Ballroom Dance Schools

I’ve received several emails lately from people asking me which ballroom dance schools I’d recommend in the New York area (and one person asked me about California, but unfortunately, I’ve no idea what the best schools out there might be). So, I figured I’d just write a post about it, and if anyone has other suggestions, please do comment!

My first school was Paul Pellicoro’s Dancesport, which is now in midtown, near the Empire State Building. They’re a good school for social dance and Argentine tango, and they also have some good competitive (called on the syllabus “International” ballroom / Latin classes). It was there that I was on a West Coast Swing competition team, so I know they used to have good WCS, but I also know my old coach has relocated to northern California. I know they still offer WCS and I’m pretty sure their classes are good, so if you’re looking for that, social, or Argentine, I’d recommend them.

Also for WCS, I’ve heard Steve Nereen is good, but I don’t know where he’s teaching right now. Does anyone know?

I’ve also heard Stepping Out, located nearby, around 26th Street I think, is good for WCS and social dances — especially if Tybaldt and Hazel Ulrich are still there. They also have a good teacher training program if you’re looking eventually to teach.

My latest studio was Dance Times Square, owned by former U.S. Latin champs Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin (and, as the name implies is in the Times Sq. area). They’re a little more expensive, and they specialize in International Latin. They prefer serious students who are interested in training for competition or dancing onstage in their showcases. If you have dance background (or even if you don’t) and are really serious about competing and / or performing, or becoming a pro, this may be your best bet.

If it’s serious International Standard that you’re looking for, I think Ballroom on Fifth is supposed to be the best.

If anyone has other ideas, please do leave your input!


  1. Tonya, thanks so much! This is extremely helpful.

  2. I’ve been taking classes at Stepping Out since January – found them to be quite good on the whole, and I am rather picky about such things. Of course, the background and approach you bring to it will make a difference in how much you get out of any one teacher. (For the record, I take Salsa (on 1 and on 2), Samba, Bolero, Rumba & Cha Cha, Hustle and a Latin Technique class – I have LOVED Roula’s classes, Ernesto and Walter are also excellent, I enjoyed Valerie, Martina and Alfredo’s classes, and Simone and Jules are also great. Roula is my favorite…she is just SO awesome!)

  3. What about Dance New York?

    I’ve heard that all the really good dancers practice and teach there; people like Shirley Ballas, Yulia, Max, etc.

  4. You’re welcome, Emma! I hope it helps! By the way, I LOVE your blog tagline!

    Ginger, oh my gosh, Roula was my first ever Samba teacher, at DanceSport, where she used to teach. I loved her! She scared the crap out of me but she made me work really hard, and somehow, I had great fun in her classes, terrified or not!

    Shimmer, I would have mentioned Dance New York, but I heard they were either closed or closing. Are they not? Maybe they found a new location, because I think their problem was that their lease had run out and they hadn’t yet found adequate space.

  5. I’m not sure if they’re closing or not, I’ll have to ask around. I actually live in Minneapolis, but I hear things about NYC; the International Latin dance capital of the US!

  6. FYI, Dance New York did not go out of business, it moved across the street.


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