There are many details to consider when preparing for your first dance. Your instructor can help insure that all your bases are covered. Take a few moments to read through this list, and you'll be prepared to provide your instructor with the type of information that will help her serve you best.
Why Learn to Dance?
The First Dance and Honors Dances are he most sacred ritual of the reception. You’ve made a big investment in many aspects of the wedding day that will only last one day. Learning to dance is a small investment in your relationship creating lifetime memories -- an actual skill useful at future special occasions. Dance lessons are the most fun and romantic time a couple can have during the wedding planning process!
Many couples are realizing the importance of expressing their unity and growing closer through this unique learning experience. They are seizing the opportunity to shine on the dance floor while personalizing their celebration through their own creative expression. For these insightful couples, the First Dance is often the highlight of the reception, and the most vivid wedding memory guests take home with them since actions speak louder than words.
There are lots of aspects of the wedding that can be outsourced - - the bakery, the caterer, the florist, the event planner. There are two vital components that only the couple themselves can execute in order for a wedding to be valid and authentic - - their vows and their First Dance. The public and legally binding vows verbally profess the couple’s intentions to be supportive and loyal to each other. The First Dance is the first marital act that physically proves a couple’s ability to be supportive of one another. By exercising teamwork and patience during private rehearsals and ultimately for public display, the couple “moves as one” on the dance floor and a promise is sealed and delivered.
What makes your company unique?
We know our client:
- " I'm in a rush!" Wedding around the corner? You came to the right place.
- Just need to survive? We make it easy!
- Hate dancing and dread the spotlight? Even one visit is better than trying to "just wing it!" We GUARANTEE it!
- Have never danced before? We work a miracle.
- Just doing it to make (insert name here) happy. Smart move.
- Only this one time! You will be empowered for a lifetime even if your best moves are just in the living room
Longest Proven Track Record:
The company was founded by an engaged couple for engaged couples. The couple were innovators and trailblazers setting the trend for the industry - We were the first legitimate wedding dance company in the NATION! As a result, the media has featured us exclusively on local radio stations, a national television WEDDING show and a FULL PAGE article in Washingtonian Magazine and countless magazine and newspaper coverage. Once word spread of our unique idea we inspired a new industry WORLDWIDE and are flattered by the imitators! Other area studios have been so impressed with the quality of our company that we have been offered franchise deals and buy outs. Clients recognize imitators and choose us instead that is why 99% of our clientele are wedding couples - not a statistic any area studios can match.- We are the most recommended wedding dance company by engaged couples, the media, wedding vendors and bridal consultants. Thanks to everyone's support we have grown to be the largest yet still family owned wedding dance company in the NATION! We have been flattered by the countless imitators nationwide.
Value For Cost:
We are actual Wedding Dance Specialists. We dedicate every hour of every day of every year completely focused on everything related to engaged couples and the wedding industry. We launched the industry of exclusively specializing in wedding dancing. We are considered the premeire national expert in the field and have the most comprehensive knowledge of the industry. We are not a traditional studio or generalists who "claim" to have a specialist on our staff or just slap up a pink website and advertise in wedding magazines and call ourselves "specialists.' 99% of our clientele are actually engaged couples. Nobody else can match this.
ONE LESSON GUARANTEE in writing! We will not promise you and then try to upsell you.- something nobody offers. (Value: priceless)
Refund your money up to an entire year for unused lessons - unheard of in the danceworld. (your investment)
Dress rehearsal with a crinoline. Not offered elsewhere (Value: $90)
in-class videotaped evaluations. Not offered elsewhere (Value $400)
We allow you to bring your own video-camera to record your final dance for home review at no extra charge. Not offered elsewhere.
Can't afford a bridal consultant? No problem! We stay abreast of issues important to engaged couples and newlyweds and provide online consulting through our coupons, newletters, blog and website resources.($500)
We negotiate exclusive special offers with top area vendors on the behalf of the couple.
We quote you our rates without requiring you come in for a "free trial" first. After all, there is nothing "free" about your valuable time. (value: how much is your time worth?)No convoluted pricing systems, confusing gimmicks, NO sales pitch and No secrets here!
We publish our policies online and provide them in writing as well. (no surprises)
No minimum requirements. You choose how many or how few lessons you want.
