Teaching Beginners

I love working with new dancers and teaching beginner level classes, probably more than teaching any other level. I love introducing people to the amazing thing that is swing dancing, and showing them that swing dancing isn’t just for “good dancers,” but something they too can do, and do well. I deeply enjoy breaking things down in a way that makes swing dancing feel comfortable and approachable. I love teaching functional technique and giving my students the tools to help them continue learning and growing. It is so rewarding to work with students of any level and see that spark of understanding, that epiphany when a difficult concept suddenly clicks.
Teaching the next generation of dancers is one of the greatest honors I have as a teacher. It is a privilege to be someone’s first look at what swing dancing can be. It is a huge responsibility to teach the fundamentals that each new dancer will use and base most of their future learning upon.
My job as a teacher is not to keep myself at the top, as an eternal fountain of learning. My job is to build, to equip, to empower, to encourage, to coach. I know I am doing my job well when my students some day surpass me. I hope ALL of my students become better dancers than I am. This starts with my beginner students. I try to teach them everything I wish I had been told on day 1, and prepare them for life-long dancing.
I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to work with so many new dancers. I learn so much from them everyday. Every beginner class reminds me of the raw joy I had when I first learned to dance. It reminds me that what we do is magical. It gives me perspective, and keeps me humble.
I love dancing with all levels, but my heart will always be for the new dancers. I want to be the teacher who shows them how amazing this dance can be, who encourages them to keep coming back, to keep dancing in ANY style, and to keep learning. My youngest student is 14 and my oldest is 92. It is never too early and never too late to start something new.

— Lauren Smith (2017)

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