IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION, EMAIL IT TO RICK ARCHER AT firstname.lastname@example.org
||Frequently Asked Questions
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. If there is something you want us to do or if you feel that one of our positions is in error, the easiest way to make your point is to email us at email@example.com. You can be sure that if enough people agree with your position, we will adjust our policies accordingly. And perhaps it would help if you knew one of our main policies is to listen to what our customers have to say. Tell us what you think.
SSQQ has a 10 minute Break every evening at approximately 8:05 pm. Please stay in your classroom until Break Time unless you have no other choice. It is very disruptive to have people moving thru the other rooms during classes to get a drink, use the phone, or visit the restroom. Now if it is an emergency, that's a different story. Go for it! During Break we always play dance music in Room 1. However, when the music's over, please return to your classroom. The sooner everyone returns to their room, the sooner classes can resume.
A popular feature at SSQQ is the ability to do Make-Up classes or get extra practice by coming more than once a week. Many of our classes meet more than once a week. If your class is offered on more than one night, you are always welcome to switch to another night whenever you wish (unless we have to "cap" the class to prevent over-crowding). You do not need permission (unless the alternate class is closed due to space problems in which case your teacher will tell you). Get the schedule from our web site or pick up a schedule at the studio to see if your class has an alternate. Unfortunately not all classes have a parallel class for make-up. If you have to miss your class and there is no makeup, don't worry about it - The first hour of the next week's class will contain a review of whatever you missed.
We have found that many students do not like being watched while they learn to dance. Not everyone minds, but some people do. Furthermore classrooms are for students, not visitors. SSQQ does permit an occasional out-of-town guest to observe a class, but only if permission is asked ahead of time. Do not "show up" with a guest w/o asking.
Practice Night is the dance equivalent of doing your homework. Each night after class at 9:15, the dance studio becomes a night club. We play the music from the classes taught that night. Not only is Practice Night an invaluable chance to develop some "muscle memory", but it is also an opportunity to make some friends, get some exercise, and discover how much fun dancing can be. Practice Night is the Heart and Soul of SSQQ. This is where you can make serious progress as a dancer and enjoy your new skill. Please join us!!
MUSIC AT PRACTICE NIGHT AND PARTIES.
Dance music is very important to every Practice Night. Unfortunately, you must realize that SSQQ cannot afford to hire professional DJs. In addition it is difficult to please everyone all the time with each selection. Furthermore keeping up with all the latest songs for Western, Whip, Salsa, and Western is time-consuming and expensive. If you are unhappy with the music, you can always request a song (1 request per customer per night). Or even better, simply bring your favorite CD with you and hand it to the DJ. We will play your song and get a copy if it is fun to dance to! Rather than complain about the DJ, bring your own music and do something about it!
Private Lessons at SSQQ are $50 an hour for one to two people.
Private Lessons are useful if you have a deadline (i.e., getting married next week), if you need to learn something not offered in a group class, if you need to improve something (polish leads, work on turns, review forgotten patterns), if the thought of changing partners is unacceptable, or if you are at the high end or low end of the Dance Learning Curve. In order to schedule a private lesson, call us at 713 861 1906 or preferably email us at
Hall Monitors were added because our Honor System Registration system was showing signs of abuse, because we had Volunteers all over the place (some were invited; some invited themselves), but mostly because at some point we will have to limit the size of classes to lessen over-crowding. The Hall Monitors are the forerunners of our class limit solution.
Every month there are 2 or 3 classes that are too large for their room. To solve this problem, we may have to limit the size of certain classes to lessen over-crowding. This could mean showing up for a class only to find that it is "sold out". As unpleasant as this idea is, please keep in mind you would be equally miserable if you were stuck in a class too crowded to stand up in, much less dance. When possible, we will then open up an "overflow" section on another night. We may also have to limit enrollment in the 2nd week for the same reasons. If you are worried, you can check our web site (ssqq.com) for current updates on the "problem classes."
Practice Nite at SSQQ begins almost immediately after classes end. Occasionally a Staff member may "scoot you out" of your room. Please understand we only do this because we have to clear all the rooms before we can open the Drink Room to serve popcorn & refreshments.
SSQQ welcomes all students who wish to help us teach classes. The easiest way to participate is to find an instructor who could use some help and ask them directly. Or you can email Rick Archer to let him know which night you are available to help. Thanks!
We realize how important cell phones have become to modern civilization. However they annoy everyone but you. We prefer you turn them off if you would. However if it does ring, cut it off ASAP. Then if you must, leave the room and answer the call in a quiet place.
