Aren't group glasses "Good Enough"?
If you were going to Florida for a weeks vacation, would you take a bus or fly? Both will get you there right? Group classes will get you "there" but there are several
things to consider.
A group class is generally once a week. You can do two privates in a day.
A private can convey up to four times as much information as a group lesson.
A group is at a set time, a private you can schedule at your convenience.
A group class goes a a set rate, neither boring the more advanced or losing too many beginners. Cater to one group and you lose the other two. A PRIVATE WILL GO YOUR SPEED.
Let's imagine learning to dance is like learning a language. You can learn a few words by picking up a dictionary. So you learn to say "Ah dohnday ehsta ell banyo?"
When the other person rattles off (in a strong accent) "Suba al tercer piso, a yi al la mano derecha, la primera puerta cruze a la izquierda y pregunte alli," you
better hope you don't have to go really bad! Now, if you take a three-month intensive course, taking classes every day you may not be mistaken for a local but at least you'll
find the bathroom. Take class once a week and three months later you are probably still stuck on "Pablo va a la biblioteca"
Two interesting things about group classes- the bigger the group class, the faster you learn, and the bigger the group class the easier it is to develop bad habits. How is that possible? In a big class as you rotate through from partner to partner, you'll encounter partners who barely lead, partners who lead too strongly, and partners who are just right. (Goldilocks and the Three Salseros!) That comparison gives you a greater awareness as you learn and the more advanced dancers will help you when you're stuck. On the other hand, when the class is bigger, it is easy for you to get lost in the crowd and repeat a mistake too many times to where it becomes a bad habit. In a private lesson you might make a mistake once or twice but the teacher will correct you each time. No bad habits means much faster progression to becoming a great dancer.
While group classes only are the cheapest and privates are a more expensive way, there is a better alternative. A combination of groups and privates is actually the most cost effective. Why? Well the first couple of lessons you are hearing information that takes the same amount of time whether there is one person in the room or 1000. The difference is that you are sharing the cost of the instructor. Once you have HEARD that information then the actual dancing with a teacher vs another beginner is much more important. So learn the step in a group class, learn how to fix it, style it, improve it in a private lesson. For that reason I have told most people to start with 1-3 group lessons then to have a private after the third lesson.
Who do I take privates with? A man or a woman?
A certified teacher is required to know both parts inside and out, how to lead and how to follow. So whether as a man you would feel funny "dancing" with a man rather than with a lady instructor, that depends on your comfort zone. Both will be able to teach you. But sometimes you might learn faster hearing from a man's perspective. Male teachers tend to talk in sports and car analogies and sometimes the female teachers can't discuss leading they way two guys might discuss a wrestling move. So for each person it will be different. Fortunately in our case situation Terryl grew up as a tomboy and can build a house faster than I can call a contractor. So in either case you'll feel like you're with Allstate- You're in good hands!