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Dance Trauma

By Grace Badillo, President
Dancing With Grace Productions, Inc.

Have you ever suffered because of dance? Over the years, many of my students have been traumatized by their former dance instructors in different ways. Whether they had their feelings hurt by a rude comment, they were singled out or told they ďcanítĒ dance due to their lack of rhythm, body style or difficulty learning quickly, whether they were told they arenít good looking enough to be on a dance team or taken advantage of financially or even sexually by an instructor, many people have experienced trauma in dance.

I want to speak directly to your heart and say on behalf of every instructor who mistreated you that I am sorry. Over 80% of instructors teaching today have NEVER BEEN TRAINED to teach & have never spent any time on developing communication skills, people skills, or sensitivity training necessary to be a great instructor. The average person does no investigation on their dance instructors before trying a lesson. Most of them donít even talk to them prior to their lesson to see if they their personality is becoming or simply annoying. To help you find your next dance instructor try asking yourself these types of questions:

  1. Do they have any certifications? Did they take dance seriously enough to train? Was the training only in dance or was it in teaching as well? Are they still training? Dance Instructors should be training in many forms of dance to make their skills better. They should also train themselves to be better instructors yearly with continuing education courses.
  2. Do they have faith in anything other than themselves, and demonstrate it? The trauma you experienced might have been a direct result of them loving and worshiping themselves and dance moves more than their creator. How can an instructor effect positive change and growth in the lives of their students if they only have faith in themselves?
  3. Is your instructor giving more than instruction to their students? Are they givers or are they so vain they canít stop staring at their own reflection in the mirror? Do they demonstrate vanity, pride or a massive ego on a regular basis? If instructors are good they should demonstrate a nurturing, kind and humble spirit and love their students like their own children.
  4. Does the instructor ask for emails/commentary on constructive criticism on their own abilities? This is something we do at least 2-3 times a month, but even if your instructor never askedÖ.

Focus on this- if you were traumatized did you tell your instructor or anyone in authority over them? If not, how can they ever improve on their own abilities? If they abuse many and begin to get emails about it on a regular basis maybe they will start seeing what other people see so they can improve on themselves and their teaching skills. It is our responsibility not let others experience trauma and abuse and have the courage to let them know what they made you feel. Release your pain and move forward. If it took hours and hours of research for you to choose a college, a new car, school for your child apartment or home, why not thoroughly research potential instructors and talk to them? Ask them questions. Get their philosophy of teaching. Let them know what you have suffered in the past so they can be sensitive to your past and future dance experiences.

In a few cases, some of us are naturally over sensitive and donít understand that constructive criticism plays an important role in learning to dance. It is an instructorís job to give the student this criticism in a kind way and encourage them to do better. Not all instructors are good at this, but not all instructors are bad at it either. To understand more about constructive criticism in dance education click here. I hope this information has given you some clarity about the emotional component to learning and how no matter what happened in the past dance can be a positive hobby for your life. I pray that you will find a teacher that is perfect for you in the future and that you will achieve all your dance goals! We believe in you! GO FOR IT!

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Page Last Updated: Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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