Why do you call yourself "No Frills?"
That's an easy one! I thought it was a good way to convey my business style. Contracts, mirror-balls, long-term commitments to the studio, bathrooms with lounges and changing rooms, high-buzz ballrooms with lots of teachers, costume parties...these are things I don't have. If you're looking for a dressed-up ballroom to become your main social outlet, we're probably not a good fit. My lesson location may change occasionally, I have limited time slots available, and I primarily teach couples. But I'll give you a high-quality private lesson on a pay-as-you-go, low commitment basis. That's what I call learning to dance without the frills.
What ages do you teach?
I teach ages 15-90+. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for the first 3 visits (the parent doesn't have to dance). No age is too old to start learning or to pick up where you left off. To date, my youngest client started at age 11 and my oldest client "retired" at age 89.
For younger children, I'm happy to recommend teachers who are available to work with kids.
Can I learn for a special event?
Yes! Dance instruction is available for a variety of events such as weddings (bridal party or attendees), cruises, high school reunions, New Year's parties, or new relationships.
I are happy to customize your dance instruction to meet your needs, whether in a private or group format.
Do I need any prior dance training to start?
No. Most of my students over the years had never taken any prior dance instruction.
What if I have two left feet?
Foot transplants are available by special arrangement.
Not really. "Two left feet" is what people say when they feel awkward or clumsy on the dance floor. Learning to dance is the solution for this condition. I have been quite successful with people who think they can't learn to dance. Bring it on! :)
What if I have no coordination, no rhythm, no talent, etc?
This is kind of like the two-left-feet question. You can improve upon whatever level of rhythm and coordination you currently possess - but only by engaging in activities that require rhythm and coordination. (There's always a catch, isn't there?)
I'm not a licensed gene sequencer, so I can't give you more talent, but I can show you how to maximize what you've got -- and have fun with it.
What should I wear?
Clothes, for sure! Nothing fancy -- I'm fairly casual myself.
Guys: Anything from jeans and a T-shirt to dress pants and a Polo.
Ladies: Pants, dresses, and skirts are all fine -- the number one priority is for you to feel comfortable and move easily.
Do I need special shoes?
Not necessarily. For beginners, something with a slick sole -- like leather -- works the best and avoids muscle strain. You don't necessarily need to wear dress shoes, but I don't recommend sneakers or other rubber-soled shoes if you can avoid it -- they tend to over-grip the floor. Also, please no flip-flops or other shoes that you can "walk out of."
Ladies, it really doesn't matter how comfortable you are in high heels, your body has to make kinematic adjustments to wear them. It has learned how to do this for standing, walking, and maybe even stair climbing. But dance is different, and I suggest heels of 2.5" or less while you're brand-new. Give yourself a chance to learn your balance in these new movements and directions before you add elevation. If you do wear heels, please choose supportive ones -- toothpick-thin stillettos will make you look like a newborn deer who can't find it's legs when you're new. And please notice that many of today's manufacturers are putting a rubberized coating on ladies' fashion shoes. Like sneakers, they can over grip the floor and make it difficult for you to move.
Like with most activities that turn into hobbies, serious dancers invest in Ballroom or Latin dance shoes, but I'd wait to see how well you like it before taking that step.
Do you teach [Swing, Salsa, Waltz...] dancing?
I am a big fan of, and rather specialize in, what we used to call "the major six." Some people will tell you they aren't as major as they used to be, but they hold a special place in my heart, in my dance style, and in the studios that I frequent:
(Eastern) Swing, Chacha, Rumba, Foxtrot, Waltz, and Tango.
Other fun dances I enjoy sharing include Jitterbug, Samba, Mambo, Bolero, Paso Doble, Quickstep, Viennese Waltz, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Country/Western Twostep, Hustle, West Coast Swing, and Polka. I used to do a little Lindy Hop, too. ;)
Is this like ballet, tap, or jazz dance?
Most people are familiar with the performance-oriented styles of dance such as ballet, tap, and jazz. Perhaps they took dance lessons as a child, have children enrolled in them now, or have some connection with the performing arts. There are many styles of solo and performance dance and many studios that teach them.
This isn't one of them.
I specialize in partnership -- or contact -- dancing (adult social dancing). Think of Jitterbug -- GIs in the 1940's and greasers in the 1950's. Think of Hustle -- John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever in the 1970's. Patrick Swayze teaching "Baby" the Mambo in Dirty Dancing somewhere during the 1980's. It's fun. It's social. It's dancing for two.
Can I pick out the dances I learn?
Nope, that's all up to me.
You can learn any dances you want, as often as you want, and I'll do my best to teach you as much as you can absorb as fast as you can absorb it, no matter how many lessons you've had.
What happens on the first lesson?
Are private lessons held in private rooms?
Although many first-timers wish it were so, the answer is no. The "private" in private lesson means that instead of one teacher working with many students at the same time (like in a class), your teacher is spending that lesson just with you.
Lessons are held in a large, open ballroom. You and your teacher may be alone on the dance floor during your lesson. But it's much more likely that there will be other lessons going on at the same time, taught by other teachers. But take heart; generally, the other teachers and students are so wrapped up in their own lesson, they aren't paying any attention to yours.
