Every time I talk to people who would like to take an interest in dancing, the questions most often asked are:
The first two questions are easy to answer: "No, I'm not taking any lessons" and "I borrowed the 'The Betty White Teaches Mambo' from the library". (So I lied, my instructor made me!)
The last one is not too easy to answer. Different schools/professionals offer different dance programs/curriculums. They could be private lessons, group lessons, or a combination of both. For those who just want to learn the casual steps or get to know the dances, group lessons from the various dance clubs would be adequate. For example, if I'd like to learn a few Western dances to use during Calgary Stampede, I'll sign up for free group lessons offered by various country bars, rather than using my valuable private lessons on something I only use once a year. For those who would like to take their dancing a bit more serious, a proper dance program/curriculum with private lessons is necessary. It all depends on what you want out of your dancing. I find the professionals in our city are of very high caliber, and it shows. We like what we see at the dances!
I don't like offering advice when it comes to selecting a dance studio or a teacher. But what I often tell people is go and see as many of them as you can. You might want to try out the introductory packages offered by most schools/professionals. It's the best way to get to know the school, the teacher and have a feel for what they have to offer. If you like what you see, enroll. If not, try another school. Just make sure you are happy with what you get. After all, you'll be paying big money for those "Lessons from Hell"!
Find Dance Schools in your area.