Coaches and Lessons

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by novellsk8, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. novellsk8

    novellsk8 New Member

    Hi everyone,
    Would like to get thoughts on how many private lessons / group lessons a week that serious dancers usually pursue? Also for ladies, do you guys usually stick with 1 coach or have a separate female coaching for styling?
    Thanks for your thoughts!!
  2. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    You will need to be more specific by what you mean by serious dancers novellsk. It varies so much. Do you mean top level competitors or just serious as in competing or serious as in working on developing best social dancing skills?
  3. novellsk8

    novellsk8 New Member

    Good question, please let me clarify.
    Serious as in... serious in competing, not top level/ world class competitors.
    but to provie more context, I am trying to get back into serious dancing/ competition. Used to be a dancer all my life (not in ballroom)... 7 years ago, I took up Latin and then quit when my partner moved away. I am trying to get back into it and trying to speed up the learning curve. The initial month was tough, but I am gettting back into swing of things. I am having lessons twice a week now with my coach, and then doing some pilates on the side.
    Wanted to see what other things I could do to get back into tip-top condition, including a potential female instructor class to help with styling. Thoughts?
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think you are calling your instructor your coach....perhaps because he was called a coach when you had a partner...that is likely what is throwing people off....

    as to how many lessons...I am not sure there is a pat answer for that...ideally it is wise to have some practice time between lessons to work that info into your body...on the other hand, if your pro is your partner, it is great to be dancing with him as often as is affordable...if the teacher isn't your partner, then I would want practice opportunity between chunks of lessons...it also depends upon how far you travel, how available the teacher is, etc...and how many styles you dance

    if money ws no object and I could set my own schedule and I was dancing pro am, I would opt for 3 lessons (2 hours 1 minutes), on threes non consecutive days a week...but one can do well on considerably less with good enough intruction and ample practice...

    as to having a second coach, male or female...yes, and I think quarterly would be enough with the right person if you see them for long enough when they are in
  5. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    I agree with "it depends". Important factors to consider are budget, learning style, time and willingness to practice, competition schedule and plan, goals, time frame... it's very individualized.

    I'm with pro every week, occasionally twice. I'm trying to work things to do twice a week more often, or at least on some sort of a predictable schedule, but a girl's gotta eat... and pay her mortgage! If money were no object, it would be 3 hour-long lessons every week and I'd likely dabble in competing in a second style. And if I had no job taking up my time, well, then probably 3 double lessons week, and I'd be dancing and competing ten-dance for sure. More than that and I doubt they'd be useful - I need time to digest and practice.

    That said, so far I'm doing well on my 1ish lesson a week, supplemented with tons of solo practice. I just need to make sure that I work enough on my own that I don't end up 'wasting' valuable lesson time on supervised repetitions. I put the work in on my own so that practice is more getting corrections to work on alone and focusing on connection. I also know that this will not work forever, but hopefully I will either get rich or find a decent to good amateur partner.

    I take occasional lessons with a female pro to learn "girl stuff" - not regularly, and tends to go in spurts (like 2 or three lessons close together, then none for 4 or so months, then a couple more). I find it helpful as I grow more advanced, but would have been useless until I had a solid foundation.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    agree...I have taken 4 lessons a week...I have taken 8 lessons a week....I have taken 4 lessons a month....there is a way to do it, regardless...as long as you are committed and have quality instruction
  7. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Active Member

    I typically average 4 lessons a week (1 hour each time) throughout the year to remain competitive. I've seen many people do fine with just 1 or 2 though per week. It really depends on your partner. If you've been dancing together for awhile, fewer lessons are needed especially to sort out open routines.
  8. s2k

    s2k Active Member

    I take as many lessons as I can but still have enough at the end of the month to not eat Ramen. :) Take as many lessons as you can afford to, and as Fascination said, quality of instruction is important if not primary.

    I've taken lessons with my instructor (male). I've taken lessons with a female instructor for shaping and styling. I've taken lessons with a different female instructor for nothing but turns. I've gotten together with a friend and together we've gotten with instructors for clarification on cuban action (which allowed us to split the cost of that instructor - but that instructor was okay with it. We asked first.).

