General Dance Discussion > one guys beginning dance struggles

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by wiseman, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Hmm... click on the Salsa board here - it's a great resource for all this and you'll gain a lot of insight into the NY scene.
  2. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    Salsa is just one of several dances I want to learn. I plan on learning Cha Cha, Rumba, Meregue, Swing, and Hustle later on. So, that's why I'm posting in the General board.

    I may decide to start another thread here asking if anyone can recommend a good dance studio in the NYC area.
  3. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    You don't need to be advanced to begin to learn to lead. You do need to know a few steps so that you'll have something to lead, but your instructor should be talking about things like posture and frame from almost the beginning, as they are the foundation of leading.

    One of the best female instructors I know gets her men leading right away. Even in a beginner group class, she'll teach two options for a corner, for example, then have the guys decide which one they'll lead (so the ladies are also learning to follow). I always seek out her beginners when they show up at socials, because I know that, even if we only do one or two steps the whole dance, it will be comfortable for me and the guy will have more confidence than most beginners because he is already practicing leading in his group lessons.
  4. flashdance

    flashdance Active Member


    I'd take both at the same time!

    Group classes for building up confidence/social/learning from one another/supporting each other to learn a dance, steps etc... lots of fun. I love group lessons but they can take a bit away, expecially with tap as you're listening to another 10 feet other than your own... I tend to take myself away and do some private tapping on my own so can hear what I'm doing...

    Private - If you're experienced/want to expand from the group safety net and take control of 'you' as a person then its the next logical step... (excuse the pun)
  5. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I took groups for steps and to reinforce the routines. I took privates to learn to dance properly and address any issues I have personally without the instructor having to focus on other students or generalities. If I don't have time for both I take private lessons, as I don't NEED to know figures but I do need personal attention to technique. (But I am a follow, and to boot a follow who firmly believes that most of the time, hell is other people, so to speak, so I am not the market for group classes.)
  6. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    If it's a good group lesson, I like groups. Mostly because I can't absorb fast enough for an hour to totally be about me. Give me a correction, move on to someone else while I make it click. It's why I'm absolutely LOVING this latin technique class I'm taking. Amazing pro teaching it, she can make very personalized corrections for everyone in the room, so nobody is held back or pushed too fast to "stay with" the group.
    Since most groups aren't like that, my second choice is a private with my husband/partner. They generally run 60% corrections for him, 40% corrections for me, which is about my limit. Privates for just me are just too "intense" for me, don't give me time to absorb before moving on.
  7. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    This is an important point - its a real skill to retain a full private's worth of information. And if you don't have someone to practice it with in between, you can end up spending a lot practicing with the teacher.
  8. TangoRocks

    TangoRocks Member

    Put me in the camp of people who say "do both" Also, I'm so glad you did leave that first studio, because I've never heard something as stupid as "learn the patterns now, we'll teach you how to lead later." Chain studio brat that I am, in my very SECOND lesson (the first one was the "free" intro) I was told I need to learn to lead, and my teacher started slowly teaching me how to do so. Did I have to learn a number of dumb patterns during my privates? You bet. Was that all I learned? Not by a long shot. Oh, and at the end of that second lesson, I was also given a monthly calendar of group classes, with the ones I should be going highlighted on it.

    Depending on your likes and learning speed, some group classes make it unnecessary to spend too much time on particular dances during your private lessons--I have "touched" Hustle less than 10 times in private lessons in 5 years, yet I can dance a pretty decent one with mostly my group lesson knowledge. I can't, however, say the same thing about, for example, Viennese Waltz. Remember that group classes proceed at a speed slightly faster than the slowest leader--and if you become one of the faster learners in the class, that might start boring you and get you frustrated. Private lessons give you much needed leading knowledge, as well as technique and styling options that work for YOU, which is well nigh impossible to achieve in a group setting.

    So, a mixed strategy is probably the best--get the basic footwork/pattern knowledge in the groups, take privates to learn how to lead and work on technique, and go to the socials/parties/practices etc. to master floorcraft and test your dancing prowess as well as progress with multiple partners. Good luck! :)
  9. Kits

    Kits New Member

    I Wish that the studio that I go to had that option to either take group lessons or private lessons. With mine they want you to take the private lessons but you do not pay anything extra to take the group lessons which is reasonable. So I do take both although I have been taking more group lessons lately.
  10. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Perhaps it is time to find another studio or three? Maybe find classes and teachers based on their quality and ability rather than their affiliation?
  11. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    Looks like doing BOTH is the best way to go. I took one group and one private last night and it was great. I'm loving this new dance studio. It's even great that there are a lot of young girls to dance with at the group classes. In fact, some may be a little too young. :eek:
    But I'm learning a lot more at this new place. Looks like it's working out real well.
  12. Kits

    Kits New Member

    Its hard...I've been trying but a lot of the studios are far out that offer just the group lessons.
  13. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    Thank you! I know I’m just learning and shouldn’t be judgmental, but I need to be realistic and think about whether the money I’m paying is being put to good use. If I’m paying $80 for a private lesson and feel like I’m only getting a $10 lesson out of it, I think it’s ok that I feel a bit skeptical. And that’s how I felt at the old studio. Even the group lessons were nothing to brag about. One thing that frustrated me about the group classes at the old studio is that it was all over the place. They just kept teaching the same basic steps every week and never adding anything onto it. And when it’s time for partner work, they’d say “grab a partner and try this out” and all the instructors leave and disappear. So, we’re all left there by ourselves on the dance floor and we’re all confused since no instructor is around to guide us. There’s like 5 instructors and all of them disappear and take a break while we’re by ourselves doing the partner work. Therefore, that $15 isn’t worth it since the instructors aren’t doing that great of a job teaching. They’re just being lazy.

