One lesson with World Champion - is it useful?

I'm traveling to Tuscany this March and I will stay near Lucca.

I heard there are many great dancers there - Fabio Selmi, Mirko Gozzoli, Alessia Betti and many more.

I travel with my family so unfortunately I won't have much time - I will be able to take only one or two lesson with only one of them. Is it useful? I'm not a competitor yet but a social dancer in Arthur Murray who might start the teacher course this year.

P.S Are there any Italian speakers here? I really need your help in contacting Luciano Matteoni for a suit.

Thanks in advance :)


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A lesson from one of them certainly wouldn't hurt your dancing at all; the question is, would it be worth the money? I don't know how you dance, but Arthur Murrays don't have the best reputation for pumping out good dancers (although, there are some exceptions) The first thing I'd suggest, if you're serious, is to make sure that you're at a good school and that your teachers have some real credentials. Beginners are often blown away by people who have been dancing only a short time, but training under an inexperienced teacher will stunt your growth.

As for the lessons, only you can say how much you would benefit from lessons with them (unless you're a millionaire, in which case, do it just because it's fun).


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Well, my question would be how good is all of their English if you don't speak Italian? Also remember that while YOU might be there, they might not be at the same time.

Without knowing your dancing, I don't think anyone can say how much you'd benefit. I will say if I were "just" a social dancer, ie a newbie who is spending more time memorizing figures to get around a social floor than working on technique (as opposed to someone who's been social-dancing for years and is working on the same things someone who competes would be) you might not get a lot out of it unless you're looking to go from memorizing to focusing on technique.
Thank you all.

I do focus on Technique, and not on memorizing the steps.
I do want to go pro someday - I already watched something like dozens of lectures and read Henry Jacques's and Len Scrivener's books to improve my dancing.

I belive that I'm better than average Arthur Murray's student, I'm 21 years now and dancing for 3. I give a lot of effort for my dancing as I always wanted to compete someday. I'm and IDF soldier so I didn't have the time to find be a competitor - I think that the ladies would like a partenr who can effort even more. I will be Released next year though.

The question is - for a teacher who didn't saw my dancing yet and who is not faimiliar with Arthur Murray's syllabus, who is regular on teaching competitors - would it be somewhere useful to take one lesson? It's just that someone told me I will put my money to the garbage because the teacher won't be able to even get familiar with my dancing in this amount of time.

About managing with my english - they do talk english. The one who doesn't is the tailor, Luciano Matteoni, but this is another story.
Any syllabus requires fundamental technique :) even one lesson with a world champion might change the way you approach your dancing.

I imagine most teachers on taking a new student will first assess their movement quality and fundamental technique, then work on that or move onto something else if it's good enough to try new stuff. You can request specific things to focus on of course, just be aware and comfortable that you may be spending your money for a lesson on basic technique and drills, depending on your level. It may not be worth it if you can work on the same things with another professional who charges less.

If you can afford it, spending on your education/passion is money well spent. Sometimes the bigger regrets are the things you didn't do, not the things you did. A single beginner's lesson with a world champ would be a nice indulgence and put into perspective where you are in the dance ocean. Personally, I'd be more anxious about spending 5/6 times the cost of the lesson on a suit :p


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If I had a chance to take a lesson from, say Riccardo Cocchi, I would probably just take 2 measures of 8 from a routine of mine and show him and have him "fix"it.
You're a social dancer, however. I really wouldn't recommend taking lessons from a world champion.
Is this the only time you will be in Tuscany? The choice of the phrase "worth it" suggests that maybe it is too soon. That has nothing to do with where you study and much more with where you assess your own skills. How many coaching sessions have you had with visiting Arthur Murray coaches, or traveling to have coaching sessions with AM coaches? You also might want to consider how nervous the situation itself would make you, and how that might affect your lesson.

Now, if I had the opportunity to see a demonstration or audit a group class... Whatever you choose, good luck and most importantly, have fun.
I taught my self a basic group of International style Waltz (first basic group of Marcus and Karen Hiltons's teaching video).

It's natural turn -> into open impetus -> then a Weave from Promenade position -> then a Chasse from Promeande position-> then a Natural turn O.P -> ending with a Natural Spin turn to overturned turning lock to Promeande position.

Many of the steps I already learnt in my studio - the others I will ask my teacher to practice it with me, as she already suggested.

I would have some steps to work on but I do belive, as twothreefourone said, that we will finally work on basic technique - improving the hold and the basic walk. I heard once a lecture by Bill Irvine when he said he had a lesson with Henry Jacques and he taught him how to stay still and how to move his legs from the hips. I belive my lesson won't be any different - I belive I still need that lesson even though I practiced those things a lot.

