I’ve never done Zumba class before, can beginners attend, how do I sign up?
All Zumba classes are for beginners as all moves are intended to be simple Latin moves that give you a good workout! We do NOT go over complicated patterns and technique in this class… that is what the dance classes are for….just come to shake it, have fun… and get in SHAPE! You can sign up by clicking on the Schedule Page, then Current Schedule tab. All classes are listed in a calendar format. Click on the ’login’ link for the class date you want to register. If you are new, you’ll need to create a new login ( if you’ve been to our studio before, you are already in our system and you can just login. Default username is set to lastname-firstname and if you don’t know your password you can click retrieve password link) It helps us get through the checkin line faster if you can create your user account for us before you arrive. If it is your first class, we will still require you to fill out a liability waiver, so we recommend showing up 15 minutes prior to the class starting time.
How do drop in Dance classes work? How much are they?
A drop in class is a class that you can come and start anytime. You don’t have to come every week at that time. All of the information in that class is self contained.. i.e we teach you what you need to know to participate in that class and we don’t build from week to week. We have 2 classes that are drop in classe, beginner ballroom basics I group classes & Zumba. In Ballroom Basics each week we go over the basic step and technique with practice drills and then teach 2-3 beginning steps. We then show how to put these steps together in usable patterns. We go through different steps/patterns each week so people attending are always learning something new.
What are sessions? Can I start mid-session? Do I have to pay for the whole session up front?
A dance session registration means someone registers for a dance class that takes place on a particular night/time (e.g. 7:30 Tuesday night). You sign up to take that class (just like you would a college class, art class, karate class etc.) and you come every week at that time for the duration of the session. Most of our sessions last 1 month (so 4 or 5 weeks depending on how many Tuesdays are in that particular month) Our dance classes build on what is taught each week so its best to start at the beginning of the month. You can start mid-session but it will require some extra time on the side (potentially a private lesson) and practice and the drop in rate will be slightly more expensive if you don’t sign up and pay for all classes at the beginning of the session. Class sizes are limited, so you have to pay in advance if you want to reserve your spot. The ability to continue the learning process week to week helps the overall experience for individuals who come regularly. We have tried to balance the learning experience with shorter sessions to maximize the learning experience while minimizing the overall initial commitment ($ and time).
Will I learn everything I need to know in 1 month session?
Certainly not, dance is an art, which some feel that one can never perfect. Each month we will teach and review a few different moves at that level. Students may stay in the same level class for 1 month, 6 months or a year. Once they have mastered the technique and skills in a level, they can move to the next level class.
What should I wear to dance class?
Wear anything you are comfortable moving in. People come in blue jeans, sweats, dresses and work clothes. Its best to wear dance shoes (see dance shoe comments at bottom of page) but if you don’t have any, try to wear shoes with a smooth sole
What should I wear to Zumba class?
Wear workout attire and aerobics/tennis shoes. Be prepared to sweat!
Can beginners come to group classes?
Unless the class specifies that it is intermediate or advanced, beginners are welcome & encouraged to attend. This is where you start to learn.
I have some experience from a different studio/from a long time ago etc.. which class should I sign up for?
We require that all students begin with the basic/beginner level class to start since we may teach differently than you have had experience with in the past. All basic classes provide fundamentals that we will assume you know already in our intermediate/advanced classes. If we see that you are not going to be challenged by the beginners level course, we will of course allow you to move into an intermediate/advanced class. We want to you be comfortable and challenged and we hope this helps maintain class level integrity.
What if I don’t have a partner?
We always encourage singles to attend class. We have quite a few singles attending (both men and women).. so don’t worry about it.
What is better, Group classes or private lessons?
Both have their advantages. Group classes are a great social atmosphere to meet other dancers and find people with whom you can practice your new found hobby. Private lessons are great if you have specific dance goals and want to advance at a faster pace. We believe a balanced program of private and group instruction plays an important role in one’s training. Each lesson has it’s own place. It is obvious that in groups you learn general things with not much attention to details or emphasis on technique, but at $10/hour in place of $60/hour.. it has its economic benefits. If you are preparing for a specific event such as a wedding or competition, I would suggest private lessons to get the personalized attention you need.
For those people with two left feet, how do you dance without making a fool of yourself or your partner?
