Rick's Dance Classes
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February 2018 Schedule

Rick Archer offers both group dance classes and private every day and evening except for Sunday.  Currently Rick's Monday night Chapelwood courses are taught at the church.  However, private lessons are taught at Rick's house in the Heights.

Rick offers Group dance classes in Country-Western, Ballroom, Latin, Salsa, West Coast and East Coast Swing. 

Email:  rick@ssqq.com Phone: 713 862 2121
Directions to Rick's house: Maps
 
 

RICK ARCHER'S FEBRUARY GROUP CLASS DANCE SCHEDULE At a Glance:

1. MONDAY BEGINNING TWOSTEP AND POLKA
4 Mondays, starts February 5.  (Feb 05, 12, 19, 26)  7-8:30 pm, Rick's house

2. MONDAY INTERMEDIATE NIGHTCLUB (INCLUDES FOXTROT & WALTZ)
4 Mondays, starts February 5.  (Feb 05, 12, 19, 26)  7-8:30 pm, Chapelwood

3. TUESDAY INTERMEDIATE TWOSTEP AND INTERMEDIATE EAST COAST SWING
4 Tuesdays, starts February 6.  (Feb 06, 13, 20, 27)  7- 9 pm, at Rick's house 

4. WEDNESDAY WANDERERS OF THE WASTELAND:
INTERMEDIATE WEST COAST SWING & EAST COAST SWING
4 Wednesdays, starts February 7.  (Feb 07, 14, 21, 28)  7- 9 pm, at Rick's house

 

RICK ARCHER'S FEBRUARY GROUP CLASS DANCE SCHEDULE

At a Glance:

1. MONDAY BEGINNING TWOSTEP AND POLKA
4 Mondays, starts February 5.  (Feb 05, 12, 19, 26)  7-8:30 pm, at Rick's house

2. MONDAY INTERMEDIATE NIGHTCLUB (INCLUDES FOXTROT & WALTZ)
4 Mondays, starts February 5.  (Feb 05, 12, 19, 26)  7-8:30 pm, at Chapelwood

3. TUESDAY INTERMEDIATE TWOSTEP AND INTERMEDIATE EAST COAST SWING
4 Tuesdays, starts February 6.  (Feb 06, 13, 20, 27)  7- 9 pm, at Rick's house 

4. WEDNESDAY WANDERERS OF THE WASTELAND:
INTERMEDIATE WEST COAST SWING & EAST COAST SWING
4 Wednesdays, starts February 7.  (Feb 07, 14, 21, 28)  7- 9 pm, at Rick's house

 

DETAILS ABOUT EACH CLASS

1. MONDAY BEGINNING TWOSTEP AND POLKA
4 Mondays, start February 5  (Feb 05, 12, 19, 26)  7-8:30 pm, $40, at Rick's House

LOCATION:  Rick's Dance Room is in the Heights near Fitzgerald's on White Oak and Studemont (
Map

PARKING:  Rick's house is located in an attractive Heights neighborhood.   There is ample street parking, but you might have to walk a bit if you are the last person to show up.  Please remember to leave nothing of value in plain sight in your car.

Cost of Class:  $40 a person or $40 a couple (Buy One, Get One Free)

Rick Archer's Note One:  Explanation of Buy One, Get One Free: 
Many people in the dance community have someone new in their life and wish their new friend would to learn to dance.  So for this 'Get Started Dancing class, I set it up so that one person pays and the other takes it for free.  Or perhaps two people would like a review.  If they come as a couple, they end up taking it for half price. 

Sorry, but if someone comes alone, they have to pay the full price.  So why not ask a friend to come with you?   Please note I expect each couple to have a lead/follow relationship.  And don't forget we rotate partners.

This Beginner-level class on Monday will cover Country-Western dancing, the most commonly used type of dancing in Houston (especially at Rodeo time). 

Note Two:  Pre-Registration is necessary 
Please understand the dance room we use has a space limit, so please pre-register.  This also allows us to keep  Just hit 'Reply' on this email and tell me you are coming.  That's all there is to it.  Rick Archer,
rick@ssqq.com

Note Three:  This class will be taught by MG Anseman and Tracy Akin.
MG is a personal friend of mine who has taught Western extensively.  He was one of the most popular teachers at the original SSQQ and continued to teach at the TJ Jester SSQQ.  In other words, MG is extremely talented and experienced.  I consider myself fortunate that someone of his caliber was willing to take this spot. 

In addition, MG has lined up Tracy Akin, his longtime assistant at SSQQ, to help teach the class.  Tracy is a beloved friend of mine.   Together, MG and Tracy form a special pair.   So if you want a great pair of teachers, you can't do better than these two.

Note Four:  What does MG stand for?
The biggest question is what does 'MG' stand for? 

