriad of different types of frames, how to work with each of them, benefits and negatives of each, and then let the students choose the frame they want.  What do you think?

Want more ideas about teaching dance?  Get free tips at www.DanceNinjas.com.

This article is based on my responses in this conversation:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/165042273557980/613281878734015

 

 

We will use this to

What skills do I expect my students to have after one class?

The ability to walk with their partner forward and backward and experiment in different ways of doing that to the music.  A very simple understanding of how to move and be moved and a very simple form of musicality… (maybe understanding Energy changes)… They should be comfortable dancing to any song (more comfortable than before) and feeling like they are able to communicate with their partner (better than before).  They should be able and comfortable dancing for the next 2-3 hours.

Keep in mind the following 6 points when reading my responses below… 

1. My definition for Fusion = Fusing your movement with your partner & the music

 

I have some examples of this on my audio talk about the myth of “Fusion is just good dancing” topic here:https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B7oVj0MMv0MDZkZqR3FVT1FXcVU&usp=sharing

 

Post 3
Overcome doubt or objection

3 reasons learning dance online is probably better for your dancing

1. More likely to work solo & learn your own body first

2. Figure things out (like all the old timers did)

3. Guidance from a pro (for the moments when you’re stuck)

 

4. Practice in your daily life

Want To Take The Fast Track?

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So now that you see the value of having a Universal Learning Method, you are probably wondering…

How do you implement the Universal Learning Method in your dancing and learning?

I promise I will show you exactly how to do this on your own below but first let’s look at the easiest method.

The easiest method (especially if you have never done anything like this before) is to join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and start using the 100+ techniques, tips and concepts.  That way you can see and experience a bunch of techniques that have already been redeveloped from taking thousands of hours of classes (see guideline 3 below).

Our redeveloped techniques would give you a huge head start over having to create everything from scratch and it would save you many many years of constantly reworking techniques that have already been created for you.

That said, we would love for you to create your own techniques too!  Plus, if you understand the structure for creating universal techniques, you might even end up improving some of ours and bringing more awesome ideas to the world of dance!

So if you are the type that wants to create some of your own techniques, you are going to love this post!

There are 3 main guidelines that we find are key to making any technique universal:

  1. Turn judgments (and rules) into options with descriptive benefits
  2. Make it “Reaction Ready” instead of “Statically Styled”
  3. Continuously redevelop to work for all new variations

 

Let’s take a closer look at the first guideline.

  1. Turn judgments (or rules) into options with descriptive benefits

Anytime you hear or think something judgmental, “wrong”, “bad”, “shouldn’t”, or even “right”, “good”, or “should”, try to turn both the positive and negative aspects of that judgment into positives.

For example:

Judgment Your Option A Your Option B
The follow “should” follow your counterbalance. If your partner is following your counterbalance, then lead the style of counterbalance you want. If your partner is not following your counterbalance, then follow their counterbalance and appreciate your badass ninja like ability to do this.

Want to know what “counterbalance” is?  Click here

This reframing is important because the above judgement might inherently suggest to you (like it did for me) that if the follows do not follow your counterbalance, they are “bad” dancers or doing something “wrong”.

The downside of this was that when I came across a follow that didn’t follow my counterbalance, I didn’t do anything about it.  I assumed the dance was doomed to be subpar because they were just doing it “wrong”.

I overcame this and now have more amazing dances with both follows who follow my counterbalance and follows who don’t, and I did this by reframing that judgement into the above 2 options (A & B) and practicing them both.

Does this make sense?  If not, ask for clarifications in the comments below.

Let’s look at an example of how follows might use this concept for the following judgment:

Judgment Your Option A  Your Option B
Arm leading is “wrong” If the lead is leading with his body, match him and follow with your body to make the dance feel great. If the lead is leading with his arms, follow with your arms to balance the dance and make it feel great.

 


Now sometimes you won’t always be able to describe an exact option with benefits (or you might just create a different option than the ones above).

For instance, you might not realize that along with body leading and arm leading, there is also something called body following and arm following, so you may not be able to create the exact options as shown above.

Don’t worry, you can still create an awesome reframing that will improve your dancing with everyone.