    I also take coaching when my studio brings visiting coaches in - these are judges and coaches some of whom are still active on the pro circuit, some of whom have retired. A couple of times, I've traveled to coaches at their studios for a block of instruction. I really liked the coach, and I was impressed by how well his ladies danced and placed at comps, so I picked up the phone.

    Note: These things don't happen over the course of a week or a month. These are examples of what I've done in the course of dancing pro-am for the past five years. I take outside coaching anywhere from 2 to 4 times a year. Again: it's all about my not eating Ramen at the end of a month! ;)

    In short: I've done as many things as I can - and can afford - to improve my technique. I'd love to do more - who doesn't?! - but I am satisfied with what I've been able to learn and the results of having learned it.

    You'll find a system that works for you! Good luck!
    MaggieMoves and Dancing Irishman like this.
  9. s2k

    s2k Active Member

    I should also mention that I take zero group classes at this point. I refer back to Fascination's comment about "quality," and what I have access to I do not find to be quality. There is a latin technique class at a respected studio about an hour from me, and I may go there to check it out, but in my experience, group classes were not particularly helpful to my pro-am rhythm competitive goals. I have very high hopes to add this particular technique class to my weekly practice schedule, and I'm hanging my hopes on the fact that this studio turns out the best pro-am ladies in our area.

    This thread may offer some insights about group classes.
    novellsk8 likes this.
  10. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    I must add that serious dancers practice… a lot. Get a practice partner, or if you are really serious, find a dance partner. Then you will share a goal, the costs, and the experience...
    MaggieMoves likes this.
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    that being said...if you don't have one, make sure you know how to practice alone
  12. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    As a partially retired individual, my income is limited. Therefore, I average one private per week.

    One of the best kept secrets in my area is that a former ten dance champion Ron Bennett teaches three standard group classes of varying levels at a local studio on Wednesday evenings. His classes are very small... attendance typically ranges from two to seven people. To me, this is a "poor man's semi private lesson." His focus is always on technique. And he gives individual attention to the needs of each student. Since it is a group class, he directs the class instead of the students. But he has been outstanding at helping me to improve. He is without a doubt (for my limited experience with many other teachers) the best instructor in my area bar none.
  13. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Group classes and workshops that focus solely on technique can be excellent!
    Dancing Irishman likes this.
  14. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

    Just realized that I may have seen you many times before and not realized it was you...
  15. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    My partner and I are lucky if we hit one a week....but we try to compensate with lots of solo practice and being naturally quick learners (and you know, taking about a year before we hit the comp floor).

    Or if you have one, but you're both busy youn professionals juggling both ballroom and latin in separate partnerships...still benefits you to know how to practice alone!
    MaggieMoves likes this.
  16. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    So true! I make all my Sunday afternoon plans around my coach/teacher's Sunday afternoon group classes (latin and standard) when he's in town!
  17. novellsk8

    novellsk8 New Member

    Wow, thanks everyone!!
    This is very helpful. I have just requested for my 45 mins private lesson to be increased to 1 hour, and I like the idea of having non-consecutive lessons.
    To answer your questions, I do solo practices whenever I can. Still learning the ropes but hope to be better!
    Quick question - anyone knows of any good technique group classes in NYC? I was thinking of supplementing that with my private lessons. Thanks!!
  18. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Some of the best technique I've gotten was from female coaches. There are more reasons to see a female coach than just styling.

    Personally, I like to see 1 or 2 coaches regularly, and then take occasional lessons with other coaches for a different perspective. It's great if you can take lessons regularly with the leader and follower of the same partnership (as long as you learn well from both).
  19. novellsk8

    novellsk8 New Member


    Thanks !! This is very helpful. I am going to start trying a group lesson female coach. I just spoke to another dancer yesterday who also mentioned the same thing. It's great to hear from allof you experienced dancers out there! :)
    dbk likes this.
  20. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    Depends on my schedule and budget- I've taken as many as 6 lessons in a week, and have gone up to 2 months without a lesson. The biggest thing that has allowed me to improve and compete at a serious level for amateur is to be very self-sufficient in my practicing. Its good to be able to practice both by yourself and with your partner.

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