I know that there are many things that irritate us, both on and off the dance floor. But the dance floor behavior that I find most obnoxious, either during a social dance or in a group class, is being coached by the person dancing with me. You know the situation….when a partner you are dancing with, who very likely doesn’t know how to dance their own part, let alone yours, tries to tell you how to dance. Really?!? If they really knew what they were talking about don’t you think they would be teaching professionally at a studio instead of forcing their opinion on their innocent partner for free? (It’s worth noting that professionals almost never teach on the social floor...it would be like a dentist demanding to clean their dinner partner’s teeth at the restaurant table! Ick!) And telling other students what to do in a group class is even worse…it is disrespectful to the instructor that is supposed to be teaching the class and is rude and distracting to the other students. The unsolicited coaching can be insulting, demeaning and detrimental to the self confidence of the recipient.
The bottom line…if you aspire to be a dance coach, learn to teach, set up some classes, invite students to attend and teach what you know in a studio…not on the social dance floor. If you are the victim of unwanted coaching on the dance floor…there are a number of ways to suggest that your coach-y partner…well…shut and dance. I was talking to a dancer the other day that uses the following when HE receives unwanted coaching on the social floor (yes…women are as bad with this obnoxious behavior as men are!)…. “I’m really sorry…I don’t learn very well on the fly, do you mind if we just dance”? I think that is a really kind way to take care of the problem. After all…I really don’t think that any of us do be expected to learn on the fly.