Its fun and exciting, you meet new people, it’s a relaxed year-round exercise, it improves coordination, and you gain a strong sense of rhythm and body movement, maintain fitness and develop body awareness. In addition, it improves weight control, flexibility, heart health, and stress reduction. It’s a wonderful creative outlet. Over time students develop skill and grace, improved posture and sharpened reflexes. Partner dancing is a timeless and exhilarating form of non-verbal communication. I can highly attest to the positive mental and physical benefits of dancing. >>> Back to Top
Do I need a partner in order to take lessons?
Absolutely not. If you have a spouse, partner, or friend that you want to take lessons with, that's fine but is not required. In private lessons, I can teach you equally well by yourself or with a partner. In group lessons, where there is often a mix of singles and couples, we rotate dance partners frequently. This helps everyone refine their skills, meet new people, and make new friends. Either way--by yourself or with a friend--is just fine. >>> Back to Top
What kind of shoes should I wear?
The best are shoes made specifically for dancing that has either suede or leather soled shoes. There are also a wide variety of styles to choose from. If you intend to dance regularly, I strongly encourage you to buy a good pair of dance shoes--your feet will thank you. Next to suede-soled shoes, any shoe with a regular smooth-leather sole is usable. Since you are unlikely to have suede-soled shoes already, leather-soled shoes are an excellent temporary substitution until you can get a pair of dance shoes. Worst of all are rubber-soled shoes. Sneakers, canvas deck-shoes, tennis shoes, or anything else with a rubber sole should be avoided. Rubber soled shoes grip far too much for comfortable dancing. >>> Back to Top
What is the quickest, most effective way to learn to dance?
I recommend a comprehensive program of private lessons,
group classes, and practice parties. If possible, taking group classes
and/or private lessons two or three times a week is one of the best ways
to learn quickly and retain what you learn.
I'm interested in learning to dance, but I'm not sure it's for me. What should I do?
Call me; I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also stop by the Sheryl Burke School of dance in Potrero Hill. It is the most effective way to get an idea of what partner dancing is all about while learning a few moves in the process. I am confident after seeing how much fun people have that you'll decide to take lessons. >>> Back to Top
What happens on an Introductory Special?
During this program, I will expose you to a wide variety of partner dances through private lessons. This will give you the information you need to choose which dances you want to focus on further. Near the completion of this special, I will tailor a customized dance program meeting your goals and expectations including only those dances you wish to learn. Of course, you can always choose to add new dances later; it has been my experience that once people learn one dance, they decide they want to learn many more! Not only is learning more dances fun, but it prepares you for any social dance occasion regardless of the style of music that is playing. >>> Back to Top
I don't know anyone who dances. Why should I learn?
Besides the benefits of dancing listed above, because it's fun! Also, you will find that taking dance lessons and attending the Friday practice parties is a great way to make new friends, and those friends will know how to dance! >>> Back to Top
What is a private lesson like?
Private lessons are a valuable tool for those who wish to get the most out of their dancing. During a private lesson, I will be your partner and your teacher, depending on whether you are taking lessons by yourself or with a partner. On these lessons, I will instruct you on elements of partnership, technique, and style, in addition to learning various dance steps. Those who take the time and effort to study partner dancing through private lessons learn more effectively and efficiently than through any other method of instruction. >>> Back to Top
Do you offer special wedding packages?
Absolutely! To help you and your beloved make your special
day even more memorable, I provides special packages specifically designed
for your needs. My wedding packages include one professionally choreographed
routine, help with music selection, and recommendations for the type
of dance that would best fit your musical selection. I will work with
you to craft the perfect "first dance" for your wedding day.
I will create a lesson plan tailored to your specific situation, depending
on your skill level, the type of dance, how long you have to learn before
your wedding, and how proficient you wish to be.
Do you offer any dance workshops?
From time to time, I am recruited as a master teacher by different studios around the Bay Area and beyond to bring the latest and greatest moves and techniques. Any special event like this will be published on my site. >>> Back to Top
What is the difference between East Coast and West Coast Swing?
East Coast Swing is also known as the Jitterbug. It is
very fast and bouncy and is danced to the big band music of the forties
and fifties, as well as to contemporary rockabilly. It was the dance
featured in the movie "Swingers" and is now very popular in
bay area nightclubs like Bimbo's and Cafe du Nord. East Coast Swing is
similar to City Swing; East Coast Swing is danced to slower music and
is danced with a triple step (the basic step is "trip-le-step, trip-le-step,
rock-step"), whereas City Swing is danced to very fast music and
uses a single step (the basic step is "step, step, rock-step").
East Coast Swing is also similar to Jive, which is an International style
ballroom dance used at dance competitions. It is generally danced in
standard dance position with leader and follower facing each other. East
Coast Swing is upbeat and very easy to learn.
What should I wear?