NO SWITCHING TUITION FROM GROUP LESSONS TO PRIVATE LESSONS.
This complex issue might be better understood if we explained that the SSQQ Instructors work for themselves during Private Lessons. If you pay SSQQ for a Group Lesson, then change your mind and prefer that your money go to a Private Lesson instead, in essence it is the same thing as asking one business to refund money to pay another business instead.
SSQQ has a long-standing policy of rotating partners at various times during class. Typically you end up dancing with "the one who brung you" about 40% of the time, but it is still necessary to switch partners when we ask students to do so. Switching permits the Instructor and Assistants a chance to work with each member of the class. People ask us nicely all the time if we would make an exception for them, but unfortunately we have to say "sorry, but no". In the past we have found that every time we make an exception for one couple, then another couple asks. Then another couple. Pretty soon you have singles on one side, couples on the other. The Group ceases to be a group. We respect the feelings of people who do not wish to switch, but prefer they take private lessons instead of a group class.
TEACHING OTHER STUDENTS.
If you are a student yourself, we prefer you not become a "dance teacher" during Practice Night or any other time you are at the studio. Over the years we have had students who escort beginners into a corner, then proceed to tell them what they are doing wrong, show them advanced patterns, or worst of all teach acrobatics. We have had one complaint after another from beginners who don't appreciate this behavior. If you want to offer someone a tip out on the dance floor, that's one thing, but please refrain from active "Teaching".
SSQQ will refund your tuition completely during your First Night of Class with no questions asked and no arguing.
You have till the end of Break to ask for your
refund. Refunds will not be issued
after the First Night of class.
NO CHILDREN, PLEASE.
Believe it or not, we actually like kids. Nevertheless we prefer you leave your children at home for a simple reason: SSQQ is for adults. Kids have playgrounds. Teens have hangouts. Adults need a place to have fun too. Unfortunately if everyone brought their children, SSQQ would become a much different place. Since it isn't fair for one parent to bring their child but not another, the rule is: No Kids. (High School age may take classes). We make an occasional exception if we are asked in advance.
firstname.lastname@example.org However if you show up for class with a kid and no permission slip, don't be surprised if we ask you to leave.
WHAT ARE CRASH COURSES?
Crash Courses are classes that are taught on the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 7-9 pm. They differ from the regular classes in that there is no follow-up class. As a result the pace is often swifter because the emphasis is on patterns over style, technique, and the finer points of dance.
Referring New Students to SSQQ:
SSQQ has been in business since 1978. Referrals have always been our
primary source of new business. When you refer someone who has never
taken classes before at SSQQ to our studio, we invite you to accept
an $10 credit on your next dance class.
Please note you must complete one month of classes before you can
begin "referring" people.
Referrals are done using Walk-in Registration only.
Question - My husband & I want to begin lessons, but I would like to know if you think we would fit in. We are late 40's and I am very overweight. We have danced square and round dance for years, so I know what exercise I am in for. We would like to take beginning C&W, ballroom, & Latin; beginning with C&W. I looked at the pictures of the Halloween party and my husband looks like he would fit in OK, but I only saw 1 overweight lady & she wasn't as heavy as I am.
Would like your honest opinion
Answer - Quit picking on yourself. Can you walk? Of course you can. If you can round dance and square dance, then you won't have any trouble partner dancing.
You are your own worst critic. No one will mind that you are overweight.
Question - Is it possible to get a syllabus for the Beginning Swing and Intermediate Swing classes? Can you email it or post it on the Internet? For practicing, I'd like to put together a long pattern incorporating all the different moves.
Answer - Each student is supposed to receive a syllabus in the fourth week of class. However if you ask an instructor nicely at Break Time, he or she will get you a copy of a syllabus. (One per customer). We cannot email our syllabus because they are printed in Microsoft Publisher. This program mixes pictures and text very nicely, but does not email very well. Ask our printer if you don't believe us. We would not dream of putting our syllabus on the Internet since they are the private property of the dance studio.
TAKING DIFFERENT LEVELS OF CLASSES
Question - I'm in Beginning Salsa/Mambo this month and will be continuing with Intermediate in January. In February it looks like the Advanced Salsa/Mambo is structured differently - there is a #4 on Tuesday and a #1 on Thursday. Are these different classes? If so, since they are still under the same heading of Advanced Salsa/Mambo, do they qualify for the SSQQ policy of taking the same class at different times during the week but only paying for one class?