No paying for extraneous services you do not need or will never use. (like weekly groups or practice parties)
We maximize your precious class time with our streamlined and innovative reservations, registration, scheduling and billing systems so you don't have to waste time with it during class or forget appointments.
Longer Lessons than most studios - our lessons are :55 minutes unlike many studios which only offer 40-45 minute lessons. So be sure to do the math when calculating and comparing pricing!
You will benefit from the expertise of trained professionals with years of teaching, competing, and performing experience and who are specifically qualified to address the uniqe stresses and needs of engaged couples. No teacher trainees here!
Wedding Registry for your guests
We host one day intensive workshops recommended by Washingtonian Bridal edition specifically geared toward achieving your goal.
Responsiveness: When you fill out our contact form you will recieve an immediate email reply from our company with general information you will need to know to get started. We will follow up with a phone call usually within the next business day. Scheduling and billing are handled M-F 10-4pm and we check voicemail hourly during after hours and respond to urgent requests or day of emergencies within hours. Classes are available on weeknights and weekends. We will give you straight answers to your questions on your terms when you contact us so you don't have to waste your precious time coming in for a "free" trial or consultation.
Professionalism: Our wedding dance coordinators and instructors have had years of experience and training in customer service. We pride ourselves in being a transparent company who explains our policies and promises in writing. Our instructors have had years of experience with teaching, performing and/or competing. As a result we are the MOST RECOMMENDED wedding dance company by the press, brides, bridal consultants and wedding vendors in the NATION! We teach more engaged couples than any other studio in the region!
Flexibility: The founders were an engaged couple when they started the company so we understand the unique needs, goals and pressures of engaged couples. That is why we offer so many convenient studio locations in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia including: Gaithersburg, Bethesda, Rockville, Beltsville, Columbia, Towson, Baltimore and Windsor Mills, Our Virginia locations include: Alexandria, Falls Church , Reston. and Arlington. You are not locked in to any set package, schedule or location, you can go anywhere and all the staff can still work toward your goals. - No minimum requirements. You choose how many or how few lessons you want and you have ample opportunities to upgrade and still benefit from discounts. We also have the most liberal refund policy in the industry.
How often should we attend classes?
It depends on your availability and your timetable. In general, once a week is sufficient. We recommend scheduling your lessons in advance to secure your preferred time slots.
Where are you located?
We have a variety of locations in the metro area with convenient parking and often free parking. We have one Washington, DC location. Our Maryland locations include: Bethesda, Rockville, Beltsville, Columbia, Towson, Baltimore , Windsor Mills, and Gaithersburg, Our Virginia locations include: Alexandria, Falls Church , Herndon. and Arlington
How does your Wedding Dance Registry work?
The engaged couple, parents of the couple or the bridal consultant can set up a Wedding Dance Registry with us by filling out the contact form and indicating that they are interested in joining the Registry. Guests can purchase credits toward dance lessons in increments of $25.00, $50.00, $75.00 or $100.00 by filling out the Wedding Dance Registry Form and then calling 703.626.7016 to process payment. The couple will recieve weekly updates on Fridays about who has contributed along with special messages from the guests. When the couple are ready to redeem their lessons from the Registry, they simply call to schedule appointments. The lessons are :55 minutes so the couple would have the choice to make up the difference to equal a full lesson or be refunded back that portion minus a 4% processing fee off of the difference.
How do we get started?
You can call us, email us or fill out the contact form with your schedule preferences to set up an appointment. The best times to call are between 10am and 4pm, Monday thru Friday. We will respond to you within 24 business hours. The lessons are by appointment only and we cannot accept walk-ins.
When should we get started?
Ideally you should time your lessons so that they end several weeks before your wedding day. So count back from there. This allows for unexpected scheduling conflicts which might arise and frees up your schedule during the last hectic weeks leading up to your big day! (However, if you've waited until the last minute, crash courses are available as long as you can be flexible too! ) Even a few lessons before the wedding will serve to help both bride and groom feel more relaxed and confident when they step out onto the dance floor. It's best to reserve your appointments as far in advance as possible to secure your preferred time slots.
How many lessons do we need?