Take Lessons! It’s embarrassing when you don’t know how to dance. You feel awkward, one can’t learn by watching but participate and the best way to do that is to attend classes.
Some of the clubs are offering (free) lessons to start the evening. Can someone learn how to dance by taking these lessons?
I think its great that they provide this. One or two lessons wont teach you how to dance. One needs to take classes over a longer period of time and more often than once or twice every few weeks. Generally speaking these lessons are geared toward beginners to help them get out on the floor for the first time and don’t many moves/patterns/techniques beyond a 1st lesson.
Guys often have to lead in dances like salsa, merengue and ballroom. How much harder is it for a guy to learn the steps than a women?
Although it may take longer for a man to learn than a women because he has to learn to lead, the benefits are tenfold. Women swarm to good men dancers. However, any dancer, male or female, can bring out the best in their partners.
Is dancing just good fun, or could it count as my exercise for the day also?
It’s a combination of both. We always tell our students that while they might not be here for exercise, they’ll get it anyway. It’s an incredible cardio and pulmonary exercise. It tones the muscles, heart and lungs. Its one of the best overall workouts and you can ask any doctor.
What should I wear when out dancing at a club or lounge?
Look good. If you are ballroom dancing, wear a loose flowing dresses/nice clothing, guys wear suits or tuxedoes when performing, but when out at a social club, any nice attire is appropriate. If you are dancing salsa or merengue, the steps are smaller, so many women wear flirty dresses or pants that stretch to allow movement. Present yourself the best way you can and you’ll feel good about getting out. The confidence that the appropriate attire can bring to your dancing is really amazing!
What are the social benefits of dancing?
Dancing gives you the opportunity to be out in a social environment. I’ve had students here who are like a butterfly in a cocoon. They come in timid and shy and as they get better on the dance floor, they begin to blossom. They ask others to dance and its a wonderful sight. I’ve even had several singles come in saying they were too shy to date.. and within several months of dancing they built up enough confidence to find significant others that eventually became their husbands/wives!
BALLROOM DANCE SHOES
These are suitable for either Ballroom or Swing dancing. The good ones have suede soles that give you just the right amount of slip-and-grip, are as light as a feather, have built-in extra cushioning, and have a steel shank that runs from the center into the heel for fantastic support (especially in women’s shoes) — and still manage to weigh about 1/3 of an ounce. Okay, slightly more, but only slightly. Prices are pretty uniformly in the $100-120 range for almost all brands, with some discount lines available in the $60-80 range.
Details: How high the heel? For both women’s and men’s ballroom shoes, you have a selection of heel heights. The obvious advice is to get whatever you find comfortable. If you need a lower heel than is available in the store, ask them — sometimes the shoe manufacturers offer custom heel sizes for about the same price. Ballroom heels are “balanced” better than regular heels and form fit to the feet to allow your toes to point and your feet to feel the floor. Regular heels are not suitable substitutions.
Details: Pointy heel or chunky heel? Most women’s ballroom shoe designs come with heels that narrow to a stiletto-like point, but a few models come with heels that are more full-sized, akin to what you’ll find on regular women’s shoes these days. Most women find the full-sized heel to be more stable and therefore more comfortable for general dancing, especially for Salsa and Swing dancing. But most women also find that ballroom shoes are so well made that even the pointy-heel models are stable and comfortable.
Details: Straps or strapless? In women’s shoes, you face this choice as well. We strongly recommend a strap that comes around or across the top of your foot.
Details: Closed toe or open toe? Women, let’s face reality for a moment: you want closed toe. You’d want it steel-reinforced if they offered it, but they don’t. Just don’t tell your partner why you are insisting on this.
Other odd details: Both women and men, you will also notice that some ballroom shoes have the heel undercut quite a bit. This is especially common in women’s open-toed models. In the men’s case, the shoe looks rather flamenco-like. The difference is that the undercut heels are designed for Latin-Ballroom dancing, while the more regular (straight down) heels are much better for Waltz, Foxtrot, and the like, especially once you begin learning moves that include a heel-turn action. You will probably be happier starting with the regular-cut heels.
