Should I take Group Dance Classes or Private Lessons for my First Dance?
There are so many decisions to make leading up to your wedding day- which flowers to choose, which bridesmaid dresses, what food to serve...It’s enough to make your head spin! We’ve put together a list of pros and cons to help you decide if group classes or private lessons are better for your wedding dance. Both have their pros and cons, so check out our thoughts and chat with your partner to figure out what works best for you!
First off, let’s talk about group classes. The first and perhaps biggest benefit of group classes is that they’re less expensive. You can potentially learn more about your chosen style of dance through group classes than you would if you decided to work with an instructor, because group classes are designed to teach you a dance style, not specific wedding dance choreography. Most partner dance classes have you rotate partners, so you’ll get a better understanding of how the lead/follow dynamic works since you’ll be testing your skills on multiple partners. Group classes are also a wonderful way to socialize- maybe you’ll even develop a hobby that you’ll love well beyond your wedding! The biggest downside of only taking group classes to prepare for your wedding dance is that you have to plan and choreograph your first dance by yourselves. Especially if you’re new to the dance world (or whatever style you’ve chosen), this can be intimidating. Also keep in mind that, depending on the size of the class, there may not be enough time to get all your questions answered or to get enough personal feedback from the teacher. Most teachers are great about answering questions after class, but if you have a lot of specific needs, it’s best to be respectful of their time and schedule a private lesson. Imagine if someone at your work kept you way past the end of your day…not great. The focus of the class is also important to consider- like we mentioned before, the point of group classes is not to prepare for a wedding dance, it’s to learn the basics of your chosen style of dance, and to have fun, of course! So, while your focus may be your first dance, keep in mind that’s not the focus of the class, so you may have to piece together exactly what you need.
Now it’s time to talk private lessons. Private lessons are tailored specifically to meet your needs. Your music, your style(s), any questions you may have...it’s all about you. You can choose to learn as much of the basics as you want or focus on specific choreography- the structure is up to you. Just communicate with your instructor about how you’d like your lessons to go. Working with an instructor will streamline the process and help get you ready for your first dance in less time. Choreographing wedding dances and helping couples through this process is literally what your instructor does for a living, so they have a lot more experience than you do. They will probably think of things that never even crossed your mind! This kind of expertise is priceless when it comes to your wedding day. Since you’re only working with your partner and your instructor, the experience is much more intimate, and completely focused on you as a couple. If you work well one-on-one or are looking for more time connecting with your partner, private lessons are the way to go. Oftentimes private lessons can help less experienced dancers feel more comfortable. Even though everyone is learning together in a group class setting, it can be intimidating to have other people watching/dancing with you when you’re first starting a dance experience. If dancing makes you nervous, private lessons can help you relax- the instructor is there specifically for you, so no need to feel intimidated by anyone else! Another huge plus of private lessons is that you get to ask as many questions as you want. You can easily focus on and fix any issue you may be having, and it often helps to talk things through with your instructor before you try it out- something you won’t really get from group classes. There’s not usually enough time for much individualized attention in group classes, so this is a great perk of private lessons, too. You also get a chance to have a dress rehearsal when your dance is ready! The only real con we can think of for private lessons is price. They are definitely more expensive, but in our opinion, totally worth it.
Another option to consider is a combination of group classes and private lessons. Group classes can help you get started with the style you choose, or it may help you narrow it down if you’d like to try a couple different styles! Once you have a better understanding of the basics, you can start working with an instructor one-on-one to choreograph your specific wedding dance choreography. Whatever you choose, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to practice and get comfortable. Trust us, you’ll definitely have butterflies on the big day when it’s your time to shine. The more you can practice beforehand, the more comfortable you’ll be. Happy Dancing!