Determine what your dancing goals are first. This will affect when you start and how many lessons you choose. Don't worry too much about time constraints when considering quantity because we can offer double sessions. Once you have determined your goals, we can better advise you as to how many lessons we recommend for your individual needs. Consider the following:
Do you want to learn enough just to "survive" the wedding dance?
Do you want to have an interesting variety of moves for the wedding dance?
Are you participating in additional Honors Dances?
Do you plan on fast dancing during the general reception?
Do you want to learn to dance in general at future social events?
Do you want to enjoy a dinner/dancing date night with your fiance(e) during the wedding planning process?
Do you want to share dancing as a hobby even after the wedding?
How are teachers assigned?
The staff are assigned to permanent locations. You are placed with an instuctor based on the location you select. Sometimes there is the option of selecting a male or female instructor if both work at the location you select. However, the gender of the instructor is unimportant in terms of their ability to teach both the leader and follower roles. For the purposes of wedding dance preparation, each of our staff are equally skilled to teach both roles and all styles of social dance from all eras.
What does a private lesson include?
A private lesson means you have reserved the instructors time and complete attention of one instructor for the entire :55 minute lesson. The curriculum focuses on a combination of presentation choreography, patterns, tempo awareness and valuable technique. The private lessons are scheduled by appointment according to your preferred time slots and the instructor's availability. It also includes all the extra complimentary services listed on the Packages page which are not included in a group lesson. The private lessons are scheduled in advance and pre-paid. Since dance studio space is a limited commodity, a private lesson may include a completely private room but is not guaranteed unless an additional “private room fee” is paid and the room is reserved in advance. The private room fee ranges from an extra $65 on up to a couple hundred dollars depending on the location and the hour of the day reserved.
Will we practice to our wedding song?
Yes. You will mostly practice to your specific song with the exception of using similar songs in the same genre to teach you how to adjust to the uncertainties of dancing to live band music instead of a recording. If your studio space is shared, your instructor will use your music at his/her discretion as often as he/she requires it for providing quality instruction.
What are the instructors' qualifications?
The instructors are Wedding Dance Specialists . That means 99% of our clientele are wedding couples and our packages are specifically designed with the wedding couple in mind. That means they have an in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of the vital components of a wedding dance and the unique goals and needs of wedding couples. The instructors have many years of teaching and performance and/or competing experience and also enjoy working with beginners. Unlike many studios which bring in non-dancers and train them from scratch and send them out to teach after a few weeks of training, we only hire top notch instructors with years of experience. Many of them have university degrees in Dance and all of them are bilingual college graduates.
Will we always have the same instructor?
Mostly for administrative ease we generally try to place you with the same instructor. If your schedule is tight or you schedule appointments at the last minute you may occassionally have a substitute instructor. Many students enjoy sampling the varying styles and personalities of different instructors especially if they are on a larger package. The instructors are trained to make your experience as seamless as possible so that you pick up where you left off from your last lesson. If you have any special needs or concerns that you would like conveyed to your instructor feel free to contact our office and we can coordinate that for you. If you have a strong preference to keep the same instructor please make that preference known to our office.
We feel overwhelmed. How do we select a dance studio/instructor?
What are some good signs that a studio is an authentic wedding dance specialist? A dedicated website to wedding dancing (at a minimum), wedding dance social media platforms, real photos of actual clients, media coverage, wedding industry awards, vendor affiliations, off site reviews from third party sources, testimonials with full names and wedding dates, at least 50% of the instructor's clientele are engaged couples, for those looking for a crash course be able to completely prepare you in ONE lesson, be able to attract enough engaged couples to offer group wedding dance workshops, listed high organically on Google.
What are some warning signs that indicate that a traditional ballroom studio is falsely advertising themselves as "wedding dance specialists?" Slapping up a pink website and calling yourself a wedding dance expert is not sufficient. Stock images, anonymous testimonials, no testimonials for wedding industry vendors, show up primarily on paid wedding websites, their primary focus is on hobbyists and competitors, engaged couples are just "filler income", inflexible with addressing your specific goals, they lure you in with a free lesson or try to upsell you, do not disclose their pricing on their website or other marketing materials, do not offer any guarantees or refunds, minimal or no interaction with the wedding industry in general and have not received awards or recognition from the wedding industry or wedding media.
