Re: Studio vs. private instructors Posted by dvunkannon 4/24/2013 3:13:00 PM
I've had both independent and chain studio experiences. The lessons leading up to my wedding were through an independent studio, and my wife and I now dance in an Arthur Murray franchise.
Certainly the independent studio lessons cost less, but I felt I learned less as well. There was less clear instruction and breakdown of the steps, and more rote memorization of a series of syllabus figures.
In contrast, our current AM experience is very good. We take advantage of 2-3 group classes for every private lesson, so the average cost per minute of floor time is lower. We also attend the practice parties to get more time dancing and enjoy ourselves with other dancers of our level. So the non-competitive, social part of the chain studio experience is working well for us. We enjoy the master classes with visiting instructors, and are happy with our progress.
We finished a 6-dance Bronze 1 program in about 50 private lessons, with plenty of emphasis on Cuban Motion! We thought we were slower than other dancers in our studio, because we were a couple. Other dancers in the studio have advanced to Silver in the same time frame, working almost entirely through private lessons.
My wife and I have no great desire to compete, either in in-house or open competitions. We dance to create beauty, not collect trophys. I'm doing my first Showcase routine right now, and I am enjoying the opportunity to work on choreography. My instructor is very open to listening to my ideas (and explain why they don't work sometimes).
If you really want to compete, I can't see how you can do it without a personal instructor. Just be clear on what is really motivating you to dance. To me competition = stress, which is not fun. Add up all your entrance fees, costuming, travel, etc. to do an apples-to-apples comparison with your studio experience, not just hourly instructor charges and floor fees.