Both Alison and I have had the great privilege of teaching private lessons and group classes in dance studios both in Canberra and internationally. I have seen a very broad spectrum in teaching from being a student of dance to observing teachers as well as seeing what students demonstrate as a result of what they have learned over the years. The result of this is that it’s really important to strike a balance between knowing when to teach dance technique and how much depth you actually go into as well as ensuring you have a fun time dancing.

The Worst Thing In Dance Teaching

Is getting no grounding in technique at all. For example without basic foot work understanding you cannot dance Ballroom correctly and your partner will not be a happy camper. But there is no need to go on about amounts of turn, alignment, centrifugal forces etc. You need to know enough to be able to dance better every time, but importantly have a really fun time doing it and showing it by how you dance. In fact if you can dance a little better every time you walk out of a lesson, you’re on the correct track and life is good!

Striking The Balance

As you are unique there is no set way to teach every person, I call it “diagnostic” teaching. It depends on your learning ability and development but in a fun social environment the main goal is to get moving to music straight away with knowing a little bit of proper technique to look great. I can recall a student in a studio who actually ran their own dance studio but had little to no knowledge of basic technique (closing their feet was a big challenge, seriously).  This was not ok by me. If you’re paying good money to learn to dance you must be taught by people who have been engaged in the dance world at either a competitive level or accreditation level to warrant your business. Not only that, but you shouldn’t be scared by a studio that has a good reputation, competition couples or even accredited teachers because I am sure you wouldn’t go to an unqualified hair dresser, imagine that…or a unqualified car mechanic, so don’t do it with dance.

We’re Not A Competitive Studio

Despite what many people think, The International Dance Studio (Formerly Penny De Kauwe School of Dance) is not a competitive studio. Sure we have a few competitive couples, as any good studio should, but the majority of our students are social dancers and that is our main focus. But our first priority for you is to ensure we have sufficient training from Accreditation, Studio Teacher Workshops, DanceSport Competing to Medal Tests. The reason is simple…when you come through the doors you are handled by a quality teacher with the correct grounding in technique basics from absolute beginner and upward. Don’t ever pay money for low quality teaching.


…stay tuned, one last e-mail tomorrow!

-Alison Liddicoat
The International Dance Studio