Q: How long does it take to learn and when will I get good?
A: This is totally up to each individual. Some people learn faster than others. However if you have had previous partner dance training, you may pick up a lot faster. A good sense of rhythm and music timing will help as well. Most importantly is that you get a solid foundation for your dancing. Basics are everything, and as we say; - Flash is trash without the basics!
As an example; the wider and stronger the base of a structure is → the more you can build on top of it without it falling over. Think of your dancing pretty much the same way. The more solid your base is, the easier you will be able to understand and handle more challenging and complex variations.
Tips for Beginners
Beginners should take every opportunity to go out dancing. Don't worry too much about making mistakes, its part of the learning process, you are a beginner. The more exposure you get to the dance and the music, better you will understand what you are doing in class. Watching others dance is part of learning too. Set realistic expectations as you cannot expect to become a great dancer in a short time if you only go dancing once a week, for example; go to your class or course one a week. Its is not realistic to be a great dancer by doing 4, 6 or 8 classes. If you want to "get good", you have to put in the work! Keep in mind, it's not about how long you have been dancing (eg. 1 year, but 2-3 times per month)... What really counts is, how many hours per week you spend on your dancing outside of class. Its like studying at school; you could have gone to university for 7 years to study medicine, but if you don't study outside of class/lecture... how much do you think you'll learn? ;-)
Tips for Followers
Followers: It is important to understand your role as a follower. The males role is to lead you in a manner that you will be able to understand and therefore follow. However your patience here is necessary in order for beginner leaders to learn. "Leading and following" technique is the "language" we use in partner dancing and as any other language it takes time to learn before communication starts to flow. As the leaders are learning their own steps - and you are learning yours, they are also having to think about your steps and timing! That's right, the leader has to think about their own timing and yours...(!) in order to ensure clear communication and leading skills. At the very beginning leaders feel overwhelmed and this is absolutely normal! This is where our experienced teachers excell with their communication and teaching techniques to make it easy to understand. Leading and following is the most crucial element of partner dancing and it takes time to perfect! In the mean time ladies, please allow some time for your leaders to gain confidence and knowledge, and try not anticipate your next step or try to read his mind on what he wants you to do! You simply have to wait for the leader to tell you what, when and how! :-).
Tips for Leaders
Leaders: You are the leaders in partner dancing which means you indicate to your follower what, when and how. Additionally as leaders you will learn how to do so in a comfortable manner keeping biomechanics in mind. Of course it is our responsibility as instructors to teach you this in a easy and comprehensive way! Please do set realistic expectations as this crucial skill does take some time to learn and make sure you can to adapt to different partners. Girls love to dance with great leads! Repertoire is not important, in other words, the ammount of moves you konw is useless if you are not leading them correctly. Being able to master simple basics is way more impressive and more fun for the ladies to follow and dance than being pulled and pushed around the floor in a rough manner. Be gentle and clear with your indications (leads). Leading is "invisible", you work with redirecting your partners weight in order to achieve and effortless and smooth lead. The beginning stages can be a little bit overwhelming as you are also having to learn your own steps and timing of the dance. The key to succeed with partner dancing is simple - the more often you practice (correctly!), the better you get - so go out dancing every opportunity you get and ask questions in class if you are unsure about something. No question are good and the more questions the better!
Q: How do I register for a course?
A: To register and guarantee your placement in a course is essential. Please make sure to Register Online to secure your spot and PRE-REGISTRATION discounted price. Note that registering at the door will incurr the full course price. Your payment options are the following:
- Credit/Debit card online
- Cash payment only at the studio
In order to take advantage of any of the special offers we must receive your registration prior to cut off date. Unfortunately we cannot not hold or reserve any course placements. No deposits or part payments are accepted.
Q: Where do I park?
A: There is metered parking around the studio on Mt Eden road, and right in front of the building too. Come early and get a spot right by the door! In the rare case of there not being any street parking, there are numerous side-street parking opportunities nearby.
Q: What do I wear to the classes?
A: We recommend anything from casual attire to gym or dance wear. As for shoes, a pair that is snug on your feet and will keep your heel and ankle in place is the best option. Keep in mind you might be turning or spinning, therefore your feet need to have stability and feel secure.
Sneakers will work for the first lesson but may cause a problem with gripping and could afect your knees later on. Thongs or flip-flops are not recommended. If you are wearing high heels, you must wear heel protectors. Heel protectors are available to purchase at most dance shops.
Q: Do I need to have a partner to attend the classes?
A: Not at all, we rotate partners throughout the class so everybody gets to dance with everybody. We do our best to ensure an even enough ratio. However, keep in mind that some people may miss a class during the course which could result in some days having more or less uneven numbers. Should this be the case, we then rotate partners more frequently. If you do not wish to rotate, simply let your instructor know just before class commencement.
Q: I missed the 1st class - can I still join the course on the 2nd class?
A: If you missed the first class of your course you can still join. However make sure you catch up either through asking your class mates or instructor what has been covered to not hold the class back. If you still feel you really need addional help to cover what has been taught in a particular course, then we recommend you take a private lesson to catch up with the rest of your classmates. Note that the full course fee still applies after course commencement.
