Close to giving up.


Well-Known Member
I can understand some of your frustration if you enjoy good group lessons and can't find enough of the kind you like... but groups are like that. I think you should focus on getting as much as you can out of the groups you do enjoy, and simply not expect the groups to fill all of *your* needs. Groups are offered for the whole studio/community, and may or may not fit your needs at a given moment. This is really totally, completely normal for group lessons...

You say you're taking private lessons.... Good. If so your instructor should more than be able to fill any gaps in the group lessons that are offered. And she should also be able to guide you in your dance development/journey and help you troubleshoot frustrations. Have you asked her for help with the sorts of issues you post about here??? You're paying for her instruction and advice, so take advantage of it.
I may be mistaken, but I believe Doug's biggest motivation for dancing is the social aspect. If that is still true, competitons may not be the path for him.
It may create a different type of social interaction though (Not saying that it is necessarily the right path for him, but it may be). I imagine that if a studio has a group of dancers at a competition, they may develop a social dynamic as "Team StudioNameHere". By building that connection, one could conceivably build inroads with the larger studio community. I'm just hypothesizing, but it seems reasonable.


Well-Known Member
It may create a different type of social interaction though (Not saying that it is necessarily the right path for him, but it may be). I imagine that if a studio has a group of dancers at a competition, they may develop a social dynamic as "Team StudioNameHere". By building that connection, one could conceivably build inroads with the larger studio community. I'm just hypothesizing, but it seems reasonable.

Exactly--Doug says his goals are social, but most of what he doesn't seem to like are, well, social aspects. There's definitely socializing at competitions, just a different time, and (if it's a good studio) a 'team' feeling and sense of belonging/identity. It's also a chance to be with other dancers, enjoy dancing with the teacher, and not feel the pressure to get up and dance with strangers. It also helps you be a 'known' quantity, which can in turn help out at studio social events.

In any case, if repeating the same behavior (go to group, go to social, feel dissatisfied, repeat) isn't working, time to try switching up the behavior.


Well-Known Member
Tastes change. I hated foxtrot when I first learned it. It was awful and evil. Now it's one of my favorite dances. That was 2 years ago...
In my many years on / associated with a collegiate team... this is more or less true for everyone. IIRC, our newbies usually adore cha-cha, then fall out of love with it after a year or so. Usually they love whatever they've had the most/best lessons in, OR the "fancy" dances that we didn't teach until late Bronze (Viennese, Quickstep, Samba, etc.) And like you, most of them hate foxtrot until they actually figure it out.

God, I remember when we were all in love with Samba. Hah.
I have no problem starting at rumba or tango from the beginning. However, if I know they're gonna drop it in a few months (even with the required attendance to keep the class going), I'm going to be really annoyed. I already know this stuff, but as I said, I like to start from the beginning and build on it.
It's a pity you can't get to the East Bay from where you are. The Allegro Ballroom has group class syllabus series (both smooth and rhythm) that run for 12 weeks at a time on Tuesdays. If you could take those classes, I'd think they would be perfect for someone in your situation.

I understand your frustration with group classes. When my non-dancing friends ask me for my opinion of the best way to learn ballroom dancing, I tell them that I'd recommend they take a series of group classes that focus on one dance at a time for at least 6-8 weeks. That would allow them to start at the beginning and build on what they learn over a long enough period of time to gain the confidence and competence to lead/follow a single dance. If they could do two such series classes each week, then after 6 months they'd have at least 6 solid dances under their belt, after which they could start going to dance parties knowing they could do at least half the dances with some degree of proficiency. The only problem with such a plan: such classes don't exist -- at least not where I live. Most classes are drop-ins focusing on a different dance each week, or maybe for two weeks at a time, or perhaps they start out aiming to offer a series of 4 weeks or more, but due to low attendance rates cancel the series after only one or two weeks.
Doug, you may wish to consider looking for a studio whose bread and butter are the group classes. At the studio I go to the overwhelming majority of the students only take group classes. There is a minority who do take only private lessons and another minority that take both private lessons and group classes. When, I first started taking group classes a couple of years ago, this studio would sometimes drop group classes for lack of students. However, I now notice they do not drop the group class for lack of students. In my most recent group class, there were only 4 students. It was like a private lesson. I was informed that the reason they did not drop group classes was because of complaints by the group class students. Drop in's in the group classes at the studio I go to are not allowed. Thus, you really get to learn the students, as you see and dance with the same students in the group class each week.


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lol...I think it is more that it is easy until you are told how to really do it....then it bites...then, if you work really hard with someone really good, you get to a place where it no longer feels awful.... :)


Active Member
Siiiiiiiiiigggggghhhhhhhh ...... whoa that was a lot of reading to catch up here.

Doug, you sound a lot like myself. My one question (in case I missed the all ready given answer) is: what made you want to dance in the first place and what makes you so stubborn as to not give it up? What makes dancing so importnt in your life?

Just to keep it fair I am going to relate my testimony here ---- I am a single guy. Growing up I never did relate/get along well with ladies. It didn't help that churches I was involved in always taught "watch how you treat and interact with women." Some how over the years I developed a really wierd veiw of myself and even told myself that is how women see me.

