Baltimore dance instructors discuss the lessons they offer

Baltimore dance instructors discuss the lessons they offer

What styles of dancing do you teach?

Grace Badillo: "We specialize in Latin dances, salsa, merengue, cha-cha and bachata. Our staff also teaches ballroom."

Lee Gedansky: "I teach social ballroom, Latin and swing. These genres encompass many types of dancing."

Barbara Pattillo: "We teach ballroom, Latin, swing - basically the whole category of partner dancing."

Besides learning how to dance, what are some other reasons people take lessons?

Badillo: "People take lessons to lose weight, relieve stress, make friends or to find a life partner."

Gedansky: "Exercise, socialization, cognitive maintenance and development, and cardiovascular health. It can also improve depression."

Pattillo: "You're going to attend a social function or get married, or you want to meet new people. The reasons are all over the place."

How do you charge for dance lessons and what's the cost?

Badillo: "Group lessons cost $10 to $15 per hour. We encourage drop- in lessons so you don't waste money if you can't come."

Gedansky: "Group classes are $75 to $95 for eight weeks. Private lessons are $50 per couple; semi-private are $80 per custom group."

Pattillo: "Group lessons are $55 to $85 for four weeks, about an hour-and-a-half per week. Private lessons are $65 to $75 an hour."

Have shows like "Dancing With the Stars" helped your business?

Badillo: "People are more interested but have unreal expectations. That choreography is impossible without at least 50 hours of practice and private lessons."

Gedansky: "Indirectly, it's helped ballroom dancing as a real paradigm shift. The big studios have probably benefited the most, but it's given us street credibility."

Pattillo: "Yes, definitely. Anything in pop culture that brings people into the studio is good. Even salsa clubs can help determine if you want to take lessons."

Do you have any funny or memorable stories about any lessons you've given?

Badillo: "We had a 9-year- old ask to dance with the adults. She was so good, people argued to dance with her! We called her 'Salsa-rella.'"

Gedansky: "My wife had a very easy pregnancy. We taught for three hours on a Saturday and my son was born the following Tuesday. Two weeks later, she was back to teaching."

Pattillo: "No. If you hadn't asked me, a good story probably would've come to me."


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