Common Questions About Ballroom Dancing and Cat’s Ballroom
We’ve tried to answer the most frequently asked questions about partner dancing in general and Cat’s Ballroom specifically. However you may have a question we haven’t thought of yet or simply want more information. Feel free to contact us if you do. And if you have some extra time, check out our Ballroom Blog which addresses some of the questions here in more depth. Have fun!
What can I expect at my first lesson?
The first lesson is a time to see if you feel comfortable with your instructor and for you to see that you are capable of learning to dance. Many people feel anxious (or downright terrified) at the prospect of taking dance lessons. It is our goal during your first few lessons to make you feel at ease and confident. Usually we will introduce you to the basic steps of two or three of the most popular dances to give you a taste of what is available. If you continue with lessons, we will then discuss your goals and preferences in more detail and tailor a program to suit your needs.
What should I wear?
This is probably the most frequently asked question, and the answer is pretty much what ever you’d like. There is no dress code and we tend to be pretty casual. Some people come in jeans and t-
Do I need special shoes?
No. Wear something comfortable that will stay on your feet and not grip the floor too much. It’s best to avoid slides, sneakers, and flip-
And yes. If you decide to pursue dancing as a serious hobby you may decide to purchase specialized ballroom dance shoes which have suede soles and extra support. [Check out this handy guide if you’re interested.]
How many lessons will I need?
That depends entirely on your goals. If you are preparing for a specific event involving one dance (such as a wedding), you may only need a few lessons. However if you want to become a competent social dancer you will need to invest a few months to a year, depending on how quickly you catch on and how many dances you are interested in learning. And many people engage in dance as a hobby and will spend years learning patterns and enhancing their technique, either for personal satisfaction or in preparation for competition.
Do I need a partner?
No. If you are taking private lessons you will dance with your instructor, and during group classes we change partners every few minutes so that everyone has a chance to participate.
How often should I come?
Like any new skill, the more often you engage in it, the quicker you’ll progress. That applies to practice as well as lessons. Try for a minimum of one session per week, and do more if you can. Otherwise, each time you come you’ll spend more time reviewing and less learning something new.
What dances do you offer?
If it can be danced with a partner, we’ve got it covered. That includes all of the Smooth (Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz, and Quickstep), Latin (Rumba, Mambo, Cha Cha, Jive), and Social (Swing, Salsa, Bachata) dances. We’ve even been known to throw in a little Hip-
How do I know which dance to do when I hear a particular song?
Of course there are “rules” regarding beats per minute and such, but there is also feeling. Each dance has a character and the best way to learn is exposure. Pay attention to the songs played in class, come to the parties (where each dance is announced), and see what your body tells you when you hear a song on the radio. Over time you will develop a sense of the relationship between music and dance.
Should I take private lessons or group classes?
Ideally, both. They each have specific benefits and you will learn faster if you combine them. If you can’t, then consider group lessons if you want a less expensive or more social option, and private lessons if you want to learn a particular dance and at your own pace. You should also attend practice parties every week to reinforce what you learn in your lessons (and because they’re fun).
Do you actually have any cats?
One. I (Cat) never considered myself a “cat person”, but he adopted us a few years ago and now pretty much runs things at home. He’s not allowed to come to the studio though, because being an animal of extreme physical grace, he tends to look down on the rest of us.