The question is, again - is one lesson enough to improve (even onlt a bit) my dancing in those things (basic technique) or it is a total waste of money?
My answer to Little watcher:

I had one lesson with a coach name Thomas Papkala. It did help me a lot, especially after his greetings about my posture.

I didn't had many coaches yet bacuse unfortunately, they don't come to Israel a lot.


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I believe I started a thread awhile back.. "Are High Priced Coaches Worth It?", and got some good answers. I think it all depends on your financial resources and your current dance abilities. If you have the $$$, I can see it being an exciting experience, if you are budgeting, then I would consider is there something that at your level, a world champ coach can teach you over a local, less expensive coach.
From another point of view, if you have the money, why not?

It's only a lesson or two. It'll be great to see the perspective of a world class dancer, especially if you have not been exposed to lessons with them.

Honestly the thing that moved me from being someone learning groups to someone now fascinated by dance was private lessons with a quality competitive dancer. Everything then becomes so much more than just groups and stepping forward or backward and going up or down. Suddenly there is a wealth and richness to even to most basic things. So much so that I'm willing (and eager! ) to go back time and again to have lessons purely on a natural turn or feather steps.

The worst that can happen is you don't like the lesson for some reason or other, and hence wasted some money and a couple of hours.

Also, be prepared to hear stuff you have already been told before! Or to do or dance things you may feel are menial. One of my coaches is a Blackpool semi finalist, and she told me that her coach made them work on closed changes for 8 weeks. She taught the same material to us. And it made a world of difference.
Oh and one more thing, arrange it early! These coaches travel a lot and can be quite busy.

Regarding English, Fabio, mirko, and Luca all speak English. Mirko is probably the least comfortable with it and (or so my coaches say) prefers to teach in Italian.


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#15 is the thing; folks at this level will be able to determine, IMMEDIATELY, what you most need to learn in order to progress from where you are (and to convey it to you regardless of their language).....the BIGGER issue is whether or not they will have time for you, whether or not they will take someone not as advanced, whether or not they will take you on your own without someone to dance with, etc....not whether or not you should do it which, IMV, for anyone wanting to be a pro, is an absolute no-brainer


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What part of the country do you live? Certainly you can find excellent instruction (outside of your local AM)... it might be worth it to work with other competitive dance teachers to see what it is like for you. it might be very humbling and very informative compared to what you are getting locally.


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What part of the country do you live? Certainly you can find excellent instruction (outside of your local AM)... it might be worth it to work with other competitive dance teachers to see what it is like for you. it might be very humbling and very informative compared to what you are getting locally.
This would probably be a really good idea. A few people on here are probably responding a little dubiously because you're calling yourself a social dancer AT ARTHUR MURRAY. Unless you happen to be at a really good franchise location (best way to gauge that--are their students competitive at *open* events, against independent studios/dancers, not just closed AM events) that's not a name that inspires a lot of respect or confidence without objective results to back it up as the franchises have a somewhat-earned reputation for being student mills focused on selling big packages and keeping students in a 'program' system. For people who want a really structured setting and controlled social environment, great, but it's not what goes on at most other non-franchise locations and definitely not at the seriously competitive studios. Before venturing to some of the best in Europe (heck, before locking yourself into AM's teacher training) you might want to do what Bailamosdance suggests and test the waters closer to home.


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If you are open to a new experience in your dancing, and open to hearing whatever they may have to say that would help improve your dancing, and you can afford it, by all means take the opportunity while you have it. It might end up being anything from a nice experience, to something that totally changes the way you look at your dancing. No way to know exactly how it will go in advance. I agree with the others about other additional ways to broaden your experience and perspective as well. But you asked about a lesson with a world champion - if you are serious about your dancing, then I can't think of any reason not to, other than the expense. They are sure to have something of value to share with you, though it may be something different than you expect.
I don't know what the Arthur Murrays are like in Israel; is this the only studio you've danced at/have you tried other studios? Apologies for drifting off topic anyway, I just ask in case you're able to get another opinion on your dancing and what to work on. This might make the decision to visit a coach in Italy easier, if one of your chosen coaches is available of course.


Well-Known Member
Another question that just occurred to me -- what style(s) do you dance? Given that you're not in the US, I would assume international style, but when I hear AM, I assume American style. Obviously, good dancing is good dancing, and a smooth dancer can only be helped by beautiful technique learned from a standard dancer, but if you're learning American smooth, that could cause another level of translation to be needed in a lesson with these folks, just because you may not share the same steps, and even if you do, not the same step names.

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