To Take Ballroom Dance Lessons or Not? Consider These 6 Things

So, you’ve done your research and found a terrific ballroom studio, your questions have been answered, maybe you’ve even taken an introductory class. Everything seems great and you’re excited by the idea of joining! Now, you just have to do it, but you’ve put it on the backburner… and it’s been there for a while. It’s not that you’ve forgotten – you’d like to start soon, in fact. Perhaps you’re just not quite sure, because, naturally, you like to make good decisions, or maybe your partner feels somewhat ambivalent. Whatever lies at the root of your hesitance, there’s no doubt that you’ll need to get past it in order to take the next step forward; one of the best ways to do that is through a sense of certainty and the confidence in knowing that you’re making an informed decision. 

Well, this article may be just what you need, because the 6 considerations below will certainly help you get there! Collectively offering a big-picture look at where to place your focus as you sort your thoughts and options, and individually helping you hone in on single deciding factors and questions, they bring you several steps closer to clarity, so that the next steps you take… will be on the dance floor!

Consideration 1 | Your Dancing Goals

WHY IT MATTERS | Your goal may be to learn competitive-style dancing or social-style dancing; you might need to learn to dance for a special occasion (like your wedding); perhaps you’re new to the dance world, have lots of experience, or fall somewhere in between and aspire to take it up a notch; or maybe you just want to take lessons for the health perks and simple fun of it! Whatever your ballroom aspirations are, can they be thoroughly achieved at the studio you’re interested in joining? In other words, do its services align with your goals and will its instructors be able to address them in accordance with your skill-level? Some studios use cookie-cut approaches for teaching their students, leaving little room for customization. Well, what about the one that you’re interested in—do its instructors take into account each student’s unique goals and capabilities and tailor courses for them based on those particular goals and capabilities? In the case of special event dances for occasions like weddings: is this an area of the studio’s specialization or is it something the instructors only teach every once in a while? You can usually find out about a studio’s offerings, its approach to customization, and its strategies for aligning programs with students’ goals and capabilities by reading the information on its website, but speaking to an instructor is often more helpful.

Consideration 2 | Selection of Dance Styles

WHY IT MATTERS | Some styles of dance are not taught at certain ballroom studios – while one style is offered at Studio A, you may find that the same style is not taught at Studio B. Does the studio that you’ve had your eyes on teach the specific ballroom and/or Latin dances that you’re interested in? Take into consideration that, at some point in your dance journey, you may also want to expand your horizons by exploring styles other than the one that you’ve been learning; it’ll allow you to connect with the parts of dance that you find most enjoyable, expand your skill-set, and feed your desire to grow. Will you be able to achieve that at the dance studio you’ve been thinking about joining? This information is pretty easy to come by, as it’s usually available on the website.

Consideration 3 | Enrichment Opportunities

WHY IT MATTERS | Continuously challenging yourself and putting to practice what you’ve learned outside of the everyday teaching environment is an important part of your growth, no matter what your experience level is. Some ballroom studios offer enrichment opportunities and actively engage their students in them, allowing them to apply what they’ve learned in new settings, boosting their confidence, and opening doors for them to meet others in the industry. These activities can occur in the form of competitive dance events, local performances, dancing for causes, exhibition events, practice parties, showcases, community events, and more. If you want to keep growing as a dancer through participation in these types of activities, does the studio that you’ve been thinking about offer the enrichment opportunities or programs for you to do so? You can often find out by visiting a studio’s social media pages and the information is sometimes available on the website; if you can’t find out online, then speaking to an instructor will do.

Consideration 4 | Studio Credibility

WHY IT MATTERS | Not every ballroom studio offers the same experience. They each have their own reputations and getting familiar with how they’re perceived in the local area lets you know what to expect in terms of service quality. Their reputations also hint at what your relationship with them might be like. Is the studio that you’ve been giving consideration reputable and affiliated with a world-recognized brand known for a history of excellence and is it highly regarded in your community? What about its instructors—are they credentialed and capable of providing the particular level of instruction that you’re looking for? Some of these things can be revealed by having a look at the website, as well as the reviews posted on business listings and social media.

Consideration 5 | Flexibility & Options

WHY IT MATTERS | There’s work, there’s life, and there’s ballroom! On certain days, they’ll all need to fit into your schedule, so if you’re going to take lessons, that means joining a studio with operating days and hours that you can work with. There will also be times that you’re out of town, traveling for business, or simply have scheduling conflicts. In this case, it’d be ideal to have some flexibility around how you’re able to take your lessons, meaning at the studio or remotely (at home or anywhere you are). Is the studio that you’re interested in open when you’ll need it and will you have the option to alternate between taking your lessons in person and online (with your instructor in real time)? Business hours are usually reliably found on websites, but they tend to be listed on social media and local listings, as well. When it comes to online dance lessons for local students, not all ballroom studios offer them, so if the one that you’re considering does, then there may be information about it on the website; otherwise, reaching out to ask will get your question answered.  

Consideration 6 | Long-Term Potential

WHY IT MATTERS | Unless you’ll be taking lessons to achieve a short-term goal, then ballroom dancing is something that you’ll want to keep up with for a while, especially if you plan to strengthen your skills as a dancer or even if you simply enjoy it for what it contributes to your life! Based on what you’ve learned about the studio that you’re interested in, can you see yourself immersed in its environment and do its guiding principles resonate with you? What about its instructors—do they seem enthusiastic about the growth of their students, are they personable, and do they make you feel inspired? When it comes down to it, can you see yourself there for the long-run? Looking at the website, speaking to an instructor, taking an introductory lesson, hearing from other students, and watching the team’s videos on social media are pretty solid ways to gauge the energy and culture at a studio, get a feel for the general teacher-student dynamic, and determine whether or not you’d like to see yourself there now and in the future! 

Now, because this is not a comprehensive list, it only covers the key considerations. It’s possible that there will be other criteria applicable to your unique needs, so you’ll want to factor those into your decision, too. As a starting point, however, the 6 above should make the process easier for you (and your partner) to make a grounded choice about moving forward with the studio that you’ve kept under consideration. At the end of the day, dislodging yourself from that place of uncertainty after finding a studio that you like really just comes down to truly understanding what you want out of the experience, confirming that the studio is a match, and going with the feeling in your gut!

What other criteria would you add to this list? If you’ve found yourself in these circumstances before, what was the decision-making process like for you? How did you get past feeling undecided after a positive introductory experience at a ballroom studio? Let us know by emailing us or sharing your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Arthur Murray Dance Studio of Virginia Beach

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