Spotting Fake Bachata Teachers and Ensuring Quality Instruction
In the world of dance, where disciplines are not standardized and there is no formal governing body, it is unfortunately common to come across individuals who falsely present themselves as dance instructors, particularly with the aid of modern technology and online platforms. This is especially prevalent in the bachata community, where the absence of governing bodies has given rise to numerous pseudo-teachers claiming to offer their own unique bachata styles and promising to transform students into social dance sensations.
To help students discern genuine instructors from fake ones, here are 15 important things to watch out for:
They came out of nowhere: If no one has ever seen or heard of the teachers before, it may be a sign of dubious credentials.
Mispronunciation of "bachata": Authentic bachata is pronounced as "ba-cha-ta," while pseudo teachers may mistakenly say "ba-cha-RA."
Incorrect information about merengue: Inaccurately claiming that merengue is from Mexico instead of the Dominican Republic, its true origin, can be a red flag.
Awkward execution of basic steps: Genuine bachata does not involve side-to-side basics, even if it does, they should be able to execute it properly. So if a supposed teacher performs them or displays strange movements, it could indicate a lack of training.
Inconsistencies with basic fundamentals: A teacher who claims to have danced bachata for many years but has poor mastery of basic hip movements, stationary steps, posture, and other fundamental techniques may lack expertise.
Misleading claims about style: Teachers who label their dance style as fusion, moderna, or freestyle but demonstrate dangerous or improper dip techniques may not possess the necessary skills to ensure both safety and proper execution.
Lack of knowledge of the "box step": A very basic step in bachata, the box step should be well-known to genuine teachers.
Inadequate technique: Teachers who display a lack of fluidity and dance as if stepping on hot coals may not possess the necessary mastery of bachata.
Confusion between so-called Modern and Sensual: Authentic Bachata movements are pretty much untraceable with the two styles mentioned. A fake teacher's inability to differentiate between these styles may indicate a lack of knowledge.
Limited understanding of bolero: Bachata has historical ties to the bolero genre. If a teacher is unfamiliar with bolero, it may suggest a lack of formal training.
Rejection of established styles: Instructors who dismiss established bachata styles, claiming to have their own unique style, often do so because they are unable to properly execute techniques associated with genuine bachata.
False claims of training with renowned teachers: When legendary teachers are asked about a supposed teacher's training, and they have never heard of them, it raises doubts about the teacher's authenticity.
Inability to explain and break down techniques: Genuine instructors are able to effectively explain and teach techniques, while fake teachers may struggle to do so.
Lack of knowledge of contratiempo and contrabody movements: Bachata incorporates contratiempo and contrabody movements, and a teacher not familiar with these key elements may lack genuine expertise.
Absence of videos showcasing skills: Genuine instructors often have videos demonstrating their expertise and teaching abilities. The lack of such videos from a supposed teacher may raise suspicions.
It is essential for students to be cautious and evaluate teachers based on their ability to demonstrate techniques, teach effectively, and engage in social dancing. Authentic instructors possess a deeper understanding of concepts such as "line," "tension," "connection," "frame," "partnering," and dance theory. As a student, it is your right to inquire about a teacher's background and qualifications, ensuring that you receive quality instruction and avoiding potential scams.
Remember, while it's important to be vigilant about spotting fake teachers, dance is also an art form that allows for subjective interpretation and different styles. Conduct your own research, ask questions, and observe a teacher's abilities before committing to their instruction, ensuring you receive genuine and valuable education in the world of bachata.