Over the years, I have gotten at least a half-dozen different answers.   First he said it stood for Mean Guy because he was a rough and tumble ex-Marine.  Then he said it was for the MG sports car he drove as a teenager.   Then he said he played in a band known as Booker T and the MG's.  Then he said it said stood for 'Mardi Gras'.  MG is a New Orleans native.   One of my favorites came when he said it stood for 'Mother Goose'.

I have another theory.  The upcoming Western class is fortunate to have Tracy to demonstrate the lady's part because I saw a vision of horror the other day.  The thing to understand is that MG is big, burly guy... a teddy bear to be sure... but he definitely looks the part of an ex-Marine.  Watching him dance the lady's part was not pretty.  Therefore I suggest a new nickname: "Miss Guided."

 

2. MONDAY CHAPELWOOD SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE: 
INTERMEDIATE NIGHTCLUB, FOXTROT AND WALTZ

4 Mondays, starts February 5.  (Feb 05, 12, 19, 26)  7-8:30 pm, $40 a person

Pre-registration is not necessary.  Class is held in spacious room at Chapelwood Church in the Memorial area. 

Chapelwood is located in the Memorial area at 11140 Green Bay, 77024.  (map) 
Look for us in Room YB 100-101

For more information, contact Rick Archer,  rick@ssqq.com

 

Rick Archer's Note 1:  This is a follow-up class to January

This class was a big hit in January.  We had 40 people... perfectly balanced with 20 men and 20 women... learning the lost art of Formal Dance.  The ability to dance gracefully to Romantic Slow Music is not as easy as it looks.   Using a modified style of the slow dance known as Nightclub, we had a fast-paced class.

Note 2:  $10 deduction

In January, this class was disrupted by the unexpected closure of the church due to the MLK holiday.   Anyone who participated in the January class is invited to deduct $10 off their February tuition.  In other words, $40 becomes $30. 

Note 3:  Special Catch-up Class

If anyone would like to join this class in progress (having missed January), I will conduct a special one-hour make-up class on Monday, February 5, from 6-7 pm.  Just show up, that's all you have to do.   People in the January class who wish to participate are more than welcome to join.

Note 4:  We switch partners and we dance 'apart'

It is a standing tradition to switch partners frequently.  Some ladies were concerned about how close we dance... there is space between the guy and the girl.  Hip to hip dancing is not part of this class.
..............

3. TUESDAY INTERMEDIATE TWOSTEP AND BEGINNING EAST COAST SWING
4 Tuesdays, starts February 6.  (Feb 06, 13, 20, 27)  7- 9 pm

COST AND LOCATION:  $40 per person, at Rick's house in the Heights near Fitzgerald's on White Oak and Studemont ( Map

PARKING:  Rick's house is located in an attractive Heights neighborhood.   There is ample street parking, but you might have to walk a bit if you are the last person to show up.  Please remember to leave nothing of value in plain sight in your car.

Rick Archer's Note 1:  This is a follow-up class to January

We had a class of 20 students in January perfectly balanced for men and women.  The energy was very high.

Note 2:  Pre-Registration is necessary 
Please understand the dance room we use has a space limit, so please pre-register.  Just hit 'Reply' on this email and tell me you are coming.  That's all there is to it.  Rick Archer,
rick@ssqq.com

Note 3:  Deduct $10 per person
In January, this class was disrupted by the extremely dangerous ice storm.   Anyone who participated in the January class is invited to deduct $10 off their February tuition.  In other words, $40 becomes $30. 
..........................

4. WEDNESDAY WANDERERS OF THE WASTELAND UPDATE:
INTERMEDIATE WEST COAST SWING & EAST COAST SWING
4 Wednesdays, starts February 7.  (Feb 07, 14, 21, 28)  7- 9 pm
$40 per person, at Rick's house

Rick Archer's Note 1:  Please note my wife Marla will participate in this class.  This is very important.   West Coast Swing is very tricky and we will be introducing sophisticated new 'women's footwork' in the February class.  Marla will demonstrate the lady's footwork to each pattern and will let the ladies copy her footwork in the mirror as I work with the men on the other side of the room.  This will make much better use of our time.

Note 2:  Jitterbug footwork 
The East Coast Swing class will be taught using Jitterbug timing: Triple Step, Triple Step, Back-Step.  There are excellent reasons for me to do this which I will explain in class. 

Note 3:  Pre-Registration is necessary 
Please understand the dance room we use has a space limit, so please pre-register.  Just hit 'Reply' on this email and tell me you are coming.  That's all there is to it.  Rick Archer,
rick@ssqq.com

Note 4:  Deduct $10
In January, this class was disrupted by the extremely dangerous ice storm.   Anyone who participated in the January class is invited to deduct $10 off their February tuition.  In other words, $40 becomes $30. 

