Is watching dance classes before you join up a good idea? There's a lot to consider here.
Some teachers will allow you to watch a class before joining and some won't.
There are two main issues to think about.
Here are both sides of the argument...
Some classes are happy to let you come and watch. And there are classes that are held in studios you can see into and it's therefore possible to watch dance classes unobtrusively anyway.
By watching dance classes, you do get a very good overview of the teacher and how they interact with their pupils.
Are they kind, encouraging and patient, or a screaming hag? It's really good to see this first hand before committing to the class.
You will be able to clearly see what the overall ability of the pupils is like. And whether they seem to enjoy the class.
Also clear will be the pace the work is taken at... If you are watching a
dance class billed as 'Beginners', do they look like beginners?
There are many valuable things you can spot when watching dance classes, and it's always fun.
There's certainly no harm in you watching dance classes as you make up your mind whether to sign up.
Also, quite understandably, a prospective pupil who is not allowed to watch dance classes in advance of signing up for them may ask "What is the class hiding that I can't go along and see?"
can be frustrating to have to sign up for a class, perhaps pay for
clothing and shoes and a full course of lessons without actually knowing
what the classes look like.
So if the studio you are thinking of going to for your lessons has viewing windows into the class or allows you to watch, do go along and have a look.
Even teachers who are happy to open the class to observers will usually say that it is very hard to fully get the flavor of learning a dance just by watching dance classes.
And they're right. You need to actually do the moves.
There is an enormous difference between watching someone else do something and doing it yourself.
There are all sorts of things that you just won't pick up on, won't even be aware of, unless you actually do the lesson yourself.
Bear in mind the situation from the other side of the coin...
Imagine that you have joined a small class and you have only had one or two lessons.
Then complete strangers keep coming in and watching you.
It's a bit intimidating to have someone other than the teacher studying everything you do. It can be distracting.
And if it's common with a particular teacher to let anybody come and watch their class if they wish, it may not just be the occasional single person, but you could find yourself regularly dancing to an audience of several.
So you can understand how a teacher might be reluctant to let people watch on a regular basis.
Having to sign up for classes that you don't know much about is the case in many hobbies and lessons.
At some point you simply need to take a leap of faith and try it for yourself.
And do bear in mind that trying to figure out how somebody else feels physically while just looking at them is impossible.
You will never be able to tell just by observing a class which bit of the body, of your body, it will test more than others.
So, for example, when lots of people have finished a fairly gentle beginners Salsa class, can you tell if their calf muscles are aching just by looking at them? Of course not, but they probably are.
Some dance studios have open days or watching days where everybody is welcome to come along and the classes are open to observers.
Do ask if your local school or studio operates one of these - they are a great idea when they are offered.
They don't give a totally accurate picture of the dance classes - everybody will be on their best behavior.
But they will give you a great idea of the types of pupils and teachers that a studio offers.
And it's lovely just to be in the atmosphere of dancers and dance classes - you'll probably be motivated to sign up.
But if your local class or studio doesn't offer these days and doesn't permit watching classes, don't panic.
Just read this website inside out and arm yourself with all the tips and information you possibly can.
Watch all the clips of our own dance classes and you'll see what a pleasure good classes are to be in - nothing to be afraid of at all.
This will help you to find a class that's right for you and that won't contain any nasty surprises.
We'll help you every single step of the way, right to the door of the class and over the threshold.
All that said, you should be able to speak to the dance teacher before signing up for a course of lessons.
And this is probably the most useful thing to do, whether you decide you'll be watching dance classes or not.
So, you've finally decided to sign up to classes. But what do you wear...?