We've yet to meet any Jazz teachers who don't have bags of energy.
If they use this energy to inspire you, great.
If the energy makes
them so dizzy and haphazard that they forget the order of their own
routines, not so great.
That said, there aren't many Jazz dance classes that are boring or frustrating.
Most are a lot of fun.
Jazz teachers are a great inspiration for their pupils. They are usually very capable, impressive dancers and a great example to follow.
So our best piece of advice for the complete beginner, is you should look for a teacher who isn't going to push you too far too fast.
Much as we always recommend a good Jazz class as being one of the most fun lessons in dance, there are Jazz teachers out there who are just not great at slowing things down for the complete beginner.
We've seen classes where the teacher seemed to be under the impression that he had to get his 'newbies' (they weren't complete beginners – thank goodness) up to audition level within an hour. Classes where there is tangible pressure on accuracy of the moves but not much actual instruction going on.
The best teachers of dance are caring of their pupils. Find one of these, like our lovely Lizzie, and you can't go wrong.
A great Jazz dance teacher should be able to break down each move and
describe it to you – particularly giving you detailed information on
where your weight should be.
The number of high kicks, fast spins and complex turning patterns that Jazz can contain need to be tempered for the beginner.
And if you don't get adequate instruction on how to balance and where your weight should be during each movement, you'll unintentionally spend most of the class face down on the floor.
So make sure the class isn't pitched too high.
Seek out someone who can put their own dancing on hold and concentrate on teaching you thoroughly and safely.
The dance teachers who seem to have the most success with their classes are the ones who go among their pupils rather than just instruct from the front of the class.
Jazz is no different.
If you are going to be corrected, isn't it more pleasant for this correction to be given directly and quietly to you, rather than yelled from the front of the class?
Jazz can have a high injury rate if not executed properly.
Lots of muscle strains result from not doing the moves correctly.
So you must look for a Jazz teacher who gives clear instruction and preferably someone who also points out what not to do, too.
One of the most important things to look for in good teaching ability, is someone who is able to unite the whole class – so no-one feels left out or held back.
It is possible to do this – to teach a class with several levels in it and for each one of the pupils to feel as though the class is being taught to their individual level. And the very best Jazz teachers do it with ease.
Speaking of pupils, next we have a guide to who else is likely to be in your jazz class with you...