Rick's Note 5:  Limited number of openings: 
The Wednesday Wanderers class filled the room, so assuming most of these students will continue on, I only have room for 10 new students.

LOCATION:  Rick's Dance Room in the Heights near Fitzgerald's on White Oak and Studemont ( Map

rick@ssqq.com
...........

Private Dance Lessons  ($50 an hour, $200 for 5 hours)

Private dance lessons have many advantages.  For one thing, people enjoy the privacy.  But what they like most of all is the chance to learn at their own speed.  Private lessons allow students to learn the subtleties of social dance that are impossible to teach in group settings.  Private lessons are also particularly inviting for people who prefer to have flexible schedules. 

Book the lesson at your convenience and cancel if something comes up.  Believe it or not, if someone needs to cancel at the last minute (yes, they do it all the time), I don't mind.  Since I have a dance room built onto the side of my house, I am not at all inconvenienced if something comes up. 

As for when I am available, I can teach private lessons pretty much any time of the day every day of the week.  9 am?  Fine.  3 pm?  Fine.  Saturdays?  Fine.  I prefer to skip Sundays, but I will teach Sundays in a pinch.  The biggest problem is that I have very limited free time after 7 pm due to my group lessons.

My fee structure is fairly inexpensive compared to other Houston dance teachers.  Choose between three options: $50 for one hour or $200 for five one-hour lessons. 

Although I can teach pretty much anything, my specialty is getting people ready to dance at weddings.  With all those Spring weddings coming up, now is a good time to get started.   If you have any questions, the easiest way to reach me is by email: rick@ssqq.com

 

UPCOMING DANCE EVENTS -

TRIP THE NIGHT FANTASTIC WITH MADAME BUTTERFLY

Rick Archer's Note:  I am pleased to introduce a new friend, Madame Butterfly. 

I will start with an admission... I don't pay very good attention to social events.  I rarely visit Facebook plus I let my wife book all my dance activities.  Consequently, I am admittedly a poor resource at keeping track of upcoming dance activities.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce my new-found alliance with Madame Butterfly.  Madame B is a popular dancer and provacateur who has offered to keep me updated on the various dance activities around town.  

Madame Butterfly does this as a public service, but wishes to make it clear she expects there will be something in it for her.  In the spirit of our beloved Mae West, Madame B tells me to send a few good men her way.  If they can dance, even better. 

"You say there are Ten men waiting for me at the door?  That 's too many!

Send one home, I'm tired."

Whether you know it or not, Madame B will be floating around at all the important dances.  She is the Fly who will Spy.  She watches everyone on the dance floor and misses nothing.  She is the proverbial elf on the shelf who knows whether you have been naughty or nice, preferably naughty.  So you better watch out because if you behave, you will regret it.

Below are some of the events Madame Butterfly recommends.  If by chance you have an event you would like me to publicize, be sure to let me know. 

So let's see which events Madame Butterfly has chosen for the Houston Dance Community's upcoming pleasure. 

 

1. Friday, February 2, Mardi Gras Masquerade Dance

Memorial Drive UMC Singles Ministry presents

Mardi Gras Masquerade Dinner & Dance

Cajun Dinner at 6 PM at The Gate, 13194 Memorial Dr.

Dance at 7 PM at The Refuge, 13150 Memorial Dr. (music by Ed Madonio)

Dinner & Dance = $ 20 per person

Dinner only = $15 per person

Dance only = $10 per person

To make a reservation, contact donnajuul@mdumc.org

 To register online, go to http://www.mdumc.org  , click on "Register for an Event", click on "Mardi Gras Dinner & Dance."

 

2.  Friday, February 2, Mo's Place 6 pm on.

 The Krewe of Katy and other Katy dance dignitaries are meeting for Western dancing at Mo's Place on.  21940 Kingsland Blvd, Katy, TX 77450.   Many people get there as early as 6 pm while others join in progress.  Riffraff welcome.

3. Friday February 9, Boots and Spurs at Chandelier Ballroom, 8 pm on

8:00 pm to 12:00a. free I believe. 1435 Beall St. at 15th St.  Music by Southern Country Line

4. Saturday, February 10, Hangar Swing Dance

Address:  18000 Groeschke Rd., 77084, Hanger B, Houston, Texas.

Photo ops with planes 5:00 pm, swing dance crash course at 5:30 pm, dinner at 6:00pm, dancing begins at 6:00 pm, dinner and dance $35.00, dance only $20.00., 2018.

Details:  Please join us for our annual Hangar Dance featuring the Third Coast Big Band.  The evening begin with photo ops with our aircraft at 5 pm.  Swing Dancing Crash Course at 5:30.  Dinner provided by Lasagna House III at 6 pm.  Dancing begins shortly after and will be a great way to work off the tasty dinner.  Buy tickets in advance at http://houstonwing.org/events-2/

Dance only tickets will be available at the door.

