San Francisco dance instructors discuss lessons
Who we talked to
Yaelisa, artistic director
Yaelisa Caminos Flamencos
26 Seventh St.
Sedoris Ferguson, owner
Amura Ballroom Dance Studio
1532 Taraval St.
Devi Baptiste, co-owner
The Royal Academy of Belly Dance
730 Euclid Ave.
What styles of dancing do you teach?
Yaelisa: "Only flamenco."
Ferguson: "American ballroom, but I rent [floor space] to different teachers for all different styles."
Baptiste: "I focus on creative Middle Eastern dance - better known as belly dancing - as well as yoga."
How do you charge for dance lessons and what's the cost?
Yaelisa: "I have eight-week workshops, which are $100 to $110, or people can take private lessons for $65 an hour. I also have a drop-in rate, which ranges from $12 to $16."
Ferguson: "My lessons are $60 for 45 minutes. The other teachers have different prices, but the average is about $75 an hour."
Baptiste: "I charge hourly, and it's a sliding scale. For groups, it ranges from about $15 to $17 an hour or $60 for four classes. Private classes range from $60 an hour up."
Do you offer any types of packages? If so, can you give me a few examples and the price?
Yaelisa: "I offer the eight-week workshop, which helps because students can make up missed classes, and they also get a bit of a discount."
Ferguson: "I don't like to put people on a contract. I like to have them pay as they go, and then I reduce the price once they've been here for a while."
Baptiste: "I do group classes for weddings and bachelorette parties or corporate functions for about $15 to $17 an hour."
What is your experience in this industry?
Yaelisa: "I grew up with this. My mom was a flamenco dancer and singer. I went to Spain to study off and on for 10 years before returning to teach."
Ferguson: "I worked 10 years for Arthur Murray and Metronome, and I've independently freelanced as well. I've been dancing for 11 years."
Baptiste: "I grew up in dance studios. My parents founded many schools around San Francisco. I taught for a number of years, and I've done dance performances that combine belly dancing and yoga work."
How do you handle the most dancing-challenged clients?
Yaelisa: "With a lot of patience and encouragement. I believe there are people with two left feet who really want to dance. I never tell students, 'You can't do this.'"
Ferguson: "That's what I'm pretty good at: teaching different characters and personalities and people with different issues. I believe everybody should be able to get some instruction."
Baptiste: "I just try to be very patient and kind, and I work to bring out the best in them. I try to focus on their capabilities and what they're able to do and grow on that."