Another factor can be that there are different regional dance environments. A good friend and "dance buddy" early in my divorce described the situation in our region (Orange County, Calif.) as having an extremely high teacher-to-student ratio, such that there was a great many teachers all competing for all the students, such that there really weren't enough students to go around. Part of that environment was that students would start to shop around, working with one instructor for a while and then rotating to another instructor. As a result, a teacher could very well get a new student who has already received much instruction elsewhere. It kind of sounds like in your regional dance environment there are a few teachers serving a larger student population. In your environment, it would probably be less likely for you to get a new student with a lot of experience. For example, after several years of West Coast Swing group classes, a friend talked me into joining her in a swing team preparing to compete in the US Open (Nov 2007). More than half the routine had been developed by then. Within the first or second meeting, I had completely caught up with everybody else (my dance buddy did tell me that I learned very quickly). The teacher's reaction was astonishment: "Where did you come from?" The point is that here when a teacher gets a new student he/she has to evaluate what level that new student is at. We also have people who have been dancing West Coast Swing for decades and are still bad at it. Each teacher has to have some way to evaluate each new student. Immediately putting them in the beginning class is one way. There are also others. There is also the high level of competition for students among the teachers here. One result of that is that it is often up to the student to decide when to advance to a higher-level class -- if a teacher isn't tactful enough in denying that advancement, he could lose that student to another teacher more adept at stroking his ego. OK, "dance buddy." There is the concept of the "f**k buddy", a friend of the opposite sex with whom you take care of each other's sexual needs without the complicating relationship emotions. When my friend recruited me, she made it very clear that she was only looking for a dance partner and that the reason she chose me was because I was the best one in the class (Lindy). From there we branched out to other dances (pulling her off to the side during one single song, I taught her all she needed to know about Nightclub Two-Step) and we developed a running joke about being "dance buddies", keeping the idea of "f**k buddies" completely in mind.