Let’s lay out some facts about private ballroom lessons:

  • they are expensive
  • they will make you better, faster
  • they are as addictive as Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

These are the reasons (among others!) that you’ve got to squeeze every last drop of value out of your precious private ballroom lessons.

The outcome of what you get from your lessons depends on both you AND your coach.
Working as a team, you’ll both get more satisfaction out of the lessons you have together when you know what is expected for best results.

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Student Expectations:

Learning to dance well isn’t about showing up once a week and expecting a fairy god-dancer to bibbi-bobbi-boo you into a ballroom princess or dancesport hunk.

You’ve got to invest more than just the check you give your coach. You’ve got to invest YOURSELF to get the best return on the time and money you’re putting into becoming a better dancer.

Be Willing

It all starts here. If you’re not willing to hear, learn and TRY, it doesn’t matter if you have the best coach in the world. Check out this blog all about being willing.

Practice

To make the most of your private lessons, the bottom line is practice! Have you ever felt like the minute you walk off the floor, all that valuable information you just goes poof?!

You might feel your teacher has to repeat the same information to you each week, or you may not feel that you are progressing as quickly as you’d like.

When you don’t take the time to take full advantage of the investment you made in lessons by practicing on your own time during the week, you’re wasting time and MONEY!

“But I don’t have anyone to practice with!”
“I feel awkward dancing by myself!”
“I don’t know what to review!”
“I might practice wrong!”

Sorry, I’ve gotta give you a jive-kick-in-the-pants: GET OVER IT!

You want to get better, right?

You don’t want to waste your time or money, right?
Okay, so leave your self-consciousness in the parking lot, strap on those Latin sandals and get to it! (*bum-slap*)

But seriously, if you fall into this category—self consciously standing blankly in front of the mirror—you’re not alone. Most people feel shy about practicing on their own when they are starting out. But the only way to get over it is to go through it.

And don’t worry about practicing wrong: even if you practice something “wrong”, just the action of getting on the floor and acquainting yourself more with your physicality will be beneficial. But, to help you start the new habit of practicing, ask your teacher for a plan of what to review before your next lesson.

It is just as exciting for a teacher to give new material as it is for a student to receive it, so your instructor is very keen to see you working on your own to improve. He/she would LOVE to give you suggestions of what to practice!

Once you get into the habit of dancing on your own, you will begin to determine yourself which concepts you need to improve and will gain a better understanding of how dancing works.

All of this leads to quicker learning and advancement which ultimately helps you get more for your money each time you take a private ballroom lesson!

(Our DanceSport Place coaches can help you review and supplement your private ballroom lessons! Check out our virtual studio.)

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Be Flexible:

If your coach updates what he/she is teaching you, don’t feel like they’ve been teaching you “wrong”. (see “Stay Current” below) They probably are simply giving you the most current information. Be flexible and willing to try new things!

Expectations for your Coach:

One thing to remember, is that at the end of the day, you’re a CUSTOMER, purchasing ballroom dance lessons. You should have some expectations of the “product” you are getting.

If you’re unhappy with your lessons and IF (only IF!!!) you are holding up your end of the STUDENT EXPECTATIONS, then as a consumer, it’s perfectly understandable to consider looking at a teacher who might be a better fit.

Stay Current:

Good coaches don’t stop learning when they retire from competition. The dancesport world is constantly evolving! Styles and techniques change and good coaches will keep up with innovations.

For example, as an 8x World Ballroom Champion, Mr. Richard Gleave is certainly one of the top ballroom experts in the world.

When I had lessons with him years ago, he told us that a story about a student who had challenged him about what he was teaching, because it was different from the last time the dancer had had a lesson with Mr. Gleave.

Mr. Gleave told him, the old information was correct at the time, but now, here was the newest information. I was always impressed with that story and it reminded me that learning is a continual process! And no one, no matter how accomplished, should rest on their laurels.

So, make sure your coach is staying current, so you can, too.

  • Does your teacher bring in outside coaches from time to time?
  • Does he/she update the info they teach you?
  • Do they update the teaching techniques they use?

These are important things to know about the investment you are making in your lessons.

Stay Positive but Truthful:

You won’t get better with a coach who doesn’t tell you the truth. A good coach is positive, respectful and constructive!

All coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself -Bill McCartney

A good coach encourages you when you can’t get there yourself. A good coach also pushes you when you need it.

To get the most out of your private ballroom lessons, look for a coach that does both.

Protecting Your Investment:

When you take private ballroom lessons, you are investing in yourself. And the returns are physical, mental and emotional benefits.

“Invest” smartly by finding a well-matched coach for you and practicing on your own!

 

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Melissa Cyr

Melissa is a former National Canadian Professional Latin Finalist and U.S. Rising Star Latin Couple of the Year, and has been teaching ballroom for over 20 years. (She started very young 🙂


With her husband Erik, they are the founders of DanceSport Place and have a passion to help dancesport competitors reach their dancing goals.