Finding the right dance studio

Discussion in 'Dance Articles' started by salsator2008, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. salsator2008

    salsator2008 New Member

    Found an interesting article online with some good tips on how to find a good dance studio.

    Choosing The Right Dance Studio For Learning Salsa


    When choosing a particular dance studio for Salsa or a dance studio in general one should evaluate the following questions below. The way you answer the questions below will determine the type of dance studio for you to enroll in to your Salsa classes.

    What is your purpose in seeking a dance studio offering Salsa Classes?

    This question is the most important one when choosing a Salsa dance studio. If your answer is to learn how to Salsa dance for fun than want to ensure that the dance studio and the staff create that environment. There are dance studios out there that are ran more like a boot camp format and also some dance studios that go at a very relax pace for those who enroll as a casual hobby.

    If you want to learn proper leading and following techniques in your Salsa dance studio than you should interview your instructors a little more pertaining to their experience in Salsa dancing and Salsa dancing instructions in the dance studio. Don’t hesitate to ask your Salsa dance instructors it the dance studio about his or her thoughts on these topics. Ask your instructors at the dance studio about their thoughts on Salsa dancing styles, leading, following, and their definitions of beginner, intermediate, and advance at the dance studio. You will find that every Salsa instructor and almost every dance studio has a different perspective on Salsa dancing.

    If you are learning how to dance to compete than be sure to ask your Salsa instructor and the dance studio’s experience on preparing choreographies. Just because one is a good dancer does not mean that they can choreograph the same way.

    If you want to learn how to dance with proper techniques ask your instructor on how they feel about dance techniques. If one wants to dance Salsa socially outside of the dance studio than there should be no movements taught in the Salsa class that involved having to memorizing turn patterns. Every move has to be lead and be followed without memorizing steps. Make sure that you pay attention to how the Salsa turn patterns are being taught at the dance studio.

    Ensure that the instructor’s philosophies are congruent with yours at the dance studio.
    Some dance studios will teach you the essence of dancing and some dance studios and instructors will teach one how to dance with precise and correct techniques. Once again explore the philosophies of the Salsa dance studio.

    Is the environment of the Salsa dance studio suitable for you?

    Ask yourself how you feel about the environment of the dance studio. Does it give a warm feeling; does it make you want to dance when you are at the dance studio? Are the students and staff welcoming when you arrived at the Salsa dance studio? Ensure that your Salsa instructor, staff and students at the dance studio make you feel welcomed consists. Ensure that the ambience suits you when selecting a dance studio. The environment at the studio should make you feel welcomed and want to instantly dance whenever you are there.
    Also ask your instructor at the dance studio about the size of the Salsa classes. The size should be reason so that the instructor could pay attention to every student at the dance studio during classes. If you notice that classes are very large and there is no enough room to move than you should question if profit is the only factor behind the dance studio.
    What is the proximity of the dance studio from you? If the dance studio is too far you may not feel motivated to attend your Salsa classes. Therefore make sure you choose a dance studio that is close enough for you to want to attend your Salsa classes.

    What are the monthly fees and programs available at the dance studio?

    Once should find out what the monthly budget would be to enroll oneself in a Salsa dance studio. Most Salsa dance studios offer packages that are tailored to individuals’ budgets. Do not hesitate to ask the dance studio regarding discounts if you enroll in more than one semester or program at the dance studio.

    Find out the type of lessons that are offered in your Salsa Dance Studio. Different lesson types include group, semi, and private classes. Also find out about how often the instructor and dance studios go out to Salsa socials with their students.

    Ensure that you are comfortable with the fees that you have paid for your Salsa programs at the dance studio. One should not feel pressured by the staff of the dance studio with up selling techniques.

    Why do you want to learn how to dance?

    Ensure that you understand how why you want to learn how to dance Salsa. This will be your main motivator to going to your Salsa classes at the dance studio. Some people enroll in dance classes at dance studios for fun, some to really learn how to dance professionally, and some enroll to compete.

    There are also social benefits when enrolling in a Salsa dance studio. Being a student in a dance studio is similar to having a membership to a golf club. It will fulfill your physical as well as social needs. Being a member of a dance studio will quickly help you extend your social circle and make new friends. These friends from the dance studio will likely be whom you will be going to Salsa clubs and socials with.

    All the points above should be evaluated when choosing a Salsa dance studio and a Salsa instructor. They may not be hard questions to answer, however only yourself would have answers to those questions. The answers and reasons will vary from person to person which is why so many dance studios exist.

    In summary:

    Your dance studio’s philosophies should match yours
    Your dance studios’ instructors teaching methods must be suitable for you
    Your dance studio should offer the experience in the object that you have for Salsa dancing
    Your dance studio should teach how to properly lead and follow rather than memorizing turns
    Your dance studio’s environment should make you feel comfortable
    Your dance studio should be within reasonable proximity from you
    Your dance studio staff and student should make you feel consistently welcomed
    Your dance studio’s fees should fit in your budget
    Your dance studio should offer classes that are suitable for you
    Your dance studio should have class sizes that are reasonable

     
  2. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    I'm finding that these sorts of articles generally show a bias, with the writer focusing on what they wish they knew when they started.
    I think now that my advice could be simplified to "try more than one". Even if you like the first studio or teacher you try. If you have tried multiple venues, maybe you can get a much better appreciation for the first place you try, or you might find that even though you were very easy to satisfy when you started, there are still better options available for you.
     
