How to Choose a Dance Instructor

Whether you are dancing for pleasure or pursuing dance professionally, choosing the right dance instructor can make a difference in your dance progress and enjoyment of dance training. The best dance teachers create an environment that is conducive to learning and encourage you to achieve your greatest dance potential. Here are some things to consider when choosing a dance instructor.


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    Identify your preferred dance style. Ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap and modern are just a few styles of dance from which to choose. If you are interested in dancing with a partner, you might choose a ballroom dance style, such as the tango, waltz or salsa.
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    Determine your dance goals. Your goal may be to take dance classes with your fiancé to prepare for your wedding dance. If you're trying to lose weight and are bored with the gym, a dance class may be a replacement for gym activities. Alternatively, you may be interested in dance as a profession with the goal of becoming a performer, dance teacher or choreographer. Pinpointing your overall goal will help you to choose the right dance teacher.
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    Find the right dance studio or school. Based on your dance goals, identify the best type of dance studio. For example, to become a social ballroom dancer, you might locate a salsa class in a local community center. If you're interested in competing as a ballroom dancer, the best dance instructors will be those who have competition experience and teach in professional dance studios.
    • Search online or in the local yellow pages. Conduct an Internet search for dance studios in your local area. For example, if you are interested in learning hip hop, enter "hip hop classes" and the name of your city. If you are looking in the yellow pages, look for "dance studios" or "dance schools."
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    Examine the costs of dance instruction. Group dance classes cost less than 1-on-1 lessons. A group class may range from $10 to $20 (USD) per class. Buying group classes in bulk may result in a discount, depending on the dance school. Private dance lessons may cost from $30 to several hundred dollars (USD) per hour, depending on the teacher.
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    Review dance teacher bios to select ideal teachers. Teacher bios generally highlight experience in performance, choreography and teaching. Look for information about training, dance specialty and performance experience. For example, if your goal is to perform with a modern dance company, choose a teacher who directs, or has performed with, this type of dance company.
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    Request a dance schedule. Ask the dance school to mail you a schedule or visit its website to view an online schedule. Select several classes that fit well with your daily routine.
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    Watch the selected dance classes. Many dance schools allow prospective students to observe classes. Observing dance classes allows you to examine the technique level and the dance teacher's interaction with the students.
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    Take classes with different dance teachers. Teachers in professional dance environments are generally stricter and expect students to demonstrate focus and commitment. Recreational dance classes are typically more laid back, allowing students more time to learn, ask questions and enjoy the process.
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    Choose a dance instructor who teaches the right dance style and level. A dance teacher who is the right fit will help you achieve your goals at the right pace and level of enjoyment. For a dancer with professional aspirations, a community center dance teacher who moves slowly may cause frustration due to the slow pace of the class. A recreational dancer may find it stressful to learn from a teacher who is accustomed to teaching professional dancers with excellent movement memory.
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    Assess your dance progress. The first few dance classes with a new dance teacher can be challenging because you are getting to know one another and must become comfortable with the warm-up, dance style and teaching approach. However, after attending 5 to 6 classes with a chosen dance teacher, determine if the class is the right style, level and pace for your dance goals and needs.
    • Find a new dance teacher if necessary. Repeated injuries, frustration or boredom may be reasons to find a new dance teacher. You'll know that you have found the right dance teacher when you are progressing in your dance technique at the right pace and enjoying the learning process.

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Categories: Dancing