Let’s look at an example of how follows might use this concept, if they only learned how to follow someone who is body leading and didn’t know about arm following (or any other solution to arm leading) yet:

Judgment Your Option A  Your Option B (no solution yet)
Arm leading is “wrong” If the lead is leading with his body, dance the way I was taught to make the dance feel great. If the lead is leading with his arms, find a way to make it feel great.

 


Although this doesn’t provide the immediate solution, it at least keeps your mind open and curious about finding a way to make that option great.

Whereas, if you just think “arm leading is wrong”, you are much less likely to figure out a way to make it feel great because you are predisposing yourself to the idea that it is just “wrong” and there is nothing you can do.

Many of the concepts we develop start with the “find a way to make it great” option and then develop into some exciting new discovery (like arm following) because we are relentless in our search.

Let’s look at how this Universal Learning Method can also be applied to musicality concepts:

Judgment Your Option A Your Option B
You “should” bounce down on every beat. Bouncing down gives the dance a heavier or earthier feel. Bouncing up gives the dance a lighter or heavenly feel.

 

I love seeing dancers use the music to guide their dancing.

Even if you are doing a specific traditional style of dance that usually has a specific feel to it, it is very likely that there will be all sorts of moments in traditional songs that call for moving lighter or heavier than you traditionally move.

Plus, even if there aren’t any moments that call for a different way of bouncing, I love to bounce down (or up) because I can feel it actually fits the music and I am choosing it, instead of doing it because I don’t know how to do anything else.

Experienced dancers know when to follow and when to break the rules, so go ahead and set yourself up ahead of time by understanding the benefits of both.

Note: You won’t always know the benefits for both following and breaking the rules (and some might even tell you there are no benefits to one method) but that doesn’t mean the benefits don’t exist.

Remember, this is just the first of three important guidelines to creating Universal techniques that allow you to have more amazing dances with everyone, regardless of whether or not they know the technique.

To sum up all 3 guidelines again, they are:

  1. Turn judgments (or rules) into options with descriptive benefits
  2. Make it “Reaction Ready” instead of “Statically Styled”
  3. Continuously redevelop to work for all possible variations

 

The rest of this post is still in progress here

We will cover the other two guidelines very soon.  We will send you updates when the other guidelines are posted if you join our mailing list and you will also get an awesome free tip: The Ultimate Tip For Month Long Dance Highs.

In the meantime, think about this:

To learn to dance at the highest levels, you will want to create Universal Learning Methods for every aspect of your dancing, including:

  • Counterbalance
  • Grounding
  • Body vs Arm Leading/Following
  • Musicality (and a variety of subcategories of musicality)
  • Stationary Spins and Traveling Turns

…and much MUCH more.

So pick a technique you want to redevelop and get started on this today.  You can always revise and improve it as you go (and if you’re anything like me, you will do this many times) but if you don’t start, you won’t have anything to improve.

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Have questions? Feel free to ask them below!

The WOOP Technique For Dancers – How To Master Positive Thinking And Make It Actually Work Instead Of Talking About It & Never Actually Doing Anything…From A Dancers Perspective

Dancing Tips , Free

While some people agree that positive thinking is a key aspect to success, others think it is a bunch of BS.

I tend to agree with both sides.  It can be a key aspect to success and it has certainly been a huge motivator in my life and helped me win championship titles and become an internationally recognized instructor…

…but there is more to it than just saying or thinking positive thoughts.

This WOOP technique will help ensure you actually follow thru with any positive thinking instead of leaving it as a thought inside your mind and never actually doing anything.

This technique comes from psychology professor, Gabriele Oettingen, and you can read more about it here.  

 

Side Note

I actually used this technique to write this article in about 3 hours, when it would normally be something I would say that I was going to do someday and then put it off for months or even years.

Dance Ninjas Dance Training
We will help you take direct and clear actions to improve your dancing!

 

WOOP stands for “wish, outcome, obstacle, plan”

Here’s an example of how it works.

Wish: Any of the following could be my wish.  

  • I want to constantly get asked to dance by my favorite dancers.
  • I want to win a World Championship Competition.
  • I want to fall back in love with dance.