Email Jim Placette for more information j_placette@yahoo.com

 

5. Thursday, February 15,  Gary Richardson Rodeo Dance at Pavillion, 7:00 pm

Just over three weeks away!  Rodeo Kick-Off Dance at the Pavillion on Gessner is February 15th Thursday night.   7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.   

Cost: $15 if paid in advance by Feb 10th, afterwards $20 and $25 at the door.

 Gary's Note:  I will teach a Free Beginning Two Step Class from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.   No partner needed.

(We will, also, cover an introduction to Polka as time permits.  If those who already know these dances want to volunteer to come and aid the beginners…that would be great!)

Contact Gary at tfwcomputers@comcast.net


6. Friday, February 16, Chapelwood Singles Rodeo Dance. 7:00 pm

Come join singles from across Houston at the Chapelwood UMC Singles Rodeo Dance! Free CW Polka and Two-Step lesson with Michael Stephens from 7:00 - 8:15 p.m. There will be lots of Country Western Music from DJ Ed Madonio and the dance is from 8:15 - 11:00 p.m. As always, they'll have great food and fellowship. Dance cost is $10.00 at the door.

7. Friday, February 23, Fab Five at SPJST Lodge, aka Chandelier Ballroom, 8 pm.

SPJST is the best dance floor in town for Swing Dancing and the Fab Five play the Beatles better than the Beatles themselves.  Plus they branch out and play other tunes later in the night such as Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones.

If you ask nicely and promise to stay late, they might even play Inna Gadda Da Vida for you.  This is a Cosmic band. Two thumbs up from Madame Butterfly.
...........

 

Rick Archer's Note:  I have no idea how correct this information is.  Madame Butterfly clearly has gone out of her way to help, but it wouldn't hurt you to do a little on-line investigation yourself before visiting any of these events.

 
 

 

 

 


Synchronized Polka

Synchronized Polka is a form of Western Polka where the man and the woman start on the same foot and dance matching patterns at each other's side to Polka-rhythm Western music.

Polka music can be very fast. Consequently advanced dancers look for ways to conserve energy and have fun in the process. Two favorite solutions are Western Cha Cha and Triple Two. Both dances allow people to dance slower to the same music, but also involve interesting patterns.

However many people prefer to stick with Polka footwork "if only there was a way to slow it down a bit".  Synchronized Polka accomplishes that nicely. Synchronized Polka is it can be easily blended in with your regular Polka patterns.

If you are having trouble visualizing Synchronized Polka, think "Cotton Eyed Joe".  The Cotton-Eyed Joe is basically the 'original' Synchronized Polka dance... both people start with their right foot and both people dance side by side starting from the Sweetheart Position (see picture)

The only thing you need to know in order to take this course is a basic understanding of Polka footwork. 

Pattycake Polka

Pattycake Polka is an extremely easy system of Polka patterns where the man and the woman dance side by side linked by one hand at a time.   Periodically they touch each other's free hand, thus giving this footwork system its distinctive name. 

The advantage of these patterns is that the woman does not have to dance backwards, a real relief to the ladies.

Triple Two

Triple Two is Polka footwork with two walking steps added in.  Triple step, Triple step, Walk Walk.  The major advantage of Triple Two is that it 'slows' the dance down.  By adding two walking steps, people do not have to work as hard to keep the fast pace of the music.   Plus the patterns are easy to lead and follow, thereby giving the lady a break. 

   
 
  Marla Archer currently has 2 upcoming SSQQ cruise trip: 

October Dance Cruise 2017  (October 2017)
Dracula on the Danube 2018 (October 2018)

To keep everyone informed, Rick Archer sends out weekly email Newsletters
with updates about the cruise trips, our various dance classes, upcoming
dance events, and Rick's stories from recently completed cruise trips
. 
To subscribe, please email Rick Archer,
Rick@ssqq.com

 

 

 


Descriptions of the various Group Dance Classes


Beginning Texas Twostep and Polka - Rick

This course covers the Basic steps to the Texas Twostep, the Polka, and the Threestep.  The class will prepare you to Western dance to all speeds of music.

The Texas Twostep is the best known Western dance.  Fool Hearted Memory by George Strait is a good example of a song Twostep is used to.  The speed range for Twostep music is 75-100 beats per minute.

The Polka is just as important to learn.  San Antonio Stroll by Tanya Tucker is a good example.  The speed range for Polka music is 100-130 beats per minute. 

The Threestep is an interesting dance.  It is used to "Slow Twostep" music.  In other words, if a song is too slow for Twostep and too fast fast for Polka, then the Threestep becomes useful. Peaceful Easy Feeling by the Eagles is a good example of a Threestep song.  The speed range for the Threestep is 130-150 beats per minute.

