Private v.s. Group Dance Lessons

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For one and for all!
The differences between taking private dance lessons versus group dance lessons.

Nowadays, the range of dance classes offered continue to expand, and for dancers and parents alike, it can make our heads spin just thinking about all the endless amount of options. To help ease our minds, we are discussing the decision between taking private dance lessons versus group dance lessons. We’ve narrowed down six different scenarios in a dancer’s journey of training and why they might turn to either private or group dance classes.

1) Beginner Bun-heads
Before every great grand jeté that ever took flight, there was a ballet dancer learning their first A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s of dance. Due to the nature of children’s group dance classes and certified dance syllabi, there are so many levels offered for children which allow for the right fit in a group setting during their early training.

The same does not apply for adult beginners in their early stages of dance training. Adult dance classes are usually offered as open or drop-in classes without prior assessment from both the teacher and the student. For this reason, a “beginner adult dance class” should be considered as a general term, as various definitions apply amongst adult dance students. Keep in mind that different dance instructors, and different dance studios have their own ways of delivering or structuring a beginner class to accommodate the majority of their student’s needs. However, if you’ve never taken a dance class before and are considering to start, try taking a beginner group dance class as a way of gaging where you are at in your beginner boots. Even if you show up to find out that the class is more challenging or easier than expected, you will gain a better idea of what your level or next step is, and dance instructors are always happy to give their advice or opinion. Once you’ve taken your first beginner group dance class, you can decide whether you want to continue in a group setting or try a private dance class based on your goals or personal needs.

The truth is that for beginner adult dance classes, it is rare that dance instructors will start the class by breaking down the first foundations of dance. This is mostly because of the fact that the majority of adult dance students taking a beginner dance class already understand the foundations. Which is where private dance classes come in handy for complete beginner adult dance students. If question marks fill your brain when you hear the words “5-6-7-8 !”, or you were never able to master the art of rubbing your tummy in circles while patting your head, well then private dance classes might just be the perfect remedy to get rid of those two left feet! Within a private dance class setting, the dance instructor can take the time to break down the foundations of dance, and cater the class to your personal needs. Plus, who doesn’t love the personal attention?

2) Refine into Sublime
Sometimes we just need a polish and shine to refine our dance moves. Dance students who have been learning dance for over a number of years may have developed an understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses. But the challenging part as a dance student, is knowing how to work on your weaknesses. To compliment a dancer’s routine of group training, a private dance lesson can act as the perfect tune-up for those dance students looking to refine their technique. Private dance lessons are especially helpful during the weeks leading up to a dance exam, or a school showcase.

There are also occasional opportunities in which masterclasses or workshops are offered by dance studios or professional dance companies which are targeted at refining a dance student’s technique or understanding of performance. Although these are taught in a group setting, they provide specific knowledge and tools outside the standard dance studio group classes that offer an extra kick in your step. Masterclasses and dance workshops can range from professional dance companies teaching their repertoire, variations, training methods, techniques, to professional dance artists and instructors offering tips about preparing for performances or auditions. But just remember that these don’t occur regularly, so you gotta keep your eyes out for these special events!

3) Socially Awe-inspired
As disciplined and strict as dance classes can be, group dance classes are great places for people to socialize (before or after class that is... don’t make your dance instructor shush you!). For children, group dance classes of them a chance to interact with other students outside of school, which is important in developing their social and communication skills. Not to mention, that the dance studio acts as a great environment for instilling discipline, etiquette and good work ethic amongst our youth. And of course group dance classes are great for adults too, as it opens up opportunities for expanding our circle of friends.

Now that doesn’t mean that there is no socializing during a private dance lesson, in fact there is just as much talking if not more, between the student and the teacher that is. Private dance lessons allow for a stronger level of communication and understanding between the student and teacher, allowing both parties a deeper understanding of the student’s strengths and weaknesses. This gives a chance to discuss about the student’s progress, and for the teacher to offer suggestions to continue on the path of improvement in the student’s dance training. Also students get to learn more about their teachers through private dance lessons, and can look to their teacher for advice and mentorship about the professional world of dance.

4) Competition is my Mission
If you’ve ever seen the American Television series “Dance Moms”, it amplifies the reality of dance training for competitions by about 100%, well it was made for television after all. For any parents new to the dance competition scene, it is standard practice that student’s take private dance sessions with the teacher and choreographer in preparation for the main event. Particularly if students are competing with a solo dance number, they will be required to take a series of private dance sessions to learn the choreography, as well as polish and rehearse the routine. Although it all sounds very intense, it can create some of the most rewarding and memorable moments in a dancer’s training. Getting choreography made just for the student’s strengths and their unique personality as a dancer can remind them why they love to dance.

5) Specific and Terrific
To possess the skill of decisiveness is one of the greatest superpowers, and it’s a wonderful thing when a dance student knows exactly what they want to work on in their training. With dance-specific side training popping up in the city, like stretching class, movement improvisation, or pointe class, there are a vast range of group dance or side training classes for students who know exactly what the want to learn or improve on.

At the same time, there isn’t a class for absolutely everything, and some students may want guidance in targeting a certain area in their training. Private dance lessons may offer students with the specific piece of the puzzle that they’ve been searching for!

6) The Love Birds
Wedding couples can be students too! Some couples planning their special day, may notice that the event is missing a certain zing. No party is complete without a flawless or fiery first dance, which will fool the guests into thinking that you’ve been hiding your talent for dance all your life! Private dance lessons offer that extra bounce of energy to a wedding, whether it’s for a first dance, a bridal party flash mob or a wedding party entrance.  

There are plenty of reasons to want to take dance classes, but it’s important to make sure that the shoe fits. Aside from our suggestions, it never hurts to ask for advice from a friend who knows a thing or two about a pas de chat or a stag leap, the dance instructor at your studio, or feel free to ask us a question in the the comments section below (we are dance gurus after all). At the end of the day, whether you decide on taking private or group dance lessons, remember that your dance experience should most importantly be enjoyable!