Q: I will be away for one or more classes, will this be a problem?
A: Sometimes unexpected events come up in life. If you happen to miss a class or two during your course, you can catch up by doing the following;
- Ask a fellow course participant what we covered while you were away. If you have access to our instructional videos, you may refer to them for more clarification.
- If we are running more than one course per week at your desired level you may be able to catch up on the missed class in another course. Please turn to your instructors for advice.
- Book a private lesson to catch up.
Q: I will be away for a class, can I send a friend to take my place for that week?
A: Unfortunately the courses are not transferable. We recommend you catch up as suggested above.
Q: Courses OR Casual drop-in classes?
A: As teachers we want our students to excel with their dancing and get the most out of their classes. The only way to do so is with structured and progressive syllabus courses. This way we can monitor what is going to happen in each class, everybody is learning the same thing at the same pace and we all learn the same teminology.
This structure makes it easier for everyone to progress to new and exciting things later on. Courses will benefit both the leaders and the followers because is set up to learn material sequentially and exercises are designed to re-enforce previously learned material. When students come and go casually, they miss out on material which will affect everyone else in the class that attends regularly and you may encounter some frustration. Progress would also be slow for those coming regularly and no one really ends up with the skills they are paying to learn. We don't believe this kind of service offers quality and serves no real long term purpose. With a syllabus you will see how all the steps, moves and styling make sense, build upon each other and come together in different variations. This way we all "speak the same dance language" and everybody wins!
Q: Why are some courses 8weeks long?
A: Since Latinissimo's inauguration in 2003, we have had 1000's of students come through our doors wanting to learn to dance, have fun or further their skills. Since then we have come to understand the needs of people wanting to take up dancing. At Latinissimo we believe in progressive learning. Therefor we have over time developed a structured, strategic, easy to understand and progressive curriculum and syllabus that has been tested over and over again. 8 x 1 hour classes have demonstrated to give the ultimate result.
We stand behid the quality that 8 weeks of learning delivers. Learning to dance is not only about learning and memorising steps and moves. To us dancing is a way of life that helps develop a skill that is useful in many aspects of life, and its fun too! To learn a new dance or to further on your existing knowledge, it is important to not only learn the steps, but also learn terminology, understand the structure of the dance, the movement and have correct excecution through a variety of exercises and repetition. All of these need time to develop and process in the muscle memory. We feel that the success of our 8 week courses has proven itself many times over through the results of our students.
On top of this, all 8wk Salsa and Zouk beginner students have access to our beginner videos or recieve beginners DVDs in their respective styles.
Q: What is the general age group in your courses?
A: At the moment all our courses are for adults only and we have had participants from the age of 18 to 70. However, we have had participants as young as 15 joining our courses. Supervision by a guardian is recommended for all participants under the age of 16.
Q: Can I pay as I go or pay for one class to see if I like it?
A: Yes you can! If you wish to simply try a class, you can just pay for that particular class at a casual rate. Please refer to our Price Structure page for more information on casual rates. However, keep in mind by joining a courses you will get to know your fellow dancers better and build friendships as well!
Q: Can I film the class?
A: We ask that you do not video the class or the instructors, however you may video yourself doing the steps or turn pattern straight after class. If you wish to have a record of some of the classes, we refer you to our extensive collection of downloadable videos in our online-shop.
Q: Can I come and just watch a class?
A: Yes, you may sit and watch the last 10-15 minutes of a class only. At Latinissimo we respect the privacy of our students trying to learn. Most people are not very comfortable learning while being watched.
Q: What if I don't have a partner to practice with?
A: We have lots of people looking for dance partners! Every week someone asks us if we know someone who wants to practice. Ask your fellow students if they are interested in getting together to practise. When Gian first started salsa dancing, he would ask everyone in his class, girls and guys. Guys can get together and practice your steps and timing. Girls, do the same! Even better, agree to go out as a group to any of the salsa nights or come as a group to one of our social parties or practice nights. The more the merrier!
Q: What is different about Latinissimo courses/classes?
A: Latinissimo Dance Studios (LDS) instructors, Giancarlo & Masha have over 28+ years of teaching experience. They developed their own curriculum and syllabus which transformed the development of salsa in New Zealand. Additionaly, many schools have adopted this structure their courses. It is also the foundation for all graded national salsa competitions in New Zealand.
When joining our courses you will be exposed to the following;
- Our carefully designed syllabus to make you understand what and why you are learning what you are learning.
- You will understand the structure of the dance you have chosen.
- Our courses are progreassive.
- The syllabus is updated frequently.
- Professionally trained instructors in their dance styles that have been carefully selected for their personal qualities.
- Dedicated instructors providing quality instruction through positive reinforcement, while being actively involved in the students physical and mental development as a dancer.
- Our instructors are experienced in and know the difference between competition dance training, performance dance training and social dance training.
- We are friendly, approachable and extremely passionate about everything and anything dance!