Good signs that a studio is an authentic wedding dance specialist:
A dedicated website to wedding dancing (at a minimum), wedding dance social media platforms, real photos of actual clients, media coverage, wedding industry awards, vendor affiliations, off site reviews from third party sources, testimonials with full names and wedding dates, at least 50% of the instructor's clientele are engaged couples, for those looking for a crash course be able to completely prepare you in ONE lesson, be able to attract enough engaged couples to offer group wedding dance workshops, listed high organically on Google.
Warning signs that indicate that a traditional ballroom studio is falsely advertising themselves as "wedding dance specialists" : Slapping up a pink website and calling oneself a wedding dance expert is not sufficient. Stock images, anonymous testimonials, no testimonials for wedding industry vendors, show up primarily on paid wedding websites, their primary focus is on hobbyists and competitors, engaged couples are just "filler income", inflexible with addressing your specific goals, they lure you in with a free lesson or try to upsell you, do not disclose their pricing on their website or other marketing materials, do not offer any guarantees or refunds, minimal or no interaction with the wedding industry in general and have not received awards or recognition from the wedding industry or wedding media.
Below is a more detailed breakdown of what differentiates a specialist from a generalist:
1. Know the difference between a generalist and a specialist. There is a huge difference between a a generic studio who slaps up a pink website with stock images of brides and grooms and then advertises that they are wedding dance experts versus a company whose bread and butter is engaged couples, is primarily focused on that clientele and is superbly adept and addressing their needs. It's the difference between a general physician and a cardiac surgeon. One is a generalist the other is a specialist. Each has different expertise, a different focus and a different clientele. One way to evaluate a service provider is to see if they are addressing your specific goals. One of the problems with a standard dance studio or instructor is that they view wedding couples as "lost leads." This is because the wedding couple has a short term goal - - the wedding, which does not usually lead them to take very many lessons. Keep these facts in mind when you call or go into a studio and especially if they try to upsell you.
1) "FREE" lessons: you get what you pay for! Most "free lessons" at dance studios are a means to get you through the door. Much of the lesson is spent convincing you of the benefits of dance as a lifetime hobby and reviewing lengthy and expensive packages for after your wedding. The free lesson’s emphasis is not actually on learning to dance but rather on selling you more lessons and since the first one was "FREE" the rest of the lessons will have to be more expensive or shorter in duration than other studios to cover the initial loss. It costs a dance studio thousands of dollars to train a dance instructor or pay a qualified instructor, promote their business and cover their expenses. Therefore, studios do not give away QUALITY private lessons for free. DO NOT expect to receive a complete routine in one FREE trial lesson.
2) One dance style versus a variety: The Wedding Dance Specialists leaves the decision of how many dances to learn up to you-the client! Most wedding couples are on a tight schedule and limited budget, they want to focus their attention on feeling comfortable for their first dance in front of their guests. In contrast, general dance studios may discourage students from studying only one dance for various reasons (primarily the bottom line). Complicating a small program (3-5 lessons) with additional dances may result in needing to purchase more lessons and cause a sense of confusion and discomfort on your big day. Feeling comfortable with new dance material generally requires about 5 hours. Depending on your skill and comfort level,it’s O.K. to reevaluate your progress and comfort level after the third or fourth lesson to consider learning the very basics of a second dance but be wary of teachers too insistent on focusing on more than one dance from the onset.
3) Experience of the instructor: Since wedding couples generally purchase small packages (less than 25) many studios have their most inexperienced instructors teach the wedding couples. Our instructors have been specially trained for the unique needs of wedding couples and are all competition or performance level dancers. Dance lessons are as important as any other service you might hire for your wedding. You have every right to ask how long your instructor has been teaching. Would you want to hire a chauffeur who just moved to the area, got his license last week and has never driven the limo before?
4) Flexibility in package options: Be wary of studios who insist you cannot benefit from just one lesson or worse do not allow you to purchase only one lesson! Even one lesson with the right instructor can show remarkable results. Some students time or budget do not allow for more than one lesson. We understand this and are flexible. We GUARANTEE that you can look and feel more elegant on the dance-floor with ONE lesson compared to just trying to “wing it.”. The Wedding Dance Specialists cater to the unique needs of wedding couples. We created this niche in the metro/DC area years ago because we saw a need was not being met. A couple years after our inception, we have been flattered by those attempting to imitate us. Your wedding dance preparation can be the most relaxing and romantic aspect of your wedding planning process IF you have the right instructor! We encourage you to do your research and compare!
