Norfolk dance instructors discuss the lessons they offer

Norfolk dance instructors discuss the lessons they offer

What styles of dancing do you teach?

Joey Starlling: "Mambo, international-style ballroom, jive, salsa and cha-cha."

Janeeda Phillips: "I teach belly dancing. I used to have a full studio with jazz, tap and hip-hop."

Rebekah Ives: "Ballroom, Latin, standard/smooth, country, club style and wedding choreography."

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

Starlling: "I'm paid by the hour, but I only charge $10 per person."

Phillips: "I start with eight classes for $108. That's enough time to learn whether or not you like it."

Ives: "Group lessons are $10 per person. Private lessons are $60 to $70 per hour. Dance parties are $8 to $10."

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

Starlling: "I have a singles night where people can meet. It's a great way to get to know new friends."

Phillips: "Clients come in soul searching. After a while they begin to find themselves. It's amazing."

Ives: "When you memorize steps, you increase brain activity. People also come to meet new people."

How do you handle the most dancing-challenged clients?

Starlling: "Patience. I've learned that when students come to me teary eyed and say their instructor told them they weren't any good, just give them time."

Phillips: "I've had a few! One asked if I could teach her how to belly dance, but she had two left feet. She kept at it and finally learned. Persistence wears down resistance."

Ives: "We recommend they focus on one or two dances. Not all people are capable of becoming world champions, but everyone can get comfortable on the dance floor."

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

Starlling: "A couple came in before they got divorced. The woman wouldn't sign until he made good on his word to take dance lessons. By the third lesson, they were falling in love again."

Phillips: "A woman scheduled for a solo performance was really pregnant, so we had her represent the moon. I had her pick out the music, and her costume was very celestial."

Ives: "I was in a group tango class trying to practice the step we'd just learned, and I fell flat on the floor. The entire class looked over at me, and we all laughed together."

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