Choose your own wish that is most exciting to you!

Outcome: Next, I imagine what would happen if I achieved my goal.  This is my desired outcome.  Here are some examples that could work for any of the above wishes (but you will want to choose your own examples that are most exciting for you).

  • I get asked to teach dance and become a recognized dancer around our local scene (or even the world).  
  • I feel better about myself and am happier, thereby creating a better atmosphere for others too.  
  • Someone falls in love with my dancing and wants to be my dance partner (or who knows, maybe someone falls in love with me too because my communication skills are so amazing from improving my partnering skills).  

Which ever of these outcomes are most powerful for me are the ones I will choose to focus on and picture in my imagination.  

Obstacle: Then, I brainstorm the internal and external obstacles that might get in my way of achieving the goal. For example: 

  • I feel tired and skip class (or don’t practice my Dance Drills), whenever I get off work later than normal.  
  • I procrastinate whenever I first start to practice dancing.  
  • I procrastinate when I get overloaded with todos and then I waste valuable time that I could have spent practicing worrying about everything I feel like I need to do.
  • My car broke down and it probably won’t be fixed in time for class.

Plan: The final step is to create a plan that ensures you have a method to easily overcome each obstacle: “if obstacle x happens, then I will do action y.” For example:

  • If I get off work later than normal, I will go to class just to say hi and ask if I can get some dance homework from the teacher.
    • In this case, just by committing to dropping by, I might end up staying but I don’t have to and I have created a plan to still improve even if I don’t (by asking for homework).
  • When I first start each practice session,  I will start by doing something easy that I already practiced last week.  
    • This will get me in the flow and help me skip over my most likely places where I will procrastinate.  
  • When I feel overloaded with todos, I will write everything down, getting it out of my head and onto paper.
  • This way I can stop worrying about it and start doing something now (or realize that I can do it later without worry of forgetting about it).

In my experience, it is helpful to keep these plans simple and just make sure they get the ball rolling in your favor.  If they are too difficult, you are less likely to do them.  If they are simple, you will probably not only do them but also get the momentum to keep going and do even more.

In Summary: 

  1. Decide what you want (your wish).
  2. Imagine experiencing having what you want (your outcome).
  3. Brainstorm the internal and external obstacles (obstacles).
  4. Commit to actions (plans) that will allow you to easily overcome those obstacles…especially their starting points.

 

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Access your ‘So Good You’ll Want Seconds’ Lesson Plan in Dance Ninjas Training Area.

Start here and master the 8 different strategies to actively create more amazing dances with everyone you encounter.

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How NOT to determine your pricing as a dance instructor

Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

How NOT to determine your pricing as a dance instructor

Avoid this all-too-common method that is often a recipe for disaster

How do you decide how much to charge when teaching dance?

There are several great ideas to help you decide your pricing, which I’ll be covering on this free webinar.

Plus, if you read to the end of this post, you’ll discover a simple question that can allow you to increase your pricing quite drastically (if you get good at answering it).

Now first…

Let me warn you about an all-too-common method to determine your pricing that is often a recipe for disaster (and why).

Unfortunately, this happens to be the main method many dance instructors use, and it is reinforcing the stereotype that to teach dance for a living, you have to be willing to sacrifice on the financial side (unless you end up being one of the best of the best, in which case you can make a decent living).

Ok, drum roll please…

The method NOT to use is deciding your price based on what other dance instructors charge.

While this might seem like a good idea, most often, it is not.

Why is this most likely a recipe for disaster?

  1. First, you don’t know why the other instructor chose that pricing. If they have different goals than you do, their pricing might make sense for them (and their students) and not for you (and your students).
    .
  2. Second, you don’t know if the other instructor has a solid business plan. There is a very strong chance (probably over 95%) they just chose their price because of what someone else was charging, and that is often a recipe for disaster.
     .

This is what I call the “hope and pray” method. You just choose a price without a solid basis for choosing it, then hope and pray it will work. Please don’t do that. Dance instructors all over the world have already proven that it doesn’t work.