5) The Teacher: The personality, demeanor, image, teaching style are all important factors to consider when selecting a dance teacher. Just because they are good dancers does not guarantee that they will be good teachers. The teacher must genuinely enjoy working with beginners and ideally have compassion and understanding of the unique pressures that wedding planning involves. Our staff also stay abreast of the wedding industry by reading our two complimentary online newsletters called "Wedding Dance 411" and "Marriage 411" which provide professional planning advice, resources and we have negotiated exclusive vendor discounts on your behalf! We hope you'll read it and benefit too!
6) Price: The rate an amateur dancer can expect to pay for a professonal private lesson can range anywhere between $65 - $140 per lesson depending on where you live, what type of facility is hosting the lessons, the length of the lessons, the quality of the instruction and specific services provided. Group lessons generally cost between $15- $25 per hour.
7.) The Duration of the lesson: Lessons that are lower in price but also shorter in duration often end up costing the exact same or even more than lessons that are higher per lesson but longer in duration. The actual cost per minute of instruction may come out even in the wash and the longer lessons will save you a lot of extra commuting time and avoid you having to reserve extra studio visits in your busy wedding planning calendar. If you calculate in all your wasted time, the shorter and "cheaper" lessons may actually cost you more in the long run. The industry standard is :40 - :45 minutes. Our lessons are 55 minutes.
8.) Reputation: Do they have outside reviews from reputable sources? Do they use the last names of their "testimonials"? Do they use real photos of real clients or just stock images? Are they a brand new fly by night or time tested? Do they have a solid relationship with many vendors in the wedding industry that vouch for them? Are they recognized by the media?
Do you offer a FREE trial lesson?
Beware of "FREE" lessons! You get what you pay for! Free lessons are not given out of the kindness of a studio's heart, most "free lessons" at dance studios are simply a lure to get you through the door. Much of the lesson is spent convincing you of the benefits of dance as a lifetime hobby and reviewing lengthy and expensive packages for after your wedding. The "free" lesson’s emphasis is not actually on learning to dance but rather on selling you more lessons. It costs a dance studio thousands of dollars to create a dance instructor and promote their business. Therefore, studios do not give away QUALITY private lessons for free. Therefore, they must recoup their loss on the "FREE" lesson by hiking up the price on any lessons you purchase in the future. A "FREE" lessons generally consists of 20 minutes of dance instruction (which may not even focus entirely on your actual dancing goals) and the rest of the "lesson" is a sales pitch. Your time is valuable, studios should respect your time by answering all your questions over the phone, by email or on their website. Other studios know each other's prices, so you have to ask yourself...Who are they hiding them from? If you have to spend your valuable time finding out that a studio is too expensive or doesn't meet your needs or expectations, isn't that already too high a price to pay for a "FREE" lesson?
With us, you can expect answers to all your questions before even walking through our door. The lesson is intensive and focused on your specific needs from the onset. We will even GUARANTEE you an entire wedding dance in ONE lesson if you tell us in advance that is all you intend to take. Isn't that better than a "FREE" lesson designed to convince you that you need MORE lessons? Ask the studio if they are willing to make that same guarantee on a "FREE" lesson.
Can we come and observe a lesson?
Most clients do not welcome outside observers. If we were to allow everyone to audit a class, then your private lesson would be subject to audience observation too. Additionally, we are providing an education and we charge a tuition for that education.
Just like when you visit a new doctor, manicurist, masseuse or try a new restaurant for the first time there are no on site audits of other clients' sessions but hopefully you have heard great reviews so you try them once and see if the great rumors were true! Luckily, we offer a ONE LESSON GUARANTEE so there is no obligation to continue with additional lessons and you will walk away with a customized dance. Just let the instructor know that this is just a one lesson trial so he/she can pace him/herself accordingly. For your convenience, information about your instructor is available on the Bios Page and we provide free consultations over the phone.
