jeannie Tucker Online

Philosophy of Instruction

Jeannie's philosophy of dance instruction is to guide and empower those who want to enjoy the thrill of dance.She first develops an appreciation for each student's dance vision & goals. After analyzing their natural & existing dance skills and finally matching their vision and skills to a mix of body mechanics exercises, learning techniques and level development/advancement strategies, their joint venture to achieve those goals begins. Believing that most humans enjoy dance, she feels some are content to watch it like paintings in a gallery while others are driven to dance professionally. All other dancers fall somewhere in between. Each has their goal and vision of themselves achieving that goal. Jeannie teaches dance to help students realize their visions and goals as dancers. Her student's accomplishments in self worth, confidence and dance validate her teaching efforts and add profound richness to her life. Dance students, like all of us, share differing goals: social contact, physical exercise, skill challenge and finally the challenge of competition. Whatever their goals, this quest for interpretation of music through the body's movements is often an ever increasing passion.

Instructional Strategy

Teaching is not a trade in which the service rendered all students is the same. Dance students vary in inherent skills, body structure and methods of learning. Teaching dance is as much an art form as the dance itself. Most students aspire to competent social dancing. So, Jeannie's initial goal is to make their learning experience both fun and challenging. This is not an easy task because having sufficient self-worth and confidence on a public dance floor is often a central issue. She must be conscious that some students are very insecure in the dance arena even though they are confident in others. Even advanced dancers can be somewhat insecure as they seek frank assessment and hard working instruction. Jeannie is challenged as a teacher because she must detect each student's learning style and problem areas, modifying individual solutions to fit that specific students needs.

Student Goals

Underlying most student dance goals is the issue of self worth and confidence. Most students want the self worth that springs from being an evolving competent dancer with sufficient confidence to take the dance floor. Jeannie has had lawyers and teachers who were confident in their professions, but who admitted that they lacked the dancer's self-esteem and self-assurance to take the dance floor until they had had sufficient training. This is a most important issue. Empowering people to feel good about themselves and their abilities strikes the core of Jeannie's personal satisfaction as an instructor. Developing the balanced and fluid body movements of dance can dramatically improve self worth and confidence and by doing so, change our lives. In sum, most students have a vision of how they would like to look and feel as a dancer. Most are prepared to study and practice toward that goal. Feeling like a dancer is very much a product of correct basic dance technique and the correct body mechanics.

Dance Skills Assessment

Immediately, Jeannie begins to assess a student's natural physical abilities and basic dance skills; posture, how they move and their execution of the specific elements of the moves that are basic to that dance. Often a student's formation of goals requires Jeannie's input. The dance beginner must develop a dedication to the basics of posture, movement and technically correct basic moves. The lust for fancy moves before the basics have been learned is perhaps the most destructive direction the beginning dancer can take. In contrast, the advanced dancer requires the sophisticated detection of subtle problems, or a totally different perspective to help them carve out a more interesting style & competitive routine. Nevertheless, advanced dancer's are often plagued by subtle defects in their basic technique that thwart their quest to "dance-to-the-music" including breaks, syncopations and complex moves and routines.

Physical Structure

At the same time she is assessing the student's dance skills, Jeannie is considering the student's physical structure. Dancers physical structures differ: small, large, tall, short, slim, muscular, etc. Each body must manage weight differently while moving. Differing physical structures doubles Jeannie's challenge as a teacher because before the student can become dance proficient, she must diagnose specific physical structure issues in their technique and style and create individually tailored solutions for that student.

Jeannie's Instructional Strategy

Finally, with a reasonably clear knowledge of a student's goals, basic dance skills and physical structure, Jeannie begins a strategy of instruction. Over years as a dance student, teacher, performer and competitor, combined with foreign travel and physical recovery from accidents, she has compiled a deep knowledge of different dances, dance moves and the body's mechanics while moving in these dances.

