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How to Nail Your First Swing Dance Class

Updated: Feb 18


Open House Beginner Class - Photo by Alex Rodionov.

You did it!


You signed up for your first swing dance class!


Kudos to you for doing something amazing for yourself!


If you are the sort of person who likes to know exactly what to expect on day one - this post is for you! Here are a few things to help you feel prepared for your first swing dance class:


Dress To Move!

Toronto Lindy Tech Summer Workshop 2019

Do I have to dress up for class? What kind of shoes do I need?


These are the two most common questions we get emailed.


You might think swing dancers are a fancy bunch. They wear vintage 1930’s attire, victory rolls in their hair, and zoot suits, right? For special events or themed events some dancers love to get fancied up like this! But for class and most weekly socials, we are a casual bunch. You don’t need any special clothing or shoes to come swing dancing.


Clothing - Something comfortable that you can move in. This can range from gym clothes to business casual if you are coming straight from work, to jeans and a t-shirt. If you like dressing up a bit you are welcome to of course! For class - you be you! As long as you can move around easily you’ll fit right in.


Shoes - To keep our wood dance floors clean we ask that you bring a pair of indoor shoes to change into before your class. Flat, comfortable, indoor shoes are best. Bonus if the bottoms are smooth! A pair of low-tread sneakers or dress shoes are a great option. Many students wear Keds, Vans, Toms, Converse, ballet flats, oxfords, or a simple dress shoe. You likely already own something that will do the job!


The Early Bird Makes The Friends!

Socializing at LHR. Photo by Alex Rodionov.

Show up 5-10 minutes before the class to change into your indoor shoes, hang your coat, wash your hands, and settle in. This is also a great time to chat with your classmates and socialize a bit before things get going! These other people signed up for a swing dance class so they must be pretty awesome, right? Because, I mean, you signed up for the class too. They could be some great friends you haven’t met yet. During the class you’ll all be busy dancing, so pre-class is the perfect to have a quick conversation.


Be Fresh!

Photo by Alex Rodionov.

Dancing puts you in closer contact with other people than you would be at work or at school. To be the best partner you can be:


- Brush your teeth before class / bring mints/gum

- Wear deodorant or antiperspirant

- Wash your hands when you arrive - especially if you have taken public transit to the studio

- Avoid perfumes/cologne - many people are sensitive to strong scents


Hydrate


Bring a reusable water bottle.


Swing is an athletic dance and some classes you will work up a sweat! Bring it to the classroom with you so it’s always handy!


The Inside Scoop On Dance Roles

Photo by Alex Rodionov.

Swing is a partnered dance with two dance roles - leader and follower.


The leader role sets up some of the bigger shapes, moves, and momentum in a dance with clear physical cues.


The follower feels these cues and continues the momentum. They finish the shapes or create something exciting with that momentum!


In your first class you will choose your role for the 6-week course. We ask that you stick with the role you choose for the 6-weeks.


The roles are not gender-specific, so choose the one that appeals to you!


And if you want in on a secret - the best dancers actually dance both roles. LHR offers a discount if you want to retake a class as the opposite role to the one you first learned! How cool is that?!


Get Ready to Rotate!

Photo by Alex Rodionov.

Swing is a social dance and typically you dance every song with a different person.


In class, you keep with this spirit and rotate partners often! During the instruction time you’ll try out a move with a partner a few times. Then you’ll rotate partners and try again with a new person!


You get to meet everyone in the class AND dancing with different people makes you a stronger dancer.


If you do come with a friend or partner be aware that you’ll be dancing with other people for most of the class. But you’ll be able to practice together at home!


Be Patient With Yourself

Trying a Frog Jump for the first time! Photo by Alex Rodionov.

Learning any new skill can make you feel silly at first.


You might not get things on the first try.


Or even the 10th try!


Embrace the journey. You are already an expert at something else in your life. Embrace being a beginner again here. Go in with the mindset to have fun and you will have fun. Laugh out loud and try again!


As the weeks go by you’ll surprise yourself with how much you have learned!


Cement Your Learning in Guided Practice Time

Photo by Alex Rodionov.

If you practice immediately after you learn something new you are more likely to retain it long term.


This is why directly after your 1 hour beginner class you have an optional ½ hour of guided practice time!


This is included for all Swing 0 students at no extra cost! Take advantage of this!


Dance with your teachers and classmates to smooth out any of the new things you learned in class. This is also a great time to socialize a bit more!


Exhale. You got this. See you in class!


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