General Dance Discussion > Cheaper alternative to private lessons?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Statlady, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Statlady

    Statlady New Member

    Hi, I'm new here. From what I've read, you all seem like a reasonable bunch, so I thought I would tell you of my dilemma.

    I am currently enrolled in private ballroom dance lessons at a local studio. I paid for the lessons awhile back when my husband and I were both working full-time (my husband detests dancing, so I'm taking them alone). I have since quit my job to be a stay-at-home-mom. I am completely addicted to ballroom dancing. If I could, I would dance all day, every day. I danced a lot growing up and in college, but am fairly new to ballroom dancing. Anyway, my instructor has been talking about moving me up to the next level. This prospect is very exciting to me, but would involve a significant financial investment. The truth of the matter is that I simply don't have that kind of money.

    It breaks my heart to think that I won't be able to continue my dance training once my current enrollment expires. Taking a job again isn't an option because my children are very young and it is important to me to stay home with them. I'm so upset about this that I actually dreamed about dancing all night long. So, I thought I would post here to see if any of you other dance-addicts had any ideas of a way I can continue dancing without spending thousands of dollars.

    Thanks so much in advance!
  2. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Welcome to DF Statlady!

    Yes, dancing can be very, very expensive. Are you currently competing pro-am? Or just taking lessons to improve your dancing?

    I compete pro-am and find that I can get away with two lessons a weeks with a high level instructor and see steady improvement. I do alot of work on my own between lessons to cement in whatever we worked on in the lessons. If I wasn't competing I could probably get away with one a week.

    You could also supplement your learning with good group classes. A good technique class is invaluable.

    It sounds like you may be enrolled at a "chain" studio where they encourage you to buy packages? If so, you may also wish to look into an independent teacher/studio that allows you to be more flexible with frequency of lessons and lesson purchases.

    Not sure if any of this helped....please do feel free to continue the dialog! And again, welcome!
  3. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    Hi Statlady!

    From your description, I'm a bit uneasy about your studio. I don't like the idea of someone telling me, if you want to learn The X Technique or advance to the Platinum level, you're going to have to pay $Y for Package Z. Different people progress at different rates. Two people might both be taking 1 lesson/week, but one might be more diligent about practice and therefore progress faster. Or someone might have less time for practice, and decide to pace herself differently, taking 1 lesson every 2 weeks.

    It sounds like you're on a package. Like latingal, most people on DF are a la carte. It's like a cafeteria plan for dancers, and can tend to provide greater flexibility in how you want to direct your learning.

    Generally, people recommend 1-2 hours of practice per hour of group class and 3 hours of practice per private lesson.

    Ballroom-on-a-budget suggestion:

    ----------------------------Time ---------------------- Estimated monthly cost
    2 group classes/week ------ 2 hrs class + 2 hrs practice - $100
    1 technique class/week ---- 1 hr class + 2 hrs practice -- $50
    1 social/dance party/week - 3 hrs ----------------------- $50

    Estimated total ----------- 10 hrs/week ----------------- $200

    You could consider substituting 1 lesson every 2 weeks for the technique class and 1 group class:

    1 group class/week ------- 1 hr class + 2 hrs practice ----------- $50
    1 private lesson/2 weeks -- 0.5 hr lesson (avg.) + 2 hrs practice - $150
    1 social/dance party/week - 3 hrs ------------------------------ $50

    Estimated total ------------ 8.5 hrs/week ---------------------- $250

    Hope this helps. Welcome to DF!
    demoiselle likes this.
  4. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    when my financial/work situation changed, i switched from a studio package to private instruction with an independent teacher. made all the difference... might be something to consider in your circumstances.
  5. Statlady

    Statlady New Member

    Trying again . . .

    Wow, thanks for the fast replies!

    No, I'm not competing at all, though I would like to at some point, if possible. Yes, I am going to a chain dance studio. I'm fairly new to this area and it was the only way I could figure out to find a reputable teacher. They have me on a "starter" package (don't want to reveal the actual name) right now. After a few lessons, it became clear that that package was not quite right for me and I could benefit a lot more from a more advanced package. I'm about half-way through my original package now. If I were to "move up" I would have to sign a new contract for a new package. It would likely involve more lessons, but I could decide the frequency. The cost per lesson is the same, and the group lessons are free. If I were to have one 45-min. lesson per week, the monthly cost would be about $350, but that would include all the group classes and parties I have time for.

    Really, I can't even afford $100/month . . . things are really tight right now. If I could get lessons for that much, however, I might be able to swing it. Part of the problem with the studio is that they require you to pay all at once if you want a discount. Otherwise, it costs even more. I certainly don't have, say, $4000 that I can just pay up front.

