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Plaza Column - View article
Written by : Max M Ali MD
Date : 02-19-2004
Title : So, you want to be a Teacher Part II, Preparation
Article: Dancing Tid-bits Issue #170, Thursday, February 19, 2004.

Today's Topic: So, you want to be a Teacher Part II, Preparation

This is the second in a series of Dancing Tid-bits that are planned every other week to help those who intend to become certified teachers of dancing.

The preparation for becoming a teacher must of course be very much streamlined and may be an unending process just like for any other examination. So, what are some important details.

1. Pick an organization that you want to be certified with. I can only share my experience with you when it comes to ISTD, The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. This society is based in London, England but has branches in many other parts of the world and we have one in US called USISTD. That doesn't mean there are no other but then you find that at your own. There is another popular one, the IDTA (International Dance Teachers Association). For a lot of information on ISTD, you can click or

2. Acquire the Books: This is a must and both websites can help you in that area. These books will provide you the "Syllabus" which is the backbone of the examinations. There are of course 2 sections, the ballroom and the latin. The ballroom book is "Technique of Ballroom Dancing" which covers the 4 ballroom dances and then there are, now, 5 ISTD books, 1 for each of the 5 Latin Dances.

Am I supposed to know every page and paragraph and line from these books?The answer could be, Yes! and it may sound incomprehensible, but really if you are methodical and analytical in your training, you do not have to cram up the books. It will become so natural for you to answer the examiners questions if you have paid attention to your instruction and then have always gone back to technique book and revise your lesson in view of the written technique.

It will be a while before you really will understand how to interpret all the information and soon you will say "my god, how could it all be written in such a perfect manner." You will soon become a believer in these miracles of dancing.

How were these books written? They were really not written like a thesis. The top level and educated dancers of England were asked to show properly executed figures and then committee after committee and endless discussions the fathers put it in words, tables and charts and amazingly nothing has changed in 60 to 70 years. They were so perfect.

3. Find another colleague and talk him or her into taking the examination and a joint study will be extremely rewarding. Play the role of being an examiner and examinee alternatively, you will have a lot of fun and learn a lot that way. Of course when you are the examiner, you will have the technique book in front of your eyes. You will perhaps spend several hours discussing and mastering the details of just one figure. The more you grind the more the shine.

If you check Dancing Tid-bit archives, you will find many articles on learning from books and related materials. So much for today. We will alternate each Tid-bit with some general subject so that I don't bore you to death if you are not planning to be a teacher. best wishes..Max