I recently attended a non-dance class where the teacher was obviously avoiding direct questions to keep from giving away “trade secrets.” Now I ask you, why would you teach a belly dance class when you have no intention of sharing what the students need to be the best that they can be? I just don’t get it and don’t recommend it.
I guess people do this because they are afraid that someone will be better than they are, they will share their way out of a job, nobody would need them anymore or that their students will become their competitors. Nonsense!
First of all, if there is one thing I have learned from teaching belly dance all these years is that there is little risk that students are going to “steal” your work, repackage it and become a bigger star than you are. Most students are just interested in having a little fun and dancing once a week. They don’t want to become teachers, professionals or stars. So rest easy on that score.
Second, your students will love and appreciate you MORE when you give with an open heart. They will respect you less when they figure out that you have skills that you don’t want to share.
Third, isn’t your job as a teacher to teach belly dance? To make it a fair exchange of money and instruction, your instruction should have value. Your students should walk out of class every session with something new.
Finally, you aren’t creating your competition. You are creating your community. When your students are dedicated and enthusiastic enough to work hard enough to become professionals, THIS IS A GOOD THING! This gives you people who shares your love of dance and has similar ethics. The two (or more) of you can support each other and keep a good thing going. You need energy to grow. When you don’t have to do it all yourself, it’s easier and more enjoyable for you and the people you partner with.
So my advice is, “Hey teachers, don’t be stingy.” If you catch yourself holding back, ask yourself why. If this is an issue with your own insecurity, address it. We’re always learning and growing. There is no shame in seeing your flaws, but it could be damaging if you ignore them. If you are studying with someone who holds back, ask.