Do you teach group classes?
Sometimes, yes! But not regularly enough that you can count on it.
One option, if you have a bunch of adventurous friends, is to create a private group class just for you and your peeps. Please e-mail us to get this started: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I don’t have a partner?
At a typical ballroom studio, that wouldn't be a problem. On a private lesson, your teacher would be a stand-in for your future dance partner(s). You benefit from having all the training focus on you. If you do find a partner later on, you can take your lessons as a couple, even from the same teacher.
Me, on the other hand...I teach couples, almost exclusively. I have been known to make exceptions, though...just ask!
How many lessons will I need?
Anyone who tries to answer that question without knowing what dances you want to learn & how good you want to be and comparing that to how you move & how fast you learn is bluffing you. They can't possibly know.
Bottom line, it's a great question to ask to help you weed out teachers, but you'll need to let them work with you for a few lessons before they can really answer that well.
Will I get a male or female teacher?
At a full-service studio, single male students learn from a female instructor; single female students dance with a male instructor. Although it's not unusual for advanced students to take lessons from a teacher of their own gender - out of scheduling convenience, a teacher's specific expertise, or just for a different perspective, newbies are generally taught by their dance counterpart.
If you are a couple or are attending a group class, you can learn from a male or a female instructor.
[Bear in mind that No Frills is neither full-service nor a brick-and-mortar studio.]
How long have you been teaching?
I've been teaching for over 20 years now. Yup, I'm a dinosaur.
Over those 20+ years, I have been blessed to be a professional teacher, competitor, and performer. I have taught both beginning and advanced students. My specialty is taking folks who start out with no experience at all and turning them into dancers - for a one-time event or for a lifetime, to be socially adept or to be a competitor/performer, or any goal in between. I am certified in American Style Bronze and Silver and have been trained in everything else -- American Style Gold, International, Exhibition, and Theatrical. I have taught hundreds singles and couples how to dance for both major events (like weddings, reunions, competitions, and shows) as well as just for the fun of it.
How do I know my instructor is qualified?
When are the lessons held?
Private lessons are available by appointment and are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
The best time to schedule with me is in the afternoon, Monday through Friday. I am also available on Wednesday evenings.
Where are you located?
I teach private lessons in a couple different locations, depending on scheduling and availability. Ballroom Bliss is in the Murray Hill area, at 1080-11 Edgewood Avenue South, 32205; Jacksonville Dance Center is on the Southside, at 2375 St Johns Bluff Rd S, #102, 32246. Both of them are great studios with group classes and dance parties, as well as top-notch instruction.and , and practice parties
How often should I attend class?
Ultimately, that's your call. Here are my recomendations...
If you're learning for an upcoming event, carve out a chunk of time -- a week or two -- and just do it and get it done,
-OR- commit to regular lessons once or twice a week for a month or two before the event.
If you're looking to start a hobby, attend as often as you can (as long as you're having fun).
As with any sport or skill, getting good requires time and effort. The better you want to be, the more time you'll want to spend on it.
If you just want to get by, take a few lessons close together and then go out and use it often. If you want to be good, aim to have regular lessons and practice time.
Remember that's it's your dancing. The best teachers will need your cooperation to make you good. It's like being in college. You select the course; the professor sets the curriculum and teaches it to you; you do the work.
How much do lessons cost?
My standard practice is that since you don't know anything about me, except for what you've read here, your first lesson is FREE. This gives you an opportunity to try out the dance lesson experience in general, and my instruction specifically. You'll want to make sure that you feel comfortable with both.
After that, my rate is $75 for a 50-minute prIvate lesson (followed by a 5-minute review and wrap-up).
How much do I have to pay up front?
Advance payments are not required, as long as students show up for appointments they have scheduled. Repeat no-shows or frequent last-minute cancellations may be asked to pay in advance to secure a future appointment. I reserve the right to determine this on a case-by-case basis.
The most you can ever pay up front, in case you just like doing it that way, is 3 private lessons' worth ($225).
If you are on a normal pay-as-you-go basis, payment is due at the beginning of the lesson on the day of the lesson.
Why don’t you have contracts?
You sign a contract with a studio when you are enrolling on $250 or more in pre-paid lessons. Don't panic, just read; the contract should protect you and the studio both.
I don't have contracts because I accept advance payment for a maximum of three lessons ($225) at a time, and only rarely at that. [Some folks choose to pre-pay because they know they're coming back a few times, and don't want to do multiple transactions if they can just do one. I do this with my personal trainer all the time.]
Is there a minimum number of lessons I have to take?
I think you owe it to yourself to take enough lessons for you to get what you want out of them. For some people, that's 2 or 3; for others, it's months or years; for me, it's a lifetime.
In terms of minimum required to take lessons from me - there is none. You don't have to join a long-term package to learn to dance. You can take as many or as few as you want -- even if it's just one lesson.
Do I have to take an entire hour?
Most people take "hour-long" (50-minute) lessons because we get more accomplished. But if that doesn't work for you, no problem - ask for a half-hour. Half-hour lessons are available for $45.