Reviewed by Kevin Fee
Teach Like a Pro: The Ultimate Guide for Ballroom Dance Instructors is the roadmap for every ballroom dance teacher, from the aspiring new teacher to the seasoned pro.
Teach Like a Pro is the only book I have ever found that provides a comprehensive, detailed look at the “art” of teaching ballroom from a teacher’s perspective. In my view, the challenge for ballroom dance teachers is to transform an inherently subjective art into a more objective and practical science. Teach Like a Pro does this by addressing every aspect of teaching and providing the proven methods for teaching ballroom dancing at the highest level possible. As an experienced ballroom dance teacher, Teach Like a Pro gave validation to some of the methods I had developed over the years, mostly through trial and error. But much more importantly, the book taught me many new methods that I have successfully used with my students to bring their dancing to a higher level. The response from my students has been nothing short of phenomenal. And in the process, my own dance instruction has risen to a higher level as well. Teach Like a Pro is now the cornerstone for my studio instruction (oh, how I wish this book had available when I first opened my studio!).
In additions to all the amazing instructional aspects, Teach Like a Pro contains many other valuable resources for teaching. Here are a few that I found particularly helpful:
- Arm Styling—This section is an excellent read and includes a synopsis of the various arm positions in ballet. Over the years, I have received several lessons in arm styling, but each lesson referenced a different source—Russian, French, Cecchetti—which left me confused. So Teach Like a Pro’s logical presentation of arm styling, complete with pictures, was incredibly welcome.
- Competitions—I was inspired by the section on taking students to competitions. While I have attended many competitions over the years as a spectator, I did not fully understand the labyrinth of categories and protocols that comprise that world. After reading Teach Like a Pro’s thorough summary, competitions seemed so much more approachable. I am now planning to join the competitive world in the very near future!
- Technical Dance Elements—Even if you are experienced at reading dance manuals, the depth and details in Teach Like a Pro will give you a totally new understanding of each dance element. I have found that this knowledge translates to everything from improved teaching to faster professional certification.
In summary, this book has transformed my lesson approach, delighted my students, and made me rethink my business. If you are interested in being successful as a ballroom dance teacher or studio owner, this is a must-have book!
Kevin Fee is a professionally certified ballroom dance instructor and the studio owner of Dance Harmony in Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania. He has been an avid social dancer for decades, a dance teacher since 1994, and a studio owner since 2005.