By the way, if you’ve already done this, don’t beat yourself up. At first glance, this seems like a reasonable method to use and most other instructors have done it too. That said, it’s time to make a major change.

If you want to learn “how to determine your pricing” – I’ll be sharing my recommendations on that, and much more, on my upcoming webinar “Dance Instructors: Going Premium” – How To Make A Bigger Impact Without Working So Damn Hard.

The webinar is Monday, June 25th at 2pm (California time).

To Register For This Webinar, Click Here.

See you Monday!

~Andrew

P.S. Here is a great experiment:

Spend 5 minutes brainstorming, “What would it take to add a zero to my prices and still have people feeling like I was offering them amazing value?” That means if you charge $1,000 for a workshop, brainstorm $10,000. If you charge $100 for a private lesson, brainstorm $1,000. Feel free to share any brainstorm ideas that would add even a small bump to your value in the webinar.

How To Get Hired To Teach At The Big Dance Events WITHOUT Having To Win A Bunch Of Competitions

Free , Teaching Tips

How To Get Hired To Teach At The Big Dance Events WITHOUT Having To Win A Bunch Of Competitions

How To Teach At The Big Dance Events Without Winning Competitions

Ever wanted to teach at a big dance event?

But maybe you haven’t won any dance competitions…

…and maybe you have no desire to compete?

Is it still possible to get hired?

Shouldn’t a teacher be hired based on their teaching skills and not how many dance competitions they’ve won?

Well…

Yes, it is possible…

…and yes, you have a chance.

A VERY GOOD CHANCE…

IF…you have a solid process AND are willing to put in the work.

 

I’ll give you a very effective process below and…

…lucky for you, most people won’t take the time and won’t put in the work.

Heck, most people won’t even read this sentence because it’s not bolded.

So if you are one of the few who reads this sentence, you have a lot less competition and with less competition, it’s going to be even easier for you to rise to the top.

 

Plus, the process for getting there is a lot of fun too!

So…

Here’s the 5 step process for how I went from an engineer with two left feet to being hired for over 40 events each year…

…including many of the biggest dance events in the world (for my dance forms: Lindy Hop & Fusion).

Step 1


I started teaching locally while taking classes to improve my dancing, teaching, & business processes.

NOTE: Studying these 3 fundamental elements never stops.

Plus, this step sets up the next step for success (as well as each future step sets up the step after it).



I ran several local workshops and used them to improve my teaching & used my business processes (that I learned from step 1 above) to make them financially successful (and eventually to get them to be sold out).

NOTE: Remember, this step makes step 3 much easier.


Step 3


I started teaching workshops in other cities that couldn’t afford to bring in the big names & taught them how to make the workshops financially successful.

NOTE: There are a lot of small scenes around the world that need this sort of help. Huge demand with a very small group of teachers doing this, makes it much easier to be successful, especially when you are first starting out.

And remember, a large part of successfully booking workshops in other scenes was not just the fact that I was improving my dancing, teaching & business processes (from step 1), but also because I had learned how to put on a successful workshop (from step 2), and I was sharing that information with my organizers, so they could be successful, even if it was their very first workshop.


Step 4


I taught 40+ workshops each year for several years.

NOTE: Each workshop leads to booking more workshops (assuming you do a good job and know how to convert future workshops, which are all things you are learning from step 1).

Of course, you don’t have to teach that many workshops, but the more you teach, the more your reputation will get out there, and the more people will seek you out.

Plus, it’s a REALLY FUN way to make your living!


Step 5


I started getting hired by many of the biggest dance events in the world for my dance forms.

NOTE: By this point, I’d already taught (and helped organize) hundreds of workshops, and I’d use those experiences to constantly improve myself (along with continuing to improve myself by taking more classes in the 3 fundamentals, as discussed in step 1)…

…so the big events were seeking me out because I had the chops to teach killer classes AND bring in lots of students so they can be financially successful.


And I know I’ve already mentioned this but I feel it’s so important, it bears restating multiple times…

…throughout all five steps, I was (and still am) constantly taking classes to improve my dancing, teaching, and business processes.

So if you want to be sought out and hired by the big events, improve in the 3 fundamentals from step 1…

…but don’t wait until you are perfect in them to start teaching.