The Threestep is a hybrid of Twostep and Polka.  The footwork is similar to Polka except that you pass your feet.  It is danced to 8 beats with a Slow Quick Quick Slow Quick cadence. 

 

Intermediate and Advanced Twostep and Polka

This course assumes you know how to Twostep and Polka ahead of time.

After learning what we call the "Transition Mode" of Twostep and Polka, now we need to cover the flashy double turns.  The main thrust is to learn how to lead and follow the complicated Western Swing Double Turns.  Western Swing is a wildly popular form of Twostep and Polka where the man spins the lady twice with his left hand.

In addition, we find time to learn Twostep and Polka Circle Turns as well as other classic patterns such as Conversation and Zig Zag. 

 

Western Waltz

Waltz is not only the legendary dance of Romance, it is also a timeless symbol for elegance and grace.  When women think of Waltz, they think of Cinderella at the Ball with flowing gowns and swirling turns around the dance floor. 

There are two styles of Waltz.  One style are the Small Floor Waltz patterns typically used on the dance floors of cruise ships.  The other style are the Waltz patterns that travel round and round the dance floor. 

The Traveling style is what we teach in Western Waltz.   

Since every girl feels like a Princess when she dances to beautiful Waltz music, any man who can dance the Waltz will surely receive smiles and hugs from his favorite partner... and that's no fairy tale!
 

 

Western Cha Cha

Hint - there is no difference between a Latin Cha Cha and a Western Cha Cha except the music you dance to and perhaps the clothes you wear.  The dance itself stays the same.

This is a useful thing to know since the patterns you learn can be used at Chandelier on a Western and a Ballroom night as well.  One night a lady might wear jeans, the other night she might wear a dress, but on both nights her hips will move the same way regardless... and the man will be unable to take his eyes away.

The major reason Cha Cha is popular in the Western clubs is that Cha Cha can be used as an alternative to the Polka when certain "romantic" Polka-speed music is played.  Dancers enjoy having the option to try something different. 

Cha Cha is an exceptionally cute dance.  Not only is the footwork fairly simple to learn, there is a flirty style to the dance that adds to the fun. 

Whether you dance the Cha Cha to Neon Moon by Brooks and Dunn or to Oye Como Va by Santana, you are going to like this dance!

 

Night Club

Night Club is an usually attractive form of Slow Dancing that is best known for being used to romantic Western ballads. 

Drawing heavily from the Ballroom traditions of Rumba and Bolero, Night Club is a surprisingly intricate dance that brings great smiles to many Western dancers when the smooching music gets played.

Let me add that Night Club patterns are so versatile they can also be used to Salsa music, Foxtrot music, and Rumba as well.

Due to this unusual versatility, Night Club is currently the "In" dance to learn for many experienced dancers.

 

Synchronized Polka

Synchronized Polka is a form of Western Polka where the man and the woman start on the same foot and dance matching patterns at each other's side to Polka-rhythm Western music.

Polka music can be very fast. Consequently advanced dancers look for ways to conserve energy and have fun in the process. Two favorite solutions are Western Cha Cha and Triple Two. Both dances allow people to dance slower to the same music, but also involve interesting patterns.

However many people prefer to stick with Polka footwork "if only there was a way to slow it down a bit".  Synchronized Polka accomplishes that nicely. Synchronized Polka is it can be easily blended in with your regular Polka patterns.

If you are having trouble visualizing Synchronized Polka, think "Cotton Eyed Joe".  The Cotton-Eyed Joe is basically the 'original' Synchronized Polka dance... both people start with their right foot and both people dance side by side starting from the Sweetheart Position (see picture)

The only thing you need to know in order to take this course is a basic understanding of Polka footwork. 

 


Beginning East Coast Swing


East Coast Swing is the most practical partner dance on the planet.  East Coast Swing can be used at virtually any event involving dance.

For example, when we go dancing at the Chandelier Ballroom on Saturday nights, there is more East Coast Swing music played than any other type of music.  When we go dancing at the Chandelier on Western night, you will get opportunities to dance East Coast Swing all night long.

East Coast Swing is by far the most practical dance to learn for cruise trips.  The bands hired by the cruise lines play more music on a nightly basis that fit East Coast Swing than Salsa, Ballroom, and Western.  For that matter, if you go to a wedding, chances are you will get more opportunities to dance East Coast than any other type of partner dance. 

So why is this? For one thing, East Coast Swing doesn't limit itself to a certain genre of music. To dance Western, by and large you need Western-sounding music. To dance Salsa, you need Latin music. On the other hand, East Coast Swing can be used to a wide variety of music.

