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All About Dance » Feel overwhelmed ? Advice on how to choose a dance teacher. Weddings or Not
Feel overwhelmed ? Advice on how to choose a dance teacher. Weddings or Not
- Shannon Knauss
We feel overwhelmed. How do we select a dance studio/instructor?
What is the difference between a wedding dance specialist and a general ballroom dance teacher? Your goals.
One of the problems with selecting a standard dance studio or instructor is that they view wedding couples as "lost leads." This is because the wedding couple has a short term goal - - the wedding, which does not usually lead them to take very many lessons. Keep these facts in mind when you call or go into a studio:
1) "FREE" lessons: you get what you pay for! Most "free lessons" at dance studios are a means to get you through the door. Much of the lesson is spent convincing you of the benefits of dance as a lifetime hobby and reviewing lengthy and expensive packages for after your wedding. The free lesson's emphasis is not actually on learning to dance but rather on selling you more lessons. It costs a dance studio thousands of dollars to create a dance instructor and promote their business. Therefore, studios do not give away QUALITY private lessons for free.
2) One dance style versus a variety: We leaves the decision of how many dances to learn up to you-the client! Most wedding couples are on a tight schedule and limited budget, they want to focus their attention on feeling comfortable for their first dance in front of their guests. In contrast, general dance studios may discourage students from studying only one dance for various reasons (primarily the bottom line). Complicating a small program (3-5 lessons) with additional dances may result in needing to purchase more lessons and cause a sense of confusion and discomfort on your big day. Feeling comfortable with new dance material generally requires about 5 hours. Depending on your skill and comfort level,it's O.K. to reevaluate your progress and comfort level after the third or fourth lesson to consider learning the very basics of a second dance but be wary of teachers too insistent on focusing on more than one dance from the onset.
3) Experience of the instructor: Since wedding couples generally purchase small packages (less than 25) many studios have their most inexperienced instructors teach the wedding couples. Dance lessons are as important as any other service you might hire for your wedding. You have every right to ask how long your instructor has been teaching. Would you want to hire a chauffeur who just moved to the area, got his license last week and has never driven the limo before?
4) Flexibility in package options: Be wary of studios who insist you cannot benefit from just one lesson or worse do not allow you to purchase only one lesson! Even one lesson with the right instructor can show remarkable results. Some students time or budget do not allow for more than one lesson. We understand this and are flexible. We created this niche in the Seattle area years ago because we saw a need was not being met. A couple years after our inception, we have been flattered by those attempting to imitate us. Your wedding dance preparation can be the most relaxing and romantic aspect of your wedding planning process IF you have the right instructor! We encourage you to do your research and compare!
5) The Teacher: The personality, demeanor, image, teaching style are all important factors to consider when selecting a dance teacher. Just because they are good dancers does not guarantee that they will be good teachers. The teacher must genuinely enjoy working with beginners and ideally have compassion and understanding of the unique pressures that wedding planning involves.
Do you offer a FREE trial lesson?
Beware of "FREE" lessons! You get what you pay for! Free lessons are not given out of the kindness of a studio's heart, most "free lessons" at dance studios are simply a lure to get you through the door. Much of the lesson is spent convincing you of the benefits of dance as a lifetime hobby and reviewing lengthy and expensive packages for after your wedding. The free lesson's emphasis is not actually on learning to dance but rather on selling you more lessons. It costs a dance studio thousands of dollars to create a dance instructor and promote their business. Therefore, studios do not give away QUALITY private lessons for free. Therefore, they must recoup their loss on the "FREE" lesson by hiking up the price on any lessons you purchase in the future. A "FREE" lessons generally consists of 20 minutes of dance instruction (which may not even focus entirely on your actual dancing goals) and the rest of the "lesson" is a sales pitch. Your time is valuable, studios should respect your time by answering all your questions over the phone, by email or on their website. The first sign that a studio is in the higher price bracket is if they refuse to quote you their rates over the phone and/or don't post them on their website. Other studios know each other's prices, so you have to ask yourself...who are they hiding them from? If you have to spend your valuable time finding out that a studio is too expensive or doesn't meet your needs or expectations, isn't that already too high a price to pay for a "FREE" lesson?
With us, you can expect answers to all your questions before even walking through our door. The lesson is intensive and focused on your specific needs from the onset. We will even GUARANTEE you an entire wedding dance in ONE hour if you tell us in advance that is all you intend to take. Isn't that better than a "FREE" lesson designed to convince you that you need MORE lessons? Ask the studio if they are willing to make that same guarantee on a "FREE" lesson.