In an effort to provide you with as much advance information as possible our website is the most detailed and comprehensive one of its kind in the nation. We hope you find the resources helpful! But if a family member or bridal party member is in town for a visit and would like to pop in to watch one of your lessons on occassion they are certainly welcome!
How do you ensure customer satisfaction?
Although we rarely receive any complaints and have never received a request for a refund based on dissatisfaction with the quality of instruction, we try our best to ensure that clients are satisfied with the results of their lessons and their experience with the instructor. We welcome any feedback that can help us provide you with great service!
1. Provide a timely (usually 24 hours or less) response to your emails and phone calls.
2. Provide Full answers to all your questions online or on the phone before even walking through our door.
3. Read the teachers' bios, testimonials and teaching philosophy before you even walk thru the door!
4. No pressure or sales pitch during your lessons or EVER!
5. Offer a grace period for upgrades after you have had two lessons. The industry standard doesn't accomodate for upgrades.
6. Present you with all the most valuable and important material and techniques on the first lesson! We don't hold back on teaching material.
7. Schedule lessons well in advance and end lessons 2-3 weeks prior to the wedding. This allows a cushion for clients to reschedule lessons and plenty of time for them to investigate other options or change their mind.
8. Your lessons can be used or transferred as a gift certificate for up to one year from the date of purchase.
9. Refunds on unused lessons are permitted for any reason within the one year period. No obligation to continue at any time.
10. We are the only dance company that GUARANTEES a wedding dance in ONE LESSON and puts it in writing.
11. You get to see the final results on video before you walk out our door.
12. Offer discounted wedding packages. Unlike the rest of the wedding industry, when we hear "wedding" we lower our prices.
13. We hire only the best, most experienced staff. No trainees.
14. You may speak with the company's owner directly if an issue arises.
15. We don't just advertise to wedding couples and think that qualifies us to call ourselves "wedding specialists", we actually ARE. We work with over 1000 engaged couples annually! More than any studio in the NATION!
16. We extended the lesson duration to :55 minutes when the industry standard is :40 - :45 minutes plus 15 minutes of free practice time immediately before each lessons.
17. Our lessons are moderately priced and we publish them so you know you are being charged the same as the next client.
18. We actively request feedback from every client in the form of a customer service feedback survey because we care about your experience!
19. Wedding couples are not just a tiny sliver of our business...You ARE our business!
20. If you cancel at the last minute you can reschedule the lesson and only pay a lesser fee instead of the full amount.
21. Offer private lessons "a la carte" so you can control how few or how many you purchase.
22. Provide the opportunity for a "dress rehearsal" by providing crinolines for all brides to use during the lesson.
23. Clearly state all of our policies in advance in writing so there is no confusion or guess work.
24. Convenient office, emergency after-hours and studio hours.
25. All of our services, pricing and policies were designed by an engaged couple with the needs of engaged couples in mind!
26. We do not have required minimums or charge you for extraneous services/classes you do not need and do not use.
27. We consistently offer more private rooms than many studios.
28. Provide the most comprehensive and transparent wedding dance website with in the nation!
What is your GUARANTEEThe Wedding Dance Specialists Pledge?
As a local family business, founded by an engaged couple, we understand how hectic juggling life and wedding planning can be so we aim to customize the dance lessons around your schedule, budget and goals.
We believe the "First Dance" is the most romantic, sacred and intimate moment of the wedding reception that truly demonstrates your unity. Therefore, we feel deeply honored to be part of creating such a beautiful memory.
We are the only dance company that guarantees you will look more elegant and relaxed with even ONE of our lessons than if you just try to "wing it". You can have a complete wedding dance in ONE LESSON.
We will deliver premium Quality Ballroom and Social Dance Instruction at Reasonable Rates.
We offer First Dance Song and wedding dance selection assistance. Check out our Song Suggestion List.
Customized wedding dance for your special song which includes training in Tempo, Choreography, Floor Craft, Patterns and Technique
Easy and fun patterns that glide smoothly along the dance floor and exceed your guests expectations!
What are your hours of operations?
Lessons are taught weekend (mornings through early evening) and weeknights 4-10pm in all locations. Check with specific locations for exact days. We offer convenient office hours for scheduling and billing issues, Monday - Friday, from 10am - 4pm and an emergency after hours line is monitored until 10pm weeknights and weekends.
