The Night Club Dance Instructor
H. Leon Raper

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the duties of a dance instructor in a Night Club. The conflict arises as to "should I try to have the largest class I can" or "should I devote the class to putting new people on the dance floor?" If you teach intermediate to advanced material you may get several people to keep coming back - you can see and count them every class - and it makes the instructor feel they are doing the right thing. If you are teaching basics you may see less people in the class and after a few lessons you may not see many of them in the class again - giving you the false impression that teaching basics is not the way to go. Odds are that many of those who quit are probably dancing and enjoying the little they learned or will be back at some later date to attend another class.

Some instructors feel that they will not get to show their abilities as a dance instructor if they only teach basics. That is not true. Many dance instructors can teach advanced patterns without really understanding the science of dance, but they find themselves at a loss to help students who have real difficulty with those patterns. It takes an instructor that understands not only the art of dance, but the science of dance and the mechanics of movement to teach proper basics. That is, proper basics that will apply to any social dance the student will encounter in the future.

Night clubs make their money charging admission and/or selling drinks. Therefore, the instructors job is to try to increase the establishment's ability to attract new customers - not just maintain the status quo. My opinion is that the job of a dance instructor in a Night Club is to put new people on the floor - that means teaching basics. You may end up with fewer people in the class, but you end up with more dancers on the floor in the long run.

(Published in Country Calendar, October 1996)