Rick's Dance Classes
Home Chandelier Ballroom Chapelwood Private Lessons Westwind Descriptions Dance Smart


Rick Archer's Note:  Yes, I am still teaching.   However, I have switched primarily to teaching private lessons. 

That said, I do have one group class starting on Monday, October 3, at Chapelwood.  The title is Foxtrot, Nightclub and more...

“Nightclub is a graceful dance used to slow, romantic music such as ‘Unchained Melody’ by the Righteous Brothers.  As it turns out, the patterns used to Nightclub can also be used to Foxtrot music such as Sinatra’s ‘Fly Me to the Moon’. 

 Nor does it stop there.  The same patterns can be transferred to the sensual Latin dance known as Rumba with relative ease.  In addition, with a little imagination, the same patterns can be modified to fit Waltz music and Salsa music as well.

 The point of the class is to teach the important patterns of Nightclub, then to practice the patterns to five different types of music.  Why take five different dance classes when this unique class is sufficient to cover patterns common to five dance styles at once?”

Rick Archer, rick@ssqq.com

Classes are held in Chapelwood's YB 100-101... great wooden floor, complete privacy, partners are not necessary  (see map)

Chapelwood is located in the Memorial area at 11140 Green Bay.

 

October 2016 Schedule

Rick Archer offers Group dance classes in the evening throughout the week and three classes on Sunday afternoon .  Except for Rick's Monday night Chapelwood course, classes 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.  His program is explained below.  

Click here for Descriptions of the various dance classes

Email:  rick@ssqq.com Phone: 713 862 2121
Directions to Rick's house: Maps
  Marla Archer has 3 upcoming SSQQ cruise trips: 
Danube Waltz River Cruise (April 2016)
Greek Isles 2016  (September 2016)
Halloween Dance Cruise 2016  (October 2016)

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

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


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

   
Front Page Schedule Information Newsletter New to SSQQ Archives
Travel Halloween Stories Jokes Romance Policies
SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter SSQQ History