Do you only teach wedding couples?
While we are wedding dance specialists and the vast majority of our clientele are wedding couples, we do have many years of experience teaching people of all ages who enjoy dancing in general. We offer separate packages for singles, non-wedding couples, semi privates, mini groups, and private parties.
What if we are absolute beginners and have 4 left feet?
There is no expectation that you should have prior knowledge of dancing. It is a myth that natural ability is a prerequisite for becoming a dancer. Dancing is a learned skill and as professionals it is our job to empower you with the skill. It's like taking lessons for any new activity, no previous experience is required. Most of our students are complete novices. We pride ourselves in our patience and enthusiasm for working with beginners.
What type of shoes should we wear?
Wear leather-soled dress shoes or suede bottomed ballroom dance shoes if you own them. You can order dance shoes online or from a catalog or visit a local dance store to purchase a pair. Information about dance shoe resources is located on the Dance Shoes page of this website. Otherwise socks are fine. We do not recommend wearing pumps, mules, sling backs, flip flops, clogs, sandals or tennis shoes to class. On the second to last lesson we recommend practicing in your wedding shoes.
How long are the lessons?
Unlike many studios, whose private lessons are only 40-45 minutes. Our lessons are 55 minutes. We also encourage you to come in 15 minutes early to warm up. If you have an unusually restrictive schedule, we can minimize your travel time and provide double sessions back to back of 110 minutes with a 10 minute rest break in the middle of the two sessions. This minimizes your visits to the studio while still maximizing the amount of material you learn. In terms of quality comparisons, we are unparalleled but if you are doing strictly price comparisons with other studios be sure to recalculate for the differences in lesson durations. Our Wedding Dance Workshops are 3 hours and are the only one of its kind in the DC metro area.
Do we have to purchase a “package?"
No. You customize your own program. We offer an a la carte option for less than 5 lessons. The package sizes are not designed to specify how many lessons you are limited to, they are guidelines for what is generally accomplished in that time span based on the average student. The package sizes indicate where quantity rate discounts apply to the rates. These discounts may apply to the entire range of lessons below the subsequent package. (For example: 5-7 lessons = $x, 8-10 lessons - $y, 11-19 lessons = $z)
Is it worthwhile to take a “crash course" of just a couple lessons if we've procrastinated?
Absolutely! We are the only dance company that GUARANTEES a wedding dance in one lesson! Just be sure to let us know in advance if you only plan to take one and plan to limit the attendance to one couple and focus on one dance style. We do our best to accommodate last minute requests and believe that even ONE lesson is better than resorting to the “high school prom sway.” We will focus exclusively on your wedding dance, give you a lovely entrance, help you move as a team around the room and a lovely finale and exit off the floor. These are the three components that your guests will remember most. All components of the dance are uniquely customized to your song and your personal style. We also provide an optional complimentary crinoline dress rehearsal and in-class videotaping for you to evaluate the final product.
Testimonial: "Our appointment with Jim went great...we just met with him once to get some ideas to incorporate into our song. He gave us many good tips and it was amazing how much he was able to fit into an hour!" Thanks, Debbie Vanetti and Mike Platz, July 2005
Do you provide the music for our "First Dance?"
We have a collection of music in the studio as well as audio clips on our website and lists of song suggestions. However, due to the broad spectrum of tastes and potential "first songs" it is impossible for us to guarantee that we have it in our posession. Just because you see it on our suggestion list does not guarantee that we have a copy of the song in our collection. It is recommended that you bring in your music on cd to your class. If you leave a copy with your instructor he/she can keep it in their collection so you don't have to risk forgetting to bring it to class each week.
What about upgrades or add ons?
We pride ourselves in our unique and flexible pricing options. Therefore, we extend the discounted package rate opportunity until 24 hours after your first lesson. This "trial period" allows you to experience a lesson and have some time to evaluate and discuss your options with your partner afterward. If you decide to upgrade after the grace period, your previous payment would not be credited toward the additional purchase. Credits are not transferrable across categories (private, semi private, mini group)
Do you allow refunds for unused lessons?
