Have you ever asked yourself that question?
We all have. Unless we already are a dance teacher. If you're serious about getting better at dance and you want some techniques that you just can't find elsewhere so that you have a real edge, then take a look here.
Sometimes it's not the dance teacher that we care about, but the high level student that we wish to emulate. In fact, no matter who it is, we all have that feeling at some time.
Before I answer this question though, you need to appreciate something. Most dance instructors have been dancing for years and they dance around 8+ hours a day. That's a lot of practice.
In fact, if you want to become really excellent at something, then you're looking at around 10 years practice.
Note that this is for excellence, not a good solid ability that many of us would be happy with. However, it reminds me of a story I heard from a dance instructor about the number of people who drop out of dance after only a few weeks because they don't feel that they dance as well as the people they see on TV.
So you do need to practice, but you still want to make this practice as effective as possible to improve as quickly as possible.
So let's look at that now.
there is a book by a guy called Geoff Colvin called 'Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else'. You can see more about it on my resources webpage here. However, I will give you the basics here and apply it to dance.
First step is to ensure that your practice is focused on improving something. Simply dancing a lot is not enough, in fact, it might just reinforce your bad habits. So pick an aspect of your dance hip movement, posture or ankle locks etc. Focus on whatever it is that you want/need to work on.
We can't be as objective as we need to be and it is also hard to see what we look like. Mirrors often come to mind: that's why dance studios have them, right? However, as good as they are, mirrors don't give the best view and you need to compromise posture to use them.
The camera never lies; as they say. And I have found it to be excellent for objective feedback. What I thought must have looked awesome was slack and lazy. So get a video camera and record yourself doing whatever it is that you need to work on. Then watch it. Look for what's actually happening (try to work out what it is that you're making you body do and what it should be doing). Even better if you have a video of someone who does it the way you like. Pay attention to the differences. You will soon realize that they way things feel is not the way they look, especially if you're new to dance of this movement.
Make sure that you can do this again and again and again. You need to program your body. If you had troubles 99 times but it worked on the 100th, then you need to keep going. Otherwise, you've got most of your experience doing it wrong! You need to drill it the right way.
You need to really concentrate on what you're doing. That way, your conscious and unconscious will know that this is important to you and must be mastered. The time you spend on this is up to you, but you will fatigue after an hour so break then.
Don't expect too much pleasure
Dancing is fun, especially when you're good at it and happy with how you do it. However, this practice might not be. You're working on something that will give you the results that you like; not doing something that you like. Try think about how you're getting better. That's a good motivator.