East Coast Swing works to Big Band music, a mainstay of all Ballroom music. That is the music that was being played when East Coast Swing was developed back in the Twenties and Thirties. However, East Coast Swing is not limited to Big Band music.  East Coast Swing has great range. After dancing to the elegant Big Band music, you can also use it to get down and dirty Blues music. For that matter, ECS and its counterpart Jitterbug work to Rockabilly, Disco, Pop, Jazz, and much of the great Fifties and Sixties Oldies music.

In short, at some point everyone should learn to dance East Coast Swing.  If you like to go social dancing, this is one dance you will find both fun and very useful.

 

Intermediate East Coast Swing

East Coast Swing can be danced to practically any song a couple is determined to dance to, many people are surprised to learn to East Coast Swing has three distinct styles of footwork.

Single Time Swing uses 4 steps to 6 beats.  It is counted step hold step hold back step or Slow Slow Quick Quick if you prefer.  This is the most popular style, but this timing only works to about half the music.

Double Time Swing uses 6 steps to 6 beats. It is counted Tap Step Tap Step Back Step.  We call this form of East Coast Swing Tap Step Swing.

Triple Time Swing uses 8 steps to 6 beats.  It is counted triple step, triple step back step.  If you prefer to use beats of music, then count it 1&2, 3&4, Back Step.  We call this form Jitterbug.

All patterns in Intermediate East Coast are learned and danced to all three rhythms.  Don't get nervous; it is a lot easier than it sounds.  And you are going to like the results.  You will soon discover you can dance comfortably to a huge range of different speeds of Swing music.

 

Ballroom Dancing

The term "Ballroom Dancing" actually refers to 6 different dances. 

East Coast Swing Foxtrot Waltz
Cha Cha Rumba Tango

When we go Ballroom Dancing at the Chandelier on Saturday nights, East Coast Swing music accounts for 33% of the songs.  Foxtrot and Waltz account for another 33% of the music.  Rumba, Cha-Cha, and Tango handle the final 25%.  One Quickstep and one Samba song is played per night which brings us up to 100%.

Foxtrot is synonymous with Frank Sinatra tunes such as New York, New York.  Similar in style to the Western Twostep, Foxtrot is a formal dance that can either be used in a small area or danced in a circle around the floor.

Waltz is the favorite Ballroom dance of many people.  When done well, Waltz is a very pretty dance. The couples are elegant, graceful, and flowing.  Equally important, Waltz music is generally the most romantic of all.  Perhaps the best known Waltz song is Could I have this Dance? by Anne Murray

An interesting feature of Waltz and Foxtrot is that they share identical basic patterns.  Although the "style" of the two dances is different, the footwork is the same.  This conveniently allows the student to learn the two dances side by side.

 

Intermediate Ballroom

When our group goes dancing at the Chandelier Ballroom on Saturday nights, the band plays music for 6 different dances. 

East Coast Swing Foxtrot Waltz
Cha Cha Rumba Tango

Since we cover East Coast Swing on Wednesday, let's skip this one.  However, the other five dances are all in play.  The students will decide what material to concentrate on.  The class will be small, so everyone can expect to get their preferences met.

This course assumes the students have at least some dance background.  However, you don't have to be an expert.  For example, if you are a good Western dancer, you are more than welcome to take this class whether you have had a Ballroom class or not.  A small class allows for plenty of leeway.

Thursday at Heights  
Private Group Lessons


A Note from Rick Archer

In January
 2012, I began offering Private Group Lessons here at my house in the Heights.  To my pleasant surprise, the classes were a big hit.  The students love the privacy and they enjoy having a big picture window to appreciate the garden.

So what, exactly, is a "Private" Group Lesson??  This term refers to a group dance class that is deliberately kept to a small number.

Obviously a Private Group Lesson is a cross between a Group dance lesson and a Private dance lesson. 

Historically, the term "Private Lesson" is used at dance studios to refer to an instructor working with one student or a couple.

Going back to the days of the Fred Astaire and Arthur Murray franchises, dance studios have historically utilized Private Lessons as the backbone of their business.

These studios September have offered occasional group lessons as well, but Private Lessons were always their bread and butter.  Students were told excellence in dance could only be achieved under the close watch of a highly-trained dance instructor.

Group Lessons at SSQQ

Perhaps it was my background in Social Work, but when I began teaching dance in 1977, I instinctively gravitated towards Group Lessons.  I always preferred to teach Group lessons over Privates.  To me, "Social Dancing" originated as a special social event where men and women used dance as a graceful way to meet people and see their friends. 

Operating with the expectation that people should learn to dance with friends as well as loved ones, I made sure to build my former dance studio at Bissonnet around group lessons. 

I also made one other change.  I refused to make people sign contracts.  I believed if the lessons were taught well and made to be fun, people would continue to take classes without having to twist their arms.

As you might gather, my decision was a gamble at the time.  It went contrary to the established wisdom of the Private Lesson system and their high-pressure sales. 

