Teaching Philosophy


There are lots of reasons to want to learn to dance.  And embedded in all of them is the desire to have a good time -- to have fun, to enjoy what you are doing -- and to let some serious sunshine into your life!  We believe that fun and enjoyment are in and of themselves, absolutely worthy goals!  And we contend that fun and enjoyment are most deeply felt in the company of the deep satisfaction that comes with success.  Successful attainment of a goal that you set out to accomplish -- whether it be gaining new information, discovering new abilities, or learning a new skill at a beginning or mastery level -- or even finding a new world you might not have known.

As dancers, we live in a world imbued with dance.  It is our greatest joy in life and we want to share that with you through our classes, dances, workshops, private lessons and more.  And we’d like you to know how we approach teaching dance:

We focus on the deep satisfaction and good feeling of getting started well

As dance teachers, we focus on getting you off to a good start -- whether you’re a new dancer, learning a new-to-you dance, or you’re a “use-ta” dancer refreshing your memory (someone who "used to" dance some time ago, wanting to start up again).

We believe that the most important period in learning is at the beginning

As educators, we believe that the most important time in learning anything is at the beginning when you are laying the foundation of your new skills and abilities. So most of our classes focus on the beginning or novice levels.  The basics.  We keep it light, fun and playful as we spend a little more time and pay more attention to the details that make learning and dancing, easier and smoother right from the beginning.  It doesn't take long to develop a strong foundation, and dancing is much more fun when you feel confident in your ability to hear the rhythm in the music, move your own body and connect with your partner.  With a good command of the basics, dancing feels better, you feel more sure of yourself and it's easier to move forward and develop your own style and learn fancier moves and variations.

We attempt to cultivate beginner’s mind

In his book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki said, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”  In this understanding, we are not experts.  We’re merely fellow dancers who have been on the floor a little longer.   Learning to dance is a journey, not a destination.  And there’s no “there”, there, when you get there.  In partnered social dancing there is no “one right way” to dance, as you’ll discover in your dance travels.  There are ways that feel better, are more fun, are kinder to your partner, are more effective, work better in your body, and more.  Our delight is in helping you find your delight in discovering some of those ways in yourself.  

We keep our classes small and encourage collaborative learning, so you get lots of individual attention

We encourage a lighthearted, playful, collaborative environment where challenges are gently and constructively shared and triumphs gleefully and unabashedly celebrated. In our experience, we have found that the ideal size group for this kind of learning is no more than 15-25 people and while our classes are often smaller than that, we will not allow them to get bigger.  

We want you to feel comfortable in a group that is small enough to really get to know the people you are dancing with.  We want you to feel welcomed, encouraged, supported and successful as you learn.  And we want you to have fun, and to feel the thrill, excitement and satisfaction of having ownership in your learning process and knowing that you control your own success.

We see the music as your other dance partner (along with the person in your arms)

The three of you dance together.  In order to dance smoothly, gracefully with these two partners, you’ll want to hear the music, feel it, love it (or at least like it), and understand it a bit.  We pay attention to the music in class and help you hear it and move to it in satisfying ways. And we encourage you to bring music you know and like to class.  We’ll dance to it.  

We encourage a real sense of community among friends, new and old

The dance community in and around Seattle is gloriously huge and diverse.  On any given day (or night) of the week you can find people swarming in huge numbers to a multitude of choices in dance classes, workshops, dances, dance performances, dance weekends and more.  This is ultimately a good thing!  There are lots of people to dance with and there is lots of energy in big crowds.  And it can also feel a bit overwhelming and anonymous, especially in the beginning.  We have found that at our smaller classes, people want to hang around before and after class to visit and get to know each other better.  It’s a cozier way to begin dancing, and we like encouraging this.  Then— when you’re ready — go out and ride the big wave that is dance in Seattle. You’ll likely have some new friends to go with, or to find when you get there.

Ultimately, we teach the beginnings of dance with the journey in mind and seek to help you find your success, self-satisfaction, and serious delight in dancing.  
(Can delight be serious?)

We can learn something new anytime we believe we can

                                                                                                          — Virginia Satir*

*Virginia Satir -- 1916-1988, Noted American author, award winning psychotherapist, and pioneer in family therapy. 

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