You should wear something that is comfortable, easy to move in, and not too warm because hopefully you'll be working up a little sweat burning up the dance floor! The Metronome does not have dress code, and most dances are not formal. The Swing parties tend to be more casual than the Ballroom parties. At Swing parties, many women wear comfortable dresses or skirts and tee shirts; many men wear casual slacks and cotton shirts. Some Swing dancers arrive decked out in 40's regalia, some come in jeans. The Ballroom parties tend to be a little dressier, with the men in often in dress slacks and the women in dresses or nice slacks. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and can move freely. >>> Back to Top
Should I take private or group classes?
I recommend both. Private lessons will provide you with
individualized instruction and work on your technique, your leading (or
following), and any specific difficulties you may be having. Private
lessons are essential if you are interested in becoming a serious dancer.
Do I need a partner to compete in Ballroom Dancing?
You don't need a partner to dance in any competition. You can enter in the Pro-Am (Professional-Amateur) division and dance with your teacher. >>> Back to Top
Where do people go to dance?
Weddings, parties, fund-raisers, black-tie events, corporate functions, night clubs, ballrooms, dance studio social parties, cruise lines and supper clubs all provide opportunities for you to practice your fancy footwork. >>> Back to Top
What is the difference between International Style and American Style?
International Style is used in dance competitions and
is based on strict, formalized patterns and foot positions. It is not
generally used in social dancing.
What dances should I work on if I want to go out dancing in the clubs?
Salsa and Swing (including Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing and City Swing) are the most popular dances in Bay Area nightclubs right now. These dances are fun and easy to learn, and the clubs have a variety of live bands that will keep you hopping all night long. >>> Back to Top
What should I wear to my first lesson?
Comfort should be your first priority. >>> Back to Top
Do I have to be a dancer already to learn partner dancing?
Absolutely not! In fact, partner dance is often called "social dance" because it's geared more toward moving comfort and finesse in social environments than the "performing" most often associated with other forms of dance. If you have a heartbeat, you have rhythm! All you need is a qualified instructor, well trained in teaching beginners to identify the different rhythms existing within the music. (It's easier than you think). Every day I teach people how to partner dance who never thought they could. Of course everything has its place: if you are an aspiring dance phenomenon, there are plenty of opportunities for performing experiences as well. >>> Back to Top
Do you offer dance socials or practice parties?
Absolutely! Throughout the year I will be hosting social
gatherings in San Francisco for dancing, lessons, and fun!
Do you offer any discounts?
Yes. Companies in the Bay Area that have 50 or more employees
can enroll in my Corporate Discount Program. If you would like your company
to be eligible, contact me or employee benefits director at your company.
We can take it from there.
How long does it take to gain the skill?
The answer to this question varies with each individual. The beauty of my introductory offer (first hour for $50.00) is a dance evaluation and consultation. This allows me to assess your background and get a clearer understanding of your goals so that we can structure a program that will allow you to gain the skills you want at your own pace. Better yet, much like learning to ride a bike, once you own this skill, you have it for life and can enjoy it well into your senior years. >>> Back to Top
Where can I use this skill once I own it?
A better question would be: "Where can't I use this skill?" Unlike seasonal sports, and due to the vibrant dance culture in San Francisco, you can go partner dancing almost every night of the week, in dance studios, nightclubs, black-tie functions, weddings, private parties and local hot spots ...the possibilities are endless. >>> Back to Top
Which dances would be most useful to learn?
During your initial lesson we will help you determine which dances are most practical for you based on your specific goals, needs and musical tastes. >>> Back to Top
What is the age range of the student body?
Most of my students are between the ages of twenty and sixty, but no one is too young or too old to get started. This sport is truly universal in accessibility and enjoys a greater longevity than most others. >>> Back to Top
What is the best way to learn to dance?
By far, the best way to learn to dance is with a private instructor. When you dance with a trained professional, he or she will be able to feel how your carry your weight, whether your balance and frame is correct, and whether you lead or follow correctly, to name a few. In private dance lessons you also get to learn at your own pace and receive direction specifically applicable to your unique needs. >>> Back to Top
What is the difference between International and American ballroom style?
International Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, and
Quickstep is done is closed hold. The man and woman never separate. It
takes a lot of training to excel at this type of dancing because the
man and woman must learn to dance as one.
What is Latin dancing?
Latin dancing is characterized by rhythmic movements and syncopated or percussive Latin beats. Latin dances are usually danced in place. The movements are compact and expressive. Latin dances are popular and fun party dances. Examples include salsa, cha cha cha and merengue. >>> Back to Top
What is social dancing?
Social dancing is a form of ballroom dancing, which occurs
at social dance events such as dinner dances, fund-raisers, weddings,
and holiday parties. The most popular social dances are swing, waltz,
foxtrot, cha cha, cha, tango and rhumba.
What is DanceSport?