Body Mechanics

Body mechanics deals with the mechanical operation of the human body while in motion. The body mechanics theories Jeannie teaches you for dance apply universally to different dances - swing, waltz, two step, Hustle, cha cha, etc. - AND to ALL physical activities including your everyday pursuits. Also, different body structures and specific physical problems caused by accidents, etc. require different corrective strategies. It can be exciting and empowering to gain correct control of your body, which in turn translates into greater self worth, public confidence as well as the "more ideal dancer's look.


Workshops are concentrated dance instruction focused on either elements/moves of different kinds of dance (Swing, Waltz, Progressive Two Step, etc.) or specific elements within just one style of dance (West Coast Swing's  'connection'). Such workshops can range from 3 hours to several intensive days. For example, by devoting workshops to "The Conversation of Swing", Jeannie tries to help people have a better understanding of what "connection" means, with an emphasis on how to "talk" and "listen" through the body. Dance is a non-verbal conversation, with effective rules of interpersonal communication applying there as well. While private lessons can be tailored to the specific, diverse needs of individual dancers, workshops offer a group of diverse dancers a concentrated, intense insight and focus on a specific basic technique or dance move/routine with the very useful opportunity to share questions and immediately practice these techniques with others.

Why does Jeannie dance?

At its simplest level, Jeannie's Philosophy of Dance is that she loves music and the feel of her body moving and interpreting the music. But it seems much more than that to her. It isn't that Jeannie just likes to listen to the music, or that she wants to sing or play musical instruments. It goes much deeper. Music seems to set the fibers of her body and her mind in motion. Jeannie hears music and she immediately wants to move. She gets this wonderful feeling from the music & dance of all cultures. A feeling that has propelled her into studying and learning about all the dances she has come in contact with in the United States and the rest of the world. This mix of different body movements and dance styles creates almost limitless possibilities in interpreting different kinds of music, ie; Rhythm & Blues, Country, Latin, etc. While dance is Jeannie's life's focus, it also gives her many specific benefits. To the outside world, dance is Jeannie's identity; a vehicle for her creative urges, her social outlet. Her self worth and confidence are reflected and reinforced through her dance. Dance is the showcase and inspiration for her creative choreography, body movements, costume and accessory design and fabrication.   So pleasurable is the communication of partner dance that even after 10-12 hours of event instruction/competition and performance, Jeannie often continues social dancing until 4:30 am. Yet deep inside her, dance offers more subtle benefits. Dance is a calming refuge from life's ever building pressures; a distraction from the pain of over worked muscles and past physical trauma. Jeannie is so focused and mesmerized when she dances that everything else is forgotten. Ironically, after several intense days at a national event, her daily coaching schedule seems to rejuvenate her. This love of dance has led Jeannie naturally into dance instruction, performance and competition.

Philosophy of Performance

A performance is the dancer's canvas. Performance is a unique moment that reflects the maximum use of Jeannie's technical dance skills and dance creativity and that forces her to push those to even higher levels. Jeannie's dance performance within the partnership is a "gift" to the audience.   It is a unique, uplifting moment of music interpreted through her dance; a gift that pulls the audience into the partner's performance to share in her dance pleasure and personal challenge to excel. A gift whose value is validated by audience applause. Truly, an indescribable high.

Philosophy of Competition

Jeannie does not see competition as an "I win; you lose", kill or be killed forum. Rather, she sees dance competition as a personal challenge and a professional process. Competition is the challenging search for excellence under the extreme pressure of an often-unrehearsed performance before the dance community at large and the scrutiny of the dance judges.   But, it is not just a search for excellence; it is more the search for one brilliant moment of creative excellence; of dance perfection. Competition is also the ultimate test of all dancers who aspire to their personal best. It is part of a process that judges the collective quality of the myriad physical and mental skills dance contestants have attempted to perfect through private dance lessons, frustrating practice time and endless floor time. It is part of a process that demands that a dancer reach deeper and deeper into their reserves of energy, skill and imagination. Competition, then, is the keystone of a process that continually pushes the envelope of excellence and creativity higher and higher among dancers at all levels. Yet, while judges struggle to compare dancers, Jeannie already knows the flaws in her performance.   She simply waits for the performance video to determine how critical those flaws were and suspects that most entertainers are seldom content with their performances. Ironically, it is this discontent which drives her on.

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