Salsa > How Often to Take Private Lessons (weekly or every other week)?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by denito, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    It's not a sales pitch. It really does help improve your dancing... And social skills! The nice thing is, there isn't much mingling. You're there to learn, and then you can leave. It's mingling that gets me.
  2. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    It's not sales pitch. It's completely true - private lessons alone won't do much for you.

    In order to progress as a dancer, you really need to do 4 things. Take group lessons, go social dancing, take privates, and practice drills at home.

    If you take away any of the above, your rate of progress declines, and I would hazard to say that doing privates alone, even for 100 years, won't improve your social dancing. You absolutely must social dance to improve your social dancing.

    Also, there is *no* need to take a private every week. You can take a private once a month, and provided you practice the detail you learnt in the private, you'll rapidly improve. The way your brain works, and the way you improve, is that you need to really get good at certain aspects of your dancing, in small chunks at a time, before moving on to other aspects of your dancing. Do a private that focusses on stepping, and then when at home, drill what you've learnt, then use what you've leant on the dance floor. Next private say it's body movement, and how it affects you lead/follow, and again drill and social dance, etc.

    Group classes are important because you'll learn more of a syllabus structure than what you'll learn in privates. Privates are more for technique.

    Hope this helps :)
    WildE, IndyLady and twnkltoz like this.
  3. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    I disagree - or rather, I think it is more nuanced. I think it depends entirely on your goals, level and learning style - and where you are in your own development. If your goal is to become a competent social dancer, then yes, group lessons and social dances are important as they'll give you valuable experience with other lead/follows and force you to hone your skills. Keeping regular private lessons is, IMHO, also important - there's only so much you can get out of a group setting, and regular privates with a decent instructor will stop you from ingraining bad habits. And if you learn more slowly/quickly than the group classes are run, taking frequent regular privates can save you from a great deal of frustration.

    If, on the other hand, you are a higher level dancer who has competitive goals, chances are that you have done the group class and social thing, and are already a pretty good lead/follow. In this case, more frequent privates are entirely appropriate - especially if you are competing with your instructor. You may find yourself on several a week with a group class or social thrown in incredibly infrequently.
    Jag75, twnkltoz and stash like this.
  4. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Hopefully on your private lessons spend some time freestyle dancing too meaning you are not dancing a routine, but practicing your communication skills with your (pro) partner. Once this is going well, I think you will feel more comfortable in social situations. That said, some people prefer working with a teacher only, and there is nothing wrong with that either, as sometimes that means you might be less likely to pickup bad happens and can learn the right way the first time. Just try to find new ways to challenge yourself each month.
  5. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member

    Well, I originally did all my lessons to try and attend a certain function and be able to dance. That function came and went and I felt that I already invested some time into it, why not continue?

    Well, my pro told me to go to their "practice parties" and attend group lessons. I did my first group lesson yesterday (and it was actually 2 because they were back to back) plus a salsa party hosted by the studio. Getting used to different follows was actually very helpful because some know very little, some know a lot.

    What I did find a bit of a challenge with the 2nd group lesson (it was a pre-lesson for the salsa party) was that I was doing one of the dances wrong because I didn't know it (they did salsa, merengue, bachata - I didn't know bachata), I felt like I was screwing up my partner. I was feeling really guilty.

    However, I guess I gotta keep trying. Group lessons seem a lot scarier than private ones. I think I'll try to do one private lesson per week or one every other week and mix in one group lesson or party per week to practice.
  6. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member

    Also, my instructor does allow me to freestyle. We usually do 5 minutes of whatever genre we are doing and then help fix my timing or patterns. She says that I'm getting a lot better at memorizing patterns now and my main thing is the timing.
  7. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    One thing that needs clarification - the lesson structure in Salsa is not the same as ballroom, as salsa is a "street dance". It's not common to only have one partner or "pro", so to speak. Because Salsa is primarily an improvisational dance and not a performance dance, I maintain that you're best of taking classes to learn the core material first, and then take privates to polish off technique. In salsa it's not terribly important to get weekly privates - I only take privates once a month and I've steadily improved over the years. The important thing is to practice precisely what is taught and use ensuing privates to ensure you're on the right track.
    WildE, IndyLady and tangotime like this.
  8. Muscle memory!! Practice and confidence are more important than lessons
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    AS important....
    Patrick_dancebeforework and Loki like this.
  10. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member

    I think I'm getting better with muscle memory but sometimes my confidence is a bit lacking. If I make one mistake during a private lesson, I have a tendency to stop instead of continuing. My instructor actually made me dance with another person in trying to practice to lead better and she said I was doing everything right and wondered why I stopped and I told her "I think I screwed something up" and she just told me "even if you mess up, just continue and play along with it".
  11. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Dancing is not about being perfect. No one gets to be perfect. What you do with your mistakes is far more important. The sooner you accept that, the better.
  12. You are right *As is the right word!
  13. I'd encourage you to consider dance an art - rather than something to be memorized and repeated. Mistakes are natural and provide character! No one is perfect, try to remember to take it easy on yourself!!
    Jag75 likes this.
  14. Eloquent and well-said, wish I could retweet that quote
  15. markc

    markc Member

    That's great! Can I quote you on that?
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  16. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Yes, of course.
  17. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    With salsa being more about patterns, if I am going to take a class I usually take a group class. It has been a long time since I took a private lesson and salsa. If you are already trained as a ballroom dancer I'm kind of wondering what you would work on besides more steps. I hope that doesn't sound bad but just curious what you think.
  18. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Our take is two-fold;
    1. If you are taking groups as well, we say to take 1 private for every 2 groups.
    2. If you are only taking privates, we say to take as many as possible in the beginning stages of a dance. After you have the fundamentals (basic concepts), at least once/twice per week is advisable depending upon your desired level of proficiency.
  19. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    There is a saying in the Prof. world of dance.. " IF you cannot teach, then show them steps ".

    The salsa world, is re-knowned for its abundance of "teachers? ", who believe the answer to all their students dance problems, are MORE steps !! .

    Since being back in the UK, I've lost count of the number of students , who have come to me for lessons, who have never been told about for one, Claves role/importance, in the make up of latin dance .

    Most do not even know that, there are different dance styles, designed for different musical/dance reasons .
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  20. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    :eek: :jawdrop: I cannot believe YOU posted this. I know that YOU know better (or were you just trying to make a point?) :)

    Salsa is definitely NOT more about patterns. Salsa is about the nuances between the drummer and the percussion (something that we do not have in Amer rhythms), the the variances of speed and timing presented in the composition of the music, and how to move to them. I understand that there are only 4 'steps' to salsa, and it is in this that we often say that salsa is a hand dance (how many different movements can one lead/follow within these 4 steps. But, when we think about it, the same is true in Amer dancing; there are only 3 steps to all of it. The difference is that in Amer dancing, we make up these variances with pattern; in salsa, we make up the variances with lead/follow. Salsa is definitely not about steps/pattern.

    :mad: :mad: I DETEST THIS!!, but right you are. I am telling all of these "want-to-be teachers" all of the time, "There is a HUGE difference between showing someone something, and teaching someone something. Learn the difference, then be a teacher."
    tangotime likes this.

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