Why My Ballroom Dance Lessons are Better
or at least why I think so
A student beginning a specific dance style (e.g. foxtrot, waltz, rumba, etc.) must learn 18 distinct items to execute a basic step in closed position. Most of these require a specific physical skill, and most will be new skills, or, if not new, will be in a new context.
Mastery of so many new items within a short time frame, such as a one-hour lesson, imposes significant cognitive overload; students often feel overwhelmed. Research shows that the average person can retain from five to seven distinct items of new information at a given time. Therefore, the traditional studio approach to teaching ballroom dance leads to frustration and emotional discomfort.
A better approach is to design the dance curriculum using established principles of instructional design. Though this method does not get you dancing immediately, - an oft stated but seldom realized goal of the traditional method - it gets you dancing comfortably, and, within a few weeks, with great confidence. It also prepares you better to learn new dances efficiently and effectively. This is the approach we use for our Ballroom Basics class, and, if taken prior to traditional, style-based classes, will lead to easier and more confident mastery. Furthermore, information contained in Ballroom Basics is applicable to all partner dances.
Classes are usually accompanied by instructor's notes and a list of suggested activities to make practice between lessons more productive and to help you retain all that you learn in class.
Take Ballroom Basics and you will be able to:
Dance confidently to almost any music encountered in our culture.
Feel comfortable with Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba.
Take Intermediate Level classes in Waltz and Rumba
Easily add the 6-count Foxtrot step to your repertoire
Quickly learn: Bolero, Night Club Two Step, Tango, Mambo, Salsa, Merengue
Approach any swing dance style with confidence.
For a summary of some related learning theories, see Learning Theories
For an outline of the task analysis, see Dance Instruction Assessment
For insight into how facts about short term memory influenced the design of Ballroom Basics, see Applied Theory
For more about the relationship between the traditional and the Nelson approach, see A Side By Side Comparison
For more about how this approach evolved, see: Teaching Ballroom Dance: A Rationale For an Alternative Approach