I have heard this remark more times than I dare to count. I don't know who created it, but it's wrong. In order to be a competent instructor, one really has to have the experience of doing. Without study and experience, one is not qualified to teach. This is true for every field and every instructor.
My teaching journey began with my first Middle Eastern dance lesson. That was in the 1980's with local legend, Katina, through an adult education class. After high school, I made a pact with myself to learn at least two new skills a year. It's something that I continue to follow. Belly dance was a new skill. I loved it from the "get go." I took as many classes as I could with different teachers. My inspiration was Basha, another local legend who performed in Greektown, appeared on television and danced bellygrams. She was the first teacher who urged me to perform. I was shy, though, and it took years before I had the nerve to do so.
After, there was a dry spell of local teachers. I resorted to VHS tapes, and probably wore out Delilah of Seattle's instructional tapes. When local teachers and workshops began to sprout up, I became a live student again. Classes with one teacher culminated in the formation of a dance troupe. I finally danced in public with the troupe and as a soloist. My confidence grew.
Alas, the troupe experience ended on a bitter note, and I took time off from dance. Two years later, I started at the beginning, taking beginner classes. I advanced, and my instructor asked me why I wasn't teaching. At a local business seminar, I connected with a dance studio owner. When I told her about my dance experience, she asked me if I'd like to teach. I took her up on her offer.
Teaching at this dance studio led to many engagements. I found a niche that I loved. At one point, ten years ago, I was instructing nine classes a week at multiple venues, and directed a performing dance troupe. This led to my instructing and performing at the Chautauqua Institution and other places. I even danced with a local Celtic-World Music band, a highlight of my dance career. I have performed at many private events and have danced (and sang) bellygrams. During it all. I still studied at workshops, classes or through media.
Dance, for me, was never a full-time job, as I am a multi-published writer-author by day. However, it is like breathing. Dance is something I have to do, even if just for myself.
As I've grown older, I have limited my teaching to private students and select group classes. I also perform less, as professional performers are preferred to be younger.
"Those who pay their dues, teach." I teach because I love introducing women to the dance. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a new group of women, particularly a new generation, discovering the joy of belly dance. Their joy brings back the joy I felt when I first began.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This is my favorite aphorism. May you take that first dance step.
PS: The Boa Constrictor is a new friend. :-))