    With the new studio I’m at, the group lessons are great. They instructors make the most out of the hour and they keep adding on additional steps gradually. And when it’s time for partner work, the instructor is observing everyone closely to make sure we know what we’re doing. And they’ll correct us when they find something wrong. Now, that is $15 well spent!! Same goes for the private lesson. The instructor was making the most out of the time she taught me. Unlike the other place, they were trying to waste as much time as they can with the private lesson so I learn extremely slowly.

    Of course, this new studio does have a’s really hard to book a private lesson whether it be because the instructor is fully booked or because they don’t have a room available. I had a hard time scheduling that first private lesson and I’m having a hard time scheduling a second one now. I’m still working with them on a time. I can’t believe how hard it is. So, privates may not work out too well at this place since it’s very hard to find a good time to schedule one.
  14. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    If you are having trouble booking generic beginner level lessons this may not be the right place to be trying to take them.

    Two things to be aware of in the NYC area are that first there's more teaching capacity than the market needs (until you talk about highly specialized skill sets) and that many of the more capable teachers are mobile independants who will be on one floor on Monday and someplace else entirely in Tuesday - and not necessarily the same the next week.

    So one of the things you may want to do is really explore the various venues in the area, talking not only to teachers but also to other students. And when you find a teacher of interest, approach them directly so that you become their personal student who can meet them wherever they plan to be at a time when scheduling works, rather than being confined to the fraction of their week when they are at a given studio.
  15. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member


    Sounds like the new studio is working out. I would stick with the group classes as it sounds like the instructors really care. Also, try to ask more questions in group. When the instructors get to know you more, they may be more willing to squeeze you in their schedule because they have a student who has great potential and the right attitude.
  16. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I started out doing just group lessons with my husband as my partner. I think I would have progressed faster in the beginning if I did groups and privates with a good teacher.
  17. wiseman

    wiseman New Member

    How do I learn dancing without getting frustrated?

    So far, in the couple of weeks I’ve been learning at this new dance studio, I’ve been learning a lot. However, frustration is something that’s killing me. Even though people tell me that I’m learning fast, I still can’t help but get frustrated when I make certain screw ups. And I have this one teacher at this group class that loves to keep on speeding up the music like crazy. So when I make one tiny mistake, the whole dance is destroyed due to the ridiculously fast speed of the music!! And what makes this even more frustrating is that I’m a guy (the leader), so whenever a dance is messed up, it’s MY fault, no matter how bad the woman is at following. It’s the man’s job to make sure the woman is keeping up with my leading. So, that’s an added pressure on me. And I notice there are a couple of women in the class getting frustrated when they make a mistake. And that makes me upset because I feel that it’s my fault since I’m the leader.

    So, how do I learn dancing patiently without getting so frustrated and hard on myself? I’ve only been going for only a couple of weeks and impressed at how much I’ve learned, yet I still can’t help but get mad at myself when I can’t get things right the first time.

    Any ideas?
  18. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    wiseman, you can feel that way when you are learning anything new! It's normal. Keep plugging away at it, because it is so worthwhile! And give yourself a break, and don't forget that dance is supposed to be fun. :banana: It will be more fun when you get more experience, and feel more competent and confident! Give it time, it will happen! Good luck!


  19. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Here's an idea: look at this sentence. Print it out. Tape it to your bathroom mirror. And remind yourself that you've only been doing this for weeks! And when was the last time you learned a skill perfectly the first time?

    Also--yes, as 'leader', sometimes it's your fault. But sometimes it's not. And since you've only been leading for a few weeks (see sentence above) no one expects you to get everything right. You're not going to Slavikk in six weeks. And you aren't responsible for women in the class feeling frustrated when they don't get something right, because...THEY didn't get something right. I do pro-am. I screw up all the time. That is not my teacher's fault because he's the leader (except when it is, even my pros make mistakes--once in a great while! ;) ) Just because a woman is "following" doesn't mean she can't find ways to goof up on their own. And in your class, how long have these women been dancing? A few weeks? They're not going to be pefect either.

    And not to depress you, but I've been dancing going on four years now. I'm still a beginner in my mind. A few weeks is nothing at all.
  20. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Hang in there, wiseman. We all have been there (or are still there). Learning dance is a journey. People always think it's going to be easy, because great dancers make it look that way, and also, a lot of folks are less familiar with the process. Most people seem to be aware that a great athlete spends countless hours learning and practicing. Yet they think dancers just wake up one day and do what they do.

    If you have any doubt, talk to some of the pros, or some of the really good amateurs, and ask they how much time they've put into their dancing. Maybe that will help put things in perspective for you. You're doing great! Keep it up! :)

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