If you see people wearing what look like two-tone wing tips, either black-and-white or brown-and-white, they’re wearing special shoes for Swing dancing. Despite looking like two-tone lawyer’s shoes, they are actually extremely light weight. Prices are about the same as ballroom dancing shoes ($100-120 generally, with discount lines at $60-80), although they are usually not as beautifully built as their ballroom dancing cousins. Most brands of swing shoes have soles of a special rubber-like compound, vaguely like on bowling shoes, but better for dancing. And all of the heels are low — both men and women wear flats. They are very popular among the hard-core Swing and Lindy Hop dancers, especially the dancers who like to wear the retro costumes, and are said to be very comfortable for a long night of Swing dancing. But beware! When you wear those conspicuous black-and-whites, people are going to assume you are an expert dancer! (Virtually all of the brands now offer plain-black, for us humbler dancers.)
For classes and informal dance venues, you might try the Capezio Dansneaker (similar designs available from Bloch and Sansha) — it is a strange and comfortable sneaker built for dancers, with a rubber-compound split sole that includes a turning spot under the ball of your foot. It dances quite well, and dancers from all traditions tend to love it. It doesn’t fit everyone’s feet and it’s not at all cheap (approx. $60 – 90+), but it looks good and you can wear it on the street as well as the dance floor.
INSOLES (or thick socks)
You can probably double the number of hours you can dance in comfort if you buy and use a pair of insoles — amazing the difference they make. (It’s like the difference between walking to work in dress shoes versus running shoes, multiplied by four hours.) If your dance shoes have room for them, we highly recommend them — but some women’s sandal-like shoes simply won’t have any place for them. Alternatively, you might want to try thick socks — many people find them to be enough.
The best inner soles are the ones sold for running shoes, about $10-18 per pair from any running-shoe place. Also very good are the ones sold specifically for Swing shoes (usually by the shoe’s manufacturer), at about $18. We have not noticed any difference in comfort or quality between the $10 versus $18 insoles. For light duty at a light price, every pharmacy offers some Dr. Scholl’s-type foam insoles; they are about 10% as effective as the good insoles and don’t last long, but they’re better than nothing. We recommend against “gel” versions because their squishy, shifty nature voids much of the precision contact you need with the floor.
HOW TO BUY
Take socks (and insoles). Be sure to take the right socks, stockings, and insoles with you, namely, whatever socks or stockings or insoles you like to wear while dancing. It makes an amazing difference in the fit for carefully-shaped dance shoes.
Go early to the shoe store, because you want to try on lots of different brands, lots of different models, and several different sizes. Give yourself and the store clerk (who is probably also the owner) plenty of time. Don’t rush — you want shoes that are extremely comfortable, or you’ll hate dancing forever.
Walk around in them. Do some dance steps. Sometimes you won’t notice a pinch or rub or a bad crease — or the way the shoe falls off at a crucial moment — until you start moving around. Do various moves that simulate the extremes of what you expect your feet to go through. Don’t worry about looking foolish. You’re in the Dance Shoes section of the store, after all — if you don’t try some steps, they’ll think you’re an idiot. If you don’t find something extremely comfortable, try the other store (see below).
Try multiple sizes and multiple brands. Dance shoe manufacturers all cut their shoes differently. And their sizes vary a lot from what you’d expect. Try on lots and lots of shoes. (To help you approximate the size you’ll need, you can find an excellent sizes chart for most of the major manufacturers at Patterson’s/Back Bay Dancewear’s web site. We recommend you print it and take it with you when shopping.)
Ask the staff for info and advice. The folks working in these stores — unlike at regular shoe stores — actually know about shoes and dancers’ needs. They can tell you which brands run narrow, which have softer leather, which are better built, which are better for Swing or Latin or standard Ballroom, and can direct you to alternatives worth trying on in various price ranges. But in the end, trust your feet.
Buy snug or buy loose? Choose dance shoes that fit perfectly or are a little snug — the leather will yield a bit quite soon. But only a little bit. You want to be comfortable from the first step you take, so don’t overdo the snugness. Also, the heel should not slip at all, the toe should not pinch at all, and where the leather creases near your toes, there should be no discomfort at all.
Where to buy
Degage Dance Shop 103rd and Metcalf Overland Park, KS
The Dance Shop 119th and Roe Overland Park, KS