Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you explain your different classes?
- What’s the best way to get good fast?
- How long will it take me to learn to dance?
- What if I have zero dance experience?
- What is the age range of your students?
- Why do so many of your students take privates with you?
- What if I just want to coordinate a private lesson with my friends?
- Do I need a partner?
- Where did you two get your training?
- Do shoes really make a difference?
- How do I register?
- Do you accept credit cards?
- Can I join the class if the series has already started?
- What should I wear to classes?
- How many dances do you teach?
Can you explain your different classes?
Our Ballroom, Lindy, West Coast Swing and Argentine Tango Classes all have levels one and two. All of our Ballroom Classes follow the widely accepted Competitive Dance Curriculum with levels referred to as “Bronze” through “Gold” levels.
In our Level One Salsa Classes we focus on having fun and getting you dancing comfortably on the dance floor quickly with Right Turns. You can immediately jump into the level two classes after taking Level 1 once. With room permitting, you can repeat Level one FREE whenever you would like after you’ve taken it for the first time. You will want to take both Level One and Two at PCC to move into our Upper Division Classes offered on Tuesday nights in Pasadena.
In Salsa Levels One and Two you will be learn our series on:
- Right Turns
- Left Turns
- Cross-Body Leads with turnsAll of these need to be completed before you’ll want to move to a Level 3 class.
* Students continue taking Salsa 2 classes at PCC as they enjoy the styling and focus on lead-and-follow.
PCC Salsa 1 & 2 Are both considered Introductory Classes. A student from PCC would move through our curriculum as follows:
- Salsa 1
- Salsa 2 (recommended for two semesters)
UPPER DIVISION CLASSES
- Salsa 3 (recommended for three series)
- Salsa 4 (by instructor invitation only)
- Salsa 5 (after taking salsa 4 at least 4 series)
Our Intermediate classes are called “Level 3”. This is where we see our students dance skills improve dramatically. This class is for those looking to be strong dancers comfortable on the most competitive dance floors in L.A. You’ll learn the newest moves and advanced leads.
In our Advanced Class you will be called a “Level 4” student. Students learn advanced novelty moves (including dips & tricks). If you are interested in this class, please email us! This class is very challenging and most all of our Advanced students continue in our Intermediate Classes simultaneously.
Other Classes Periodically Offered:
- Casino Rueda is one of the most fun versions of salsa you’ll ever dance! Just imagine… dancing around a few of your friends and someone calls “switch partners” you each do the same move to spin the lady to the next man. Then it continues with spins, switching places, moving around the circle… all couples in synchronization! We call it at our CATALINA 2000 and last year most all of our students from all over LA and Catalina Island danced together in one large circle as they switched partners and met each other for the first time! Fun beyond words!
- Salsa Stretch & Slim (not currently offered) (formerly “Sals-ercize and different than Cardio Salsa)
Ladies, think salsa muscles: strengthen ‘em, lengthen ‘em
& stretch ‘em. We’ll be doing the best stretches and exercises to maximize your Salsa-ability. Learn how to move smoothly, do body rolls, quick footwork, and see your body slenderize from body shaping dance stretches. The Added Bonus: The exercise portion will be including LADIES STYLING moves. So you’ll get it all in one! Body sculpting, Ladies Styling and a workout! Just like us ladies… a great multi-tasking way to use our time!Anyone welcome. Come dressed to workout. FREE to Golden & Platinum Ticket Holders. Guys, this is a GIRLS ONLY thing. (No peeking!)
- “Technique Class” (not currently offered) Make plans to join us for this great lead & follow focus class which is a new pre-requisite for Advanced Salsa! (Open to Int/Adv students)
What you’ll learn…
- GUYS:- How to make your lead clear, consistent, and comfortable
– How to lead with one hand
– How to lead with one or two fingers
– How to do four separate moves with variations in one hand
– What do his leads mean?
