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The value of private lessons

“Private lessons”. Maybe you’ve heard friends or classmates talk about them. You’ve been to congresses and seen the professionals advertise them. But maybe you’re not sure if private lessons are right for you. Or perhaps you’re not sure what benefit you can get from one on one instruction.

We can all benefit from getting personalized feedback on our dancing. Do you identify with any of these situations?

You want to move up a level but are worried you won’t be able to keep up.

You can’t quite get a skill that’s taught in your group class and you feel it’s holding you back.

You are frustrated with failing at common moves at socials.

You are falling behind in class and you’re about to give up on dancing altogether.

You have always wanted to join that performance team that is having its auditions soon but you know you’re not polished enough to be accepted.


If any of those situations sound familiar, a private lesson can make all the difference to your dancing!


Let’s look at 5 common situations where private lessons are beneficial to your dancing. 

You want to refine a skill

Every dancer has something they’re working on or need to work on. Often group class settings don’t give you or your instructors a chance to troubleshoot a skill you’re having a hard time acquiring. Private lessons are a great way to have one on one time to address precisely what you need to work on. It’s possible there is a component of a skill that you’re not aware you’re missing. As my coach Patrick Moriarity likes to say ‘Practice Makes Permanent’. The longer you’re moving in a certain way, the less likely you are to correct it. Having dedicated time with your teacher can ease you out of your muscle memory and into a more successful pattern. Often you just need your teacher to explain it in a different way than they do in class so that your brain or body can understand what they’re asking you to do. Private lessons allow your teacher to zoom in on what’s troubling you, something they can’t do in class.

You want to fix a nagging issue so you can enjoy dancing again

Sometimes having a private to fine-tune a skill you’ve not been able to master can make all the difference between enjoying salsa as a hobby and considering giving it up altogether. I’ve often seen students who are keen but perhaps missed a week where a skill was taught in detail and they consistently fall behind because of lacking that one skill. Often one private can get them back on track and enjoying their dancing again. They are able to progress because that one thing they were missing has been addressed and is no longer preventing them from executing certain moves successfully.

The next session is starting soon and you want to level up

Another great reason to take private lessons is to prepare yourself to move up a level in the next season. Fall is coming and the lull in classes in the summer is the perfect time to refine a few things you need to be successful in the next level. Perhaps it’s being able to find the ‘1’ in the song, or fine tuning your connection, being more stable in your turns or brushing up on your body motion. All of those skills are great examples of things you can work on in a private.

You want to become a more successful social dancer

Often people take classes a few days a week, get good at executing combos or patterns but then struggle when they go social dancing. Common frustrations for leads include having a huge vocabulary of moves but not knowing how to link them together or trying to do certain moves but their follow doesn’t get the cues. For follows it’s missing a lot of the cues from the leads and not knowing what to do when there’s a new move you’ve never done before. This is where your teacher can give you pointers on how to think on your feet, for leads, and how to stick to your main job, for the follows.

You want to tap into complementary skills your teacher is trained in

Many dance instructors have trained in other dance styles or are trained in other movement modalities. For example, your teacher may have a ballet or ballroom background and be able to refine your arm styling, turns and leg lines. Something they won’t be teaching in group classes. Perhaps your teacher is a kinesiologist or personal trainer who can help you avoid injury or improve your range of motion to execute skills you’ve been struggling to acquire. If you’re serious about improving your dancing, moving up a level or joining a performance team or competing, it’s worthwhile to tap into those skills your teacher may be able to provide.


Private lessons may seem like the purvey of only top-notch students but that’s absolutely not true. I’ve given privates to everyone from absolute beginners to the most advanced students. I’ve worked on everything from learning the absolute basic steps and rhythm recognition to the tiny details of body motion and weight transfer.


If you live in Vancouver and you’d like to book a private lesson get in touch today! You can email me at [email protected]


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