Its fun and exciting, you meet new people, it’s a relaxed year-round exercise, it improves coordination, and you gain a strong sense of rhythm and body movement, maintain fitness and develop body awareness. In addition, it improves weight control, flexibility, heart health, and stress reduction. It’s a wonderful creative outlet. Over time students develop skill and grace, improved posture and sharpened reflexes. Partner dancing is a timeless and exhilarating form of non-verbal communication. I can highly attest to the positive mental and physical benefits of dancing.
Do I need a partner in order to take lessons?
Absolutely not. If you have a spouse, partner, or friend that you want to take lessons with, that's fine but is not required. In private lessons, I can teach you equally well by yourself or with a partner. In group lessons, where there is often a mix of singles and couples, we rotate dance partners frequently. This helps everyone refine their skills, meet new people, and make new friends. Either way--by yourself or with a friend--is just fine.
What kind of shoes should I wear?
The best are shoes made specifically for dancing that has either suede or leather soled shoes. There are also a wide variety of styles to choose from. If you intend to dance regularly, I strongly encourage you to buy a good pair of dance shoes--your feet will thank you. Next to suede-soled shoes, any shoe with a regular smooth-leather sole is usable. Since you are unlikely to have suede-soled shoes already, leather-soled shoes are an excellent temporary substitution until you can get a pair of dance shoes. Worst of all are rubber-soled shoes. Sneakers, canvas deck-shoes, tennis shoes, or anything else with a rubber sole should be avoided. Rubber soled shoes grip far too much for comfortable dancing.
What is the quickest, most effective way to learn to dance?
I recommend a comprehensive program of private lessons, group classes, and practice parties. If possible, taking group classes and/or private lessons two or three times a week is one of the best ways to learn quickly and retain what you learn.
I'm interested in learning to dance, but I'm not sure it's for me. What should I do?
Call me; I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also stop by the Sheryl Burke School of dance in Potrero Hill. It is the most effective way to get an idea of what partner dancing is all about while learning a few moves in the process. I am confident after seeing how much fun people have that you'll decide to take lessons.
What happens on an Introductory Special?
During this program, I will expose you to a wide variety of partner dances through private lessons. This will give you the information you need to choose which dances you want to focus on further. Near the completion of this special, I will tailor a customized dance program meeting your goals and expectations including only those dances you wish to learn. Of course, you can always choose to add new dances later; it has been my experience that once people learn one dance, they decide they want to learn many more! Not only is learning more dances fun, but it prepares you for any social dance occasion regardless of the style of music that is playing.
I don't know anyone who dances. Why should I learn?
Besides the benefits of dancing listed above, because it's fun! Also, you will find that taking dance lessons and attending the Friday practice parties is a great way to make new friends, and those friends will know how to dance!
What is a private lesson like?
Private lessons are a valuable tool for those who wish to get the most out of their dancing. During a private lesson, I will be your partner and your teacher, depending on whether you are taking lessons by yourself or with a partner. On these lessons, I will instruct you on elements of partnership, technique, and style, in addition to learning various dance steps. Those who take the time and effort to study partner dancing through private lessons learn more effectively and efficiently than through any other method of instruction.
Do you offer special wedding packages?
Absolutely! To help you and your beloved make your special day even more memorable, I provides special packages specifically designed for your needs. My wedding packages include one professionally choreographed routine, help with music selection, and recommendations for the type of dance that would best fit your musical selection. I will work with you to craft the perfect "first dance" for your wedding day. I will create a lesson plan tailored to your specific situation, depending on your skill level, the type of dance, how long you have to learn before your wedding, and how proficient you wish to be.
Do you offer any dance workshops?
From time to time, I am recruited as a master teacher by different studios around the Bay Area and beyond to bring the latest and greatest moves and techniques. Any special event like this will be published on my site.
What is the difference between East Coast and West Coast Swing?
East Coast Swing is also known as the Jitterbug. It is very fast and bouncy and is danced to the big band music of the forties and fifties, as well as to contemporary rockabilly. It was the dance featured in the movie "Swingers" and is now very popular in bay area nightclubs like Bimbo's and Cafe du Nord. East Coast Swing is similar to City Swing; East Coast Swing is danced to slower music and is danced with a triple step (the basic step is "trip-le-step, trip-le-step, rock-step"), whereas City Swing is danced to very fast music and uses a single step (the basic step is "step, step, rock-step"). East Coast Swing is also similar to Jive, which is an International style ballroom dance used at dance competitions. It is generally danced in standard dance position with leader and follower facing each other. East Coast Swing is upbeat and very easy to learn.
West Coast Swing is danced to the blues and contemporary music; typical West Coast Swing artists are Bonnie Raitt, Tracy Chapman, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, and Joe Cocker. It is danced in a "slot", which means the follower moves back and forth around the leader in a straight narrow path known as a "slot". Leaders and followers must each know their steps independent of each other, and for this reason West Coast Swing is known as a "smart" dance. West Coast Swing is playful, sensual, earthy dance with syncopated rhythm, which can be a bit tricky to pick up at first. At advanced levels, the follower has more autonomy and control over her steps than in any other ballroom dance.
What should I wear?
