This guide is here to answer any questions you may have prior to joining us for a night of swing dancing.
Before Your First Class...
What is Swing Dancing? "Swing dance" is an umbrella term to describe a variety of amazing dance styles that developed with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s to 50s. These dances include Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, along with so many more.
Here at Steel City Swing, we primarily focus on Lindy Hop, Charleston, and Solo Jazz, but will occasionally have classes that focus on dances like Balboa and Collegiate Shag. Learn More >>
Do I need a partner? Short Answer - No. Long Answer - Not at all! If you have someone you'd like to learn with, that's great, but if you don't it absolutely does not matter. We rotate frequently during all of our lessons to give everyone a chance to dance with lots of different people. We find that dancers who rotate partners learn much faster, plus it's super fun and a great way to meet new friends.
However, if you're coming with a partner and you'd prefer to stay together, just let your teachers know at the beginning of class.
What should I wear? Wear something comfortable! There is a wide range of dressy-ness at our dances, so just be yourself and dress in something that is both comfortable and expresses your personal style. We will be moving around a lot and sometimes that can get sweaty so bear that in mind! Our only suggestions are:
Wear clothing than you can move freely in. We fail, wiggle, move and shake - wildly and frequently. You will want to be able to move as much as possible!
If you choose to wear a skirt or a dress, don't forget a pair of dance shorts underneath as your skirt/dress will fly up!
Wear shoes that won't fall off or stick to the floor. For safety reasons, we suggest against stilettos and flip flops as they are more likely to cause injury to yourself or those around you.
Should I bring anything? Yes. Obviously yourself and personal possessions, but we also highly recommend:
A water bottle
We have access to water fountains, but it'll be easier to keep water closer to you if you bring your own water bottle!
Sweat happens! Dancing - whether solo or partnered - is definitely a workout. Swing dancing is no exception. Deodorant is definitely recommended - cologne and perfume are also good, but in moderation - to keep you and your partners comfortable throughout the night. Sweat towels and spare shirts are also pretty handy!
What should I expect? Our beginner class starts at 7:00 pm. Try and get there a little early so that you sign in, pay, and get settled in before class starts. We'll start with a quick warmup and then shift into the lesson.
As we mentioned earlier, we rotate frequently during our classes. If for whatever reason you don't want to dance with someone - don't. Talk to the teachers before or after class - we're here for you and will help come up with a solution.
Follow? Lead? Which should I choose? Both the follow and lead roles are equally important, challenging and fun. We like to describe the roles as the follower is driving the car, and the leader is holding the map. The lead can tell the follow "there's a right turn ahead" and the follower can choose how to execute that turn, or whether to turn the car at all!
You can choose whichever role you like! Gender does not define dance roles. If you still aren't sure, that's okay! You only have to decide when you get to class. We recommend everyone to learn both roles to better understand the mechanics of the dance, but it's entirely up to you!
What if I have a question? We love questions! Stick your hand up in the air and ask away. You can bet if you're thinking it, someone else is. If asking in front of the class seems a bit much, just flag us down as we're going around the circle and we'll come right over.
What do I do if something happens where I feel unsafe? Talk to us. We are here for you. We want everyone to have a good time and to feel the joy of social dance in a physically and emotionally safe environment. We have a Code of Conductthat outlines what kind of behavior will and will not be tolerated.
If you don't feel comfortable doing that, we have an anonymous form as well.
NOTE: We do NOT teach aerials or floorials during our weekly lessons and do NOT allow them on the social dance floor.
Do I need experience to join the social dance? Nope!
How do I ask someone to dance? At the dance, anyone can ask anyone else to dance. And anyone can refuse a dance, so don't feel obligated to dance if you want to watch for your first time.
When can I join the Intermediate classes? Most people repeat the beginner class a few times to get comfortable with the basic rhythms before requesting to join our Intermediate classes - whether that means a few weeks or months is entirely up to your comfort levels. We teach different moves each week to spice things up for those who are retaking the beginner class, but the structure of the class will remain the same. Should I stretch afterwards? Yes. A thousand times yes. While we are going to class to learn something new, have fun, get some exercise etc we need to pay extra attention to our bodies as they’ll be moving in new ways.
Steel city Swing
wednesday night hop
Intermediate: 6:30-7:00 pm Beginner: 7:00-8:00 pm Social Dancing: 8:00-8:30 pm