Start teaching now and use that experience along with the lessons you are taking to improve yourself.

Just like as a social dancer, you improve the fastest by BOTH dancing and taking lessons to improve your dancing…

…as a teacher, you’ll improve the fastest by BOTH teaching and taking lessons to improve your teaching.

I know that might sound like a lot of work, and it is…

BUT, it’s super fun work, as long as you are passionate about giving high quality dance lessons to lots and lots of people.

NOTE: While I do have some competition titles to my name, for the first 8 or so years, I was too afraid to even mention them, for fear of bragging.

Plus, the comps back then were not on youtube (and many of them weren’t even officially videotaped), so many of the people who hired me didn’t know I’d won any competitions.

I’ve started training others to do the same, and it seems to be working even for those who you don’t have any titles.

Follow this structure, and it will help you get hired much faster and much more often, with or without any competition titles to your name!

NOTE: I’m currently offering a $1 trial to our Teacher Training. You can learn more about it here.

Dance Instructors: How To Ethically Eliminate Your Competition Without Destroying The Dance Scene

Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

Dance Instructors:

How To Ethically Eliminate Your Competition Without Destroying The Dance Scene

So you want more students, right?

But you also don’t want to destroy your dance scene, right?

Unfortunately, many dance instructors tend to make a few “mistakes” that end up dividing (and occasionally even destroying) the local dance scene.

Luckily, there is a way to get more students, that can completely eliminate your competition (in 99% of dance scenes)…

AND…

It will not only avoid destroying or dividing your dance scene, but it will grow and strengthen it…

…AND the other local instructors will love you for it!

Before we get into what that method is, let’s look at how a lot of dance instructors currently try to get new students in ways that can divide the dance scene.

The Method We Are NOT Recommending

Many instructors try to get new students by appealing to people who are going out dancing at other local dances/events.

Now, if you run the local dance/event where you are talking to these people, then that is great!

Of course, you still want to do my growing scene suggestions coming up below, but at the same time, these are attendees that are going to your event(s), so it only makes sense to tell them about other opportunities they can experience.

But what if you don’t run the dances/events where all these potential students are dancing?

Should you be advertising at those events or trying to talk the attendees into taking lessons with you?

It depends…

If you have permission from the dance/event owner, then sure, go for it.

If not, then I wouldn’t recommend it.

But no matter whether you have permission or not, if this is all you are doing to get new students, then you are mainly dividing the scene instead of growing it…

…AND you are NOT eliminating your competition.

Why?

Because you are advertising to the same students as the dance/event owner. So instead of bringing new students into the dance scene (and growing it), you are taking dancers that are already in the dance scene and asking them to go somewhere else…thereby dividing their attention.

Even if your classes are on a different night, some dancers will choose to only go to your classes and stop going to the dance/event that originally brought them into the dance scene.

And whether they go to your classes or not, you are putting yourself in direct competition with the dance/event owner.

That is not necessarily a “bad” thing, but it certainly isn’t a way to grow a dance scene (at least not on it’s own).

So instead…

Grow Your Dance Scene while Eliminating Competition

How do you get new students in an ethical way?

…a way that doesn’t destroy (or slowly divide) your local dance scene?

It’s really quite simple…

Start advertising to “non-dancers”.

To do this, you can spend a bunch of money on advertising through facebook and google adwords.

Or you can use a…

Grassroots Method to Grow Your Scene

We recommend “Dance Bombing” (aka: Lindy Bombing, Blues Bombing, Tango Bombing, etc).

Dance Bombing is when you go somewhere that doesn’t normally have dancing (or somewhere that doesn’t normally have your style of dancing) and then you dance…

…sort of like a flash mob, but it’s usually not choreographed.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Go to any location where there are a bunch of locals hanging out (Farmer’s Markets, Blues Bar, Dance Clubs, etc)
    then
  2. Play some music and dance for them (maybe even teach some of them some basics)
    then
  3. Hand out flyers or business cards (ideally that allow them to try out their first class for free)
    ok

Note: These 3 basic steps are really all you need to get started but if you want to optimize your dance bomb to make it the most effective and have a checklist that you can handoff to any of your partners/students/friends, so they can run an effective dance bomb without you, then download our 16 step checklist here.

