mikeweaver: Couple Swing Dancing (Default)

There as many answers to this question as there are students who dance. Among some of the reasons offered are wanting to dance at a special occasion (such as a wedding); wanting to keep up with a spouse who dances well; wanting to impress a date; developing a sense of achievement in a hobby; or just because they love to dance as well and often as possible!

Many students fall into one of the following three categories:

  • For Your Health: Dancing is a fun way to keep fit (sometimes with a friend or spouse),
    which offers not only aerobic activity and the development of greater flexibility, but also improves posture,
    carriage, grace, and poise. The fun involved also helps ease stress and promote relaxation.

  • Social Advantage: Many students either want to take better advantage of social occasions that involve dancing, or like to develop a hobby that provides many social outlets and a way to meet new people. Dancing is a great way to get more fun out of life, increase self-confidence, and develop greater ease and social assurance. Outings involving dancing promote interaction with others and can help develop conversational ability. Moreover, a good dancer is likely to get invited to occasions where their skills are popular!

  • Dance Competitively: Although many students don't start dancing for this reason, they get a taste for it once their skills improve and they enter their first competition. Dance competitions are held at all levels all over the country and can be an exciting way to visit new places and feel challenged by new situations. Some students know from the start that they wish to develop their skills to a highly competitive level and look at it as a second career.

Whatever your reasons for considering dance lessons, you may find the benefits to be much greater than you expected once you get through your first course.

About the Instructor

Mike is currently teaching independently in the Urbana Champaign, Illinois area and is accepting individual students and couples of all levels and ages. Contact him for rates and additional information at 217-378-4601, or e-mail mikeweaver.cota@yahoo.com

More about Mike.

Types of Lessons

Four levels of courses are taught. Although Mike primarily teaches private lessons, he is available to teach group classes on a one-time only or recurring basis. Mike also offers individual coaching for professional dancers. For more information on lessons click here.

Dances Taught Include:

Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Rumba, ChaCha, East Coast Swing, Samba, Mambo, Merengue, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Paso Doble, Bolero, West Coast Swing, Salsa and more.

Unlike most dance studios you do not have to purchase large lesson blocks or entire courses in advance. Mike charges on a pay as you go basis only and rates are determined by how often you take classes.

Gift Certificates!

Dance classes make a great gift for weddings, anniversaries or other special occasions. Gift certificates are available for purchase year-round in denominations of $10 or more for both existing and new students. The recipients can apply the certificates to any lesson course. (Note: Gift certificates are valid for six months from the purchase date.)

mikeweaver: Couple Swing Dancing (Default)

Introductory Course

The introductory course is just that: an introduction to dancing.
You will be introduced to 1 - 3 step patterns in about 3 - 6
different dances. The goal of these first few lessons is to show
you what is available and to begin laying your dancing foundation.

Foundation Course

Your next several lessons are considered the Foundation Course. The Foundation Course is designed to get you out on the floor and able to "Get By". You will be shown a couple more step patterns in each of your selected dances, and you will be solidifying the basic patterns shown in the Introductory Course. Your instructor will also begin introducing you to some basic dancing techniques as you become more comfortable with what your feet are doing and can start to think about how to lead, follow, etc. Expect to spend 2 - 6 months on your Foundation Course, depending upon how many dances you're working on, how often you take your lessons, etc. After you finish your Foundation Course, you may continue to your Bronze. This is your grade-school of dancing.

Bronze Course

Bronze is the full Social Standard. Students who have completed a Bronze Course are considered competent Social Dancers. By the time you finish your Bronze, you will feel confident and at ease on the dance floor with most any partner. You will know a variety of patterns in the dances that you choose. You will have the technique and styling that will make you look and feel good to yourself and your partners. You should feel comfortable whether at a dance party, a country-western club, a nightclub, or a grand ball. Expect to spend a couple of years, minimum, on your Bronze Course. Consider this to be your High School Diploma.

Silver Course

After completing your Bronze Course, you may continue on to Silver. By the time you get to the Silver level, we are not talking strictly social dancing any more. The Silver Course is marked by advanced technique and styling, as well as flashy movements which make the Silver dancer stand out on the dance floor. While some of the Silver step patterns can be danced socially, some are designed with the large ballroom or competition floor in mind. The Silver Course is for those whose goal is to be a cut above the rest. Think of Silver as your Bachelor's Degree.

