By Krystal Bryce
Once upon a time, I thought I knew all the music that had ever graced our ears. I truly believed (with every musical note in my body) I was the only one that could decipher which song would make it to the top in every single genre. Once upon a time, I learned I was sadly and irrevocably mistaken.
My abilities to know exactly what people needed and liked to hear were not as superb nor as extraordinary as I had once concluded. It was shocking to my music-loving soul that me, myself, and I were not, in fact, the “All Knowing” nor the “Grand Poobah” of the music world. Furthermore, not only was I totally and completely unaware of the vast magnitude of vocal and instrumental sound that existed in the world, but I was also unaware of what it would take for me to make a playlist that would please a classroom of 25 dance-hungry students. Little did I know.
My first teaching position was with S Factor Houston. I had just been put through the literal teacher-training ringer. We trained six days a week for eight grueling weeks. There were a total of six of us. We worked diligently to become the best possible S Factor teachers we could be. At the time, there was nothing else in the area to compete with. There was a lot of pressure to succeed, as pole dancing was a new experience for women and men to dabble in. The management and teacher mentors decided it would be best to start out by having us teach parties. In one of my earliest parties, I remember playing music that I thought was FABULOUS!! Like drop your panties FABULOUS!! However, a party it was not. It lacked luster. People were frowning! I was mortified! I seemed to be the only one enjoying the tunes of Massive Attack, Morcheeba, and Portishead.
Now let me assure you, I had been told – more than once in fact – that the people coming in to dance at a party were not looking for music that wasn’t being played on the radio. They wanted familiar tunes. Music they could identify with. Music like “Pony” by Ginuwine or “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails. Now that was the stuff. It only took me one time to discover I had to definitely make it about my students. I’ve met people and talked to students who have left teachers because they didn’t like their music. We all know you can’t please everyone. Conversely, however, you most definitely can pay attention to what your students respond best to. This then helps you attain stunning playlist skills that keep them coming back.
I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned over the past 11 years of teaching sensual dance with you beautiful sensual people. Firstly it’s not as serious as some of us make it out to be. I can tell you that I am constantly making playlists. My journey for the perfect sensual, naughty, flirty, dangerous, scary, mysterious, grown and sexy, silly, down to earth, relaxing, awe-inspiring, chill-provoking songs never actually ceases. I start working on my playlists sometimes two to three weeks in advance. Right now you’re probably wondering if I take my own advice. I used to stay up at night worrying over the playlists I was making for classes that weren’t even on schedule yet! I don’t do that anymore. I promise. Even though it’s not that serious, it is part of who you are as a dancer and a teacher. It’s a part of your teaching signature. Your signature is what makes you unique. It’s what brings your students back again and again. Music can be a huge tool when making connections with others. How do you get a nice balance of your personal song choices as well as what others enjoy? Be on the lookout for the next Liquid Motion Teacher Blog to find out how I build my playlists every week.