Dance Bombing works incredibly well!

People are often very impressed by partner dancing. Even watching beginners dance is fascinating to a non-dancer.

Regardless of your level, most of the time people will come up to you and ask you where you learned to dance.

This is the perfect time to give them a flyer (ideally for a free lesson) and tell them they can learn too!  Or better yet, take them for a spin on the dance floor and show them how easy it can be to get started.

Also, don’t forget these…

2 More Super Simple Grassroots Growth Methods

Here are two more methods that most dancers forget to do, and they are SUPER SIMPLE!

1. Tell your “non-yet-dance” friends and family about your classes.

Teach them some basics so they can see how easy it can be, and give them flyers too!  They can be 10-20 times more likely to take a lesson from you because they already know and trust you.

Make it easy on yourself and “pick the low-hanging fruit”.

And…

2. Ask your students to tell their friends/family about it too.  

Word of mouth is incredibly powerful, and sometimes you just need to remind your students to tell their friends.  Some of them will do it without a reminder, but some of them need that reminder.

This is just more “low-hanging fruit”.  Sure, you can do other things to bring in new dancers but…

…this is the easy stuff!

Don’t skip it!

Now, instead of competing with other instructors, you’ve eliminated the competition.

If you go to a “not-yet-dancer” at a farmer’s market and give them a flyer, they aren’t thinking, “Hmmm, should I take classes from this person or that other dance teacher”.  Instead, they are now just focused on whether or not they should take dance classes at all, and you are front of mind if they decide to take them.

Your competition is now all the other things they might do on Saturday night (or whenever else you hold your class) instead of all those other things AND all the other dance instructors.

Of course, many people still won’t come but some will, and when they do…

…you’ve just brought a new dancer into the scene, thereby growing the dance scene!

If you do this, you will be increasing the potential pool of dancers that can take classes, and attend dances/events, for not just you, but also the other instructors in town…

…and the other instructors will love you for that!

It really is that simple.

It’s just doing the fundamentals.

Getting Back To The Fundamentals

Think about it…

Before there was a dance scene in your town, how do you think the local scene got started?

They probably did all the things mentioned above, right?

These are fundamentals!

So just like dancing, don’t skip the fundamentals.

Note: Even if you are the one that started the dance scene, don’t stop doing these. I’ve seen many once strong scenes slowly dwindle after they stop doing the fundamentals.

Note: Don’t forget! You can download our 16 step checklist here.


Do you agree or disagree with these recommendations?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The “Fail To Succeed” Teaching Method To Improve Your Students

Free , Teaching Tips

Fail To Succeed

A Simple Method For Dance Teachers To Have 100% Verifiable Proof That You Improve Your Students So They Love Your Classes

To become an in-demand, sought-after, or even world-class dance instructor…

…there are two things you’ll probably want to do:

  • improve your students
    AND
  • AND make sure they love your classes

But…
If you do one without the other, eventually you’ll start to lose your students.

Fail To Succeed is a teaching method you can use to accomplish BOTH improving your students AND making sure they love your classes.

Fail To Succeed

The concept is that when teaching a class…

…first, you want your students to fail…

…and then you want them to succeed.

Wait, what?

Do we really want your students to fail?

YES!

If you start by giving them something that they can’t do…

…and if by the end of class they can do it…

…you (and your students) have 100% verifiable proof that you’ve improved their dancing.

You took them from not being able to do something to being able to do something!

This also makes them love your class and we’ll discuss why below, but first, let’s look at what happens if you don’t have them fail first.

Teaching Without Failure First

If you don’t test their ability to do the move/concept ahead of time, you never have proof that they couldn’t already do it…

…and this has two possible negative effects.

Possible Negative Effect #1

You might be wasting their time.

If you had tested for failure first, and they actually could already do the move, then you could have moved on to something else (or gone deeper into the move/concept) instead of spending time teaching them something they can already do.

Possible Negative Effect #2

They might not value your instruction.