Gold Course

The Gold Course is for the Stars! Gold is a level strictly for the hobby dancer who just enjoys learning more and more, or for the competitive or exhibition style dancers. Gold is not for the strictly social dancer. Most Gold patterns will not even fit on a social floor. This is for the people who want to get their "Ph.D." in dancing.

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mikeweaver: Couple Swing Dancing (Default)

Private Lessons

Private lessons are where you (or you and your partner) have the full attention of the instructor. On a private lesson you can learn the step patterns of the various dances, but most importantly, you can learn how to make the steps look and feel comfortable. Don't fall into the same trap that others do, believing that all you have to do is to learn the steps and you'll be a good dancer!

There are many people out there who know the steps but are no better dancers than the day they started because they did not take the time to learn the necessary technique. Your study of dance should be a balance of both steps and technique, and private lessons are the best place for that.


Private Lessons may be taken at any time which fits your schedule and your instructor's. They may be taken any number of times per week, and more than one at a time on the same day. They do not have to be taken the same day and time every week.

When you first begin taking lessons, however, it is important to keep your lessons as close together as possible. This allows less time for you to "forget" what you were shown on the previous lesson, which means that your instructor won't have to spend as much time reviewing. This, of course, will give you more time to spend on new material, allowing you to progress faster, and, in the long run, will save you money.

Public Dances

The Regent Ballroom, where I teach my lessons, offers weekly public dances. This is important for your dance training for several reasons.

First, you will get a chance to meet and dance with other people as interested in dancing as you are. It's always fun to share a hobby with others. Also important is the fact that dancing with the other students will help you to become a better dancer. Whether you are learning by yourself or with a partner, the more different people you practice leading or following, the better leader or follower you will be.

Second, dancing at the Public Dances will get you used to maneuvering on a crowded floor. On your private lesson, all we have to do is not run into a wall, but at a real dance you have to avoid running into other dancers!

Also, dancing at these Public Dances is the real thing! This is why you're learning to dance, so that you can go out dancing! And the more you go out dancing in public, the more confident you'll be.

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mikeweaver: Couple Swing Dancing (Default)
Don't be intimidated or embarrassed because you are just starting and you've seen all those people out there who are such good dancers. Every last one of them, including the ones you see winning competitions on television, started right where you are now. They had to start out learning the basics just like you do. No one is born knowing how to dance. The only difference between the champions on TV and you is that they've had more training and practice (granted, lots more!). There's an old dance instructor's saying: "If you can walk, we can teach you to dance!"

What Will My First Lessons Be Like?

For your first several lessons, your instructor will be introducing you to as many different dances as he/she feels is appropriate for your dancing goals. Your instructor will also be asking you lots of questions in order to determine what your goals are and how best to meet them. Don't worry if at first you confuse one dance with another, or have trouble hearing the beat or knowing which dance goes with which song, etc. This is all normal for a beginner, and, with instruction and practice, you'll catch on.

There are three very good reasons why we introduce you to several dances, rather than just working on one dance until you get it. First, most people don't really know what the different dances are like. How can we know that you want to learn the Cha Cha or the Fox Trot until you try it and see if you like it?

Second, if you just worked on one dance until you were comfortable with that one, it would be many times harder to then start a new dance. For example, both Waltz and Rumba start with what we call a "Box Step", but the Box is done differently in each dance. Imagine how hard it would be if you'd been doing the Box the "Waltz way" for months, then you tried to change it to do it the "Rumba way". You'd be so used to doing it the "Waltz way" that it you'd never feel comfortable doing it the "Rumba way"!

Finally, as seen in the example above, all of the dances are "Interrelated", in that there are elements common to more than one dance. So, in actuality, while you practice one dance (say, your Waltz Box), you're also practicing other dances (as in your Rumba Box), as long as you know what the differences are. In other words, rather than spending three months getting comfortable with just the Waltz Box, why not also study the Rumba and be comfortable with two dances after those same three months? You save both time and money that way. Considering that there are over 25 different dances, imagine how long it would take you if you only learned them one at a time!

Now, don't panic. Even though there are over 25 dances that you could learn, you don't have to learn them all (most dancers don't). In fact, based on what your dancing goals are at the beginning, your instructor will select 3 - 6 dances which will be the most useful to you, and just work on those for a while. If you wish, you may add more dances later on.

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