Mike and Amber Cross, one of the most respected dance couples in the country, moved to the Phoenix area from Denver in 1997 Here they give group and private lessons. While concentrating mostly on West Coast Wing and Night Club Two Step, their expertise covers every type of ballroom dance.
Their group lessons are a fantastic experience. Mike and Amber request a rotation of partners. We can compare and adapt our learning curves to different people. They really get into the details and after repetition, most of us gradually feel comfortable with our new moves. This is the method which virtually every instructor uses, so what makes the Crosses unique? Both of them give a surprising level of personal attention. In every lesson, more than a few people who have trouble with a new step ask for help. They will stay with that person until it is done at least mechanically correct. After that, we gradually eliminate the knots and make the move smoother.
Both Mike and Amber have inexhaustible patience. I am certain that they have innate ability to dance or do related activities such gymnastics or ballet. Having said that, they worked hard, long and sometimes frustrating hours to get to the level they are today. Mike and Amber really understand the challenges and self doubt their students have. They have molded this insight to connect with each of their students on a very personal. basis. They also have a subtle way of getting students to work together. Each of us soon find that others have the some problems with new techniques. Nothing builds rapport better than working together for mutual benefit.
Even with all the benefits from group lessons, many of us want complete attention for dancing. A private lesson with either Mike or Amber really shines their talents and abilities and allows the students to develop and improve their own style. This shortens the learning curve and students, after even one lesson, really hit the dance floor with more confidence. Proficiency in dancing fortunately is contagious. If one partner dances well, it really helps the other. Once again, the Crosses show the patience in a private lesson that we all see in a group. Students seems to appreciate how great the Crosses are in this one on one situation.
Mike and Amber teach at two locations across the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Often a dance follows the lesson and other times the lesson, group or private, is a stand alone activity. They travel and teach at dance conventions both within the United States and in other countries. Dance competition with other professionals was a way of life with the Crosses; they are now retired from competing. To the surprise of no one, they often finished first. Their home has so many First Prize Trophies that it must be a hazard during a thunderstorm.
The dance lessons for me are not always fun. Sometimes I think a root canal or a flu shot would be easier; but we all know that anything worth having or doing is not easy. The flip is that few in things in life have given me more satisfaction than learning and improving a dance technique. More moves done well add depth and variety to dancing. In addition, dancing skills spill over into other areas. It is a vehicle to meet more people and compare common and opposing views. I personally have found that meeting others with ideas different from mine is a way to sharpen my own mind. Adlai Stevenson said that “Freedom rings when opinions clash.” Dancing also builds confidence and self esteem which is a necessity for everyone.
Bottom line. Dancing, like most other things, is all about human relations. Mike and Amber Cross excel at both. Few people will regret bringing them into their lives. A new generation of Crosses is here. I will tell about their lovely daughter Cameo, an accomplished dancer at 25, a little later.