It seems like a harmless enough question – after all, we deserve to know how much time and money we’ll have to shell out before we get… Well, whatever it is you’re looking for from ballroom dancing. But, are you sure you know exactly what that is?
Most newcomers enter the studio with only a hazy idea of what they want to look or feel like on the ballroom floor. This makes things difficult for your instructor, who has to turn these vague expectations into concrete goals. If you don’t want precious lesson time used up on things you don’t want, make those misty dreams of dance as solid as possible.
What do you want?
Do you want to go competitive, or are you just looking to have fun? What excites you most, having a lot of variety in your patterns, or learning how to ‘look like a dancer’? Is there a video or picture you saw that inspired you? A piece of music you heard? Put together, what is your Ultimate Dream Dance Goal?
When do you want it?
Of course, we all want to learn to ballroom dance yesterday. Try to be realistic, and decide how much time you’re willing to invest to accomplish your goals. If you’re really not sure, a quick online search for ‘how long does it take to get good at ballroom dancing?’ will give you some estimates.
How much are you willing to pay for it?
Similar to time, give yourself an upper ceiling for how much you are willing to spend to get what you want, without breaking the bank. On average, group classes range from $5-20, and private lessons $80-150 each. Be aware that, as you grow in experience, private lessons will become increasingly important to improve your technique, where groups are best used to practice what you’ve learned.
Tell your instructor!
It might seem like a no-brainer, but so few students do this that it’s worth saying: the more your instructor knows, the more they can help you! As a bonus, it makes them more accountable to you if they agree to your terms.
Be willing to be flexible.
More often then not, you will have to compromise with your instructor while working towards your goals. You might find it takes longer, or costs more, then you originally expected to become the dream dancer you want to be. On the other hand, there’s plenty of unexpected benefits you might experience: improved coordination, balance, mental cognition, and endurance are just a few of the many benefits of learning to dance. You might even find your end goal changes significantly from when you started.
All this might seem like a lot of time and work, but hey, so is learning to dance! At least with your goal firmly in mind you’ll know you’re working towards something that’s important to you.