swing dancing for dummie book cover

Your Guide To Swing Dancing

• Where Do You Start?
• What Classes Do You Take First?
• What Do You Wear?
• Do You Need A Partner?
• Do I Get to Learn to Fly in the Air?

• Where Do You Find Those Cool Shoes?!


All great questions, and we've compiled a bunch of stuff to help you on your way to become a great swing dancer. So get ready for some fun, sweat, headaches, great friends, and the best times of your life!

We all have to start somewhere . . .
But first we need to get you started on the right foot - left for the leads (you'll get the joke later on).

Our mission is to help develop swing dancers from their first lesson and help them on their continual quest to becoming a great dancer. We've put together several ideas, checklists, and articles (on right) to help you get the most out of your swing dance experience. But before you hit your dance classes, read some important steps below.

No Partners Needed! Swing is a "social dance" - meaning you dance with as many partners as possible throughout the night and meet tons of new friends. THIS makes you a great dancer, because you always learn something from each dance.

1) HAVE FUN
Swing dancing is not JUST a dance, but a lifestyle. People having fun celebrating Swing Dance as a true American dance form. Plus you'll meet some of the greatest and wonderful people around. You can make life-long friendships.

2) TAKE LESSONS, TAKE LESSONS, TAKE LESSONS, and TAKE LESSONS
First off, there are over EIGHT styles of Swing Dance: Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, Charleston, Blues Dance, Collegiate Shag, Balboa, West Coast Swing and Carolina/Beach Shag. Don't worry, once you learn one style, the rest get even easier.

We suggest you start with any beginner lesson series: Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, Charleston or Blues. These classes are great building blocks to get you started right away. Plus you'll learn the basic foundations of dance, new terminology (frame, position, connection, slot, etc), and make tons of new friends.

CLASS PROGRESSION SUGGESTIONS - BUT TAKE WHATEVER YOU CAN:
1) East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Blues
2) Balboa, Collegiate Shag, West Coast Swing, Carolina Shag
3) Jazz Routines, Shim Sham, Specialties, Stylings, Performance, Aerials/Floorials

3) KEEP TAKING LESSONS
Once you get a good understanding of basic foundations, KEEP TAKING LESSONS! Always re-take the beginner series a few times. Because the first time you usually stare at your feet, then you can focus on your partner and patterns. Then see what other styles are being offered and take a new series. The more you know, the better you will be on the dance floor. Even for a beginner, you'll want to repeat the Beginner Foundations class a few times. It's like patting your head and rubbing your belly and tapping your foot- the more your footwork becomes automatic, the more you can concentrate on new moves and patterns.

4) ASK PEOPLE TO DANCE
The Difference between Taking Lessons and Dancing.

You can take lessons for a year, but if you don't dance with someone then you'll never get the full effect of partner dancing. No matter if you are a Lead or Follow - ASK SOMEONE TO DANCE. One of the hardest things for a Beginner is to ask someone to dance because you only know five moves. You may be apprehensive to ask people to dance - especially "those" people who seem to be so good!
We've ALL been a beginner dancer at one time.

A trick is if you want to dance, stand at the edge of the dance floor and move to the music. If you sit on a chair, it gives the impression you are taking a break or you don't want to dance. And by all means, don't play with your phone!

5) WHAT SHOES OR CLOTHING TO WEAR
SHOES - Once you become a "regular" dancer, you are going to bring a separate pair of dance shoes. We look for "slippery" or non-grippy shoes. Flats, leather or suede bottoms. more on shoes here.
CLOTHING - The first thing is to be comfy. For weekly events, just wear something caual and fun. For special events, we have fun and get dressed up and look snazzy. more on clothing here.

6) LEARN SWING HISTORY, MUSIC,VIDEOS
One big suggestion is to research the history of swing dancing with the original Lindy Hoppers (Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Shorty George) vintage music, life & times of the 1910s-1940s.

7) GET OUT AND DANCE
One of the most important benefits of learning to swing dance is meeting tons of new friends and having a great time. And one great thing is you have great opportunities to travel to different cities and states to go to events all over the nation.

8) BE SOCIAL
You will find out that even though swing dancers may be obsessive about swing dancing, but they are also great to hang out with. Most of us have become lifelong friends. We do much more than just dance. Dinner, concerts, game nitghts, movies, coffee, social evenings, etc.

-Your SVa Staff

GREAT READING!
What Do I Wear?
From Shoes to Clothing
Dance Shoes
From Samples to Make Your Own
Class Descriptions
What's The Difference Between Styles?
Dancer's Etiquette
Stuff we ALL should know, no matter
Making The Most
Out Of Your Lessons
What You Should
Learn While Dancing
Dance Etiquette
 
OTHER SOURCES FROM OTHER DANCE SCENES
FRAME MATCHING AND ∆PTED:
Framework for teaching Swing and Blues dance partner connection.
Download PDF here.
Beginner Blog Post Roundup
All About Swing Dancing
A Date Hookup
Mythbusting For Beginners
Philly Lindy Hop Blog
Why The Cool People Aren't Talking To You Yet
by Rebecca Brightly
Starter Albums for the Jazz-Curious by James Pustejovsky
It Don't Mean a Thing If…
by Glenn Crytzer
The Different Types of Dance Shoe Soles by Alain Wong
How Do I Become a Professional Lindy Hopper? by Jo Hoffberg
Mind Over Movement
 
 
Open Letter To Creepy Leads


Your Guide To Swing Dancing
A must read for all dancers
Make The Most Out Of Your Lessons
What to learn during classes
What To Wear?
Shoes? Clothes? A quick guide
Dancers Etiquette
A must-read for all dancers
Class Descriptions
Descriptions of swing styles
Class Survey
Tell Us What You Want!

Swing Dancers

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