Answer - In our different programs such as East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Salsa, and Western, there are many levels of classes. Some classes need to be taken in order, others can be taken in any order. Visualize a tree. Our Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced classes form the trunk of the tree, then a higher level course such as Ghost Town form branches. Once you have climbed the tree, you can move out onto any branch you like.
East Coast Swing - Beg, Int, and Adv should be taken in order. Zoot Suit Riot is the most advanced Swing course and as of January 2002 contains 6 levels. The Zoot Suit classes are all about the same degree of difficulty, so you may take the Zoot Suit levels in any order.
Whip/West Coast Swing - Beg, Int, Adv, and Super-Advanced (also known as Lunar Whip) should be taken in order, but the Martian Whip classes can be taken in any order.
Western - The ground level class is Beg Twostep/Polka. Occasionally we have an intermediate level, but the traditional next class to take is Beginning Western Swing followed by Intermediate and Advanced. The next level up is Ghost Town where you take the different levels in any order. Same goes for the Death Valley series, which includes western swing patterns even more difficult than Ghost Town.
Salsa - As of January 2002 you take Beginning and Intermediate Salsa Mambo in order, then take the Advanced levels in any order you wish.
To answer the original question, Advanced Salsa Level 4 on a Tuesday and Advanced Salsa Level 1 on a Thursday are considered different courses. You cannot switch back and forth since they are not 'parallel'.
Question - O.k. Sorry. My question isn't about dancing, it's about Albert Einstein. Do you know what brand or brands of pipe tobacco did he smoke? If you don't know can you point me in a direction where I could find this out? Please : ) Eric Lutz
Answer - You must be joking.
TAKING CLASS IN THE 4TH WEEK
Question - I had planned to take this month's Ghost Town with my boyfriend, but have not been able to make one single class with him. However, this Wednesday August 1st, I am finally able to make it to the 7-9pm class. I'd like to come but am not sure what I would have to pay for this one class, the final one of the month. Please let me Know your policy for this.
Answer - We prefer you simply wait and take the next month of classes. Unless the class is out of balance, we feel it disrupts the class to have people starting in the 3rd or 4th week.
Question - Would you consider using dance wax on the studio floor? I understand that there are certain "sensitivities" involved here. Some say too slick, others not slick enough. I would like to use dance wax.
Answer - We avoid the regular use of dance wax due to safety issues.
The thing you have to remember is that SSQQ's primary business is as a teaching studio, not as a destination dance hall. If the floors become too slick from a night of dancing, the next day's classes slip and slide. Dance wax does not wear off very quickly. I couldn't agree with you more that it would be nice to have the floors quicker, but for teaching they need to be slower. Latin dancing for example requires traction. So does Whip and Swing.
Another danger of dance wax is avoiding overuse. This is the main reason we don't use much dance wax. We had an incident where a student brought some in recently for a practice night and made life miserable for Linda Cook's class the next day. She had students slipping all over the place. It took two days for the floor to return to normal.
Here is a note sent to me by one of my instructors:
I was at a wedding and someone had the idea of throwing dance wax on the floor which made it slicker than ice. It was like dancing on a skating rink. I sorrowfully watched kids and old ladies wipe out and come crashing to the floor because someone wanted an edge.
We have been taking swing, salsa, and tango classes at SSQQ for about two and a half months now, and we have a couple of requests for you.
Each of the levels that we advance to seem to have the same problem: Too many people in each class! Your instructors are great, but they are having difficulties both providing a high level of information, as well as being able to complete the curriculum in a timely fashion. They give it their best, but they are very much out numbered. This also causes several of the students, including both of us, to be stepped on and run over regularly due to the lack of room.
Are you considering a limit to the class size? Or maybe opening the rooms up and reducing the number of simultaneous classes? Please let us know.
Question - I am writing to ask you to offer bottled water at the New Year's Eve dance and at the practices. You are so generous to offer drinks to those who drink what you offer, but those of us who drink water have to bring our own. I don't think Ozarka or Evian are more expensive than soft drinks, but since I never buy soda water, I don't really know.
Answer - I will never sell bottled water again if I can avoid it. We have an excellent water fountain.
We sold water once before.
To go deeper into the problem - the water is much more expensive than the soft drinks. It is much heavier and takes up much more room in the truck as well, meaning we can fit less in there. Nevertheless people complained about the higher cost ($0.75 a bottle). I got tired of explaining why water cost more than cokes. Actually I am not even sure why it costs more, but it does. Then what happened was people wanted the water at practice night for free. Some people would drink half and abandon their water, a big waste. Others took several bottles home with them at the end of practice night, a big source of irritation for me. There was also a lot of whining. The end of the water was one of the best moves I made all year. We have a water fountain. Nor we do mind people bringing their own. Unlike soft drinks, water "keeps" very well due to the special container. I should know since I carry bottled water in the trunk of my car.
