No, at our classes you learn to dance solo, and you learn both lead and follow parts. As you get better you may want to arrange practice partnerships with various dance friends, at about your level, with whom you can practice outside of class, and/or with whom you can take private lessons together.
Private training is a good idea for several reasons. You accelerate your learning process with personalized attention, you get your questions answered, and you get a physical experience of dancing with, being corrected by, the teacher. The clarity and confidence you build through privates helps make the group class experience more rewarding. One way to make the most of privates is to take them regularly but spaced out, with group class, practice, and dance hall experiences in between.
If you are coming to class for the first time, just wear casual clothes that feel comfortable for a social situation where you will be meeting new people. Make sure you are attentive to breath and body odors. When you first start going out to “real” social dances, that is ones where there is no teacher or other supervising person, it is a good idea to dress conservatively, so that you don’t stand out. later once you get the feel for things you may decide to be more flamboyant, or otherwise stand out more in your own style. Remember that at a Milonga (Dance), standing out with your dress and shoes is an invitation to dance at a higher level of expectation.
Shoes are important, and when you become committed to a dance experience you will buy shoes that are for dancing. For your first classes wear any comfortable, flat (yes, even ladies- flat shoes to begin!) shoes with closed toes. (No sandals or flip flops please.) Soles of the shoes are ideally made of some slippery surface, but at the studio we can use masking tape to creat a temporary dance sole for any shoe.
Once you are sure that you want to practice dancing regularly there are various shoes you should have. Practice shoes are now getting much more popular. Create your own, by taking comfortable, flat, low profile (no big lips or fat soles) shoes you like to the shoe maker and have him put leather soles on the front and heel portions of the shoes. In Northampton go to Joe at Shoe Fix, on Hawley street downtown, and tell him we sent you.
You can also buy jazz shoes or jazz sneakers at any discount dance supply (google that) online. They should cost from 25-100 dollars a pair.
Once you get into the territory of fancy dance shoes, leader’s flats and follower’s heels, you have to be prepared to spend some money. At this writing 150-300 dollars a pair. Although there are also exchanges that happen at dances where people sell used shoes at a big discount. And often sales people will set up shoe and clothing stores at Milongas, and certainly at festivals. Then you can try them on, which is always better. We recommend that you alway bu shoes that are looser rather than the tighter. tighten them up by adding insoles, rather than breaking your feet by trying to stretch them out.
Some companies are really paying attention to sizing for comfort. Try our own Anna Leon’s new line by going to www.foreverochos.com
Holiday and weather cancellations?
We follow the Northampton Public School System for Holidays and weather cancellations.
Are there make up classes if we miss a scheduled class?
Most of the classes we offer do not have multiple sections, so there is no easy way for a child to make up a missed class. As the semester based pricing makes classes much less expensive for youth, attention to the unavoidable absence is already built in to the system. However, when possible, students can take a different class that would work for them, even if it is a different topic or age group. Talk to us about specific situations.
Why is youth pricing by the semester, and adults more flexible?
We wish everyone would register by the semester, and take all the classes, because every dancer would benefit from such a commitment. But we realize that in the real world adult students require such flexibility in order to be able to attend class. With youth we realize that they would struggle and more likely flounder with irregular attendance. We want there to be integrity in the group dynamics as well. So we expect youth to register and attend by the semester. If a child tries class and simply does not like it, then we will refund a prorated percentage of the tuition when they cancel. But we want you to commit to the program by the semester for them. Thank you.
Are age limits on classes very strict?
No. Some schools divide by age, others by school grade, others by ability. We have chosen to use age as a guide, and we ask that you follow it for the first classes f the semester. We will they dialogue with you about the pros and cons of a move to a different level or time, in order to best fit everyoneâ€™s needs. Talk to us about your concerns. Thanks.