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Re: Studio vs. private instructors
Posted by electroshka
4/25/2013  7:00:00 PM
Independent instuctors/studios are definitely the way to go. Knowing several europeans who have worked for franchised AM & FADS that have quickly moved on from this type of studio all say poor things about these types of facilities.

First of all, all their employess are made to learn a script. So don't feel special, they say the same script to every single student that comes through the door. Plus, most of the teachers that are hired with experience(for $10/hr) are forced to train the 'newbie' teachers that they hire off the street with no experience.

Go see for yourself at a NDCA sanctioned competition. When you watch the pro/am you will see that the independent instructors are winning and placing at the compeition. The AM & FADS students tend to be the 'heat fillers' and are sub-par when it comes to proper technique & styling.......which explains why AM & FADS shelter their students at their own events.

Most 'good' independent instuctors will give you better treatment as they tend to stay longer with students in the studio, give them more attention, charge less, are honest about your dancing, and typically have their students best interest in mind. These instuctors are running their own small business. Just make sure you find someone with proper training.

Re: Studio vs. private instructors
Posted by lorenabravo
4/30/2013  4:35:00 PM
To reiterate, and perhaps clarify the points I made earlier in the discussion, just because a teacher works for Arthur Murray or Fred Astair does not mean that they are a terrible teacher. However, the odds that you will get someone experienced are much lower than if you go to an independent studio, because AM and FA both hire kids off the street and train them for a couple of weeks before allowing them to teach. In other words, they may only have a teeny bit more training than you yourself have.

Now, some of these same kids end up really dedicating themselves to their craft and become good teachers with good understanding of their craft. Be aware though that these people are advancing because they take the initiative, not because the corporate does all that much for them (although I hear that FA is better in that regard). Additionally, every franchise is different. There are some overarching rules that apply to all of the studios in each system, but there is a lot of room for each franchisee to run there business as they see fit. There is an AM in Sherman Oaks that is very good because they provide real professional training for their employees and they keep them for years at a time, rather than having a high turnover.

Back to your situation. It might be worth poking around a bit to see how long your teacher has been dancing to see if he really has any experience. Regardless of whether or not you do that, take some time to think about what your personal goals are, and then lay them out for your teacher. You should always do this no matter who you take from so that your teacher can be as effective as possible with their lessons. Once you have laid this out for him, ask him about how he thinks he can most effectively get you there with as little money as possible. It is not an unreasonable thing to ask. Obviously, the more ambitious your goals, the more time, money, and effort it will cost you, so don't expect to win the US Open in a year on a single lesson a week.

Your teacher will let you know if your goals are unrealistic (i.e. win the open in 3 months if you're still learning your bronze patterns), and you need to be flexible in that regard. That being said, if he can't give you a good reason as to why your goals are unrealistic, or give you at least a semi-concrete plan of action, I would consider going somewhere else.

If you do go elsewhere, be aware that not every great dancer is a great teacher. Don't be wooed by world titles and such. When in the tryout period, again, let the candidates know what you goals are and have them tell you how they believe they can get you there. Take in to consideration how tangible the information is that they give you. Can you replicate what you were taught the next day?

Finally, don't discount the fun social things your current studio provides, if that is important to you. Bear in mind that what you are really paying for is an awesome social scene. If this is important to you, it might be a good reason to stay, or just make sure that if you go elsewhere that you make sure that they provide you with a good social scene too. People get very caught up in the competitive aspect of ballroom, but that's not the main motivating factor for many people, and that's a good thing!

Okay, sorry again for the long post. I hope this was helpful, and best of luck with your dancing!
Re: Studio vs. private instructors
Posted by terence2
5/2/2013  3:30:00 AM


having coached in AM and Freds over the yrs,as well as Indies, it always depends upon studio location and the staff.

There are never guarantees, no matter the experience of the assigned teacher.Background in teaching, may also be irrelevant. Finding a suitable teacher has alaways been trial and error .
There are good ,bad, and great teachers to be found in many studios; the larger the area, the greater the selection.

Before committing, try class work at different studios, watch other people dance, ask them where they were/are taking lessons .

AND, be quite specific what you expect from a lesson ( " we " are not mind readers ! ).
Re: Studio vs. private instructors
Posted by khrsr1-dance
5/4/2013  6:41:00 AM

Hi, there are studios made up, as a whole, of independent instructors. Its the best of both worlds! I work along side of some of the best pro's in the u.s and we are all independent. We pay floor rent, and the studio owner offers group classes and host partys that the instructors attend. You can have your cake and eat it too! However, even though these types of studios offer partys and group classes, its not there bread and butter. They make their living off teaching you to dance, not by breaking out in song every time you walk through the front doors! If you can live without needing constant attention, and want quality instruction, then I would start looking for studios like this. I encourage my students to not only attend our partys, but to attend as many dance events as they can find. Beware of studios, or teachers that discourage you from this. A confident teacher, or studio will not fear losing their clients to other studios. This will speak volumes in reguard to their teaching ability! Also keep this in mind when looking for your "perfect match" in a teacher, there are tons of great dancers out there, but far less good instructors. A teachers personal body of pro-work may not best speak for their teaching ability. The best instructors, are also the best students, so look for a teacher that is always hungry to add to their own education! A teacher that is constantly spotted getting coached themself on how to better their craft will always be better than one with an inflated ego of selfworth. Really watch how they communicate with you, and their peers. You have to see if their style works for you, just like any relationship. Hope this helps...Cheers, and good luck...
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