OTHER SSQQ LOCATIONS OR OTHER DANCE STUDIOS TO RECOMMEND
Hi! Found your website when looking for dance classes for adults in the Houston area. I am definitely a candidate for two left feet training! Here's the deal though... your website sounds like you draw a lot of single (and perhaps younger) people to your classes. I'm a 50 year old, happily married, clutzy woman whose husband has absolutely no interest in joining me in dance classes. So how horribly out of place would I be in your classes? Please be candid-we'll all be happier knowing the facts going in to this!
Also, I live a looooooong way away from your studio-- Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 6 area. Any chance you know of studios in this area? Location's not a total deal breaker, but knowing me convenience will go a long way toward encouraging me to join and continue!
Hope my candor :-) doesn't put you off-I'd really appreciate knowing more about your offerings!
Thanks so much-Susan O'Brien
SSQQ has no other locations and no plans to open any. That isn't to
say we won't expand some day, but I will avoid it as long as I
The obvious reason is financial. SSQQ has to make a minimum of
$20,000 a month just to break even. The overhead to run an
attractive dance studio is prohibitive. The modern trend in Houston
is for the best instructors to rent space at a dance studio and
avoid having their own facility. The number of successful social
dance studios has significantly dwindled in Houston over the years
just because it is so expensive.
In addition there is the phrase 'if it ain't broke, don't fix
it.' I have students who come from Katy, Woodlands, Spring,
Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Pasadena, Baytown, Channelview, LaPorte,
Deer Park, Galveston, League City, Clear Lake, Pearland, Alvin,
Friendswood, Huntsville, Sugarland, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, and
And let me add not one of these communities sends
us enough students to even begin to support a large dance studio
Not even Sugarland. I might add Sugarland is 12 minutes away now
that 59 is widened.
The problem is that the suburbs are where all the married people go
to forget about dancing. Raising kids, managing large homes,
supporting local schools, and commuting to work are much more
important than worrying about dance. However once someone gets
divorced or has an 'empty nest' or for whatever reason, suddenly
dancing becomes interesting for that moment in time.
At this point this person realizes SSQQ exists. It is a lot easier
to have this person and the other isolated individuals come to the
melting pot of SSQQ with our 1,000 people a week attendance than
have these same people go to a dinky little one room shop in some
strip center to attend their class of 15 people once a week.
I realize the drive is an inconvenience, but it is worth it. We have
a lot of fun here.
Fri 05/31/2002 11:33 PM
I see a comment on your FAQ's page about someone not wanting to
drive from Highway 6 and 290 to your studio.
Is she kidding?
I live 10 miles West of Magnolia (right smack in the middle of
nowhere with nothing but trees and coons around me) and am gleefully
anticipating the long drives into the city when I begin classes in
June. SSQQ comes highly recommended and I won't even consider
classes anywhere else.
LET'S CHANGE THE ENTIRE
SCHEDULE!! (AND MOVE THE STUDIO TOO!)
from the March 2005 Newsletter
Note: Throughout the years, we have done our level best to
be accommodating to the needs of our students. Although some people
would disagree, we generally get high marks for being friendly,
polite, and understanding.
However once in a while some of the complaints or expectations just
get under my skin. Here are a couple email exchanges that left my
FIRST EMAIL CHAIN
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2005 12:29 PM
Subject: schedule question from current member
Hi, I am currently taking a class
there. I was wondering if you can change
or offer salsa, merengue, and bachata on Mondays and Sundays because
I spoke to other members they would like to take the class on those
days. So if there is a demand can you offer it?
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2005 3:17 PM
Subject: RE: schedule question from current member
The schedule has been the same for over ten years. It isnít going to
change. Try private lessons to accommodate your free time.
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2005 3:27 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: schedule question from current member
Thanks, I may just try that.
Over the years, I periodically get suggestions to change the SSQQ
I don't think people give it a second thought how preposterous this
idea is from my perspective.
Tell you what. Let's pretend I do it. I have decided to switch
Monday and Tuesday classes in April. First I email a dozen
instructors on Monday and tell them they are switching to Tuesday.
Then I email a dozen Tuesday instructors and ask them to rearrange
their schedule so they can start teaching on Monday.
Then I email 30 volunteers on both nights and see if it is a problem
for them to switch nights.
