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Why I replaced Masters Jack n Jill with Pro/Am at SFIBF

The original plan was to host a masters jack and jill dance event, where professional dancers would have fun with each other, showcasing goofy and crazy moves. However, upon reflection, I made a last-minute decision to switch to a pro/am jack and jill contest. Let me share with you the reasons behind this choice.

Firstly, I wanted to put myself in the shoes of beginner students who are just starting their journey in the dancing world. These students seek inspiration, which is what keeps them coming back for more. Rather than focusing on comedy, I wanted to witness and display the skills of dancers. Personally, I found inspiration in watching professionals perform, as it motivated me to keep taking dance classes and strive to be as confident as them on the dance floor.

Another factor that influenced my decision was the prevalence of self-proclaimed dance "experts" on platforms like TikTok and social media. We see numerous individuals who have never had proper training or mentorship in their lives, yet proclaim themselves as professionals or teachers. Proper dance training entails dedicating oneself to learning from a qualified trainer who guides your transformation and growth as a dancer. These trainers correct mistakes, teach proper techniques and movements, and help you achieve your dance goals. While there may be a few gifted individuals who can self-teach successfully, they are the exception. The majority of us need to respect the process, work hard, and embrace the journey of dance growth.

I once encountered a self-proclaimed dance teacher who opened a dance studio and offered free lessons to beginners. Naturally, the beginners attended these classes and built their foundational skills with this self-taught teacher's guidance. However, years later, these students discovered that their teacher had been teaching incorrect techniques, improper structure, and improper timing in dancing to the music. Just as children realize the flaws in their upbringing when they become adults, dance students also reach a point where they question their self-proclaimed teacher's dance background. The truth always comes out eventually. In the dance world, proper execution of techniques and movements reveals itself over time.

As dance students, it is important to understand that while having fun is an integral part of dancing, it is not the sole key to success. Learning and training with proper techniques and movements are critical for building confidence and ensuring safety on the dance floor. Ultimately, the goal is to have fun with dance, but that stems from a foundation of strong training and understanding.

My decision to host the pro/am jack and jill contest was aimed at highlighting the differences in skills and levels among dancers to students of all levels. It was noteworthy that the amateurs who participated, especially the top 8, were so talented that they could easily be mistaken for professionals. However, what made their performance honorable was that they never considered themselves professionals. This act of humility and self-awareness does not go unnoticed by those in the dance industry.

To the self-proclaimed pros, I urge you to seek guidance and most importantly, go through the proper process of learning and training. It will not only benefit you but also the students you will teach in the future.

By showcasing the difference between professional and amateur dancers, we can emphasize the importance of proper training, growth, and seeking guidance in the dance journey. The result that night was awesome and fun.

Congratulations to Sid (Amateur) and Tayler (Pro) for winning 1st Place at SFIBF 2023

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