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Ballroom Dance

J M (Mike) Nelson
Phone: 612-810-0157

A Side by Side Comparison of Approaches


"We want to get you dancing together immediately so you can go out and enjoy dancing this weekend."

Partner dancing is introduced immediately.

Students often overwhelmed by the enormity of new behaviors they are expected to learn in such a short time.

Nelson Studios

Skills are sequenced based on established learning theories.

Fundamentals are mastered prior to applying to partner dancing or to specific dance styles.

New material is introduced in manageable steps.

Styles for Foxtrot, Waltz, and Rumba are easily mastered when introduced.

We recognize that you will not "go out dancing" until you feel comfortable.


Lucrative. Generally requires a series of six lessons for each style of dance; thus you will need eighteen lessons to learn Foxtrot, Waltz, and Rumba.

Does not depend on student preparation between classes.


Each lesson can be fully retained.

Rate of progress can be adjusted by the individual student.

Progression is comfortable and efficient.

Emphasis on discovery and learning transfer.

Skills are introduced only when they can be fully appreciated and mastered.

Prepares student to master quickly other ballroom dance styles.


False premise; people rarely go dancing in public after only one or two lessons.

Teaching strategy conflicts with the psychology of learning.

Frustrates the learner by introducing too many new skills simultaneously; worse, skills must be done in synchrony with both the music and your dance partner.

Student cannot master all the material presented at a lesson; thus requiring significant repetition at the next lesson.

Progress is slow, and lessons are redundant.

Little or no attention to problem solving and learning transfer.


Requires "homework;" as with any sport or physical activity; if you don't practice, you don't improve.

Not as lucrative for the studio; lessons are more efficient, so you learn quickly to dance confidently and competently in several dance styles; thus you don't need to take as many lessons.

For an overview of how this relates to dance lessons, see Why Our Ballroom Dance Classes are Better. At least why I think so.

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 how this approach evolved, see: Teaching Ballroom Dance: A Rationale For an Alternative Approach Dance Home Page Dance Curriculum Dance Articles

Copyright (c) 2006, J. M. Nelson. All rights reserved. Reproduction of contents prohibited without prior permission from the author.