However, my instincts proved to be correct.  SSQQ achieved extraordinary success using this new concept.

During its phenomenal 32 year run, SSQQ emphasized systematic Group Lessons that allowed students to progress from one level to the next.  That worked like a charm.  At its peak, SSQQ was visited by over twelve hundred students a month.  

There was no other dance studio in America quite like SSQQ.  SSQQ had literally created a new business model for dance studios.  SSQQ was a pioneer because it demonstrated that a well-run group lesson format could be successful.

So what was the secret of our success?  I made the discovery that people did not have to depend on Private Lessons to become excellent dancers.  If a Group Class could be organized properly, people could learn to dance very well for a fraction of what they would be forced to pay using the Private Lesson system.  People were not only pleased by how much fun the classes were, they were amazed at how economical the classes were. 


The Problem with Private Lessons

When I sold my business in 2010, I signed a two year non-compete clause that said I could only teach group classes at another dance studio.  There was one problem - I didn't want to teach for any other dance studio.  My loyalty stayed with SSQQ.

However, a brief 2011 stint of teaching at SSQQ II proved to be awkward.  An attempt to form another studio in 2012 proved to be awkward as well.  When my non-compete expired in September 2012, I tried to recreate my previous "Group Lesson" program over at Melody Club.  To my surprise, doing things the old way simply didn't work. 

That said, I still wanted to teach dance.  So I gave the subject some serious thought. 

One 2012 experience kept coming to the forefront of my thoughts.  During my semi-retirement, I became a dance student again.  In an attempt to upgrade my Ballroom skills, I took a series of Private Ballroom Lessons and I also took a series of Small Ballroom Group Lessons. 

I noticed that I learned the dance steps just as fast in both classes.  That surprised me.  I assumed I would always learn faster in a Private Lesson.  Not so.  I discovered I can only absorb new dance material at a certain speed.  In my Private Lessons, the instructor would just stand there watching quietly while I practiced my patterns over and over until the feel of the move finally sunk in. 

In my Small Group Class, I would practice while the instructor was talking to another student.  That gave me all the extra time I needed to catch up.

I discovered I learned at the same speed in both formats.

However, there was one compelling difference. 

In the Private Lessons, I paid $85 an hour.  In the Small Group Lessons, I paid $23 an hour. 

This comparison was a real eye-opener.  The Private Lesson was costing me nearly four times the amount of the Group class, but I didn't learn the material any faster.

In addition, I liked the Small Group class a lot. Having other students in the small group class added a very pleasant social element to the mix.  It was fun teasing each other.  I might add there was an unstated element of competition that gave us all an incentive to do our best.  Our Small Group class was an ideal learning environment. 

I reached an unmistakable conclusion.  If I learned at practically the same speed in both formats, then obviously taking the $23 class made a heck of a lot more sense than taking the $85 class.

 

Rick's Private Group Lessons

In January
 2011 - I decided to offer a Crash Course in the dance room here at my house.

I taught "Sophisticated Slow Dance" on a Saturday afternoon.  This was the first "Group Class" I had ever taught in my dance room.

To my pleasant surprise, 40 people fit into the room very comfortably.  

That was how I discovered my room is perfect for teaching both Small Floor Ballroom Dancing, the style of dancing most often used on our cruise trips, and Traveling Ballroom patterns as well. 

Then I offered a Western dance class.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the room was large enough to teach a dance that always travels.

However, the room can only hold 30 people.  Now that I have had classes of over 24 people, I can't take the chance of over-crowding the room. 

The obvious solution is to ask people to Pre-Register for any class. 

This solves two problems.  It allows me to limit the size of the class.  It also allows me to balance the boy-girl ratio. 

Obviously the flaw in the plan comes if the demand for my classes exceeds the space, but that bridge is too far down the stream to worry about right now.  At the moment, all I want to do is begin teaching again on a consistent basis.

My new format is a simple one:  I will teach four 75 minute classes for $40 a person.  That's a one-time charge.  In addition, I throw in a complimentary 15 minute practice session so the total time for each class becomes 90 minutes.

I might add there is a real economic benefit here.  I was taking a 60 minute class for $23 an hour.  My students will be taking a 90 minute class for $10 an hour.  That's quite a difference. There will probably be about 10 other students, so my students will get plenty of attention for that money.  These students have an opportunity to become a very good dancer at a very economical price.   

There is one more thing to point out.  Because I have been out of the dance scene for over two years, many people have no idea that I am a very good dance teacher.  If you will forgive my immodesty, I am very effective.  Not only do I love to teach dance, I have 35 years of experience to draw upon. 


Where to Start? 

If you like what you have read so far, then the final question is how to find the right class to take. 

There are two ways - Passive and Active.

