Choosing the Right Dance Studio in Charlotte, NC
Children’s Dance Lessons, Latin Dance, Ballroom & More!
Choosing a dance studio is just like selecting any other personal professional services company. You want to get the best quality and the best price – in essence the best value for your investment of your precious time and money. Being a student of my own studio, I understand what the concept of value means to both the serious and the casual dance enthusiast. This is also one of the reasons that I started Metropolitan Ballroom. Having been a student off and on for the past 17 years, and an officer of one of the best dance clubs in the area (Carolinas Ballroom Dance Club), I visited a lot of studios, took lessons at many of these, and collaborated with several on parties and social functions. What I discovered is that all studios are not created alike, and neither are they operated under the same principles and policies that I expected to find. This condition among dance studios is one of the primary reasons we started Metropolitan Ballroom. In addition to making it a fun place to take lessons, meet new friends, and celebrate special events with friends and family, we wanted to make sure certain that every student received best value for this investment and participation, and were treated the way they would treat others.
Noble concept, but what does this mean in practice?
First it means receiving the best instruction you can to meet your dance goals. Maybe you want to learn social dancing, maybe you want to strengthen your relationship with a spouse by doing something together, maybe you want to compete, or maybe perform on a stage a la Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You can Dance. Whatever you want to do, it’s up to you to tell your instructor – And it’s their job to ask as well. Its your job to give it your best and their job to make certain you’re getting all the help you need to meet your goals (even if those goals are to just have fun learning social dances ). When your instructor starts telling you what to do, and you don’t think that what’s you want, then there is trouble brewing. Like every other professional relation, it has to be a two-way street otherwise one partner in the relationship may become seriously disappointed.
When I entered a studio 17 years ago, my “interviewer” asked me what I wanted to accomplish with my dancing. I told him that I wanted to be able to dance with any woman on the dance floor, and develop the confidence to ask any woman to dance. So he advised me to learn a few steps in several dances, so I could dance to as many different songs as possible. He also advised me to “get the technique right” and don’t worry about learning a lot of fancy patterns. He said once you get the techniques right, you can add new patterns quickly because the fundamental steps and technical elements are the building blocks for the more elaborate steps. Turns out he was correct!
Second it’s about the money. There are lots of special offers advertised in the market, all trying to get you started. We do it too. The idea is to help you overcome the inertia of thinking about something to actually doing it. And again the devil is in the details. So read the fine print and ask a lot of questions. Most private dance lessons are priced on par with what a personal trainer, a massage therapist, or a golf coach might charge you. Ask what the introduction and then what the “open rate” is and then what the package options are. Keep in mind that you are evaluating this investment for “Value” which is the best training and experience for your investment, and not just the price. So observe the studio – do look like they’re having fun? Are they learning new things? What do the students have say? Figure out your value equation. And please be cautious when they “require” a large deposit to get you started or “to get you the best price.” Best advice is to give them a good trial run before you make a large commitment.
One last note: I added it up last night when I was chatting with an old Argentine Tango friend of mine who is trying to re-connect to Ballroom dancing. They weren’t quite sure how to test the waters, so I presented this option: Every Sunday at 3 PM we hold a free beginner dance class and allow about 45 to 60 minutes of open practice afterward. That’s about that’s about 8 hours a month. Then I told them about our free practice rounds every Wednesday evening from 8 PM to 9:30 PM. That’s another 6 hours a month. We offer unlimited Group Classes for $49 per month (at least 5 per week) so that’s about 20 more hours a month. And we usually have 2 Student Parties, on the 2nd and 4th Friday for $15 each that includes a group class before the party. Our instructors stay for the 2 hour party afterward to dance with all the participants, so this adds up to another 6 hours a month. Gosh, for the price of an unlimited group package ($49) and the price of 2 parties ($30), or $79, you can get about 40 hours of lessons and practice without any long term contracts or commitments other than to your own goals! Not a bad Value Proposition if I do say so myself!
So please enjoy this great activity with all the vigor you have to give to it, enjoy the journey, and I hope to see you on the dance floor soon!