If group lessons are the most economical way to learn dance, private dance lessons are the fastest path to improve. Maybe you have more experience than many in your group classes, or maybe you’re just more ambitious. Perhaps you have competitive goals. One-on-one experience with a dance instructor will advance your skills and goals in ways that group classes just can’t do. If private dance lessons are on your mind, consider the following tips.

The Instructor

Dance teachers primarily hone their own skills in either nightclubs or studios. If you want to be a great social dancer at any bar or club in town, the instructor that primarily teaches in those venues might be a great fit. Similarly, if the ballroom dances are your preference, most studio instructors can help with that. But, if you have competitive ambitions, you most certainly want to work with a coach who has successful competitive experience themselves. In fact, dance professionals with competition and championship credentials offer a vastly different instructional experience regardless of your goals. You’ll do well to consider their services.

The Studio

I previously discussed the different types of studios in Where Can I Learn to Dance? But it bears repeating. Closed studios—many of them franchises—allow only their staff instructors to teach group and private lessons. Most require you to purchase a membership to participate in group glasses and may include a limited number of private lessons. Be sure to ask about the staff’s experience and credentials. Hybrid studios have both staff and independent instructors and offer memberships and a la carte classes and lessons. The learning experience is more flexible, and instructors may have more experience with competitive credentials. Still, dig into the details and make sure the studio and instructor are a good fit.

The Cost

Closed studios offer introductory rates for private lessons or include a limited number of lessons with membership, but the instructors may have limited experience. Fees for instructors with more experience and competitive credentials start around $60 for a 45-minute lesson. Floor fee—the cost for using the studio—is additional, in the $10-$15 per hour range. Before your gasp at the cost, consider the instructor’s investment in their own training and the cost of their taxes, benefits, and insurance. Private dance instruction is a professional service, and the cost is well worth the benefit when you consider it an investment in your personal dance aspirations.

All things considered, private dance lessons are an investment in relationship. With the right teacher, you will certainly improve your dancing, but you also gain a friend, confidante, and cheerleader. Invest the time and effort in choosing the right instructor, and you’ll go a long way to not only improve your dancing but gain a long-term friend!

Hope to see you on the dance floor!