Making The Most Out Of Your Lessons
Whether you take group or private lessons, this is a short and sweet article with some pointers to encourage your success in your swing dancing education.
Social Dance Frequently, at least twice a week
This is the single most important thing you can do to maximize your learning experience. If you are not social dancing at least twice a week (that means at least 4 hours), you are cheating yourself out of your learning experience. Social dancing is practice, and you have to do it frequently. While getting a practice partner is great, it's even better dance with a variety of people and a variety of skill levels. Ask someone to dance!
If there's not the opportunity to social dance frequently where your scene is, talk with other people and let them know your interest in dancing more. You might be informed of more dancing opportunities or have people start a get together.
Bring a Notepad.
Write down everything you learn immediately after the lesson, or during down times. This is the best thing for your learning that you can do at the lesson itself.
One of the most effective strategies (especially if you take private lessons) is that each time you go social dancing, focus on just one or two concepts that you learned. The next time, work on one or two different concepts. Do these all until you're ready for another private lesson.
Ask Frequent Questions as Needed
If you do not understand something; you must ask. Do not feel like you will be holding the lesson back- rather, engaged students will help move the lesson forward. So don't be shy and raise your hand!
Talk to the Instructor After the Lesson
Sometimes, instructors will deem some questions beyond the scope of the lesson, or for time management's sake, they might ask for you to talk to them after class. Ask the instructors for guidance on these matters. They are often more than happy to have the opportunity to finish elaborating on a concept with you. However, past a certain point it may be suitable to establish a private instruction relationship with them.
Take Private Lessons (if you're ready)
If there's a dancer whose dancing you really like and you want to learn from them, you may want to ask them for private lessons. If you are ambitious in improving rapidly, private lessons are a great way to go. Private lessons (also colloquially known as privates) are relatively expensive (the typical price for swing dancers is around $60-80 for each instructor), but the amount of dedicated attention and targeted instruction you get is worth many, many times that of group lessons. If you click very well, ask them for more. If you don't, don't be afraid to try another instructor.
Prior To A Private Lesson
Instructors will often will ask you what you want to learn. Note however, that unless you adamantly insist on it, a good instructor won't teach you a ton of moves in a private lesson, but rather how to dance BETTER. - a very important distinction. Again, it is critical that you go out dancing frequently.