Frequently Asked Questions



Haute Ballroom

A modern ballroom dance studio


We're here to try and answer common questions regarding ballroom dancing - reach out if you have any others!

Q: Do I need special dance shoes?
A: No. Eventually, many students purchase dance heels or shoes as they are easier to turn, spin and rotate in. We can help you when this becomes the case. We recommend avoiding loose fitting shoes and sandals.

Q:What do I wear?
A: Casual/normal attire is totally fine - you'll see most of our students in "business casual" attire. For costume parties, we invite everyone to dress up! We don't have a formalized dress code. Some use lessons and parties to "dress up" a bit, which is awesome too - Michelle and I often do!

Q: Do I need a partner for ballroom/partner dancing?
A: Not at all. Your instructor becomes your partner during personal lessons, which often makes learning a little easier and straightforward. We rotate partners during group classes so you'll get a chance to practice with a wide variety of dancers at various skill levels. There are lots of benefits to this. Practice parties have plenty of people that are kind and warm looking to ask beginners to dance - including Michelle and I.

Q: Do I have to rotate partners in group classes or practice parties if I come with my wife, boyfriend, friend or partner?

No, you don't have to - BUT... it makes learning dance not only a lot faster for beginners, but it also makes the experience way more communal, interesting and fun. Our goal as instructors is to make learning dance an enjoyable, engaging and relatively quick endeavor. Rotating partners helps with these immensely. We know it takes courage and we promise it's way more helpful than hurtful.

Q: How long does it take "get good" at dancing?
A: How good do you want to be? How much fun would you like to have?

Ballroom dancing, like learning guitar, ballet or mixed martial arts is an ongoing process. For some it's a life long pursuit, so those people are constantly honing their bodies and craft. That said, you can learn some basic skills and a couple of steps in a single lesson, but to "be good" depends on what that looks like to each person. We help define general ideas on the first few lessons, we educate people to understand what the investment of time and energy looks like, based on what we're understanding their goals and ambitions to be.

Q: What dances should I learn?
A: We'll educate you on a few dances on each of your first 2-4 lessons so you understand the music of each style, some dance steps, basic skills and where you might use them.

Q: What can we expect to learn on our first personal lesson?
A: Your first lesson is meant to accomplish three things:
1) The basics of 2-4 dances.
2) To help us understand your interest in dance (self development, intimacy, social development, exercise, etc) so we can find dances that accentuate those pursuits.
3) How to relax and have fun while learning an "easy to learn, yet hard to master language".

Q: Where can we actually use the dance skills and "language" you are teaching me/us?
A: First, in our studio every Friday evening! But there is more - there are several opportunities in the valley, lower valley and beyond each month to use your dancing. Michelle and I go out dancing anywhere from 3-5 times a month! Downtown, The Seasons as well as Purr host Latin nights. WIT Cellars (in Prosser) also hosts a Latin night once a month as well. We've gone to Wenas Creek in Selah to dance a variety of country and swing dances.

We have students learning dances for a cruise ship vacation in the Bahamas and another couple learning dances for a trip to the Dominican Republic. Dancing is very much a local, national and international skill and language.

We host one large public party a month and we'll be hosting public social dances at various locations in Yakima in the coming months. 

When you dance, the opportunities to use it truly are endless.

Q: Can we just come to group classes?
A: We offer a few public group offerings a month. These are a la carte sort of speak, come in and learn a little and then "BAM!" see ya later!

For our full time clients, we currently have about 5 group classes a week and 6-8 practice parties we host a month for current students, not open to the public.

In group settings, we're not able to offer the valuable insights and personalized attention needed to properly grow your body and skills. Often, when people don't get something in a group setting (or don't understand what an instructor is asking) they get frustrated and that frustration leads to disappointment and that disappointment leads to never dancing again - which is awful! We know how beneficial dancing is for the mind and body, let alone the personal and social spirit of each individual, so we take learning dance seriously - so you don't have to.

Learning dance in a systematic and slightly more formalized sense takes dedication, repetition and habit building. We wouldn't be very successful with our clients if we tried to teach a hodge-podge of people that came and went as they pleased, cherry picking random steps and techniques from group classes. There are other opportunities in the valley that focus strictly on group classes which may be a better fit for those that are seeking a more casual education. 

Why do you and Michelle care so much about ballroom dancing and bringing it to Yakima of all places?
A: Some people have perceptions of ballroom dancing - and those are theirs to have no matter how accurate or not. Our mission, goal and job is to define or, possibly, redefine ballroom dancing in the valley. Ballroom dancing is either too hard, too easy, too embarrassing, too formal, or too scary to try... It CAN be some of those things, but our job is to make dancing approachable to absolute beginners, to grow more advanced dancers and to create a community of people interested in being students in the art of partner dance.

Fundamentally, like all styles and forms of partner dancing, ballroom  dancing is a language. You either study the language and art and understand how to communicate spontaneously and simultaneously with a partner to music, or you just lift hands, shake hips and hope for the best.

The reality of learning the language of ballroom dancing is that you (and your partner - if you have one) aren't just being educated on how to move your bodies elegantly, quickly, sharply and with great intention and bold flexibility. You are, in fact, learning a life long skill to be used anywhere you want, you are exercising your body in increasingly nuanced ways, and you are building and maintaining relationships in a safe, fun and dynamic social environment.

When we learn a skill so fundamentally tied to our existence, (dancing is, of course, achieved through our physical body) we build a confidence within ourselves that is unique to each and every one of us because our bodies are unique to each of us.

Learning these skills, among others (discipline, great posture, musical and body rhythm, social awareness, focus, working together in a partnership to achieve something greater than the self, etc.) informs not only our life on the floor, but almost everything we do.

Few alternatives exist where all of these skills are nurtured and developed as much as they are in partner dancing.

Michelle and I were both athletes in the valley growing up, but it was ballroom dancing (learned from other cities) that integrated skills that have lead to a life long pursuit and deep passion for ballroom dance.

Dancing informs and impacts our lives in a multitude of ways.

Thanks for reading - now, join us!


A Modern Ballroom Dance Studio