Salsa > Why do Private Lessons COST SO Much?!

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by achilles007, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Force? Are people *that* insecure? :confused:
  2. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Woah! I don't understand where you got that impression from. Never has happened in my experience. And I've taught and learnt in quite a few different places. Now I am talking of classes, here.

    Also I see first you say classes and then practices. Which one is it? To me these are different animals. If I run a class people rotate. For my practices there is no compulsory rotation requirement in some. At a practice I usually play music and am available to offer assistance if you want some. If I notice something I might also comment on it. In a class I have a plan as to what I want to teach and make sure that I cover it in the alloted time. So is it classes, is it group practices, or both?
  3. achilles007

    achilles007 Member

    Oh, I'm sorry.

    I thought classes and practices meant the same thing.

    Are there differences between how the two are usually used in salsa?

    I had no idea.
  4. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Class means teacher is teaching. Practice means that music is playing, no expectations beyond that. Depending on the venue, a teacher may be available to answer questions at a practice, but I would assume not, if I was intending to attend a practice session.
  5. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    Group classes work great and don't cost very much. You can always save your money for later when you are a solid dancer and want specific training. There are two pluses to group classes.

    1) If your lead works with the 10-15 ladies in class, it is probably pretty followable. I love dancing with pros, but they can compensate for my lack of ability.

    2) The social aspect of a group is as much an acquired dance skill as the actual dancing. There is nothing like dancing with 10-15 ladies in an hour to break shyness. Plus, you then know a few people to dance with when you go out.
  6. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

  7. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Thanks, suburbaknght, great, informative post.

    If I read it correctly, without a day job, you certainly could not afford to do what you do, running at a loss. What about the dance teacher for whom teaching and performing is their only source of income? Going off your numbers, just as an example, a teacher that nets $20 an hour, and teaches 40 hours per week, even if they don't spend money on lessons, certifications, costumes, etc., etc., is going to be making at best a modest living.
  8. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    [quote=kayak Group classes work great and don't cost very much. You can always save your money for later when you are a solid dancer and want specific training. There are two pluses to group classes.

    1) If your lead works with the 10-15 ladies in class, it is probably pretty followable. I love dancing with pros, but they can compensate for my lack of ability.

    Kayak, excellent post. Good points about the group classes. Also, your point about about pros compensating for one's lack of skill or knowledge is right on point.
  9. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    TT, I agree. I also don't think that skilled experienced dance teachers are overpaid-especially when one looks at what other teachers make. For example private golf teachers, ski teachers, tennis teachers all probably make more than the typical skilled dance teacher.
  10. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    This is true. Now there are several reasons why I'm willing to run my business at a loss and why other dance teachers don't. First, I don't get 40 hours of lessons a week (hence the day job), I get 8-10, and a good week is 15. While I want to teach full time, or at least as my sole source of income, I can't attract that many students yet and I can't justify raising my prices. I'm willing to teach at a loss for now as a discount teacher in order to practice and hone my craft, but I can't morally ask a student for $85/hr. when they could learn from one of the more experienced pros in the area for the same price.

    Other dance teachers, more experienced and higher level, have more students and can charge more for their expertise. Good, they should. Moreover, most of the teachers who subsist on their dance income finance large portions of it with a few high-end users, typically pro-am students. Because I don't teach competitive dance, nor am I willing to surrender my amateur status, I don't have access to these students (if I could even attract them. See above comparison). As such, most of my students are low-end social dancers; there is nothing wrong with this but it also means that few of them do regular private lessons as they don't have the same impetus to improve that a competitor faces.

    Another way to look at it, is to say, "I want to make $60,000 a year." If I get that all from dance, and I make a profit of $50 per lesson, I would need to teach 1,200 lessons each year, or about 24 lessons a week, to make my goal. That's feasible, but it means having a student base taking that many lessons, and it means being a good enough teacher to justify lessons that profit me $50 apiece. Until I get to that point, I charge what the market will bear so that I can reinvest that money into making me the dance teacher I want to be.
  11. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    You shop around, you can call to inquire without scheduling anything or telling them you're shopping, ask if they offer discounts for students, referrals, package deals, or low-income individuals. If cost can't be cut, be sure that the instructor is worth the money and you're getting what you need out of your lessons, talk to your teacher and plan your lessons. Don't let them fill them up with fluff or talk and waste your time so that you have to buy more. Its your money. Good luck! :)
  12. mkp

    mkp New Member

    I pay $85/hour. So I would not complain. If I could pay $60 for a private, I'd take two a week, instead of the one I take now.

    How often you need private lessons, or if you need them at all, depends on your goal for your dancing.

    If you are interested in competing, you need to take private lessons on a regular basis - that means at least once a week, IMHO. When you are preparing for an event, you need to double up on your private lessons.

    On the other hand, if you are interested in mainly social dancing and want to improve to be a more desirable partner, you can skimp on the private lessons and only take them once or twice a month, or when you need to brush up on something.

    I am not an expert on pricing, but rates do vary on the experience of the teacher, and also whether they are working for a studio or for themselves, etc. There are many variables.
  13. I'll jump right in and also say that I am a pro and when I take private lessons they don't cost $60...It's averages out $120-$200/45 min lesson depending on the teacher. So $60/lesson is pretty cheap....

    And they cost more well because it's individual! Anything that is custom to you will cost more. Think about message therapists they charge about $60-$100/hour also...
  14. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    If I would have known how lucrative it was to be a male dance teacher I wouldn't have struggled to get an electrical engineering degree. It appears the dance majors that we used to laugh at are getting the last laugh. The most I have ever made doing technical engineering work in $40 and hour!

    I enjoy dancing but unfortunately it has become an addiction and my dance teachers are drug pushers that feed my obsession to know so many complicated dances. Like most pushers they are getting richer, while I get poorer!

    There should be a law against expensive dance teachers. :roll:
  15. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm. Far-fetched? I guess I'll have to read the b log and see. Sorry I haven't checked it out before, SK, but I will. :cool:
  17. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    @rbazsz, the number are not at all unrealistic. While they are competing, a ballroom dance professional pretty much has no money left over after expenses. Suburbaknght can run at a net loss because he has a day job.

    When they retire from competition, a lot of the expenses fall away, and then there is an opportunity to get into the black.

    The teachers that are making the kind of rates that Leonid is paying are in a rather more elite class than social dancers normally work with.

    $60-90/hour is right in the range of anyone that is offering one on one specialized service. Massage therapists, private lessons in any other sort of physical activity, piano lessons, etc. Six-week-wonders at franchise dance studios are certainly not pocketing $60/hr, once taxes, rent, utilities, admin overhead, etc., are all taken into account.

    Bear in mind that your $40/hr only had tax taken out, not other expenses.
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the thumbnail, tt. :) That's what I thought I'd see on SK's blog. But I should definitely read, so I can participate in the conversation somewhat intelligently.
  19. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    I should add that a male ballroom teacher can do very well doing pro-am events. But apparently some competitive dancers feel dancing pro-am negatively impacts their brand.
  20. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    There are still lots of ways to become a good dancer if the $60/hr is more than you can or want to afford. I don't think anyone has to go broke dancing.

Share This Page