    If I wanted to, how would I go about finding a decent independent instructor? It seems like that would be an easy way for some guy to get pretty girls to come see him alone . . . . And then, how would I ever get practice with other people?

    I should also add that I took a few ballroom classes in college and even did a medals exam (if that's what it's called?) at Bronze level for Samba and Rumba. I also competed in DanceSport (don't know how that's spelled) doing Cha Cha and Swing. It's been eight years since then.

    Really, I just want to dance. Since my husband doesn't dance, it's not like I can just go out dancing with him. It doesn't even have to be ballroom, necessarily, but that seems to be the only form of dance that adults do anymore. I did folk dancing in college, and have found some social folk dance groups, but they usually consist mainly of people over 45, and I'm 29.
  6. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    you can't use your existing package to study more advanced technique or figures?? that doesn't sound kosher to me...

    does that raise a red flag for anyone else here?
  7. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    It'll pass. :D If I understand correctly, posts by new members are approved on an individual basis?
  8. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    Major red flag for me. Could you tell us your location? State, maybe region/city? I imagine there'd be a DFer or two who could recommend a studio in your area.
  9. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    The software automatically directs posts by newer members into a to-be-moderated status if (a) their are any links in it, or (b) certain combinations of words. Longer posts thus have a higher chance of being flagged. After you have 'x' number of approved posts they'll go through directly. As you'll have noted, the moderating staff gets to this stuff fairly quickly, so just sit tight and all should be well in short order. Thanks, and welcome to DF!
  10. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I would suggest looking into a local YMCA or community center. There are often classes for as little as $15.
  11. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    It was discussed recently, with a pretty unanimous "no".

    Should I prepay for 100 lessons with 20% discount?
  12. Statlady

    Statlady New Member

    Oooh, interesting, I didn't see that thread. I'll check it out. You guys are awesome, by the way! :)
  13. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    Do look around for an independent studio, where you can take just what you want/can afford. In your boat, I'd look for a studio that had a wide variety of group classes and regular parties, then, if I could afford it, I'd add in a private lesson once a month or whatever, to try to keep technique on track.

    There is certainly some way you can keep dancing. If you want to post the area where you live, someone on DF may have a specific recommendation for you.

    Welcome to DF!
  14. Statlady

    Statlady New Member

    I was originally hesitant to say where I live for fear someone from the studio might read this thread. But, they know what they do . . . . .

    I live in the Kansas City area.
  15. Statlady

    Statlady New Member

    Would they be any good, though? This is probably bad of me, but I get very frustrated dancing with beginner partners who can't lead or stay on the music.

    Actually, I believe one of the studios I looked into before I joined my current one allows you to take group classes without taking private lessons. I think the cost is even less than $15.

    The thing I don't like about group classes is the lack of continuity. The ones at my studio pretty much stand alone, so it's kind of hard to make progress. I think it's the same at the other studio I mentioned.
  16. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    There is not a whole lot in your area. And I cannot comment on prices. I do know however that Walter Dance Studio and Ballroom Unlimited are both HIGHLY respected and full of great teachers.
  17. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    I never went through the "chain school" packaging, so am unsure how the packages relate to learning more advanced movement. But that is one good thing about independent teachers, they teach you at your pace. So what ever you're ready for, they teach. It's not dependent on the type of package you buy.

    As for your question about finding a good independent teacher, you may have by now found older threads that discuss this very subject?
  18. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Well price is a funny thing, if you don't pay a lot, you probably won't get a lot. Unfortunately you can pay an arm and a leg and not get anything either. But if you are trying to stay with in that budget, this is the budget you have to work with, and you can set the terms as high or as low as you want.

    And pretty much no, you are not going to get high quality continuous intruction for under $100 a month, unless you do the group thing. Lets say you can budget $75 a month. That is about $18 a week. So basically you are going to be looking at group classes. So it is a matter of doing the leg work at the gym, Y, and all of your local studios to see what their group classes cost. And whether they have a dop in rate or a better rate if you buy a package.

    Or simply drop the idea of group class altogether and just go to studio parties for $10-15 and take the free class before the party. The free classes are not deeigned to really teach much, but you may learn some fun patterns. But your $15 will last you 3 hours instead of 45 minutes.
  19. Statlady

    Statlady New Member

    Hmmm, well, maybe if I only took one lesson per month. But it would be awfully hard to progress at that frequency.

    Oh, this is making me sad. :( I can't even put into words how much I love dancing. Of course, I don't need to tell *you* all that . . . :) I suppose this is the type of sacrifice one has to make if one wants to be a stay-at-home-mom. My husband will be making a lot more money in the future (he's still technically in training), so I can probably start up again then. In the meantime, however, I will miss it so much.
  20. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    If you are intent on private lessons can you swing one a month...with a decent intructor for $75? And then get the rest of your fix at Y for $10.

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