I've found this really cool thing! Now what?
What do I Wear?:
Bring a pair of comfortable shoes with a flat, smooth, non-marking sole that will stay securely on your foot. Think Keds, Toms or Converse. You want something that doesn't have extreme grip, so no gym shoes if possible. (Not appropriate: sandals, stilettos, any heel high enough to make you unbalanced, flip-flops, or any shoe without a back.)
Please wear comfortable casual clothing that you can move around in. Dancing is a physical activity and you might break a sweat, so dressing in light, breathable clothing is also a good idea. Remember you are going to be dancing with others so please make sure to observe good personal hygiene!
Arrive at least 5 minutes before class. We start our classes promptly, so make sure to leave yourself time to park, get settled and change your shoes if you need to.
What should I expect in my first class?:
For our drop in/beginner classes we always start with a super simple movement warm-up (basically just bouncing and walking to the beat of the music), followed by detailed break-down of the basic steps used in partnered swing dancing. You'll get lots of practice doing these steps on your own before you try them with a partner.
Don't have your own partner? That's no problem! In all of our classes, we rotate partners constantly throughout the class. This means that all students will get a chance to dance with everyone in the class and no one will be left out because they can't bring a partner. This is a really fun aspect of a social dance class: meeting new people!
Are you attending a group class but only want to dance with your partner? No problem, just kindly let us know and we will adjust. We do recommend trying it though. Swing is a social dance and the best way to get more comfy with it is to try it with different people.
What do "Lead" and "Follow" mean? Which role should I choose when I sign up?
We teach vintage partner dancing, but we don't have vintage ideas about gender roles. We want students to choose the dance role that most appeals to them. In the most simplistic sense, leads construct the outline or overall shape of the dance, thinking ahead to communicate ideas to their partner; Follows react in the moment to interpret the nuanced directional shifts & movement suggestions from the lead, and choose to follow these suggestions, and/or interject their own ideas. Together, these two roles form a partnership. This is a team sport. :)
Many new students are interested in learning their "traditional" dance roles (ie: men leading and women following) and that's totally fine. However, we don't want any student to feel pigeon-holed into a dance role that doesn't suit them. In all of our classes, students are free to choose either role at registration. All that we ask is that you stick to the role you selected for the duration of that class series (otherwise it can be a bit chaotic!) and that fellow students respect each other's choice of roles.
Ultimately, Swing dancing is an energetic, fun and welcoming style that blends history and creativity on the dance floor. Whether you are an expert or just want to get off the sidelines and come dance this is the community for you! Join us!
*Some language adopted from RVA Swing*