– When to style and when not
– How to always look feminine and eye-catching while dancing
– How to follow different leads effectively
– How to help train a potential dance partner – on the dance floor!
- GUYS:- How to make your lead clear, consistent, and comfortable
- “Latin Club Dances” (currently offered at Pasadena City College) Make plans to join us for this class you’ve all been waiting for… How to dance when there is a break in the Salsa music! In this class you’ll learn how to dance most all of the club favorites:
Technique Class will be offered only once per quarter with the next Technique Class scheduled to start late March.
• and more!
(LATIN CLUB DANCES Open to all levels)
What’s the best way to get good fast?
GREAT Question! Three key ingredients:
– Weekly Group Lessons
– Practice, Practice, Practice
– When you hit a plateau, take a Private Lesson
If you’re only doing one of these elements, it’s hard to see the progress in your dancing. For instance, if you’re only taking Group Lessons, and not getting Private Coaching Sessions, there are likely movements we can find and perfect in a coaching session, and you’ll see marked differences in your dancing. The only way to work on perfecting your lead or follow is in Private Coaching Sessions. For more information, click here.
If, for instance, you’re doing Private Coaching Sessions with us, but not dancing with other students as in a Group Lesson and Practice Dance, it’s impossible to get used to multiple partners and the dynamic of dancing in a club. If you join our student email group led by Barry Chin you’ll receive periodic notes from him telling you where our students are going dancing. Often there will be tables labeled “Francisco and Stacey” and they frequently even meet to carpool! You’ll be with other students of ours and you will have fitting partners for that night of dancing. What a great way to safely introduce yourself into the club scene! You’re welcome to be a part of the gang by emailing Barry Chin and just tell him you’re our student wanting to be on his student dance list! If we could make this mandatory, we would. That’s how highly we recommend practice for all students.
Finally, if you’re just going out dancing and not taking lessons, as a male, you’ll need to learn how to completely lead a lady. As a female, there are likely moves gentlemen are trying to lead you into which you are missing. Our Group Lessons are a great way to learn the keys to lead and follow dancing. Click here for our schedule of group classes.
Remember, all three is the key! Group Lessons, Private Coaching & Practice, Practice Practice!
How long will it take me to learn to dance?
It depends on how much time you devote to your goal. The first start is to buy a good CD of the dance you’re trying to learn. (For our CD suggestions, click here).
Second, you need to be faithful in the three key elements of learning:
Weekly Group Lessons
Practice, Practice, Practice
When you hit a plateau, take a Private Lesson
Sound familiar? The more you do of all three elements, the faster you can progress. If you’re only taking Group Lessons, it could take years. If you’re doing 2 of the 3 above it could take a year or so. If you find a partner and together devote a few months to all three of these elements, you will be comfortable on any dance floor quickly!
If you haven’t read our explanation above, the answer (above) might help too!
What if I have zero dance experience?
You will have a great time in our classes! As Francisco did not grow up dancing, he doesn’t teach from a trained dancer’s perspective. He learned at an adult age, thus teaches with analogies that are very effective with non-dancers and dancers alike. For instance with Salsa, he’ll tell guys “okay, swing the bat, now step back on the plate” That’s something most every guy can relate to, and they get all of the foot placement, body alignment and weight distribution perfect – without teaching in those technical terms! As Stacey comes from a more classically trained background, they make a great team as they give insights from both perspectives on both lead and follow.
What is the age range of your students?
We have a requirement of over 18 – our students appreciate the adult, more elegant atmosphere. Great dancers with a gracious outlook and just an all-around classy group of people. Very nice, welcoming, and gracious. We are quite fond of our students, not only professionally, but personally as well!
Why do so many of your students take privates with you?
“We are honored that so many of our students think highly enough of our teaching to dedicate significant time to their growing repertoire of dance moves. Especially as we keep our classes below 30 students, we know they’re not taking privates because of lack of individualized attention. Our students tell us they sincerely want us to show them how to get ‘really good’!”
