I remember a conversation I once had with another student who questioned why anyone would spend a large amount of money on one workshop, that could just as easily be used for multiple classes with their normal instructors. In the name of fiscal responsibility, college, student loans, bills, the pandemic, and already high and ever increasing rent prices – I GET IT. I absolutely understand this mindset and if I weren’t who I am, I’d probably have the same argument – but, I don’t, and I will explain why. As students (and especially instructors) in the pole and dance world, we should be utilizing every ounce of knowledge and seizing every learning opportunity we can with master instructors.
Now, you might be thinking, but is it REALLY that important? Yes, extremely. I cannot stress enough how much having exposure to so many different instructors and teaching styles have shaped me as a dancer and helped me to find my own style within this practice. When you take class with a master instructor in a workshop setting – you are being let in on years of experience and knowledge you wouldn’t otherwise get to experience. The workshop setting makes a difference too, because the people who register for the workshop are willing to invest more to experience what is being taught, versus in a regular class, it’s just part of their membership or package so the student may not take it as seriously. The master instructor might be able to help you perfect moves you’ve been doing for years and elevate them in a way you didn’t think was possible. Still haven’t nailed that nemesis move? The instructor may have a way to teach it that makes more sense to you or maybe one more sentence is said in the instruction that helps to bridge the disconnect between the teaching and the execution of the move. In any case, it is more beneficial than you could ever imagine to learn from as many people as you possibly can.
On the other side of this, it can also help you realize the teaching styles that don’t work as well for your learning process, but even in that scenario, you are still learning! The best way I can express this is to remind you that those master instructors are master/Pro because of the assorted and cumulative teachings of others. Even if you watch a master instructor’s progress over the years, you’ll notice little stylistic hints of who they’ve studied with, and you can bet they still take class and workshops whenever possible. Even your instructors and studio owners take workshops. Now, I understand it’s not possible all the time monetarily for everyone to do workshops every time they come around – but those instructors you follow and fawn over on instagram? The ones you wish you could flow like? Maybe check out when and where they’re teaching. Save up a little money and take a workshop with them. I promise it will change your style and outlook on your dancing in some way for the better. And who doesn’t want to be better? You can even do this with an instructor you already take classes with. When an instructor is teaching a workshop, it is a totally different vibe and they are focusing on items that are not usually taught in a regular class because the workshop is more specific in description. I implore you to give it a shot! You will learn more and be happy you did it!