Part Two: Social Dancing
Welcome to part two of my three-part series on what to look for in a good dance studio! Previously we’ve discussed how DanceCraft stands out from other studios and how to avoid those that are too dependent on curriculum of dance. In this post, I’m going to discuss the importance of social dancing and the issues that come with a studio that doesn’t provide social dances.
Why learn to dance if you rarely have an opportunity to actually use your skills? This is why we offer social dance parties at our studio several times a month why you should look for a studio that also offers social dancing. A social dance party is a function that brings dancers together to dance with each other in a controlled, safe and fun environment. While most studios out there offer dance parties, many only offer access for their students. This shuts out any other dancers who would add value to their students’ development. There are several reasons this is problematic…
When a studio does not offer social dances, the students are simply recycling the same information over and over again. Followers become so accustomed to doing the same patterns with the same people that they literally stop following! They start to “back-lead”. Leaders don’t have to actually LEAD in order to execute patterns. This gives the dancer a false sense of accomplishment and understanding of their own abilities. An activity that should embrace adaptability, spontaneity and creativity quickly becomes stale and sometimes boring. Dancers become dependent on other dancers in their environment through familiarity. Therefore, if you take those dancers out of their typical environment everything falls apart.
When studios limit social dancing to only their paying students, they are eliminating the opportunity for their students to be exposed to other skilled dancers. Now, I’m not going to beat around the bush here… many studio owners feel threatened by outside influences in fear of their students wanting more, and potentially taking their business elsewhere. It makes sense that studio owners want to protect their best interest, and nobody can fault them for that. However, we have always provided OPEN social dancing, attracting students from all along the Gulf Coast. In doing this, we have never once felt the threat of losing our students to other instructors. We believe in our abilities to teach, therefore we don’t concern ourselves with losing our students. We encourage our students to experience dancing outside of our studio as it can only add value to their learning process.
This “revolving door” philosophy also holds us as studio owners/instructors highly accountable. Fear of losing our business to someone else can only be a function of a lack of confidence in our own abilities. We allow outside pros to our studio for social dancing and we encourage them to join us! Inclusiveness is our goal even under the perceived threat of losing business. We have had many outside pros visit our studio and hope the trend continues.
Lack of Practice
Social dances should be used as a perfect time to practice. We put our craft to the test every time we step on the floor while social dancing. We should experience new challenges and identify our own deficiencies at every social dance. Although, if you are always dancing with the same people, those deficiencies are hidden behind a veil of familiarity that dancers experience when dancing with the same people over and over again. And while the familiarity can put dancers at ease, it also makes them complacent. However, social dancing should be fun, fun, FUN! With a mix of dancers conditioned to embrace the benefits of social dancing, social dance parties can be one of the most important elements of learning how to dance.
Trust us when we say offering a social dance party is NOT the easiest and most economic route to running a dance studio. As with any social activity, these dance parties present challenges. Most of which are never realized to the dancers themselves if conducted properly. With such a diverse group of people coming together to share such a diversified activity, you can bet your bottom dollar we work extra hard to maintain a friendly, welcoming and encouraging environment to dance. All coming together, week after week, our social dances have become one of the hallmarks that set us apart from other studios in our area. Look for a dance studio that encourages social dancing in order to get the most out of your dancing experience.
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In my next post, I will be concluding the three-part series about finding a good dance studio. Check back next week for the final post!
“Live Well. Dance Often”