Ballroom Dancing: An Absolute Beginner’s FAQ (Part Two)
It continues! (For part one, click here.)
What is the cost?
As a first option, you can just go to a club or dance hall that offers a lesson. The teacher may not be the most experienced in the world, but the price is rarely more then $15, and includes a night of dancing. Second, you take a group class at a dance studio, where teachers usually have more experience. Finally, you can take private lessons, definitely the fastest way to learn. They range from $50 to over $200 a lesson, so make sure you’re getting value for your money.
What should I look for when choosing a dance studio?
First and foremost, make sure the studio provides a clean and friendly atmosphere. Do you really want to somewhere that looks like a squatter residence, taught by instructors who lose their temper and don’t encourage community among the students?
Second, ask if the teachers have been certified by an accredited dance organization, like DVIDA. Accreditation includes proving teaching ability as well as dance ability – important, when you consider that some of the best dancers make the worst teachers.
Third, ask if the floor is sprung. This means it is designed to absorb the shock of jumps and other movements without causing pain, and allows for more smooth dancing.
Finally, it’s worth considering your time and financial investment you are willing to make. Just remember that you get what you pay for, and balance that with what you want, and what it’s worth to you. If you need more advice about choosing the right studio for you, click here.
Which is better, groups or privates?
Groups are for those who are just ‘trying out’ a dance or dances, who are more interested in the fitness, or the community, then learning to improve in dance itself.
Private lessons are for anyone who wants to stand out as an experienced dancer, whether it’s at the local Latin club or the competitions at Blackpool. They provide a personalized, detail-oriented experience, and you are more likely to retain long-term memory of what you were learning.
What do I wear to my first class?
Think of ballroom dancing like a fitness class, and dress appropriately. Comfortable breathable clothing is highly recommended. If you’re worried about other people’s opinions however, you might wear a knee-high or longer skirt or dressier pants and a shirt to match.
The number one recommendation for shoes is that they have smooth soles, like suede leather. This lets you turn more easily. A small heel (2”) also helps bring your weight forward onto the balls of your feet, which is where you’ll spend most of your time anyway.
My dance partner can’t dance! Help me kill him?
Sorry, no. The best way to help him/her improve is to stay supportive and patient. We all learn best when we are relaxed and having fun – isn’t that the whole point of dancing in the first place? If you’re really starting to plot murder though, consider reading this first, and save yourself the jail time.
About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for almost 20 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.