Students can customize their experience by choosing the classes and activities they want. If you do not have previous training in ballroom dancing we recommend you start with our Introductory Special.
Two half-hour private lessons for only $40
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a partner?
Usually you do not need a partner. For group classes, typically instructors make an effort to keep their classes reasonably balanced between leads and follows. And in many classes students have the opportunity to change partners periodically during class. Some do require that you come with a partner. So you should ask. For private lessons, most dance instructors will partner with you for the lesson if you do not have a partner. But again, you should ask.
What is the best strategy for finding places to dance and people to dance with if I do not have a partner?
See Around Town for ideas about where to dance. Many dance venues offer a class right before open dancing. Classes are a great way to get to know people. If you are coming to a dance for the first time and do not get as many dances as you hoped for, do not assume that it is because people are unsociable or do not want to dance with you. They may not feel confident enough to ask someone they do not know. If the dance venue seems like a place you might really like eventually, go a few times to get to know people. If they have a “mixer,” jump in, even if you are new to dancing. That’s what mixers are for!
I am learning to dance for the first time. Will private lessons or group classes be better for me?
Ideally, you will take both group classes and private lessons. Group classes are a great way to learn patterns and fundamental principles of dancing while you meet other dancers at your level and practice your new skills. Even if you are taking lessons to dance with that special someone, you will learn much more quickly if you also practice with different people.
One benefit of private lessons is that you receive your instructor’s undivided attention. The lessons are tailored to your specific needs. Your instructor will be able to present more technique to improve your lead/follow, style, etc., than might be possible in a group class. And there is more flexibility in scheduling private lessons.
You know your schedule, budget, goals and learning style best. If you can, try both private lessons and classes before you settle on a plan.
How do I find the right instructor for me?
Word of mouth is often the best way. But if you don’t know where to start, call or email a few different instructors. The most important thing is to find someone you are comfortable with. Many instructors/schools offer an inexpensive Introductory course.
Some possible questions to ask:
- What is your experience teaching the style of dance I want to learn?
- Do you specialize in social dancing or exhibition/competitive dancing? The basic principles of good dancing are the same for both social and competitive dancing. Many teachers are very adept at teaching both, but it does sometimes influence their approach.
- Are you certified to teach the style of dancing I want to learn? There are good instructors out there who are not certified, but this is one way to ensure that they have the necessary training. Not all dance styles have a certification process. But Ballroom does.
- What will I learn in the Introductory course? Some schools have a prescribed curriculum. Others will teach you whatever dances you want to learn at a pace that is comfortable for you. If you aren’t sure what dances you want to learn, an introductory special is a great way to learn about the possibilities and get an introduction to a few different dances.
- What do group classes and/or private lessons cost beyond the introductory special? If they won’t tell you, be prepared for a sales procedure during your introductory course. This is not to say that you might not be completely satisfied with what they offer. But you should feel free to shop around. Having said that, the least expensive option is not necessarily the best option. You will learn more quickly and easily, and have more fun, if you find an experienced instructor who is well matched to your needs and learning style. If you buy a package, make sure you can actually use everything that is included in the package.
- Can I pay as I go or do I have to pay for the program up front? Do I need to sign a contract? Paying as you go gives you the flexibility to take from other instructors, and to take as few or as many lessons as you like. You may be offered a discount for paying for a package of lessons in advance. If you exercise this option, make sure your instructor is reputable and ask if they will prorate the lessons back to the flat rate and refund the balance in the event you are unable to complete the program. Things change. You or your instructor may become injured or ill, one of you may move to another city or your schedule may change. Be aware that instructors that are independent contractors are responsible for their financial obligations to their students. Usually the owners/managers of the venue in which they teach are not.
- Is the price for private lessons different for singles and couples? Usually it is not, but you should ask.
- If it is a school rather than an independent contractor, can I take from other instructors or do I have to stick with the teacher I start with? Chances are good that you will want to stick with the instructor you start with. But it is worth asking the question.
- Where will the lessons take place? Some schools have more than one location and independent contractors often teach in a variety of locations. It’s important that the lessons are reasonably convenient in order to stick with it long term.
Do I need dance shoes?
In most cases, dance shoes are not required. If you do not already own dance shoes, you may want to give dancing a try before buying dance shoes. If you do not have dance shoes, leather soled shoes are usually better than rubber if you have them, at least for ballroom dancing. The goal is to have shoes that are not so sticky that they stick to the floor when you move or turn. Make sure your shoes will stay securely on your feet. Flip flops, mules or slides are not recommended. If you plan to continue with dance lessons, dance shoes are a really good investment and will make the process of learning to dance much easier. Consult with your instructor or other experienced dancers or see Where to Shop before you buy. There are different kinds of dance shoes for different dance styles and many different brands.
What should I wear to my dance class? How about open dances?
Most schools do not have a particular dress code for social dance classes and casual attire is acceptable. But you can inquire if their dress code is not on their website. People come to classes from work, play and home, so attire varies. Wear comfortable clothes that give you sufficient freedom of movement. Leotards and yoga clothes are definitely not needed for most partner dancing classes, and in some cases are discouraged.
For dances in the Seattle area, attire varies from one dance style to another, from one venue to another, and even within a single venue. Dressy casual attire is normally acceptable, even in the ballroom. It is not at all uncommon to see women dressed in everything from jeans to cocktail dresses at the same dance. More formal attire is recommended for special events such as dinner dances, shows and competitions.
Available in Seattle and Shoreline
Whether you’re learning to dance for the first time or honing your skills, private lessons offer individualized attention to help you achieve your goals. No matter how modest or how lofty your goals are, the process of learning to dance should be fun, engaging and energizing. You can take lessons by yourself or with a partner. The price is the same. Semi-private lessons are also available for parties of three or more. And there are no membership fees or contracts to sign to get started.
Russian Community Center
704 19th Ave E
18005 Aurora Ave North