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Plaza Column - View article
Written by : Max M Ali MD
Date : 03-05-2004
Title : So, you want to be a Teacher, Part III-Are You Ready?
Article: Dancing Tid-bits Issue #172, Thursday, March 4, 2004.

Today's Topic: So, you want to be a Teacher, Part III-Are You Ready?

Let's assume you have been studying hard and have done all you can to get ready for the examination to become a certified teacher. Several years ago, I took ISTD Associate Certification Examination and wanted to share some experiences so that someone interested could benefit.

1. Ballroom or Latin or both? Each examination will take about 4 hours, so you better make up your mind if you are ready for one or both.

2. Have you done your Routines and Figures with your partner?No ifs or buts, you must be very comfortable in dancing Bronze Routine (if you are taking Associate) from beginning to the end. Hopefully this routine of yours will comprise of 70 to 80% of bronze figures with proper Precedes and Follows. Of course you may be asked about any figure in that category separately.

3. The choreography should be simple with proper attention to Feet Positions, Alignments, Amount of Turn and Rise and Fall etc etc. The examiner should be able to discern the figures that you are dancing and believe me he has patience. If you can explain and correct some mistakes, that is OK.

4. Syllabus: The Ballroom Syllabus is quite clear in Associate (Bronze), Licentiate (Silver) and Fellow (Gold) Levels and well described in Ballroom Technique by ISTD. However there has been some confusion in the past in Latin Syllabus. I recall that in Paso Doble, I had to show steps like La-Passe and Grand Circle etc. but at that time they were going to revise the figures included at Associate Level. The best thing I can suggest is for you to write to the Society and get that information first hand.

5. It may be a good idea that several months in advance you call your prospective examiner and tell him about your intentions and let him guide you through your preparation period. I had Mr. Peter Billet and he was very gracious in giving a lot of advice before I showed up for the Examination.

6. Dress Code: Dress decent like a professional. We showed up in black pants, white shirts and tie but in a pullover (sweater). That was NO, No. You should wear a jacket, but this was very subtly pointed out and we did not loose any points. Ladies just have to dress comfortably in skirts and trousers. Both must have proper shoes.

7. Examinations Fees: You have to frankly get this information in advance. Roughly it could be 70 to 100 dollars per hour but don't quote me. So each examination could be 400 dollars or so (in USA).

8. If you reside in USA and want to take the examination in England, you must first qualify with USISTD and only then you could undertake the English Examination.

9. Finally fill out the application and set a date with the examiner and you are all set.

So, good luck. Soon I will describe my examination and how it went.

Best Wishes....Max