Dreams. Many girls grow up with a vision of becoming a great ballerina, but not all of us get a chance to take lessons. That was the case with me.
As a child living in the suburbs of New York City, I enjoyed softball, girl scouts, and band. I led a well-rounded life with lots of friends and it was fun.
When I moved to the city in my early 20’s I was looking for a way to make some new friends. That’s when I saw an ad for a free lesson at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio at 487 Park Avenue.
This was the original studio that was co-founded by Fred Astaire himself on March 7, 1947. Here’s what happened…
I called the studio to make an appointment for my complimentary lesson.
At the time I was working for ABC News on a children’s television show called Make a Wish starring Tom Chapin with music co-written by Harry Chapin.
(Harry Chapin was an American singer-songwriter best known for his folk rock songs, who achieved worldwide success, beginning in the 1970s. Check out two of his most famous songs, “Cat’s in the Cradle” and “Taxi”)
After a warm welcome and a bit of paperwork, I anxiously waited in the reception area. Can’t say I was relaxed. It’s hard to be calm when you don’t know what to expect.
That’s the point of this post…to let you know what to expect.
Your first question will probably be, how’s this gonna go?
More than likely you’ll meet the studio owner, manager, or supervisor. He or she will explain the system that’s used to get you dancing as quickly as possible.
Many studios use a combination of private lessons, group classes, and dance parties.
You’ll discuss what is it that you’re hoping to accomplish by learning to dance. The benefits of dance are many and it’s kind of important for the instructor to know what you’re looking for.
For example, there’s no point in stressing the fact that dancing helps with weight loss if your potential new student is already in great shape. For me, meeting new people during my lessons, in the group classes, and at the dance socials was a big thing!
After meeting your instructor it’s time to enjoy your sample lesson. You’ll get the tools to learn how to dance. These are the elements that are used to create the different dances.
Basically, it boils down to directional movement – forward, back, left side, right side.
You’ll be introduced to a few social dances, trying out a slow dance, a fast dance, a Latin dance, and possibly something with turns and spins.
When your lesson is complete, your teacher will talk with you about what’s going on with your dancing right now – what you did well and what needs work.
If you’re in the right studio and working with the right teacher, you should feel pretty good at this point. I felt sure that, given time and effort, I could learn.
Guess what comes next! That’s right, they asked me to buy some dance lessons. I was shown a few introductory packages so I could get started right away with improving my dancing. Well, there was no question that I was going to continue so I chose a small starter program.
I was happy that I tried the lesson. It was fun, easy, and extremely motivating. The people I met, both staff and students, were friendly and welcoming.
As I left the studio I was already looking forward to my next lesson. And you will be, too.
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