Want to step out and try Ballroom dancing? It sounds like great fun but for a lot of people, it is unknown territory. Typically, the things that hold people back from starting to dance aren’t huge issues. People tend to ask a lot of questions – here’s a few that I run across frequently…
When I’m at dinner parties, people inevitably ask me what I do for a living. When I tell them I teach Ballroom and Latin Dancing at Arthur Murray, they always reply, “How fun – I’ve always wanted to do that but I can’t dance!” I always giggle a little inside because people think they can’t learn to dance because they don’t already know how to dance. Well, that is exactly what we do. We teach people who don’t dance, how to dance.
Can I learn to dance? Is one of the questions I hear often. My answer is always of course you can! Our instructors specialize in teaching people who have 0 dance experience, as well as those that had a bad experience in the past. Pardon me while I get on my soap box…these instructors do this for a living – full time. What sets us apart from other studios is that our instructors are experienced dancers, but also were trained on how to teach dance itself.
In the dance world, you can be a good dancer, but it doesn’t mean you will be a good teacher. However, Arthur Murray instructors happen to be both! They break dance instruction down into small pieces in order to go at your own pace, similar to how a good math teacher would teach. You have to learn the basics first – your math teacher has you master addition and subtraction before you multiply and divide. If they started with multiplication first, chances are you would be very frustrated and believe that you couldn’t learn this stuff. Unfortunately, this is what happens to many of our students before they set foot in our studio. With Arthur Murray, they realize that they can learn regardless of their level of previous experience!
How many times a week should I take dance classes? Is it once per week? Three times per week? Are your classes the same time each week? Most people are not quite sure how the scheduling works. The cool thing about our programs is that they are scheduled to work around you. We teach busy people, successful people, working professionals, Moms and Dads, as well as active seniors.
We know our clients just can’t come in the same time every week. Well, just like Burger King – you can have it your way. I personally recommend lessons 3 times a week to learn consistently without forgetting what you learned in the previous lessons. However, we will always optimize a schedule what works for you. We schedule personal lessons Monday through Friday from 1 PM-10 PM. You have full freedom to take an afternoon lesson one day and an evening lesson the next. Our Arthur Murray studios also feature extensive group and practice instruction schedules falling under a range of levels from beginner to advanced. There are no cookie cutter classes here!
How much are ballroom dance lessons? Another common question I hear often. One comparison I always draw is that our programs are similar in cost to hiring a personal trainer. Most people have 1 session a week with their trainer, then train in the gym and supplement group classes to get a complete workout experience. There are others that see their trainer for 3 sessions a week, train in the gym, and take group classes. The second group of people obviously spends more in a given month, but gets the results at a more rapid rate.
The same concept holds true with ballroom dance classes. In both cases, you will learn to dance if you are consistent. We see a range of monthly spends and commitment levels in our studios – we have plenty of different programs that account for different budgets and amounts of time available. As a rule of thumb, you should plan to spend around $400 for starter packages that include a variety of personal, group, and practice sessions. You may be able to find non-certified instructors that may charge less for their personal lessons. However, keep in mind while it may seem less expensive, the lack of a true learning system forces you to spend time learning the same things over and over. You’ll realize very quickly that it was not worth the savings.
How many lessons should I take before the wedding? Congrats on the upcoming marriage! A lot of people begin their dance journey by preparing for a wedding. It’s not uncommon to see couples interested in learning to dance…the difference is that now there is a due date – and not just any due date, but a very special one…their own wedding!
Our wedding couples always want to know – how many lessons do I need to take before the big day? My recommendation always is you want to give yourself enough time so you can enjoy it. There’s a lot to do before a wedding – learning to dance, and in particular having a special 1st dance should be high on the list of priorities. Over the years, you will cherish the memories of your first dance. When the food is gone, the guests leave, and the dress is stored away, you now have an activity you can continue to do as a couple.
Ok, I got a little carried away, but if you do it right, this is a great way to start a marriage. Getting down to business – I would recommend 20 lessons for a terrific 1st dance, 10 lessons to surprise your guests, and 5 lessons to get you on the floor doing something besides the “high school hang.” I encourage you to start 6 months out but highly recommend starting as early as a year out. If you give yourself time, you will not only enjoy your first dance (when all eyes are on you), but you will also dance during your honeymoon and in the years to follow.
I hope this answers your burning questions about ballroom dancing. Although this is not a complete list of questions nor answers, learning to dance is a physical activity. It is hard to truly describe the ins and outs of ballroom dancing over the phone or on the internet. If this is something you’ve been thinking about, I encourage you to get more information and check it out – you’ll be glad you did!
Live, Love, Dance, and Enjoy!
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