Even if you are 100% positive that they would fail, if you don’t test them, then THEY might not ever recognize they couldn’t do it.

So even though you are improving their dancing, they might not recognize this and so they might not value your instruction very much.

Note: If your students don’t value you your instruction, it’s going to be very difficult to become in-demand, sought-after, or world-class.

World Class Dance Instructor Blueprint

So now that we know how valuable this method is, let’s look at…

How To Use The “Fail To Succeed” Method

Step 1. Start by asking them to do whatever it is you want them to do.

Don’t break it down for them.  Just show it to them twice and ask them to do it.

You might want to prep them for this by saying…

“I’m going to show you this move/concept twice and then I want you to do it.  So watch closely because I’m not going to break it down for you. I’m literally only going to show it to you two times and then I want you to take your best shot at it.”

Step 2a. If they succeed right away, give them a new move/concept to try.

You can tell them…

“Wow, you guys got that right away! That’s awesome, let’s see if you can do this. Again, I’m only going to show it to you twice, so watch closely.”

Step 2b. If they can’t do it, or can’t do it the way you want them to, then break it down for them step-by-step and help them do it.

You can tell them…

“Alright, I can see you are struggling with this, so let’s break it down and build it back up so you can nail it.”

or

“Ok, you are doing it but not quite the way I want you to, so let’s break it down and build it back up so you can nail it.”

It’s that simple!

Now let’s look at…

Why Fail To Succeed Makes Them Love Your Classes

When your student overcomes a challenge, they get a positive rush of endorphins which feels amazing!

Note: If you want to learn more about the brain chemistry behind this, check out The Winner Effect: How Success Affects Brain Chemistry.

Overcoming a challenge is like the winning a game…

…but instead of the challenger being an opponent, the challenger is yourself when you couldn’t succeed.

When you finally succeed, you become better than your previous self, which creates the feeling of being a winner.

Does that make sense? Ok!

Here’s the key…

By giving your student the opportunity to achieve something that less than one hour ago they couldn’t do…

…you are not only making them a better dancer, you are also making them FEEL like a better dancer. 

Warning: Be sure to choose something that you are confident you can get them to succeed at by the end of class.  If they only experience failure in your class, they probably won’t be (or feel like) a better dancer afterwards.

So that’s it.

Give your students the opportunity to fail first and then help them succeed and you are one step closer to becoming an in-demand, sought-after, or even world class dance instructor.

Want to know the other steps for becoming an in-demand, sought-after, or even world class dance instructor? Get our blueprint here.

World Class Dance Instructor Blueprint

Do you agree or disagree with this method?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How To Turn Any Technique Into Your Own Universal Technique

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

How To Turn Any Technique Into Your Own Universal Technique

This is Part 2 of a 4-part series on redeveloping techniques so they work with everyone you dance with:

So now that you see the value of having a Universal Learning Method, you are probably wondering…

How do you implement the Universal Learning Method in your dancing and learning?

I promise I will show you exactly how to do this on your own below but first let’s look at the easiest method.

The easiest method (especially if you have never done anything like this before) is to join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and start using the 100+ techniques, tips and concepts.  That way you can see and experience a bunch of techniques that have already been redeveloped from taking thousands of hours of classes (see guideline 3 below).

Our redeveloped techniques would give you a huge head start over having to create everything from scratch and it would save you many many years of constantly reworking techniques that have already been created for you.

That said, we would love for you to create your own techniques too!  Plus, if you understand the structure for creating universal techniques, you might even end up improving some of ours and bringing more awesome ideas to the world of dance!

So if you are the type that wants to create some of your own techniques, you are going to love this post!

There are 3 main guidelines that we find are key to making any technique universal:

  1. Turn judgments (and rules) into options with descriptive benefits
  2. Make it “reaction ready” instead of “statically styled”
  3. Continuously redevelop to work for all new variations

 

Let’s take a closer look at the first guideline.

  1. Turn judgments (or rules) into options with descriptive benefits

Anytime you hear or think something judgmental, “wrong”, “bad”, “shouldn’t”, or even “right”, “good”, or “should”, try to turn both the positive and negative aspects of that judgment into positives.

