Getting the most out of group classes

#1
I can't afford to take privates more than once a week, and want to get additional training/instruction, so have been going to lots of group classes. I'm not feeling that I'm getting much out of the classes, though--as previous threads of private vs. group discuss, classes tend to be very step-oriented rather than technique-oriented. Also, many people going to group classes do not take privates, and I'm finding that after going to a standard class, my posture and frame feel worse.

Do you guys have suggestions for how one can learn best from the group instruction, and how to get the most out of group classes?
 
#2
Don't expect too much from them! IMO, group classes are really only good for learning patterns and, to some extent, practicing lead and follow with other dancers at your level.

I used to have the same effect from social dancing--frame was always worse the lesson after a night of social dancing. But as my frame has become more settled in my muscle memory--and I've been using it more in social dancing, too--that has ceased to be an issue.

One other possible benefit of group classes is meeting someone who could become a practice partner. If you find someone you like dancing with, suggest staying after the lesson or getting together another time to practice.
 

NielsenE

Active Member
#3
Additionally they can provide an environment for partnered technique drill for people without regular practice partners. If the class is "beneath" you, but the other members aren't completely lost/struggling, it should give you a nice environment to focus on whatever your current focus is (ie better foot articulation, more grounded, etc).
 

latingal

Well-Known Member
#5
I agree with NielsenE. I regularly attend a technique class that would be considered below my level, but I have many things I can work on during basics drills - I just concentrate on whatever issues have been identified by my pro teachers in privates. I find that it is a good tool for me to practice and get things in body memory.

I also agree that group classes are a good place to learn steps or patterns. When I started out, I quickly found I would rather not waste my private lesson time learning steps. I learned steps/patterns in the group class and refined the technique in them soon after in my privates.
 
#7
Thanks.... good points about using group time to learn steps and practice technique. Maybe one problem I'm having is that I still need to be led to do a lot of steps, or at least am not proficient enough to do my steps well with a lead who does not know his part.
 

danceronice

Well-Known Member
#8
Well, I think because one of our groups is specifically AIMED at technique, it's a little different, but overall, yeah--group does tend to be about learning steps and routines. But it's not always a bad thing, especially when it's the dances you're working on in privates, too. Sometimes I get confused because there are different versions of some steps (though one that was driving me nuts makes sense now I know that the class version is just easier to lead, and all of us including the guys in the group are beginners, so the instructor goes with stuff that doesn't require a really involved lead.) But it's good to know the variations.

And it's just good to get as much variety in instruction as you can. I keep meaning, when I have the money and time, to get a private lesson from one of the female pros so I can get instructrion from someone dancing the follow part. Neither this nor group really replaces regular private with my usual pro/s, but it's all useful. And yeah, group classes are pretty much always cheaper!
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#9
Are you doing Amer. style ?-- if so. then try an Intern. bronze style waltz class for e.g.-- if its latin you are doing , then maybe samba might be of interest.

I suggest those 2 , because the dances are very comparable to the amer.style. and will compliment quite well . More importantly. they are usually more techn. oriented .
 
#10
Are you doing Amer. style ?-- if so. then try an Intern. bronze style waltz class for e.g.-- if its latin you are doing , then maybe samba might be of interest.

I suggest those 2 , because the dances are very comparable to the amer.style. and will compliment quite well . More importantly. they are usually more techn. oriented .
Nope, doing international style, switching after years of American.;) But I agree with you that those would be good for technique!
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#12
I can only speak to my level of experience and the group classes that are available to me...having said that, as a newer dancer I don't think groups were good for me b/c I didn't have enough of a sense of what I ought to be doing regarding balance and foot pressure and frame to be able to A)consciously make an effort to maintain as much as possible or B) recognize that it would in fact be impossible w/certain gentlemen, and C) for a long time I wasn't able to ascertain who was in most need of altering their perspective so when gentlemen had "advice" I didn't know whether or not they were full of beans and it made the group difficult as a place to progress beyond simply learning steps...now I find groups, regardless of the skill level, to be worthwhile...I may have to let go of the desire to hold onto certain concepts that are not possible with certain leads....but there is always something on which one CAN focus and improve...I always find it secretly amusing when "advanced" dancers get all in a snit about the classes not being advanced enough...they of all people should be able to find something on which they can focus during a basic lesson
 
#16
My dancing friends always say "Beginning dancers take intermediate classes. Intermediate dancers take advanced classes and Advanced dancers take beginning classes." :D
It kinda depends who teaches the beginning class, though. A lot of times lower-level classes are assigned to less experienced teachers, and that really makes a difference in how useful it is going to be to an advanced person.
 
#18
It kinda depends who teaches the beginning class, though. A lot of times lower-level classes are assigned to less experienced teachers, and that really makes a difference in how useful it is going to be to an advanced person.
Yes. Though you can make lemonade - instead of listening to the teacher, observe them and figure out why they aren't getting through to the class. What aren't they saying that they should be. What are the most common errors in the class which the teacher isn't managing to fix? Can you mentally "debug" their demonstration and figure out what would be needed to make it more natural?
 

etp777

Active Member
#20
Just be careful of telling the teacher that you spent whole class picking out what they were doing wrong. :) If done at all, requires some tact.
 

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