New Dancer’s FAQ
We know that taking up dance as a hobby can be intimidating. To make things a little easier, here’s a list of some of the most frequently asked questions, and some other tips to make asking others dance a little easier, and help you fit in!
What do people wear? Actually these days dancers wear normal, everyday clothing at most weekly dances. Wear something you can still move in and that looks like you are ready to go out for a casual evening. However, it’s typical to dress up for special events, and Saturday night dances are usually more upscale.
Where do I find the right kind of shoes? To start out you simply want something that looks nice but that can slide enough to spin without hurting your knees. Sometimes dancers will put duct tape on the bottom of their favorite shoes to make the perfect slickness. If you’ve decided dancing is absolutely your thing, you might want to invest in some Aris Allens, at www.dancestore.com. The flat shoes are much better for the ladies, as the heels are hard to do Lindy Hop in and are very slick… they are usually worn for Balboa! You can also try out canvas sneakers, and take them to your local shoe store and have them put chrome leather on the bottom (or just use duct tape)! I recommend www.keds.com or for ladies, www.grasshoppers.com!
What if nobody asks me to dance? This happens from time to time. There are many dancers in our community who are not shy about asking new people to dance, so usually everyone gets asked at least a few times a night. However, we generally have more follows than leads at the dances, so if you’re getting overlooked it’s your turn to start asking. Don’t be shy to ask someone to dance. Most of our dancers are happy to dance with you! It only takes asking someone a couple of times before they’ll start asking you back!
What if my dance partner doesn’t get it? The best thing to do in this situation is to be patient with them and let them figure it out. Unless they ask you for advice, it’s probably better not to give it, unless you can do it without frustrating them further. Ask the teacher if you’ve got it, and let them give the advice.
What if I don’t have a partner? You can certainly learn to dance without a partner. We have many other dancers learning without a partner too, and they rotate with each other throughout the class. So you’ll get to practice dancing with everyone, which is actually beneficial to your learning.
I have no dance background at all… what class would be best for me to start? Our Sunday or Monday night Jitterbug class is a terrific class for those who have never danced before. It’s a fun, easy dance to learn that will get you up on the dance floor quickly and easily. The Monday night lesson starts at the beginning of each month and each class builds on the last one. On Sunday nights we have a drop in lesson each week! Check out the lesson section for costs and times!
I’m an older person, would I fit in? Yes absolutely! Usually our classes and dances have a terrific range of ages! We have teenagers, seniors and everybody in-between dancing at our dances and in our classes! Swing dance is a wonderful thing that we all have in common!
General Tips for Dancers
1. Try to be well groomed… showered, teeth brushed, wearing deodorant, etc. before going out dancing!
2. Please don’t go crazy on the garlic or on the cologne or perfume before the dance.
3. Be patient with yourself. This goes for learning to dance as well as making new friends. Be easy going both with your body and with the people at the dance. Let yourself learn, hang out and enjoy yourself.
4. Be patient and understanding with those around you. If you have a partner, let them learn at their own pace. Don’t try to criticize or “help” them by telling them what they are doing wrong. In general, don’t offer criticism unless it’s asked for.
5. Be confident. When meeting new people, don’t try to hard, but don’t be shy. Just be confident that you are cool enough and you’ll find you’re niche.
6. Don’t be intimidated by good dancers. The good dancers were all beginners at one time, and have had a terrible time learning something or another. Every one of them has felt the pains of learning to dance, of having to make friends, of doubting one’s ability. They are just people who have been doing it longer than you. Nothing more.