  3. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    +1 :applause:
     
  4. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    Let's make it +2... :cheers:
     
  5. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    Yeah, choosing the right studio is hard. I was originally going to a dance studio in Queens, NY and overall, I enjoyed it. I switched to the Santo Rico Dance School in NYC to concentrate more on my leading and I liked it because it was teaching me very good techniques that I’m able to apply to my social dancing. But my main gripe is that it’s a school geared towards becoming a professional dancer. The turn patterns are aggressive, the school is very anal about doing things the “right” way, and the classes are PACKED. This sort of takes the fun out of learning and it makes the lessons seem more like a chore rather than an enjoyable hobby. In my old school, the instructors are good, but the level of the classes are no match for Santo Rico’s. However, the learning process was more relaxed and enjoyable because people who go there are just learning Salsa as a hobby. So, I enjoyed it more there. At Santo Rico, it’s great if you want to learn Salsa as a career, but as a hobby, I’m not so sure.

    So, now I’m faced with a tough decision. If I stay at my current school, the classes will feel like a chore and the classes will not be as enjoyable due to the strict environment. But I will become a great Salsa dancer a year from now. If I go back to my old studio, the learning process will be more relaxed and enjoyable, but a year from now, I will be nowhere near as good had I stayed at Santo Rico. Hmm. Decisions decisions. I’m leaning more towards going back to my old school because in my position, it’s not about how good I get, it’s about much I’m enjoying the learning process. After all, I’m only learning Salsa as a hobby, like I said. I’ll think this through more until my pass at Santo Rico expires.
     
  6. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    cant you find a studio that has a fun learning environment without turning a blind eye to the importance of technique??? you are in NYC!!! you have TONS of choices! :)
     
  7. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    That's the problem. Too many to choose from and so, it's harder to find a school that I can stick to.
     
  8. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Why stick? Unless you have found a school or an instructor that gives you everything you are looking for, there are certainly advantages to playing the field. My favorite events were always dance camps that would bring in a variety of instructors.
     
  9. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    So you think switching schools every so often is a good idea? Won't it slow down the learning process?
     
  10. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    This is something you will have to judge for yourself. I hadn't run across any Salsa instructors that gave focused attention to technique, rhythm, or musicality. If you find an instructor that is giving effective attention to something you want to improve on, by all means stick for a while. But if there is one thing that I've learned it's that until you've sampled the field, you won't know if you've found what works best for you.
     
  11. salsator2008

    salsator2008 New Member

    I switch all around from time to time. My instructors always encourages me to learn from as many as possible to find your own style.
     
  12. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    Most of the school I went to are great, but after about three months or so, I reach the law of diminishing returns. Not sure if anyone else feels the same way, but that’s the way I feel.
     
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I can't speak to salsa venues, but if I was at a ballroom venue wherein I began to get diminishing returns as early as three months, I would think I was either limited in my capacity to grasp nuance, or they were sub par in their skill level...
     
  14. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    I believe the latter applies to my previous dance school, but I don't think that's the case with my current one because many of the dancers there are really amazing. The thing is....where I go, we spend about 70% of class time doing shines, which is fancy solo footwork. It's great because it's improving my balance, timing, and movement. And it gives me a great cardio workout too, lol. However, the 30% of partnerwork is really disturbing me. In social dancing, I'm going to be doing a lot of partnerwork, so only dedicating 30% of class time to partnerwork really slows down the learning process. It makes me wonder if these schools use Salsa shines as a way to dilute the class and make you learn slower. Yeah, solo work is great, but I think partnerwork is just as important as well. I'm thinking of finding a school that will focus on technique, give me more practice time with partners, and will enhance my creativity on the dance floor.
     
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    as I said, I can't speak to salsa venues
     
  16. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Consider what kind of a salsa dancer you want to be. Do you want to do staged performances? Do you really enjoy doing a lot of solo work? It seems not from what you say.
    With group classes, particularly for a single dance, it will start to feel repetitive after a little while. Particularly if the teacher doesn't provide some specific pointers to individual students in the class, or the class is just too big for that. Teachers who are good dancers, but still learning to teach, will have some topic that is particularly important for them at that time. Moving around from teacher to teacher will expose you to those different topics. If you find a teacher that has a good systematic curriculum for technique, connection, and musicality, you may find value in sticking with that teacher for a while.
     
  17. flashdance

    flashdance Active Member

    If I had the money I'd sign upto every dance studio going in my area :lol: There is good to be anywhere dance resides... :)
     
  18. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    flash, yeah, that would be great! :cool:
     
  19. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    I'll probably do that. My studio is really suffering from severe case of overcrowdedness.
     

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