Taking lessons at FADs, we have had a lot of teachers over the 5 years. Some have been a bit overwieght, a few extremely short and one very tall. We have not found their physical attributes to be a problem. One lady who has done an awesome job getting ballroom dancing going in one of the cities, near were we live is very much overweight. But she does an excellent job teaching and is appreciated by her students.
Bolero, the "unlimited" group classes that you mentioned that are available to the students are misleading. First of all, the AM studios in So CAl do not offer group classes in each dance at each level on a regular basis. So, say you're an advance student in a dance that is not popular with a lot of students, you'd have to depend on your private lessons to learn anything about that dance. (Additionally, dance parties won't do you much good either because others don't know how to due that dance). At my studio the only group classes they have on a regular/weekly basis are beginners swing and beginners salsa. This sucks because one of the dances on my program is salsa and I'm too advance for beg. salsa. (And off course they'll tell you it never hurst to take a lower level class to brush up on your technigue, etc.) They have the salsa class in my level once a month. Some other dances, like the tango and waltz, are offered even less frequent than this. Secondly, they will only allow you to take classes in your level; taking a class higher than your level is usually frowned upon. So, the free unlimited classes that you're upselling is not that much of a plus at all. Bolero, you're either an instructor or a franchisee aren't you. You seem to leave out a lot of caveats about their program.
Ellen, even if you have all the time in the world AM doesn't pay off with the group classes because of the selection of dances, levels, and frequency at which they're offered. They won't let you take classes in dances that are not on your program or on your level.
Here's my problem with AM: they sell you units - unit consists of a private/ group/ dance party. It's about $120 for each "unit". I can NEVER attend the party sessions because of my work schedule, so that 1/3 of my "unit" goes completely to waste, but I can't buy them separately. Does that sound fair? In my case it's like I'm actually paying $60 for each 45-minute private and group lesson. I really like the convenience of the location, but I just feel like I could be getting more for my money elsewhere.
Parties bought a la carte at the independent studio near me cost $10 per night. So, you can use that figure to get an idea of how much you are overspending for your AM unit.
Private lesson prices in my area from people who have US National Pro Rising Star titles, or who have been on "Dancing with the Stars," are about $70-$85 per lesson. I'm pretty sure the lessons are 45 minutes each. I'm paying a little less than that, but then my teacher isn't a US finalist.
Thanks, Laura. This is what I am saying. I would gladly pay 75, 80, even 100 dollars for private lessons, and that still would cost me less that what I am paying for this package deal at AM. I cannot wait until my contract runs out.
Yeah! Same thing with me about the party classes!!! I remember when I first signed up at AM, the instructor had me fill out this questionnaire that was supposedly to help him understand my goals. They one section for reason why you want to dance with several different "social" reasons, such as to make new friends or to be involved in a social club atmosphere. I didn't check off anything that had to do with social. I clearly stated my main goals were for personal improvement and competition. Well my cat might as well have filled it out because I know see that every single students contract orplan is exactly the same as mine! An equal # of private to group to party lessons per unit regardless of what your goal or interest is.
Yes, AM stinks!! I was involved for 2 years at an AM, and wouldn't step foot in that studio again if you paid me. My instructor lied to me about so many things.... There are so many other dance options out there, and I'm glad to see that other people have stopped "drinking the AM kool-aid!"
America - just what makes the place tick? Here in the UK the overwhelming majority of dance studios are privately owned, and in my region, the going rate for a class if around £5/hour, and you just turn up and pay. If you don't like the teacher, the studio or the other students, you go where you like and pay about the same.
The price of private lessons can vary widely (as you would expect), but £18-25/hr is typical at beginner/intermediate level. There are no chains: I don't buy crap food at McDonalds, and I don't buy crap coffee at Starbucks - why on earth would I want to buy franchised dancing?
You get what you deserve. If customers didn't flock to such outfits, they would fold.
Arthur murray is money maker but also very smart. As age restrictions apply at international studios for example age 35 is the breaking point between amatuer and masters! Also not everyone is considered competition material so people who want to dance and compete have no choice but to turn to studios as the like. Be very careful when signing contracts and also be strong don't let your emotions/desires run away try other studios like salsa they run comps and look around many social dance studios do allow students to compete and much lower fees. The staff at AM are so under experienced just give the teachers are hard time by throwing technical questions at them constantly eventuelly their true experience or lack of will come through.
Hi, i just wanted to say i am a student at an AM, and i really do love the studio, and you really sound like all of my instructors, i love dance and i do not think i would take it anywhere else. The instructors are great and the friends i have made are awesome!
Although I do support the suppression of sales before dancing tactics, I must toss in my two cents here.
I see a lot of people complaining about instructors who learn from videos, and at the same time they complain about the high prices of lessons. Surely you know that if you learn from sources other than videos, you will be either taking lessons which cost money, or receiving professional coaching which costs more money.
I see people wanting professionally trained instructors (trained by professionals I assume) but they want the rates lowered. Now, while I am in agreement that some rates are very high, if you want a professional instructor, be prepared to pay for it, because it isn't cheap for them to get where they are at.
Just had to toss another viewpoint in there. But let it be known, I am against those instructors who try to "suck the money right out of you" because they give those of us who actually love to teach a bad rap.
My husband and I started with AM in January. We have the same program $125 per unit (1 private, 1 group, 1 party) but have found that in some of the dances, we are becoming limited because we haven't paid for the next level of learning (we are in bronze 1 - AM breaks bronze up into 1, 2, 3 and 4) For us to continue all the way to bronze 4 it will cost us an additional $18,800! We learn pretty quickly apparently and when we ask questions about technique or something, we often get told that is later on in bronze. So basically, if we want to "know" we have to fish over $18,000!
We were going to order some videos from ballroomdancers.com to give us a few ideas since we can't afford that. What do you guys think?
I've just done bronze & silver international ballroom on the back of six months of private lessons at £12/week, so that's just over £300. I passed with HC, so the teacher wasn't cutting corners (and, for example, my Waltz routine included 15 figures, when the syllabus required a minimum of just 6).
Are the US dance studios run by the mob? Do privately owned schools just "disappear"? Why do you pay such silly money?
"...when we ask questions about technique or something, we often get told that is later on in bronze.
Which means they (the teachers) haven't learned the step yet."
as a former student, teacher, competative professional, and coach I must sincerely disagree with this. It is detrimental and a disservice to introduce techniques of dance before certain others are mastered, or at least somewhat so. The process (often called "layering") can be related to building a house - it may look pretty at first glance, but if the foundation is unsound or the building materials are shoddy, sooner or later it will collapse. This is true of any skill, be it dance, art, golf, sales, bowling, or whatever. In my experience, people tend to believe they are further along than they are, or don't appreciate the subtleties of certain essential techniques and cast them off because they don't feel the progress as fast. If you trust your teacher (IF!) you need to realize that you hired them for their expertise, and put your guidance in their hands, just as you would a college professor - you don't walk into a university and say,"teach me calculus!!" when you don't know algebra yet. This philosophy carried me far in the dance world - from many top student awards at various levels to top teacher awards, to finals at major comps and to coaching several other up-and coming competative professionals. If you don't trust your teacher - you need a new one!! (regardless of whether it is AM,Fads, Independant or whatever)