I finally came to a place where I decided I want to go out with/meet women. Because I still did not know how to interact with them I had no idea how to approach them to ask them out. Thanks to the wonderful internet though I would see on several dating sites that women always listed dancing as something they enjoyed on their profiles. Soooooo, I go out to some dance clubs where I can meet women, sit and watch everyone else dancing because I don't know how to dance a lick. Since I don't know how to dance I wind up not asking anyone to dance and then never meet anyone. Being the smart guy that I am I decide to solve that problem by taking dance lessons.

I'm wasn't even sure what I was looking for. I found a AM ad that said they taught several different dances so I went to them (and I'm still there.) Walking in I was to embarassed to tell them I wanted to learn to dance to pick up women. Fortunately I picked a studio where there is a nice core of people who interact together regularly and welcomed me into the close knit family environment. Through dancing I have learned to relax around women, to enteract with them, dance with them, yada yada ... My first instructor was the first woman I ever initiated a hug with. That really wierd view I used to have of myself has long since dissipated now!

My enjoyment in dancing is more making sure the lady is having a good time. If there are adavanced Ladys at the dance then I am not confident I can show them a good time because I don't know all the moves they do. If I do wind up dancing with them then its more of a torment to me because in my head I am thinkning I am not living up to their standards and therefore it is not fun for them. If they are not having fun I am not having fun.

Fortunately there was a good group of people where we all started about the same time and all got to learn together and advance together. The group classes and the private lessons really reinforced each other. I was/am always concerned about my leading. If I can't give the proper signal to get the response I desire then the lady is not enjoying herself, and neither am I. My instructor will teach something and often I'll have to stop her and ask, "Yeah, but how do you LEAD it?"

I know and understand what it is like to only know certain moves/steps and want to dance with someone who is about your level. My confidence comes from when the music stops and the lady smiles, says," thank you, you are a really good lead!" As leads we need to be the ones persuing the ladies and doing the asking. If you only know certain dances then look around before the dance starts and say,"Can I dance the next Waltz with you?" That used to be the idea of the dance card ... one would book their partner ahead of time!
I haven't vented in a while. Seems I'm about due for one. I'm back to being in a dancing funk again. Basically, the group lessons are fun, and the parties are not. Group lessons (especially series ones) are structured, and you get to work on and build upon your steps. Drop in group lessons not so much because the teacher goes at a much faster pace. If I don't understand the step after being shown a couple of times, which I often don't, I can't lead it, and if I can't lead it, I might as well just drop out of that class.

As far as the parties are concerned, they're not fun at all. 99% of the time, especially for the more complex steps, it just _does not_ work. Either because I can't lead it, or they are too much of a beginner to follow it. The first three years of dancing where easy. More recently, steps have become much harder to lead, and I'm not so damn good I can lead someone who's danced a particular dance before through it and make it work.

When you go to parties, and the things you try and do usually fail, that's just not fun. That's common sense. I also get irritated when this particular dance place, who doesn't offer group lessons in dances like samba, viennese waltz or quickstep has those dances down all strung together (along with rumba, salsa and west coast swing which I just don't like or get - rumba, I have no self confidence because after 3 years I should be able to do cuban motion but I can't after repeated attempts by various private instructors. When I sit out a series of dances, I typically get annoyed a leave.

Ugh. What do to do. I do like waltz, foxtrot, east coast swing, hustle, tango. I like viennese waltz, and quickstep too, but don't really know them because they don't offer group classes on them. They also don't offer a series group class on hustle, just a drop in Saturday night one, which goes so damn fast I have to drop out pretty darn fast.



Well-Known Member
If there are others who feel the same way about learning these dances, perhaps you can get together as a group and hire an instructor to teach you. Then you are more in control and can have him/her go as fast or slow as you need.

I understand your frustration at studios who hold socials and feature dances that they don't teach. I had the same problem at a former studio.


Well-Known Member
If you really really think that, after three years, that 'steps' are what make u p dancing, and not 'getting' a 'step' after a few minutes means you failed, then you need to step back and look at what dancing really I s - a journey with varying arcs of competency, quality, and comfort.

One clue was presented to me when I started dancing. I asked my instructor why things seemed hard after 'all this time' (around 2 years). He replied that things you originally learn, are constantly refined so they seem easy, since you already have some knowledge. However, the things that are new always get harder, since they are more complex, require more from you, and your standards rise. After all, when you are a beginner, you are given easy easy stuff, and mastering that is quick - we always say that the transition from beginner to intermediate is a matter of weeks - but after the really easy stuff is done, then you have to do harder and harder. If you accept this and accept the challenge, then dance stays exciting and fresh and yes, challenging. If you choose to subscribe to the theory that what feels good is the only barometer of success in dance, you will slowly become they guy people avoid in dance - those folks who never made it past the 'step of the day' mentality, and think leading is memorizing foot patterns and arm movement. Those guys who say they can only do what they think is dancing, with a teacher or someone as 'advanced' as they are. Those folks who feel that socials are not fun because the attendees are not doing precisely what you memorized in a group class, and actually are following what you lead... Which to you seems like they are not.


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Staff member
Doug...I have merged your threads (venting and close to giving up)...because they are similar and the forum doesn't need, in the end, 6 different threads that are roughly all the same regarding your personal frustrating is fine to do that here but we don't need many different threads on it...if you have questions on that you can take it to the staff mailbox, but it really isn't up for debate...otherwise, carry on

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