DANCE – an INVITATION, an ACCEPTANCE and an opportunity to build TRUST!  At the Academy there is a strong sense of TRUST in the Professional Instruction by Rita, with over 30 years of dance experience and more than 20 years of Latin & Ballroom teaching, competing, performing, choreographing, and coaching experience! There is also SELF-TRUST and PARTNER-TRUST:

  • Do you think you can do it? If you do, you can; if you aren’t sure, you are setting up your own road blocks to learning.
  • Try to keep your head & feet out of your dancing ~ let your body move on through! Dance is illusion! Listen to what I am saying, how I am explaining it, and then watch how I am doing it. Using only one of your senses does NOT make “sense“! The TRUE way to learn to dance is to FEEL the body movement (not mimick it: read: “Zen and the Art of Archery”)
  • Learning a step is NOT DANCING! I do not teach “stepping!” As a trained and qualified professional dance instructor I teach people how to Dance! Just ONE private lesson will change your dancing for the better with ease and simplicity!
  • Lead & Follow are about “Leaders” INVITING & Guiding while “Followers” RESPOND to their invitation. Once that “contract” is made, both parties should do their best to uphold it!
  • First ASK what YOU could improve upon before looking at your partner when something goes wrong. Unless you have proper credentials in teaching dance, it’s best to leave that to the professional instructor (no matter how tempting it might be to tell you partner “how to do it”…that’s not your job!
  • ALWAYS COMPLIMENT your partner on at least one aspect of their dancing; this ENCOURAGES people to continue learning to dance; Keep any additional comments to yourself, as this discourages dancers.
  • DON’T BE AFRAID to ASK Rita – she’s the ONLY trained and qualified Latin & Ballroom Dance Professional on Maui!  Get the right answer first! It will save you a lot of time!


Rita’s CHALLENGE to YOU: REMEMBER, DANCE Is A JOURNEY! “Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.” – Booker T. Washington 

  • If I make dance look easy, it’s because I’ve taken the journey, I’ve become a better dancer by “putting in my time” with private lessons, practice, body awareness, practice, balance & control, practice, understanding music, practice, styling and practice…and MORE PRACTICE!
  • We all have to start at the BEGINNING of a journey: putting one foot in front of the other and look: now we are all getting better at walking!
  • With dance, you must do the same – start at the beginning…it’s not about instant gratification. You must learn the patterns, but remember the “FEEL” of movement! To FEEL is for REAL!
  • Practice Does NOT Make Perfect, PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT! Any questions on what I’ve taught? Feel free to email me your specific questions and I’m happy to help you achieve “Perfect Practice!” rita@alohaballroom.com. 
  • When we do something incorrectly and repeat it enough times – it feels right; when we then learn how to do it right, it will feel wrong. Know the difference!
  • (From a Student): Many students think that they are going to get it sooner or later because the keep doing the same thing over and over again…many times not as correctly as they should. But in truth, the hoped for miracle never happens, so they accept their actions and lower their standards…OR they move out of their head and put themselves to work at learning to dance correctly, with ease and grace. It would be beautiful to think that a man who has been working at an airport all his life will become a pilot; but even though he has seen thousands of planes taking off and landing he would still need to go to flying school!
  • Whether you are on your journey for your pilot’s license, driver’s license, an improved golf game, a new water sport…you are going to have to have one-on-one instruction to shorten your learning curve and get the FEEL of what it is to FLY through the air, DRIVE smoothly around the dance floor, SWING your body with effortless ease and SAIL from one dance to another during a social dance!


COMMUNICATION 101: Learning to Speak the Same Language 

It starts with…a look, a smile, an extended hand, attaining a comfortable embrace, a clear directive and an easy flow, a willingness to “play together” and share an experience! 

  • COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY through expressing and receiving.
  • The FRAME REIGNS! The #1 communication tool in partnership dancing is your “two connected as one” frame which the leader controls through his body to relay the invitation of dance to his partner.
  • MAINTAIN the FRAME (or hand connection)! Without a clear means of communicating wants, desires, goals, etc. the dance cannot be realized!
  • To FEEL is for REAL! Find out HOW EASY dancing can be by taking a private lesson with a qualified Professional! Even ONE LESSON can change the way you feel about dancing!


READY – SET – GOAL! Ask “Why” – Then “How”

       “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

       “Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.” – Bo Jackson 

  • Ask “WHY” you are dancing…Then Set Goals
  • You’ve already taken step #2: Move in the general direction – group classes are a start, but not where great DANCING is born….
  • To FEEL is for REAL! Find out HOW EASY and FUN dancing can be by taking a private lesson with a qualified Professional! Even ONE LESSON can change how you dance, lead/follow, feel the music!
  • Add a pinch of Zen-like Practice DAILY – alone, without music, under 15 minutes & with great introspection & attention to “how it feels.”
  • Get emotional: Get “in the mood,” get excited about the journey and learning process ahead of you!



Floor Craft (navigating around a crowded dance floor) is a higher level skill that takes practice “LIVE” on the dance floor! How does a dancer move smoothly around the room and how can they prevent crashing into other dancers?

  • LEADER’S RESPONSIBILITY is to look for the “pukas” or “holes” (read: “Available Spaces”) on the dance floor as opposed to seeing where the other dancers are. You are looking for the tiny crevices where there are no dancers, so you can dance into them as the others are dancing away from them! Keep moving in an even pace to the rhythm of the dance and music and these spaces will seem to “MAGICALLY” appear!
  • FOLLOWER’S RESPONSIBILITY is to keep the partnership safe when the Leader is in a pattern where he is walking backwards. You must become his “eyes” and watch out for the safety of him and the partnership to avoid running into someone or getting bounced into by another couple. A gentle squeeze of theh left hand (connected to his right arm embrace) is usually enough to alert the Leader to slow down or take a smaller step. You should not jolt your partner into an abrupt stop, but just alert him to potential crashes!
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