For example:

Judgment Your Option A Your Option B
The follow “should” follow your counterbalance. If your partner is following your counterbalance, then lead the style of counterbalance you want. If your partner is not following your counterbalance, then follow their counterbalance and appreciate your badass ninja like ability to do this.

Want to know what “counterbalance” is?  Click here

This reframing is important because the above judgement might inherently suggest to you (like it did for me) that if the follows do not follow your counterbalance, they are “bad” dancers or doing something “wrong”.

The downside of this was that when I came across a follow that didn’t follow my counterbalance, I didn’t do anything about it.  I assumed the dance was doomed to be subpar because they were just doing it “wrong”.

I overcame this and now have more amazing dances with both follows who follow my counterbalance and follows who don’t, and I did this by reframing that judgement into the above 2 options (A & B) and practicing them both.

Does this make sense?  If not, ask for clarifications in the comments below.

Let’s look at an example of how follows might use this concept for the following judgment:

Judgment Your Option A  Your Option B
Arm leading is “wrong” If the lead is leading with his body, match him and follow with your body to make the dance feel great. If the lead is leading with his arms, follow with your arms to balance the dance and make it feel great.

 


Now sometimes you won’t always be able to describe an exact option with benefits (or you might just create a different option than the ones above).

For instance, you might not realize that along with body leading and arm leading, there is also something called body following and arm following, so you may not be able to create the exact options as shown above.

Don’t worry, you can still create an awesome reframing that will improve your dancing with everyone.

Let’s look at an example of how follows might use this concept, if they only learned how to follow someone who is body leading and didn’t know about arm following (or any other solution to arm leading) yet:

Judgment Your Option A  Your Option B (no solution yet)
Arm leading is “wrong” If the lead is leading with his body, dance the way I was taught to make the dance feel great. If the lead is leading with his arms, find a way to make it feel great.

 


Although this doesn’t provide the immediate solution, it at least keeps your mind open and curious about finding a way to make that option great.

Whereas, if you just think “arm leading is wrong”, you are much less likely to figure out a way to make it feel great because you are predisposing yourself to the idea that it is just “wrong” and there is nothing you can do.

Many of the concepts we develop start with the “find a way to make it great” option and then develop into some exciting new discovery (like arm following) because we are relentless in our search.

Let’s look at how this Universal Learning Method can also be applied to musicality concepts:

Judgment Your Option A Your Option B
You “should” bounce down on every beat. Bouncing down gives the dance a heavier or earthier feel. Bouncing up gives the dance a lighter or heavenly feel.

 

I love seeing dancers use the music to guide their dancing.

Even if you are doing a specific traditional style of dance that usually has a specific feel to it, it is very likely that there will be all sorts of moments in traditional songs that call for moving lighter or heavier than you traditionally move.

Plus, even if there aren’t any moments that call for a different way of bouncing, I love to bounce down (or up) because I can feel it actually fits the music and I am choosing it, instead of doing it because I don’t know how to do anything else.

Experienced dancers know when to follow and when to break the rules, so go ahead and set yourself up ahead of time by understanding the benefits of both.

Note: You won’t always know the benefits for both following and breaking the rules (and some might even tell you there are no benefits to one method) but that doesn’t mean the benefits don’t exist.

Remember, this is just the first of three important guidelines to creating Universal techniques that allow you to have more amazing dances with everyone, regardless of whether or not they know the technique.

To sum up all 3 guidelines again, they are:

  1. Turn judgments (or rules) into options with descriptive benefits
  2. Make it “reaction ready” instead of “statically styled”
  3. Continuously redevelop to work for all possible variations

Want To Take The Fast Track?

If you to get a jumpstart on learning universally and experience a bunch of techniques that have already been redeveloped for you from thousands of hours of classes in over 231 cities across 34+ countries…

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and get over 100 more techniques, tips and concepts, which will all be taught using the above 3 guidelines for Universal Learning so you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

Before you go on to the next guideline, make sure you fully understand this one.  In the comments below, give us an example of a judgement or rule that is common in your dance form and then give us the options with descriptive benefits.  If we notice anyways to help you clarify your options, we will comment on your comment.

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