Private Lessons

  • “…I am an addict. I have a love affair with dance, and it is quite obvious to me that private lessons are to blame. Why is that? The answer is simple: There is no better way to improve your skills as a dancer than with private lessons..” ~Kathy Long

    With private lessons, you learn more quickly and efficiently. While group classes are great for introduction, to learn new patterns, and to rehearse and review what you’ve learned in private lessons, they do not give you the benefit of having a professional dancing with you for the entire time and giving you feedback that is uniquely yours.

  • Private Dance Lessons at Palomar Ballroom

Rates & Specifics

All private lessons are 45 minutes long and most likely can be arranged to meet your busy schedule. We ask that you please respect your teacher’s schedule and give him or her 24 hours’ notice if you need to cancel. All last-minute cancellations will be charged for the lesson.

Rates vary per teacher, most teachers offer a break when you purchase a block of five or ten. Please call us at 831.426.1221 or e-mail us for specifics.

If you find you can’t afford private lessons, then why not get a small group of friends together to share? Cost for shared lessons with 3-6 people is only slightly higher than individual lessons. Or you can schedule a private lesson from time to time. It need not be on a regular schedule, though you will get the most benefit by working with your teacher on a regular basis.

Meet Our Instructors

At the Palomar Ballroom we take pride in having a highly trained teaching staff. We have instructors available for private lessons seven days a week, and we’ll tailor a lesson plan that is just right for you.
  • Private Dance Lessons with Jeremy Pilling

    Jeremy Pilling, Owner

    Jeremy has been teaching and performing ballroom for over 18 years and has been dancing socially all his life. He has had training in Salsa, dance theater, Latin and ballroom, and now specializes in American Rhythm, American Smooth, International Latin, Nightclub and Salsa. His ballroom training comes from several national champions and finalists. His teaching style is very technique-oriented, while still achieving the goal of having fun. He enjoys teaching both social and competitive students and couples, and also teaches teachers at the Santa Cruz Ballroom Dance Teachers Academy.  He is the director of Rhythm Fever dance company, an exciting all female Latin dance company. 

    Jeremy enjoys competing Pro/Am with his students and has both a World Champion and National Champion student. Jeremy was a former professional competitor in American Rhythm with his partner Julie Goldman. Together, Jeremy and Julie won several Rising Star Rhythm and Open Professional Rhythm competitions. In addition to his dance training, Jeremy has a B.S. in Sport Science and was also a certified personal trainer.

  • Private Dance Lessons with Zak Bauman

    Zak Bauman

    Zak has been on the staff at the Palomar Ballroom since 1999. Zak was classically trained in ballet, danced professionally as a modern dancer in New York and California, and happily fell into the ballroom world in 1998. Although she specializes in International Standard and American Smooth with a focus on technique and competition, she teaches the following dances to singles and couples interested in social dancing: West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Rumba, Cha Cha, Samba, Salsa, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Hustle, Nightclub Two-Step, and more. Zak is thrilled with the community of dancers she has brought together for her daytime group classes and looks forward to working with them daily. She has a BA in American Literature from UC Santa Cruz, and a teaching credential from SJSU. Besides teaching ballroom dance for the past 17 years, she has taught High School English in San Jose, theater and dance at a private elementary school in Santa Cruz for the past 7 years, and currently homeschools her 10 and 13-year-old children, a true testament to her endless patience. She feels very fortunate to combine her two passions for teaching and dance, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring dance into the lives of so many on a daily basis!

  • Private Dance Lessons with Mario Avila

    Mario Avila

    Originally from San Francisco, Mario’s career began early with the formation of the “Rude Boys Dance Crew” performing Hip Hop, Break Dancing, and Pop Locking in front of Ghiradelli Square and Pier 39. From there, he expanded his dance repertoire with the study of jazz, ballet and Flamenco before discovering Ballroom. He has since taken his street jazz styles and Ballroom to many studios as choreographer, performer and intstructor. He has also served as guest choreographer and performed locally at many of Santa Cruz County’s charitable events. Look for him as a principal dancer in the feature film, “Swing.”
    Mario’s ballroom pedagogy occurs under the direction of the Palomar Ballroom. He has an undying love for Swing music and dancing, but he also specializes in Latin/Rhythm dances such as Salsa, Rumba, Cha Cha and Bolero, as well as American Smooth Ballroom.

    Eric Conrad, executive director of Ballet Art Magazine had this to say about Mario: “With Mario’s passion to share his art and joie de vivre, he brings great enthusiasm to his classes and performances, which evokes his students and colleagues to achieve their very best.”

  • Private Dance Lessons with Jessica Sweeney

    Jessica Sweeney

    Jessica Sweeney has been dancing since childhood and has been studying dance at the Palomar Ballroom in Santa Cruz since its opening in 1997. She has Competed pro-am in all styles of ballroom dancing and has placed highly in DanceSport Competitions locally and nationally. In 2014 she was a national pro-am rhythm finalist with her instructor Jeremy Pilling at the United States Dancesport Championships. That same year she began training to be an instructor and has since completed the Dance Vision International Dance Association’s teacher training program. She is now an instructor at the Palomar Ballroom.

  • Private Dance Lessons with Whitney James-Heskett

    Whitney James-Heskett

    Whitney is an avid dancer and choreographer born and raised in Santa Cruz. She has over 20 years of dance and performance experience in many styles including ballet, hip hop, jazz, musical theater, and ballroom. Whitney has a passion for dance in general and choreography in particular, and has created many pieces for different dance concerts, and choreographed several local musical theater productions. As a teacher, Whitney is very good at seeing exactly what students need to do to improve their movement and articulating those things in a way even students with no dance background can understand. One of Whitney’s greatest joys is sparking a love for dance in her students and watching them improve.

  • Private Dance Lessons with Miles Ogata

    Miles Ogata

    An experienced dancer for over 20 years, Miles’ instruction includes Nightclub, Smooth, Standard, Latin, and Rhythm dances and Salsa. He is a fantastic instructor for all levels of dance and is known to transform the absolute beginner to a competitive and beyond level dancer. A winner of many top teacher awards, Miles’ lessons are always fun and exciting.