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Re: ok how long does it really take..............
Posted by belleofyourball
4/30/2012  12:29:00 PM
Zeke,

I'm glad you are starting to dance but there really isn't a way to break this down into cost and numbers. Each person learns differently and each has their strengths and weaknesses. When I started that was what I wanted to know more than anything because I'm not rich but still wanted to be good.

I started dancing at Fred Astaire moved to dancing with an independent studio and then worked at an Arthur Murray for awhile. I am still dancing with my independent studio...but Arthur Murray slowed things down and wanted me to dumb down my instruction and I won't do it.

The magic on learning to dance isn't hours and prepaid lessons at the dance studio. The real progress comes from a lot of practice on your own...working on your core...and searching out a qualified dance instructor. I am not saying you don't have one where you are at. I am saying there is a very good chance that you don't have one. They don't give new students great instructors. They give them great salespeople who have memorized a bunch of figures have a pat memorized script for teaching them and have no idea what it means to actually dance.

You need to spend some time researching reputations and finding an outlet for good instructors in your area. It took me a long time to find a good instructor. They should be able to dance well and teach well.

If you can find one get a partner and begin doing group classes together. Know that you will be learning from one another and teaching one another. Take classes from the best people you can find. The top dancers in the US often do group classes for as little as $25 a class. You just need to plug in and figure out where they are. You learn a lot and practice alot and don't freak out when the mistakes happen...they happen.

Know that even after years and years you can still work to perfect the so called 'basics.' Dance should be fun and exhilerating and you just can't credibly break it down into a timeline.

I have been dancing a number of years and it has taken me a really long time to get where I am. Some dances come easily and some are hard. Some people learn very quickly and for others its a struggle. DOn't buy into the sales pressure and dance because you love dancing. Meet your goals not your sales persons quota for the month.
Re: ok how long does it really take..............
Posted by dancingdude321
4/30/2012  12:50:00 PM
you decide how long it's going to take but it comes down to this. Time and money.

the time part of the equation is how often you going to practice. The money part is the equation is how often you will get lessons.

I started dancing at the age of 50 three and a half years ago and I have 1 my way to competitions in dance sport from bronze to championship level.

it really comes down to commitment.here's what I would suggest, what has worked for me. First of all absolute requirement is you find a dance partner who is as committed to the process as you are. no easy task let me tell you.

I tried group classes and I tried private lessons, my experience is that private lessons are the way to go if you wish to improve quickly.
Re: ok how long does it really take..............
Posted by ladydance
4/30/2012  1:20:00 PM
As everyone has stated there is no timeline to learning to dance. There is a steep learning curve. For a long time you struggle, learning the basic steps, learning to lead or follow, learning partnership skills, floorcraft and the list goes on. One day something clicks and you no longer have difficulty remembering steps, everything becomes easier and for awhile, you learn quickly. Then you hit a wall and learning slows to a crawl. I have danced for eight years and figure I have had 650 hours of group and private instruction. I want to be the best dancer I can be. Many women I know though, only learn to do the basics around the floor and want their partner to forcefully lead them into anything more difficult. These women are heavy and unresponsive and most men who are good dancers don't like dancing with them. I don't want that so I work on myself, I learn my steps, work on my body position etc. It's up to you to figure out your reason for dancing and learn as much as you want or can afford. Be aware, dancing can become very addictive!
If you attend dance events you will become a better dancer. Dancing takes practice. A steady partner is the best. In North America, social ballroom dancers are the exception not the norm and so if you go to a 'dance' you might not meet anyone who can actually dance. But if you go to a 'ballroom dance' everyone is expected to know the basics and there will be plenty of partners.
Re: ok how long does it really take..............
Posted by zeke22
4/30/2012  7:09:00 PM
Thanks everyone.
The partner seems key as mentioned by acouple of you and as i perceive early on in this process. If regular dances don't have dancers small wonder I've never been comfortable. It will mean I'll have to venture yet further from my comfort zone and find some ballroom dances even just to watch. I have contacted another independant for a privatelesson and she has tuesday / thursday group lessons each focusing on a specific dance for 6-8weeks starting in a month so may do both studios for a while. I do think this will be difficult without a partner though.
Maybe I can manage to get passable doing it the way I am and find someone who wants to try it out later. Thanks again and yes it is addicting.
Re: ok how long does it really take..............
Posted by anymouse
5/1/2012  6:01:00 PM
Parties have their place, but even more productive is to ask someone from a group class to meet up some other weeknight or before or after the class and practice together. That is to a potential partnership what "going for coffee" is to a non-dance relationship.

