I have been a full-time ballroom dance instructor since 1999. My wife Melissa and I were competitors in the Americans Smooth style of ballroom dance, but I teach all styles including Argentine tango, swing, west coast swing, and salsa. I am also a student in the Alexander technique which is all about the way you use your body. I have students that do competitions, but 90% of my students are just social dancers. I would love to help you achieve your dance goals! My website is naptownballroom.com.
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Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
I have an introductory package which is two private lessons, a group, and dance party for $75 total. During this package you can get an idea of the way that I teach and we can come up with a plan to be able to achieve your dance goals.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I completed a 100 hour initial training to be hired at the first studio I ever worked at, but that's just the tip of the iceburg! I have continued to be trained ever year that I have been teaching. Dance is not something that you just learn and you've got it. It's a highly developed skill that gets better and better over time. That's why I believe that the best teachers are lifetime students as well!
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
My pricing is very straight forward. I have a base rate of $80 for a 55 minute lesson. I believe this is a great value considering my level of training and experience as a teacher. Many studios have 40 minute lessons, but I've kept mine at 55 because that's what I feel a student needs to keep seeing progress.
I do have many discounts available. My introductory special is 2 privates, a group, and a party for $75 which you can see offers a lot for not too much money. Beyond that, I offer discounts for students that purchase small packages although I DO NOT make them sign contracts. I believe my teaching is what should keep a student coming back and not their liability in a legal contract.
How did you get started teaching?
I first danced in a class I took at IU. It was my favorite class and then I took the intermediate version which was the most that was offered at the university. After graduation, I saw a job posting in the newspaper. (Back when people found jobs in newspapers!) I took the job not knowing if it would be longterm and decades later I'm still teaching. There's just something about dancing that I can't get enough of!
What types of students have you worked with?
I've worked with all types of students. I generally work with adults more than children, but I am open to all ages. I have students that do competitions but for the most part I teach regular people that want to learn social dancing for recreation, exercise, and a means of expression. I can teach any level of dancer from beginner to those who want the fanciest steps and detailed technique.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
I recently took part in the "Dancing With Our Stars" event which is a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels. This is the fourth year for this event and I've been a part of it each year. This is a popular format for fundraisers as of late and I've been in close to 25 of them since 2007. It's a great way to use my abilities to help great causes.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
I would tell new students that experience matters greatly in teaching dance. As someone who's been teaching since 1999, I know that I've learned so much from the teaching process itself. Many studios hire people with no dance experience at all and train them for a short period of time before they're out there teaching. This is just how it goes in this industry and is actually how many of us started including me. If you have the option of an experienced teacher, they can make the process go so much faster which in turn saves you time and money. Also, some studios are independent (which I am) and some have owners and employees. With an independent studio you deal directly with your teacher who doesn't have to pay the owners and the franchisers part of the fee. This saves you lots of money!
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
1. What's your experience level?
2. What's your pay structure?
3. Do you require contracts?
4. Do you have a specialty?
5. Do you do special events like competitions or showcases? (If this is something you're interested in)
6. What's your availability?