Then I phone Leisure Learning. I schedule classes with them about
five months in advance so this will be a tough call, but I make it
anyway. I tell them to disregard the SSQQ schedule printed in their
70,000 catalogues. Ask them to explain the switch to anyone who
calls in to register. Then I ask them to update their web site. Then
I ask them to phone all the people already registered on Tuesdays
and Mondays and ask them to switch nights.
Then I explain to the 100 students who are used to coming to the
studio on Tuesdays for Salsa that they need to come on Mondays
instead from now on. Then I do the same thing for the 100
Swing and Ballroom students who are used to taking classes on
Mondays. You think they will mind? Nah.
The shame of it is, Salsa is offered Tuesdays, Thursdays, and
Saturdays. Isn't it too bad that some people's schedules are so busy
that only Monday or Sunday is a good Salsa night for them!!
SECOND EMAIL CHAIN
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 8:19 AM
Subject: crash courses
I am interested in signing up for the beginning two step/polka classes but
unfortunately am only able to take Saturday classes. I was wondering how
much instruction I could actually get from a crash course. My husband and I
are very interested in learning to dance together and would love to take a
more in depth class but as I was looking at the schedule our best bet would
be the crash courses. Any more information on these classes would be
Thank you, DR
From: Rick Archer [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 9:25 AM
To: Donna R - Kingwood
Subject: RE: crash courses
Crash courses are just what the name implies - a two-hour class in one dance
subject. If you stay for the party after and practice every chance you get,
chances are the material will "stick" for a long time. However if you go
home and don't practice, the material will slip from memory quickly.
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 9:30 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: crash courses
Do you think there will ever be any Saturday classes for beginner two
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 12:14 PM
To: D R - Kingwood
Subject: RE: crash courses
I never say "No", but our schedule has been the same for twenty years.
Consider trying a private lesson for Saturday
western private lessons. We
can do that.
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 12:53 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: crash courses
Thank you but I am not looking for private lessons. I guess I will continue
in my search.
By the way, are you planning to open up a studio here in Kingwood??
RICK ARCHER'S COMMENT
Before I answer the
question, I first wish to tell a story.
Back in the 70s, I was
in graduate school for clinical psychology. One of the professors in our
department had landed a half-million grant to study social discrimination.
He recruited several graduate students to assist him with his project. I
took a look at his prospectus and privately thought it was ridiculous, so
I passed on the offer. I also had trouble understanding why the government
would spend a half-million dollars on something this obvious. But who am I
to have a say??
My officemate agreed with me, but he needed the money so he accepted.
After his first day on the job he told me a story that soon had the entire
Psychology department in stitches.
The idea was to have a graduate student hitchhiking on a major highway
near the University. One would be dressed like a hippie with beard, peace
symbol, sandals, long hair, ragged jeans, you get the picture. He
would write down the ratio of cars that stopped to pick him up versus the
number of cars that just kept driving.
Then the next day he would dress as a clean-cut Junior Future Farmers of
America type. He would take off the wig and fake beard, wear some nice
clothes like a button-down shirt and slacks. He would then write down the
Theoretically after a couple of weeks of alternating his outfits, the
graduate student would acquire enough statistics to prove the theory that
clean-cut people get more hitchhike offers than the hippies. This
asinine study was about as clever as doing a study in a bar to see whether
women with large exposed breasts and hot pants get hit on more often than
women who wear long pants and cover their assets. You think I could get a
grant to study that??
So my office companion goes out to his assigned spot on the highway. It
was his "clean-cut" day. By coincidence that day a real-life hippie
got dropped off not too far down the road and immediately started
hitchhiking as well on the other side of the road.
Over the next hour or so, car after car after car stopped for my friend to
offer him a ride. Each time he politely explained he was actually just
doing a study and the car would then take off. Meanwhile the hippie
hadn't gotten one offer at all. He had absolutely nothing else to do
except watch incredulously as Mr. Clean Cut sent one driver after another
down the road.
Finally the hippie couldn't take it any more. He walked over to Mr. Clean
Cut and said, "Hey Man, what the H___ is your problem?
What are you waiting for, a ride to your F___ing Living Room??"
Whenever I have a dance student who asks me why we don't have a studio in
their neighborhood or why we don't offer our classes on a night or time
more convenient for them, I always am reminded of the Hippie Who Couldn't
Get a Ride.
The point of telling the story is that my studio does not have the resources
to put a studio across the street for every person who is inconvenienced by
our current location. We can't adjust our location or schedule to suit
everyone who asks.