If that goes well (or if you feel like going right for it) then you can share a private lesson. Its fairly customary to split the cost evenly.
Re: ok how long does it really take..............
Posted by zeke22
6/22/2012  6:28:00 PM
3 months in now and have taken 12 privates, twice weekly group and twice weekly practice at the first studio (arthur murray) and go to two other studios for group and a couple of privates at one of them. Have worked up to nine hours a week over six evenings.
All studios are different in that some are slow and methodical with others doling out intricate figures before capable. Which I do want. It may well be that the studios give more than ready for just to keep clientele like me happy.
It is going well
. I can do a few things and do see much to learn. it isn''t going to take a month like I thought going in the door that first time lol!
Re: ok how long does it really take..............
Posted by Ladydance
6/24/2012  5:09:00 AM
I'm glad everything is going well, but a word of warning. You are, in my opinion, making a rookie mistake, by running all over town taking lessons at different studios. You will get conflicting info and if the emphasis is different at different places, you may miss or ignore critical info. I would not attempt intricate figures until you have the basics down cold and your technique is solid. Intricate figures executed by someone with poor or no technique looks terrible and fools no one. As well, no woman can follow a hard pattern unless they know their steps and it is lead extemely well. You need to work on posture, always an ongoing problem. Head back, neck in collar, elbows in front of your body. Do not lead with your arms or your top. Many men lean forward with their head, body or both to lead a figure. Footwork is extremely important. Do you know if you step with heel or a toe. Where is the body and/or foot rise? In a rush to get dancing, beginners blow all this info off and get bad habits that are hard to break.For example: One man at our studio started dancing standard looking straight at his partner, scrunched over, elbows down. Now he can't break himself of this habit and doesn't even realize he is doing it. Looks terrible. He was learning silver level stuff until the owner of the studio, pulled the instructor aside and told him to go back to basics until their technique improves.
Re: ok how long does it really take..............
Posted by dheun
6/24/2012  5:27:00 PM
It could be a lifetime of learning, so as long as you are having fun, that's the key element. Unless you do this professionally, life will tend to get in the way on occasion and keep you off the dance floor. I took a new job a year ago now, and have been out to dance only twice in that entire time, as compared to going a couple times a week at least for the past several years. And doing it constantly when I was younger. So it is a lifetime skill, one that you may have dust off the shelf on occasion. But it's a lot better than never having done it or learned this skill to begin with. You sound like a person cramming for a final exam in going to so many places and taking so many lessons. I agree with the post about it may be a "rookie" mistake going to so many places, however there could be a positive side to that as well -- it won't take long to figure out which studio you really belong at.
Re: ok how long does it really take..............
Posted by BallroomChick
6/25/2012  11:41:00 AM
My question would be, why do you need a time line? Your not going to a wedding or a competition right off. Take the time line off your agenda. Why put unnecessary pressure on yourself? This is for YOUR fun and health. Everyone learns at a different rate, this has been stated. At the beginning there is a TON of info to absorb. Enjoy the journey you are on.

Think about what your goals really are for dancing. Going out Fri or Sat night social dancing at the local studios or centers. Generally only Bronze level is needed, few social dancers know silver (or many silver level) patterns. Technicality is not all that important. Most of these dancers "jell" the moves/steps. (they are not crisp like competition moves)

Do you think there is any possibility you might want to take your dancing further - say doing showcases or competitions? It matters who you take with then.

As was stated earlier, going to every Tom, Dick and Harry giving lessons is way too many cooks in the kitchen and it spoils the souffle. Just because someone hangs a shingle out saying they are a dance instructor does NOT mean they are competent.

You sound like your are sorely lacking confidants. I know the feeling, I was there TWICE! (Once when I started out and later I lost it through a series of "bad events.") The last time I used Arthur Murry to help gain mine back, BUT, you will pay for their highly sugar coated boosters. AND they love their 40 min lesson plans. Get what you can from them and move on once your achieve your goal. More times than not you can get more for your money with an independent instructor. While you are absorbing what you can form A.M., research dance instructors. If you are in the U.S. - USA Dance is a good place to start. You can find social dances all over the place through them. Check out any local ballroom dance competitions in your area. Try Googling Dancesport Competitions. Buy and program and take note of the instructors and who's students are winning. What better place to get phone numbers/e-mail addresses?

When I was researching the instructor I've been with for 4 years now. I watched a lot of dance lessons and how the instructors worked. It amazed me - from over hearing an instructor telling couples taking lessons he didn't know what they were doing wrong in their dance steps, to an instructor not bothering doing patterns with his student, but she was to "get the move" with him walking in front of her the entire hour. (It was a pattern with other students in his weekly lessons.)

I watched how instructors presented their students in showcases. Apparently for some, the showcase was more about the instructor than the student/s. (one or two instructors out danced the student)

This is a fun hobby, but you do have to do a little home work to make sure your on the right path for your needs. Also you meet so many great people along the way!

Re: ok how long does it really take..............
Posted by Quickstep7
6/26/2012  11:09:00 PM
How long does it take. Answer. You never stop learning. Former British and World Latin Champion Karen Hardy. As a co-commentator on a Dance Contest Televised
( which I still have ) was asked. How long must I continue practising Rumba Walks. For ever she answered.

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