It’s probably a combination of word of mouth and the results other students see in students who have taken privates concurrently with group lessons. In addition, we often give private lessons for folks who are a bit intimidated by the whole group lesson experience, or who have a special engagement they are looking to polish up their moves for. In addition, many couples consider a weekly private lesson with Francisco and Stacey as a part of their date night each week. As they offer packages of private lessons for discounted rates, it makes it very affordable to supplement group lessons, or have a weekly lesson for a couple.
In addition, it’s one of their key elements it takes to improve (see above).
See our PRIVATES section for details.
What if I just want to coordinate a private with my friends?
“Our rates are $80 for the first two, and $20 for each additional person up to $150. The group would never pay more than $150 as long as one person was the coordinator of the money, payment, etc.
Do I need a partner?
No, actually we’ve had couples meet in our classes! We do ask for pre-registration, however, so we can get a count on how many leads and follows have signed up ahead of time. Then, if we’re deficient in one or the other, we can email our group students and we always seem to work it out so each class has equal gentlemen and ladies. We welcome you coming with a partner as well as some find it helpful to have a practice partner during the rest of the week.
It is great, however, to find a partner in class who will work with you on the three elements to get good fast: Group Lessons, Private Lessons & Practicing (see above).
Where did you two get your training?
Francisco – Starting at the age of 19 he started at Arthur Murray’s Studio of Dance. He soon moved to a Fred Astaire Studio under the coaching of the esteemed Franco Peraza.
Stacey – Starting at the age of 5, she finally graduated off of her Mother and Father’s feet into Vernetta’s School of Dance in San Diego. At 10 years of age she moved to Orange County under the coaching of Lori Hanson and the late Jimmy DeFore.
Do shoes really make a difference?
Yes. We recommend dancing in suede bottoms as the best, and rubber (i.e.. tennis shoes or thick soled men’s shoes) as the least optimal. We are concerned for the safety of our students and find that rubber soles can grab the floor, and with continued use lead to knee and potential back injuries. For classes a leather bottom is fine, and if you’re on a budget, plastic bottoms from Payless are fine. Please be careful of the slippery nature of these two soles, however.
With dance shoes the saying is true – you get what you pay for. We have a recommendation to a distributor who makes shoes with the specifications ideal for dancers who dance for hours on end. Janette Valenzuela of “Dance With Me” fame became a shoe designer after years of being a world known dancer herself. After many years of dancing on many shoes, we know they are the most comfortable, wonderful shoes, and we highly recommend their quality.
At times you can find her at our classes on Tuesday nights. To find out when she’ll be coming by our classes, give her a call at (818) 652-6448. If you’re looking to buy shoes, we would recommend looking at her website at www.star-byjanette.com to get an idea of the styles. Often if you call her ahead of time, she can try to bring the shoes in your size
How do I register?
You may join the series the 1st or 2nd week of class
Come to class 15 minutes early on the first day of class.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes. Visa, Mastercard & Discover.
Can I join the class if the series has already started?
You can start up to the second class of any series. They teach in four week series, sometimes six. They do this in order to have one class of students learning a series of moves that all relate to one another (thus the term “series”). As long as the class is not already full (30 or 50 student cut off), students can join the class up to the second week of class. The class will quickly progress after that point into more complex moves and technique within the last weeks of class
What should I wear to classes?
Be comfortable! We have people come to class in everything from nice sweats to semi-formal attire. Our goal for you is to feel good about yourself so your focus is on your dancing and you’re feeling great and moving easily in what you’re wearing. The most important element is your shoes. Ladies, you will be disappointed in slip on shoes. See our comments on shoes here.
How many dances do you teach?
Do you really want us to name them all? Whew!
East Coast Swing
West Coast Swing
Hollywood Style Lindy
Country Western Two-Step
Hustle Partner Dance
Triple Time Swing
New York Hustle
The Hustle Line Dance
…and numerous other line dances and party favorites!