I've been having the same problem. One thing that I have found helpful is to make sure there is a full weight change on the syncopated steps. Say you do a chasse, 1 2n 3, make sure the 2 is a full weight change.
One of my instructors pointed out that only one step in a syncopation has to be danced faster than the others. In other words, if the count is 1-2-&-3, only the & "happens" faster than normal. I'm sure some people with more technical expertise than me will disagree. And it seems that the 3 has to be danced as soon after the & as the & is danced after the 2. But you get a full beat to "finish" the 3. In any case, my instructor had to work to get me to slow down in dancing, for example, a Chassé from PP. I tended to rush the 2-& steps. "You have more time than you think" is something I heard many times.
One of my instructors pointed out that only one step in a syncopation has to be danced faster than the others. In other words, if the count is 1-2-&-3, only the & "happens" faster than normal.
Actually, it has to be two steps that are faster than the others (or multiples of two, for multiple syncopations). For example if you have 4 steps taken in 3 beats, two of them would be full beats and two of them would be half beats, since 1 + 1 + 1/2 + 1/2 = 3.
In a typical "12&3" syncopation, the beat value of each step respectively is whole, half, half, whole. So the second AND third steps are twice as fast as the first and fourth.
Nonetheless, your teacher is probably right when he or she tells you that you have more time than you think. Chances are good that you're moving too fast, getting slightly ahead of the music, and not taking full advantage of the time you do have.
That's probably only part of the picture, however. One can actually place their footfalls exactly on time and still give observers the impression of rushing, based on the quality of the movement. Qualities that tend to convey anxiousness and rushing are unnecessary tightness of muscles, loose or sloppy leg and foot action, body moving too far ahead of the feet, and dancing too high with the center of gravity.
I recommend shifting your priorities from timing first to quality of movement first. That's not to say that any aspect of your dancing is NOT important, but that you should simply rearrange the order of importance so that, at least temporarily, quality becomes your #1 priority, and timing comes after that. One way to do that is to turn the music off and treat every step of the syncopation as though you have all the time in the world. Recognize the qualities that make the movement better when danced this way (or better yet, have a teacher help you do this), and then reintroduce the music at a much slower tempo. Do your best to maintain the same quality of action, and if you fall below a certain threshold (say, 80%), either slow down or turn off the music and build more slowly.
Eventually, you should be able to achieve a nice quality of action at full speed, at which point people will stop saying that you're "rushing". Realize that it's physically impossible to dance exactly the same at any two significantly different speeds, so don't make that your goal. The idea is simply to improve your dancing at full speed by injecting as much quality as is physically possible, which is less than you'll have without music, but probably much more than you have now.
Regards, Jonathan Atkinson www.ballroomdancers.com
Several years ago you had a German Dance Teacher who wrote that when teaching the Quickstep he never used the word Quick. Using the word quick sends a message to the brain to snatch that step. He wrote that a Quarter Turn should be given the words S. SS. S and the Progressive Chasse S. SS. S and the Lock Step S. SS. S Which I have used ever since with great success.
I have found another solution to my problem, my Wife. We have to remember that we have to allow each other time to pass, when we do this we will not both be moving fast at the same time,hence we will be sharing the work load and then the sincopations will not feel rushed.
I believe the main problem with syncopated steps is the method of teaching. I would when teaching a class , lets say the Cha Cha. I would dance with every person there both man and lady on the basic steps to give them the correct feel for the 4 and 1. To show and leave two beginners to hack there way through is not in the interests of good dancing.