For many people, winning trophies and prizes are forms of achievement, a benchmark in your progress. Getting ranked has become a form of obsession in today’s society, as if it is a requirement to reach the next level. Or a message that says, “Look at what I can do!”
I have come across many people who have asked the following when questioning about a teacher’s abilities (for the sake of consistency, I will use “he” as a generic term):
“How many competitions has he competed in?”
“How many prizes has he won?”
“Why is he teaching? He calls himself a professional just because he has learned a few steps?”
Do you see a trend here? None of the questions are focused on the teacher’s ability to teach, but only on how many competitions the teacher has entered and how many prizes they have won.
Now, picture the situation here: imagine you walk into a teacher’s studio and see several trophies on the shelf that give a ranked number within the top 3. You’re impressed, right?
But what if I were to tell you that every time this teacher entered a competition, he was only competing against 2 other couples in the middle of nowhere? And did I mention that it was organized by his own teacher?
How would you feel if you heard this?
Sadly, this is the story in many cases.
Of course, I do not deny that there are some genuinely gifted people who have obtained many impressive accomplishments. That, in itself, is fantastic. But it is the fact that most of the market sees this as an absolute factor, which in turn convolutes the actual abilities of a dancer, particularly for those who are doing it as a profession.
Therefore, to determine whether a teacher can teach or not should not be based on just the competitions they have entered or how many prizes they have earned. Anybody can just as easily go to a trophy maker store and have them custom made for a small price.
Prizes and trophies are nice, but do not use them as pinnacles to decide on which teachers to learn from. Instead, focus on obtaining feedback from students who have been taught by this teacher and to at least have a trial lesson. The way the students think of him and experiencing his teaching methods are the best information you can get when picking your teachers.
Over to you: what are you thoughts about winning trophies? Do you think we place too much emphasis on meaningless achievements? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
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