DanceSport is a competitive or exhibition style of dance and is the most physically demanding and mentally challenging form of ballroom dancing. As in any sport, the requirements of fitness, discipline and training are the keys to ultimate success, yet the learning process is fun, and the resultant skills can be used with confidence on any dance occasion. >>> Back to Top
The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana(postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). As we explore these eight limbs, we begin by refining our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly until we reach samadhi (liberation, enlightenment).
The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as "union" or a method of discipline. A male who practices yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini.
Today most people practicing yoga are engaged in the
third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to
purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required
for long periods of meditation.
How many types of yoga are there?
Many. There are four main paths of Yoga: 1) Jnana, the path of knowledge or wisdom; 2) Bhakti, the path of devotion; 3) Karma, the path of action; and 4) Raja, the path of self control. Hatha Yoga, which includes postures and breathing, and is the form most popular in the West, is actually part of Raja Yoga, the path of self control. The path most followed in India is thought to be Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion. Within Hatha Yoga there are many styles, such as Iyengar, Astanga, Integral, Kripalu and Jiva Mukti, to name a few. These Yogas all share a common lineage back to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, a text outlining the basic philosophy and practices of Classical Yoga. It was written sometime between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D. >>> Back to Top
What does "Om" mean?
Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. It is said to be the sound of the universe. What does that mean?
Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us—that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.
Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing. >>> Back to Top
Do I have to be a vegitarian to practice yoga?
The first principle of yoga philosophy is ahimsa, which means nonharming to self and others. Some people interpret this to include not eating animal products. There is debate about this in the yoga community—I believe that it is a personal decision that everyone has to make for themselves. If you are considering becoming a vegetarian, be sure to take into account your personal health issues as well how your choices will affect those with whom you live. Being a vegetarian should not be something that you impose on others—that kind of aggressive action in itself is not an expression of ahimsa. >>> Back to Top
Yoga is amazing—even if you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience the benefits of the practice. If you can do more than that, you will certainly experience more benefits. I suggest starting with two or three times a week, for an hour or an hour and a half each time. If you can only do 20 minutes per session, that's fine too. Don't let time constraints or unrealistic goals be an obstacle—do what you can and don't worry about it. You will likely find that after awhile your desire to practice expands naturally and you will find yourself doing more and more. >>> Back to Top
How is yoga different from stretching or other forms of fitness?
Unlike stretching or fitness, yoga is more than just physical postures. Patanjali's eight-fold path illustrates how the physical practice is just one aspect of yoga. Even within the physical practice, yoga is unique because we connect the movement of the body and the fluctuations of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind. >>> Back to Top
Is yoga a religion?
Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. The father of classical ashtanga yoga (the eight-limbed path, not to be confused with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga yoga) is said to be Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra. These scriptures provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the physical and mental body. Yoga sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Hinduism or Buddhism, but it is not necessary to study those paths in order to practice or study yoga.
I'm not flexible - can I practice yoga?
Yes! You are a perfect candidate for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that's a little bit like thinking that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.
This newfound agility will be balanced by strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being. >>> Back to Top
What do I need to begin?
All you really need to begin practicing yoga is your body, your mind, and a bit of curiosity. But it is also helpful to have a pair of sweat pants, leggings, or shorts, and a t-shirt that's not too baggy. No special footgear is required because you will be barefoot. It's nice to bring a towel to class with you. As your practice develops you might want to buy your own yoga mat, but most studios will have mats and other props available for you. >>> Back to Top
Why are you supposed to refrain from eating two or three hours before class?
In yoga practice we twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward. If you have not fully digested your last meal, it will make itself known to you in ways that are not comfortable. If you are a person with a fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might get hungry or feel weak during yoga class, experiment with a light snack such as yogurt, a few nuts, or juice about 30 minutes to an hour before class. >>> Back to Top
Will yoga help me lose weight and which style is best?
Yoga can make you look and feel better, regardless of your weight. That said, Yoga can help you slim down in a couple of ways. First, the exercises will help you burn calories. In addition, they'll help tone your muscles and improve of your posture. Yoga is also about healthy living, which includes a healthy diet. That doesn't mean you have to become a vegetarian, just that you should be conscious of the foods you eat, sticking with natural, fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, etc. as much as possible while limiting your intake of junk food and foods high in fat, like red meat. Any of the basic hatha styles will help. The important thing is to practice daily (or at least 4-5 days a week). If possible, try and find a teacher. Books, videos and website can be a great help, but nothing beats a live instructor. >>> Back to Top
What is the most physically challenging form of yoga?
Any one of the basic styles can be physically challenging. It depends on what you do and how you approach it. Some styles focus on holding postures for a long time, which can be very challenging, while others link a series of postures into a single flow, which results in physical workout. Ashtanga, Bikram's, Iyengar and Power Yoga are probably the most physically focused forms of Yoga. >>> Back to Top