The Secrets to Saving Money, Making Friends, and Becoming an Excellent Dancer

By Julie Ho

Article reprinted with permission from Ohio Dancer - The Newsletter of the Ohio Chapter of the United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association

A lot of people want to learn how to dance. The same people want to make friends, have a good time, and be admired as a smooth dancer on the floor. Yet at the same time, people get discouraged by overwhelming costs, the lack of a partner, or even the lack of guidance in the dance world. I can tell you exactly how you can solve these problems and achieve your ballroom desires. I'm living proof.

Just like any other dancer, I was struggling in my dancing career. I haven't found a steady dance partner in the last six years, so I was on my own. I went into Pro-Am, but it wasn't possible for my teachers to practice 10-20 hours per week with me, or go to social dances. I see a lot of other dancers leave the ballroom circle because of these same reasons, and I'd like to share with you an idea that has become a major success for me.

I found four people: two men, and two women, who all have a strong motivation to learn, and a commitment to practice and learn on a regular basis. We all agreed to find a teacher whom we liked, and split the cost to study International Style together. We get together once a week in a dance studio to practice what we have learned from a one-hour class. This is how we formed our study group.

Belonging to a study group offers lots of benefits. For many people who cannot afford private lessons, this method may be a great way to get a decent lesson without overwhelming costs. The results in a study group are much better in comparison to giant group sessions, because each student receives adequate attention. When committed to a study group, members can help each other remember the steps later on, and practice with different partners to master lead/follow skills. Study group members reinforce the lessons they have learned by critiquing and helping one another. Practices are held without cost to anyone, except for the time that members wish to dance together.

My study group has improved steadily over the past year. We have become better friends and better dancers. I have found that the combination of two men and two women is perfect for an instructor to handle, and it's easy- to get four people together on a single day of the week. It's even easier to find four people who wish to study the same kind of dancing-- International, American, or just plain Swing. I still don't have a partner, but my dancing ability is still growing with the help of my study group friends. Now, if you don't know three other people to join a study group offhand, have no fear. Suzanne Gelinas, my ballroom teacher, is taking down names of those who wish to form a study group. She will help to match you up with others seeking the same interest. You can call her at Cavana Ballroom: 216-398-7660. If you wish to observe my study group, or have any further questions about them, you can reach me at: Stayonthefloor@aol.com.

So why should you join a study group? It's cost-saving. It provides friendship and partnership opportunities. It'll improve your dancing like private lessons, but faster, easier, and more fun. So what are you waiting for? Let's dance!

Click here if you would like more information on joining the Ohio Chapter of USABDA.