Monday, February 9, 2015


 Many dancers think private lessons are a luxury they can’t readily afford, but private instruction is almost always worth the extra cash.

When you have one-on-one time with a teacher, you’ll likely to find that you learn much more than you would in a group class. In group situations, there often isn’t enough time for individual attention- and this goes double for crowded workshops with sought-after teachers! The personal, tailored-to-you instruction of a private session will address both your weakest and strongest points, which is something that doesn’t always occur in a classroom situation.

Private lessons move along at your pace- not the group pace. This makes privates ideal for accelerated students.  Many classes and workshops, while not exactly being “dumbed down”, definitely cater to the average student, and while a superlative dancer will still get something out of the class, continued instruction on a common denominator level may not be challenging enough  let that student excel to the greatest  height of their potential. Students who need some remedial assistance will also benefit from privates for completely the opposite reason- the class they are in (perhaps the only one available to them) moves much too quickly, causing frustration or even making the student want to  throw in the towel and give up.

  Privates also address curriculum that may not be covered in group classes, honing specific aspects of the student’s repertoire, such as working on a choreography or competition preparation.  Every so often, I get requests from absolute beginners who want private lessons, but I almost always urge the baby dancer to try group classes first.   For a beginner, a group class situation isn’t only a technique-based learning experience, it also allows the newbie to see a range of talent amongst their peers, and gives access to the   mindset, culture and social aspects of serious dancing. In my opinion, private coaching is optimal when it focuses more upon improving existing technique, challenging the student to stretch her (or his) boundaries.

That being said, any way you’d like to learn is fine, and if you can afford private instruction from the start, then go for it!

 Here are a few sound reasons to invest in private sessions:

You’re preparing for a competition

You’re choreographing a professional piece for a theater show

You want to really enhance and/or define your own personal style

You need to learn or refine your technique in a dance genre that’s new to you

 You have a chance to study with a professional who does not live in your area

You-or your troupe-want to learn a specific choreography

The group classes you are attending are too far above or below your level of achievement

 You want to learn something that isn’t being taught in your regular group classes, such as emoting on stage, marketing, or a different style of dance

You cannot find group classes that have a good fit with your non-dance schedule

  It’s my belief that privates are beneficial – almost mandatory- for dancers who’d like to move their careers ahead, and for those who are professionals- or about to go pro.  So many things can be addressed!  And I also think that often, a private with a competent instructor is worth about three to five group classes….  But that’s just my two cents!

 If you are already a professional, the lessons can be counted as a tax write off; if you’re thinking of becoming a professional, the individual instruction will be invaluable to your career.

No matter what way you cut it, privates are worth every penny you spend on them!


1 comment:

  1. Agreed 100%! I am sharing this post with my students. :)