I came across this thread on Tribe this morning about when and how you should name teachers under whom you studied or with whom you worked.

I can’t attest to everyone, but I linked up everyone I took at least a season’s worth (3 months) of classes with on my links section because I liked these people and hope that maybe others will check them out. I don’t do it to brag or to look like a better dancer. I simply wish to pay respect to my teacher. I don’t wish to name drop.

The teachers who I claim are influential are ones I studied under for a longer time (about a year normally) and/or I feel I gained a lot out of it. Their styles meshed with me more or perhaps it is because I studied under them for a long time. I feel that those people have had a bigger influence on me and my style of dance.

I don’t consider videos/DVDs or workshops really studying under someone. The former can be useful for some people, but the instructor on the DVD has no say in whether you’re truly getting his/her style or can correct you… It would be like if I told people I studied at MIT, because I use their OpenCourseware (lecture notes and other goodies posted online). I think workshops are a big step above learning from a DVD and one can gain a lot, but I’m not convinced that it’s enough to say you truly studied under someone. You can get a lot of useful things out of it, but I can’t say that you get nuances and an entire effect in a day or a weekend.

For my own benefit and perhaps for use in the future, I have a dance resume with everything on it. I don’t think it’s professional to misrepresent yourself. It’s setup like a combination of an actor’s resume and my ‘normal’ resume. The normal aspect of it clearly states under whom I studied, what kind of study (class, private lesson, workshop), and for how long. I think it’s important, because there’s a huge difference among those three. To make an analogy using my normal resume, I once had an internship at a nuclear physics laboratory. I state that I had an internship, not that I worked there. To me, if I were to state that I worked there, it sounds like I had a 40 hr/week job for a while, not a summer internship with somewhat flexible hours.

I can’t comment on other people’s motivations, because I don’t know what they are. Perhaps they have no motivations regarding this matter and don’t think hard about the wording. Perhaps they realize they are intentionally misrepresenting things. I have no clue. At the end of the day, I do strongly believe that it is important to be as honest as possible when representing yourself. I worked as a contract employee for a book publishing company last year, and every place I went to expected my skills as is. The same with physics jobs. You don’t have write dryly, but certainly don’t exaggerate your skills. It may come back to haunt you.

As for dance, someone on Tribe put it best (paraphrasing): a good video of your dancing speaks more volumes about you than under whom you studied.

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