We offer a money back GUARANTEE on "unused" lessons for any reason. If you cancel too late, attend late or do not show up for a scheduled appointment the appointment is considered "forfeited" and therefore there are no refunds on those specific missed lessons. Lessons are valid for up to one year after the date of purchase. The lessons are transferrable as a gift certificate to friends or family or you may recieve a refund (before the expiration date). We do not require contracts that lock you into spending a fixed amount. If you choose to discontinue lessons you may recieve a *pro-rated* refund which reflects the number of lessons already taken and the applicable package and/or unit rate. Refunds require 4 business days advance notice in writing and a 3.5% processing fee is applicable for refunds requested after 55 days from the purchase date.
What will we learn?
The emphasis on the lessons is to feel comfortable while dancing together. If you feel relaxed, you will look relaxed. The first dance is a romantic moment and should reflect that mood too. Our goal is to empower you with the skills to look calm under pressure when all eyes are on you in the spotlight and the camera is rolling! The components of the first dance are comprised of Leading and Following skills, Patterns, Technique, Tempo and Choreography. The special song you pick will help us design a dance that will allow you to express the mood and personality of its unique sound.
Patterns are the barebones footsteps of the dance. They are like puzzle pieces that you combine to make a picture. Technique is what makes the picture pretty. Technique transforms patterns from being robotic and mechanical into smooth and seamless movements. It's important to lay the groundwork of good technique right from the beginning in order to dance elegantly as a team. Preparing a wedding dance with your partner is very different than everyday social dancing because it requires additional components in order to “perform” in front of a crowd without looking overly rehearsed. That's where the choreography come in. We will also empower you with skills to recover from unexpected situations so that you look natural and confident.
What if I need to cancel or reschedule a lesson?
We understand that sometimes circumstances occur or things change and you might need to cancel or reschedule your lesson. That is fine, provided we receive the requisite advance notice. In cases of extreme emergency (death in the family, hospitalization or accident) we will do our best to accomodate you and try to fill the slot and assess no fees.
In non-emergency situations (minor illness, traffic, other committments, working late, unexpected business trip) where you find that you need to cancel at the last minute, consider having your partner attend the class solo. It is very beneficial for people to experience the one on one experience with the teacher and each person has unique areas of learning on which to focus. Another option is to invite a parent to join you to learn the Honors Dance.
Unlike the industry standard practice of charging the full fee if you cancel too late even on the first incident, we understand the hectic schedules of wedding couples and only charge a nominal fee to cover only the teacher's time and administrative expense. We can only permit one reschedule per couple for a last minute cancellation at this discounted rate.
We have created this policy to fairly balance the needs of our clients, potential clients on waiting lists, our teachers and administrative staff.
How is payment handled?
Like in other areas of wedding planning where a deposit is required to secure your reservation of a reception site, a live band or DJ service, dance lesson reservations are also pre-paid at the time of scheduling. You can mail in payment or pay by credit card. Just like you pre-pay for a gym membership, or catalog and internet purchases you also pre-pay for your reservations. Since teachers are only paid for the time they teach this has become a standard practice among the majority of dance studios. As the client, you benefit from pre-paying by having the convenience of reserving the teacher's time in advance, ensuring you recieve your preferred time slots, maximize instruction time while minimizing paperwork time and receive quantity rate discounts. In exchange pre-payments give us the assurance that students will show up for the lesson or give us the requisite notice if they elect to cancel or reschedule. The policy is in place to protect the staff from being stood up and results in people only scheduling appointments that they genuinely intend to keep. Consequently, we have found this system to be the most fair way to enable all potential clients to have a chance to be scheduled.
What if we would like to take more lessons after the wedding?
Your current package does not expire for one year from the date of purchase. This means you or someone else has one year to use the lessons. They are transferrable as a gift certificate. Please contact our office to make transfer arrangements. If you have completed your wedding package before your wedding and would like to continue with private lessons after the wedding and we happen to be running a sale you can place a $87 deposit and lock in the sale rate for a year. You do not need to pre-select a package amount until you are ready to resume the lessons.
Be aware that dancing is recreational exercise. Make sure you are physically fit enough to handle the exertion dancing may cause and consider checking with a physician if you have any outstanding health conditions that may be aggravated by this activity. You are undertaking this activity at your own risk.