Ballroom and Latin American Dancing

FAQs

Frequently asked questions and common misconceptions about learning to dance:
Why learn to dance?
For starters, it is a lot of fun! Fun aside, dancing has so much more to offer than just a good time. Exercise, stress relief, self-confidence, social poise, and a creative outlet are amongst the many benefits you can receive from dancing.
Do I need a partner to start?
Yes and No. You can start taking private lessons with John or Celeste on your own. If you want to join one of the Monday night groups, then “Yes” you must bring a partner. We have single men/women who have taken a few private lessons with us and then joined a group course. You have a much better chance of finding a suitable partner if you have a bit of experience to begin with. If you are single and are really interested in learning to dance, then I’d suggest you take a few private lessons with us. This way we can also get an idea of your needs and perhaps introduce you to a suitable partner. It’s very difficult for us to try and find everyone a partner especially If the only contact we’ve had with you is email/a phone call.
We will partner you with the most suitable instructor in line with your dancing needs.
If you are a single and take private lessons with us you will also have the option of doing a medal exam, where you will be assessed by an independent examiner. One of us will partner you for your exam.

I’ve got 2 left feet, is that a problem?
It is not uncommon to have an initial fear of dancing. Learning anything new that is physical and mental will scare most people. You might truly believe that you can’t learn, but in fact the reasons that stop people learning are:
  • It’s public. You are out there for people to see. You think you are going to look silly.
  • You’ve had some past experience that reinforces this fear.
  • You think you’re awkward and uncoordinated.
These reasons are not real, they are just fears and anxiety, which is perfectly normal. My Survival dance course is designed for the absolute beginner with the above fears. We’ve selected dances/steps that are easy to learn and we don’t rush through anything. We also limit the size of the classes so we can attend to everyone. The art of teaching beginners is to make things easy and fun. If you are really unsure then it’s best to book a private lesson, where we can introduce ballroom dancing to you, listen to your needs and construct a program that works for you.
The reality of learning to dance is that you are learning some new physical skills and some strange new knowledge at the same time. You are at once training your body and your mind. This takes a little more effort than just one or the other.  It takes a little more time and perseverance. Understanding this can make things much easier. Physically there is nothing stopping you.  “If you can walk – you can dance.”
What must I wear?
Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t limit your mobility. Sneakers/takkies are not the best since they stick to the floor and limit your mobility in certain dances. A normal dress shoe with a smooth sole is fine to start. Ladies you may wear high heels, but not too high (not more than 3 inches), it’s also better to wear a shoe that is closed around the heel for maximum support. Other than that, just dress comfortably. If you are learning to dance for your wedding, then it’s a good idea to practice in a similar shoe to what you’ll be wearing on the night. If you want to take your dancing more seriously, we would recommend a pair of proper dance shoes and some suitable practice wear.
We’re getting married, what would you suggest?
You should definitely aim to do 5 x one hour private wedding dance lessons with me to work on an opening dance. If you are getting married and can make my beginner Survival course dates and times, then I’d suggest you do the course to get a good feel for a few of the popular dances (which you can use anywhere) and then perhaps book a few private sessions to work on an opening dance for your wedding day. The beginner course might spark some ideas as to which dance you like and may want to do at your wedding. I also find that couples who do my group course first or alongside their private lessons have a better idea of what they want from their wedding dance and are able to pick up any choreography a lot quicker.
How long before our wedding should we start doing lessons? 
Ideally about 2 months before your wedding. I know how hectic things get 2 weeks before your big day, so it’s better to start early. Even if you are getting married in 6 months time, its good to start thinking about songs that you’d like to dance to and run them past me to see if they are suitable.
Groups or private lessons?
That depends on your needs. Group classes are a fun and affordable way to get introduced to a variety of dance styles, socialise, practice and prefect your floor craft. Groups are taught to move at the pace of the class, which often leaves several students behind, confused and quitting. They are meant to be followed up with private lessons or you will soon look like a group class only dancer. That is, lack of technique, frame, connection and all the stuff that happens above the feet.

Definately consider private lessons if…
  • You don’t have a willing partner
  • You want to improve your technique and prevent bad habits
  • Your work schedule means you can’t make the advertised group dates and times
  • You are learning to dance for your wedding and want to get a good idea of the different dance styles available
  • You prefer individual attention and have specific learning needs (e.g ballroom only, latin only)
  • You want to do a medal exam or enter the world of competitive dancing

What If I want to take my dancing a little more seriously?

If you want to take your dancing a little more seriously and you like the idea of having a goal to work towards then I can highly recommend you do a medal test. A medal test gives you the opportunity to be graded by an independent examiner in whichever dances you choose to perform. There are gradings from beginner to advanced, including social and competitive dancing. Please contact me if this interests you so I have enough time to prepare you. You receive an internationally recognised certification from an internationally qualified examiner. John Hamman is a highly experienced competitve dancer and qualified dance teacher with the SADTA (South African Dance Teachers Association).

What if we miss a group lesson?
If you miss one of the lessons during the beginner Survival dance course, you can always catch up easily and make amends during the Recap session at the end of the same course. If you are worried that you may miss 2 or more sessions, then perhaps book for the following course. Another option is to try and book a private lesson with me to catch up on what you missed.