I hadn't thought of it that way. It was that dwelling period that we have over coffees just after lunch - one of the little luxuries we to afford ourselves as we catch up. The inimitable man from Biarritz had just asked me how much teaching I was to do in Reading next weekend. Christophe knew my nose had been kept firmly to the keyboard; organising material for the workshops, and having to put plenty of salsa-related items, like the updating of this blog, on hold.
It happened a while ago when Sharon, who runs the successful Red Hat Salsa in the Reading/Bracknell area, contacted me by email after happening across the salsa-merengue.co.uk website in a bid for more words on salsa's history. We kept the jungle drums beating while I was in the Far East, and together finally arrived at a date, times, and topics for things she wanted me to cover for Red Hat.
Although I'd already sent outlines to her whilst in Penang, I decided to make a rod for my own back and go further by preparing indicative schedules, just as I'd done for Tony Piper at 12th Night.
I regard this as simply 'best practice'.
- A well prepared schedule questions the best order of priority for the learning points, identifies aspects that might otherwise be overlooked, and forces the design of flexibility into its structure.
- A primary factor affecting the performance of a guest instructor is an understanding of local learning culture. Treated as product specification document, the process has given us both (with me being the provider and Red Hat Salsa the client) a chance to prepare something suited to the purpose.
- It informs parties of what to expect, that way only those genuinely interested in the topics will attend. Sometimes this can be a source of tension for promoters who want as strong an attendance as possible, but thankfully most acknowledge that a successful workshop is of better long-term value than a well-attended disappointing one.
- Detailed documents are a source of strong marketing support to the promoter, and having been on the receiving end more than just a couple of times, I make sure I do my utmost to help.
- A schedule also provides an educator (i.e. me) with a performance benchmark against which feedback can be used to identify areas of success and improvement.
A question which posed some internal conflict was, 'should I restrict circulation of the documents or not?'. All know-how is hard-worn, and certainly in the case of Verdant, the more important the information, the more qualification is required of the potential recipient.
But salsa is different.
For better or worse, I don't instruct in the same arena as most social salsa teachers so there is no need to indulge in competitive defensive practices. But there is something more fundamental at heart - when I first started teaching, I made a personal promise not to hold back; this was after experiences, with myself as student, of teachers who did. When I emailed the files to Sharon, I made no mention of any restrictions in distribution - they've since passed through her mailing lists.
So here it is, the workshops for Red Hat Salsa next weekend:
- Saturday Morning: A Year In A Day, Part 1 - The Efficient Mover
- Saturday Afternoon: A Year In A Day, Part 2 - Power and Culture
- Sunday Noon: Hear It, Imagine It, Dance It - The Route to Improvisatory Dancing
- Sunday Afternoon: Dancing Beyond The Count
Loo Yen Yeo