How do I know if an instructor is properly qualified?
Ask your instructor what his or her qualifications are.
A professional dance teacher will be proud to tell you their qualifications. He or she should be able to prove membership of a professional association and also be happy to show you teaching certificates on request.
Anything less than this will not demonstrate their claim to be a professional instructor, no matter what their experience. Just because someone has “competed as an amateur” does not qualify them to to teach.
Remember, there is a big difference between someone who makes unrealistic claims of you being able to learn 4 dances in 8 weeks, and someone who is professionally qualified and who will teach you at your own pace, having due regard for health and safety. Dancing is an activity which requires a certain degree of physical fitness, and there is a real danger in being taught by someone who is not professionally aware of correct techniques, whatever their claims.
For examples of professional associations see our links page.