Group classes. They sound great, and they are. At Arthur Murray we utilize the power of group classes every day. A ballroom dancing group class is a fantastic social environment, and that social aspect of dancing develops good habits you’ll use when you take your moves outside of the studio! Group lessons are also very fun! You laugh, you switch partners, you learn a bit about leading and following people you’re unused to dancing with. Why, sometimes it seems like group classes really are just enough. Sadly, they’re not.
Why should I not just take group dance lessons?
1: Private Lessons Offer Individual Attention
This is the answer anyone on the street could give you. Its obvious that you as an individual get less of your instructor’s time and focus if you’re sharing her with five other students. Yet without knowing exactly what you’re missing that might seem like a justifiable sacrifice. If dancing is your goal, however, what you don’t know can cripple you.
In private dance lessons an instructor works on the following: hip motion, arm styling, poise, frame, leading and following, timing, grace, mood, musicality…
In a group lessons your instructor works on: steps.
Don’t get me wrong, steps are very important. Like a child, you can’t do much at all until you take your first steps. But if you just learn how to step one foot to the next and ignore the treasure trove of knowledge available only in private dance lessons you won’t even be a passable dancer. What you don’t know most certainly can hurt you (socially and even physically!) when it comes to dancing.
2: Private Lessons Are Goal Oriented
When you walk into a restaurant, you’re in control. You can order any food you like, prepared in any way you like. You have an objective upon entering the restaurant and the staff is there to help you reach it, even if that objective is no more complex than to eat a sandwich. Group classes, unlike restaurants, are not so customizable.
Because an instructor in a group class is expected to teach a diverse group of students, he must craft lessons that appeal equally to everybody. Most often group classes have no real continuity. One week you’ll learn salsa, the next you’ll learn merengue, then waltz, then hustle. Because the learning isn’t tailored to you, you’re out of control when it comes to what you’re learning.
In private dance lessons your instructor is constantly adjusting your learning experience to meet new goals as they come up. Going to a wedding soon? Your instructor can advise you on which dances will be most useful. Going on vacation to Argentina? You’ll want to know tango, it was practically invented there!
This is the sort of personal touch you absolutely cannot have in a group class.
3: In Private Lessons You Dance With a Professional
Everyone who works in our studio is a dancer by trade. We compete in pro tournaments at events, we know all of the names of our steps and the specifics of how each is executed. We know how dancing feels. Would you like to know the secret method we used to achieve that mastery? We danced with people way better than us until we got good at it ourselves.
And I don’t mean danced next to, or in the presence of a better dancer. I mean with.
The great thing about group classes is that you have an experienced professional watching you as you practice. The better thing about private dance lessons is that you have a professional dancing with you as you practice. Dancing is an art that relies a lot on feeling, and only through feeling how you’re moving can your instructor diagnose many of the issues that prevent you from dancing to your full potential!