The Passive Approach is to watch the Sundance Newsletter and see what is offered each month.  That's simple enough.  When you see a class you like, you reserve a spot and you are good to go.  However, this involves waiting.

The Active Approach is to contact me and suggest a class you would like to take.  I will then advertise your class in the Newsletter and see if we get some interest.  Since I don't need a lot of people for a class to make, you have a good chance of getting your wish. 

For that matter, why depend on my Newsletter?  There is no reason why an individual can't organize their very own group to take lessons. Do you have friends who would like to learn the Western Waltz?  Contact a couple of friends.  Do you have friends who want to learn Synchronized Polka or Night Club?  Organize a group of your friends.  Or how about a Salsa class.  Same thing. 

What's so hard about that?  Just tell me what you want and I will figure out how to give it to you. 

Right now, because I am starting over, I have plenty of free time available.  With just a little initiative, you can have your very own Private Group Lesson.

Rick Archer
rick@ssqq.com

4 SUNDAYS 4 MONDAYS 4 TUESDAYS WEDNESDAYS THURSDAYS FRIDAYS SATURDAYS
June 05 - June 26 June 06 - June 27 June 07- June 28        
4:00-6:00 PM 7:00-8:30 PM 7:00-8:30 PM 7:00-8:30 PM 7:00-8:30 PM 6:30-800 PM  

ADVANCED
TRAVELING WALTZ
(our final month)

RICK
$40
HEIGHTS


 

INTERMEDIATE
COUNTRY-WESTERN:
TWOSTEP AND POLKA

RICK
$40
CHAPELWOOD

BEGINNING
EAST COAST SWING
AND JITTERBUG

RICK
$40
HEIGHTS

Wednesday evening
reserved for private lessons
 

Thursday evening
reserved for private lessons
 

no class scheduled

PRIVATE LESSONS

 


no class scheduled

PRIVATE LESSONS


BEGINNING
COUNTRY-WESTERN:
TWOSTEP AND POLKA

BETH
$40
HEIGHTS
Private Lessons can take place any time during the week up till 7:00 pm
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings are available
Saturdays are also available from 9-10 am to 5-6 pm.
Sorry, no Sundays.

The cost is $50 for a single hour or $200 for five hours. 
 If there is any question, please email Rick Archer: rick@ssqq.com
 
June Classes 2016


REGISTRATION -
If you are a "returning student" advancing to the next month of classes, you do not need to register ahead of time.  Just show up at the door and receive your hug.  If you are "new" to any class, please email Rick Archer, rick@ssqq.com ahead of time.  Space is typically not a problem, but I am careful to balance the boy-girl ratio as best as I can. So please do not simply show up at my house without prior contact.  Thanks!

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


05 at Rick's House

4:00 - 6:00 pm

Advanced
TRAVELING WALTZ
(our final month)
 

 


06
  at Chapelwood
7:00 - 8:30 pm

Intermed Western:
Twostep and Polka
Double Turns
 


07  at
Rick's House
7:00 - 8:30 pm

Beg East Coast Swing
and Jitterbug


  08
at Rick's House

Wednesday
evening available
for private lessons
 


09
at Rick's House

Thursday evening available
for private lessons
 


10

11

Saturday morning and afternoon
available
for private lessons

 
06  at
Rick's House
7:00 - 8:30 pm

Beginning Twostep/Polka
 


12

13
 

14

15

16
 

17
 

18  Chandelier

8 - 11:30 pm

THIRD COAST SWING

Big Band music
Dress Code
 $15


19

20

24

2
5

26

27

28

29

30

01

02
 

GROUP PRICING - Rick's Group classes operate on a monthly cycle. All classes cost $40 per person for four classes in the month.  Most classes are 90 minutes long with no break, some are 2 hours with a break.

PRE-REGISTRATION -  Rick's Dance Room holds up to 40 people.  To avoid overcrowding, students must register in advance by email : rick@ssqq.com  Please do not show up on the doorstep without registering first. The room is simply not large enough to handle unexpected guests nor do we have any way to balance the boy-girl ratio.   Note: Since Chapelwood has unlimited space, Pre-Registration is not necessary at the church.

PAYMENT -  Payment for the entire month is handled as you arrive on the first night.  At some point, we September be able to accept credit cards, but for now please come prepared to pay cash or write a check.  For all questions, please email Rick Archer.

STARTING IN THE SECOND WEEK OF CLASS - Signing up for class in the Second Week is not a problem as long as you remember to email Rick in advance to make sure to make sure there is room.  You can also schedule a Private Lesson to help catch up.

MAKEUP CLASSES AND PRIVATE LESSONS -  Private lessons are $50 an hour.  For anyone currently taking a Private Group class, the rate drops to $25 an hour.... or $15 for half an hour. 
To schedule a private lesson, email Rick.

For information, please email Rick Archer, rick@ssqq.com

 
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