Private lessons, group classes or both – what is better?

The best way to learn to dance
Beginners Group Dance Class

Following our two previous articles, you’ve got a better understanding of the costs around private lessons and the different offerings. Now you are trying to decide what’s best – private lessons, group classes or a combination of the two.

You’ve checked out a few different dance studios and found some focus on group classes and others only offer private programs. I just want to learn to dance, right. What should I do!

There is no real right or wrong answer. At the end of the day you will have to weigh up different aspects of the learning process against time and cost to determine what’s best for you.

That said, it is wise to not look at cost in isolation, but to take a holistic view at what is being offered by different studios and what is and isn’t included. If you simply focus on the price aspect alone, you’ll probably end up being disappointed at some stage in your dance journey.

What are your goals

What you want to achieve with your dancing will have a large influence on what you ultimately decide.

Learn one dance and only focus on steps

Group classes big or small are probably best suited to this student as the detail on all the elements of dance won’t really be looked at in much detail. Students who decide on this path sometimes take the same level group class twice to better cement what they’ve learnt.

Learning for a competition

Private lessons are the way to go. You’ll have all the attention you need to work on your routines without the hassle of dancing with a variety of partners – both good and bad!

Learning to be a good social dancer

Programs that include private and group lessons is best. You’ll learn at your pace in the private lessons, focusing on what you need to, plus you’ll get the advantage of practising your moves on other dancers at the same level in the group classes.

Learning for your wedding

Programs that include private and group classes are perfect for you. You’ll learn your wedding dance in your private lessons and learn some other styles in the group classes so you can have a great time at your wedding reception. Those new moves will also help accelerate the learning process for your wedding dance.

Structured or unstructured programs

How your lessons are taught will have a large impact on how effectively you learn to dance. Does your studio teach a syllabus that is recognised by the relevant national dance associations or do they teach what they can remember from their own time learning?

Does your studio teach lessons based on a structured learning model, or do they just teach based on the day?

The way your dance programs and lessons are structured will determine how quickly you progress with learning. For example, dance syllabi are usually written in a manner that means simple figures are taught first as smaller components and then progress to harder figures which are made of amalgamations of the earlier figures.

A structured learning program also means there is an end goal and a clear path to get there. This is important for student motivation and morale.

What’s included

Not all dance programs are equal, so it’s important to understand what’s included in the price and what are optional extras.

Studio A prices its programs on the number of private lessons agreed on for the program. The group classes, regular socials and practise time in the studio are all inclusive in that fee.

At Studio B you pay for every private lesson and group class you attend. If you want to practise outside of those times, you need to pay a membership fee. Then you also have to pay for the socials.

Studio A

Studio B

10 private lessons Included 10 private lessons $1,000
Unlimited group classes Included 20 group classes $400
Unlimited socials Included 3 socials $75
Practise time Included Practise time $200
Total Program Cost $1,600 Total Program Cost $1,675


There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but as mentioned earlier, what you ultimately decide will need to align with your dance goals, otherwise you run the risk of being bitterly disappointed.

Good social dancers

Our passion is for everyone to be a good social dancer. It’s not about being the world’s best dancer. We want you to be able to confidently and comfortably dance with any partner, whether they have years of dance experience or none at all.

It is with this mindset that we encourage any aspiring dancer to take both private dance lessons and group classes as part of a holistic learning program.