Interview with Erin:
1) How did you become involved in ballroom dancing?
“My mother Rhona Pick opened a dance school in the Richmond district in 1962. She was a Standard & Latin Professional dance competitor. She became a United States Champion and represented the United States in Blackpool, England, one of the biggest dance festivals in the world. She retired from competitive dancing in the mid-70’s but continued to run the Pick School of Ballroom Dancing. She retired in 2006. At this time, the building in the Richmond district was sold and I moved the studio to the Sunset district.”
“I started ballroom dancing at 8 years old. My mother, along with her partner Roy Hinton and teachers in the school, Gene Jennings and Derek Lewis, gave me my basic foundation in dance and I went on to compete as an amateur, then as a professional and in Pro/Am competitions. I earned my teaching credentials with the Imperial Society of Teachers, through which I became a Licentiate in the International Standard and Latin dances. I also earned my teaching credentials with Terpsichore, a dance association through which I became an Associate in the American style Smooth and Rhythm dances.”
2) Which dances present the most challenges in teaching your students?
“Every student is different. Some students find the Latin/Rhythm dances more challenging and some find the Standard/Smooth dances more challenging. Teaching basic movements correctly is challenging in every dance. Steps are usually easy to pick up but correct technique takes practice and patience.”
3) What do you enjoy the most about being a ballroom instructor?
“I enjoy watching students who have never danced before develop into beautiful dancers. There are individuals who come to the studio thinking they will never be able to dance and several weeks later they are dancing. The benefits of ballroom dancing are not only physical but mental. Observing students working both their bodies and minds simultaneously is what I truly enjoy.”
4) What personal traits are necessary in order to be an effective ballroom instructor?
“One must first have patience. In addition, one must have the ability to present information in different ways, adapting to the needs of that particular student. A willingness to continue one’s education in Ballroom/Latin dance enables you as a teacher to give the students your best. Most importantly, love of the art of Ballroom/Latin dance will be revealed in your teaching and be passed on to your students.”