Ballroom Dancing Lessons - 3 Common Misconceptions Addressed

I agree. Which is why the TV show Dancing with the Stars bothers me, because they are trying to suggest that in a week someone can learn how to dance a particular ballroom dance.
If a person receives some 40 hrs training on one dance "Private lesson" then they are getting probably twenty weeks of one to one training in one go.
I'm not saying that they will gain full command of that dance but if:-

1) They are half decent and have had some form of dance training or athletic discipline in the past.
2) They have a good Pro teacher who sets achievable choreography "For the Celeb"

Then yes they can learn to dance a particular ballroom dance "proficiently".
except Samba "unless they are Latin decent" and Foxtrot!
Ballroom Dancing Lessons - 3 Common Misconceptions Addressed

1. You either have it or you don't
Misconception number one is that you have to be born with some extraordinary natural ability to dance, that if you cannot immediately pick it up, you are forever doomed. In reality, the only things that matter are hard work and dedication. Learning how to dance is really not as ambiguous as people think. During your Ballroom dancing lessons, your instructor will break down the various dance principles such as foot placements, timing of music and other techniques. You will find that the instruction is actually quite black and white, a step by step process that requires no innate ability. In fact, the naturally talented ones may have it worse. They may be so used to learning dance quickly and easily, that when confronted with a challenge, they become frustrated and discouraged. Their improvement slows down because they are not used to putting in the work. They are, of course, experiencing the normal learning process. The only sure way to consistently progress is through hard work and dedication. So forget about how talented you are or are not and instead practice, practice, practice.
I agree with you to a point but some natural ability does help! (it can help the teachers sanity). To make a point for the student though, sometimes the boot is on the other foot! I knew two very natural dancers, at the time both from the same studio, Donny B and Sammy S.

S.S. only got irritated with others because what he was teaching them, "to himself" was so natural that it was a case of "what's so difficult"?

Donny B was just in his own "Brilliant" world, at his level, anyone was welcomed to join in "if they could breath in the thin air"! (He wasn't teaching at the time, just dancing)
2. Group classes are enough
Myth number two is that you can be really good from just taking group classes. As a professional dance instructor, I am here to tell you that group classes alone will not get you far. The reason is that you do not get enough personal attention and critique. Individual attention is crucial in the Ballroom dance learning process for developing the right habits and eliminating the wrong ones. Your group classes could be level specific, the instruction could be very informative and thorough, and still your progress is minimal. Having you and an x number of other students in the same class diminishes the time your teacher can allocate to correct any mistakes that you may have. Most of the class time is spent on general information for the entire group with a few minutes for individual corrections. If you really want to dance well, you should strongly consider doing private dance lessons to supplement your groups for consistent improvement.
I agree with many of the other comments for the pros of group lessons, especially technique and learning along with your peers. In the UK many of the medallist schools are the bedrock for bringing on competitive dancers (could now be past tense) "technique is taught in good schools as part and parcel of the teaching process, LOD etc". When a good student from a "good group taught" medallist school comes into a competitive school/studio the basics are already there and this is normally where private lessons begin!

"There is a place for group teaching, what a student gets from it depends on the ability and levels of the student the group and the teacher!"

I have seen kids come from such a school, into a competitive school and within two years win the British Junior championships!
I totally agree with you that competitive students can get lots out of group classes...and I am not discounting group classes at all... Usually those competitive students ARE ALREADY doing privates anyways. And they use group classes for extra practice.

I think for the competitive Latin dancer group classes offer an invaluable resource, if they focus on technique, drills, etc (not the usual 'yada yada ok take a partner' social class). This is proven time and time again when I see younger students advance rapidly thru hours of Latin walks and choreography.

The standard dancer gains much insight from a technique based class (Giampierro Giannico at Starlight in NJ held weekly classes 2 years ago that not only were insightful and thoughtful, but were attended by the top dancers in the area; he gave us all the chance to see and work with others, which is how I imagine it is in more advanced countries LOL)....

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