THE ART OF LEARNING TO DANCE
We’ve had many dancers inquire as to how we teach & why we do things the way we do!
All of this information will be relevant for both the beginner and advanced dancer…
Over the years we have had many “beginner” dancers saying: “I don’t think I can dance, I tried this class before, & well it didn’t go well”… “Seriously, I am clumsy, no coordination, etc.” … “Two left feet”…“I’m a slow learner, I get lost with what’s happening in the class”…”I never quite get what we are working on before the class pushes forward, leaving me in a lurch”… 😟
On the other hand we have had many “advanced” dancers come to our studio who have been “taking lessons” for years and are frustrated because “things aren’t working right” … “he/she doesn’t want to dance with me” … “I’m bored, what else is there?” … “Why doesn’t he/she lead/follow me?” … 😟
We truly understand the frustrations and concerns of these and all students! Most students who are experiencing these types of frustrations on a regular basis have essentially jumped into the deep end of the pool before learning to swim! Don’t worry if this is where you feel you are right now with dance! Just like at the pool there is a life guard ready to pull you out and help you learn in a fun and safe way to reach the confidence and experience to enjoy the deep end! 😀
From our combined experience of nearly forty years, plus our coaches, trainers, & other professionals in the business… There is a tried and true way to develop as a confident dancer and achieve all of your individual dancing goals! Bellow, we will break down the three tier system that you will love and thrive in.
1.) PRIVATE LESSONS:
(National Average Price Per Private Lesson is $65/45 mins – $250/45 mins)
2.) GROUP CLASSES:
(National Average Price Per Person Per Group Class is $10-$25/ 45 mins)
3.) PRACTICE DANCES
(Please note, Social dances are not included… will explain under practice dances!)
1.) PRIVATE LESSONS
First we need to bust up a common myth…
Yes, private lessons do cost more, but the value far exceeds the cost. Bear with us and read this entire article. There is a lot of information, but by the end it will all make sense!
Private lessons mean that YOU as an individual or couple have the full attention of a single instructor for each lesson. YOU also get to customize YOUR lessons based on YOUR goals (not someone else’s or the studios goals). The average student learns 400% more per private lesson than per group class!
So does it really cost a little bit more? 4 Group Classes ($40) <=> 1 Private Lesson ($65)
Ok, so it does cost a little bit more…
Why you ask?
What do YOU actually learn in a Private Lesson? We like to break it down like this…
First what makes up a dance? PMCC then P 🤔
Decryption follows like this…
Proper posture per the style of dance you are working on is essential to your balance and connection with your partner. Posture also, prevents injury, maintains and develops healthy dancers.
The motions and actions that create each dance making it unique. Includes, but not limited to, footwork (heel, ball, flat, etc), rise & fall, swing & sway, cuban motion, samba tie, foot positions (1st-5th), etc.
All of the intricacies that create the lead and follow necessary for two people to work as one on the dance floor! The FIVE POINTS of CONTACT!
The character of each style of dance is what make a Tango distinguishable from a Foxtrot or a Rumba from Samba, and so on. Each dance has a unique history and styles of music that it is designed to represent through the movement of two dancers working together in unison to create a moving picture.
Patterns are the road map that will open up your creativity for your own twist and expressions for each dance! Alignments on the dance floor to allow patterns to flow from one to another without having to rely on a Basic Box to get you into a favorable position. Use of individual elements learned within patterns to create your own unique look. Remember, the number of PATTERNS learned, does not equate to a better dancer. I.E. ; Just because you own a Ferrari doesn’t mean you know how to drive a standard!
WOW! 😲 That sounds impossible! That sounds hard!
Just like your first day of grade school… you began in Kindergarten, right… You were not thrown into a doctorate level class when you were 5/6 years old…
As a beginner, we start with the simple basics and layer on each aspect of dance in small bitesized pieces… You will get there! It does take time & practice!
Now, why did I explain all of this? Private Lessons are where YOU learn ALL of the PMCC & P at YOUR pace on the dances YOU want to focus on. It’s all custom designed for YOU! No one is pushing the pace beyond what you are ready for. On the contrary no one is slowing you down either.
2.) GROUP CLASSES
Group Classes are designed to teach you patterns and rhythms only! (That’s right, they cover very little, if any, of the PMCC!)
In most studios like ours across the nation, students are encouraged to take group classes as supplemental to their private lessons. Students are also discouraged from taking only group classes as they are likely to only learn the “roadmap” before learning to drive. Because of the limitations of the size of the group per class & the knowledge of the attendees, many students will either feel left behind or bored, as the design has to target an assumed level of dancer and a set goal for each class. Having one teacher for multiple dancers, his/her attention is also proportionately divided among the class.
The average student only retains 5-10% of the material covered in a group setting.
Those who have only ever taken group classes often find themselves repeating the same class each year. (BORING) There are multiple reasons, for example, not enough repetition to create muscle memory, not enough time to absorb the new material, not knowing the lead/follow aspects to practice properly, etc. Unfortunately for those who take only group classes they are missing 85-90% of the necessary pieces of the dances they desire to learn.
In the Three Tier System, group classes are supplemental to your private lessons…
How does that benefit you?
During group classes you are learning patterns and dancing with other dancers who are learning the same skills as you are. This allows you to work on developing and applying the PMCC that you are learning on your private lessons with other partners while expanding your repertoire of patterns. Group classes taken in conjunction with private lessons typically speeds up your learning by 15-20% making the less expensive group classes easily pay for themselves.
3.) PRACTICE DANCES
As noted above Practice Dances differ from Social Dances… Practice Dances located at your dance studio are typically only open to fellow students of your studio. (Whereas Social Dances are open to dancers of all levels from all sources of training. Can be quite a challenge & intimidating especially for new dancers!)
The benefits of Practice Dances at your studio: Everyone is learning the same way with the same approach to PMCC & P! When everyone is reading the same book, even though they are on different pages, they are all speaking the same language. This creates a PRACTICE environment where you can thrive in developing your confidence and application of your PMCC with all levels of dancers with similar goals as you. PRACTICE dances are perfect for applying and establishing more muscle memory & developing stronger more constant partnership & connection elements to your dancing! Students who implement and apply their PMCC & P at practice dances typically speed up their learning by an additional 15-20%!
The Result of Learning with a Three Tier System of Private Lessons, Group Classes, & Practice Dances:
All of the above methods used in the three tier system help you become the confident social or competitive dancer that you want to become! 😀
Students taking advantage of this system students can boost their learning by 30-40% on their private lessons!!!
In the long run of learning, you will learn faster, become more confident, have more fun, save money, feel great on the dance floor, and so much more by learning through PRIVATE LESSONS and letting GROUP CLASSES & PRACTICE DANCES accelerate your path to your dancing goals!
Summer Duvall with the review and approval of Ryan Duvall 🙂
Hope you enjoyed the article & perhaps we’ve taken away some of the apprehension about learning a new sport or expanding your skills in a new way! See you on the dance floor!