You should wear something that is comfortable, easy to move in, and not too warm because hopefully you'll be working up a little sweat burning up the dance floor! The Metronome does not have dress code, and most dances are not formal. The Swing parties tend to be more casual than the Ballroom parties. At Swing parties, many women wear comfortable dresses or skirts and tee shirts; many men wear casual slacks and cotton shirts. Some Swing dancers arrive decked out in 40's regalia, some come in jeans. The Ballroom parties tend to be a little dressier, with the men in often in dress slacks and the women in dresses or nice slacks. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and can move freely.
Should I take private or group classes?
I recommend both. Private lessons will provide you with individualized instruction and work on your technique, your leading (or following), and any specific difficulties you may be having. Private lessons are essential if you are interested in becoming a serious dancer.
Group classes are a great way to practice the steps until they become ingrained in your "muscle memory". Group classes also provide you with a great opportunity to practice dancing with a variety of partners and to meet new people and potential dance partners.
Do I need a partner to compete in Ballroom Dancing?
You don't need a partner to dance in any competition. You can enter in the Pro-Am (Professional-Amateur) division and dance with your teacher.
What is the difference between International Style and American Style?
International Style is used in dance competitions and is based on strict, formalized patterns and foot positions. It is not generally used in social dancing.
American Style is freer, easier to learn, can be danced in open position, and is used for social dancing. Beginners should definitely start out learning American Style, and can then progress to International Style if they would like to compete or to push their dancing to a new level.
What dances should I work on if I want to go out dancing in the clubs?
Salsa and Swing (including Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing and City Swing) are the most popular dances in Bay Area nightclubs right now. These dances are fun and easy to learn, and the clubs have a variety of live bands that will keep you hopping all night long.
What should I wear to my first lesson?
Comfort should be your first priority.
Do I have to be a dancer already to learn partner dancing?
Absolutely not! In fact, partner dance is often called "social dance" because it's geared more toward moving comfort and finesse in social environments than the "performing" most often associated with other forms of dance. If you have a heartbeat, you have rhythm! All you need is a qualified instructor, well trained in teaching beginners to identify the different rhythms existing within the music. (It's easier than you think). Every day I teach people how to partner dance who never thought they could. Of course everything has its place: if you are an aspiring dance phenomenon, there are plenty of opportunities for performing experiences as well.
Do you offer dance socials or practice parties?
Absolutely! Throughout the year I will be hosting social gatherings in San Francisco for dancing, lessons, and fun!
Do you offer any discounts?
Yes. Companies in the Bay Area that have 50 or more employees can enroll in my Corporate Discount Program. If you would like your company to be eligible, simply contact me or employee benefits director at your company. We can take it from there.
How long does it take to gain the skill?
The answer to this question varies with each individual. The beauty of my introductory offer (first hour for $50.00) is a dance evaluation and consultation. This allows me to assess your background and get a clearer understanding of your goals so that we can structure a program that will allow you to gain the skills you want at your own pace. Better yet, much like learning to ride a bike, once you own this skill, you have it for life and can enjoy it well into your senior years.
Where can I use this skill once I own it?
A better question would be: "Where can't I use this skill?" Unlike seasonal sports, and due to the vibrant dance culture in San Francisco, you can go partner dancing almost every night of the week, in dance studios, nightclubs, black-tie functions, weddings, private parties and local hot spots ...the possibilities are endless.
Which dances would be most useful to learn?
During your initial lesson we will help you determine which dances are most practical for you based on your specific goals, needs and musical tastes.
What is the age range of the student body?
Most of my students are between the ages of twenty and sixty, but no one is too young or too old to get started. This sport is truly universal in accessibility and enjoys a greater longevity than most others.
What is the best way to learn to dance?
By far, the best way to learn to dance is with a private instructor. When you dance with a trained professional, he or she will be able to feel how your carry your weight, whether your balance and frame is correct, and whether you lead or follow correctly, to name a few. In private dance lessons you also get to learn at your own pace and receive direction specifically applicable to your unique needs.
What is the difference between International and American ballroom style?
International Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, and Quickstep is done is closed hold. The man and woman never separate. It takes a lot of training to excel at this type of dancing because the man and woman must learn to dance as one. American style ballroom dances, on the other hand, utilize a lot of open moves. The men and women separate, and the woman often does a lot of spins. Think Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and you'll have a good picture of American style ballroom.
What is Latin dancing?
Latin dancing is characterized by rhythmic movements and syncopated or percussive Latin beats. Latin dances are usually danced in place. The movements are compact and expressive. Latin dances are popular and fun party dances. Examples include salsa, cha cha cha and merengue.
What is social dancing?
Social dancing is a form of ballroom dancing, which occurs at social dance events such as dinner dances, fund-raisers, weddings, and holiday parties. The most popular social dances are swing, waltz, foxtrot, cha cha, cha, tango and rhumba.
What is DanceSport?
DanceSport is a competitive or exhibition style of dance and is the most physically demanding and mentally challenging form of ballroom dancing. As in any sport, the requirements of fitness, discipline and training are the keys to ultimate success, yet the learning process is fun, and the resultant skills can be used with confidence on any dance occasion
Where do people go to dance?
Weddings, parties, fund-raisers, black-tie events, corporate functions, night clubs, ballrooms, dance studio social parties, cruise lines and supper clubs all provide opportunities for you to practice your fancy footwork.
Labels: ballroom dancing, dance workshops, dancing in clubs, east coast swing, Learn to Dance, partner dancing, private dance lessons, Questions about Dance Lessons, wedding dance lessons, West Coast Swing