Are you brand new to CCSwing, swing dancing, or dancing in general? Here are some tips to get you going:
- How do I get started? The first step is showing up! Find our staff at the door - we're there to get you paid up and are happy to answer any questions you might have. Make sure you've checked the calendar to see what lessons are being taught that night and whether or not you've met the prerequisites (if any) to jump in. Our 8:30 6-count lesson on Thursday nights is a great place to start, but any Level 1 lesson series will teach you from the ground up. It's best to arrive a few minutes before the lesson to get acclimated and to change your shoes, stash your belongings, grab a beverage, etc.
- What level should I take? Good question. We usually let our students self-assess and we'll advise from there. Know that if you place yourself in a series for which you are unqualified, you may be asked to move to a different level. Here's a general guide:
Level 1 - we go from the ground up with footwork. Level 1 classes will, more often than not, be progressive since we start from the beginning. We recommend repeating this level as many as time as needed to get comfortable. One round of Level 1 doesn't necessarily qualify you for Level 2 classes.
Level 1+ - you've taken Level 1 at least once, so you have learned the basic but need practice in order to improve your technique.
Level 2 - you're comfortable in the basics. "Comfortable" means it's in your muscle memory -- you can start concentrating on further finessing your musicality and technique, as well as performing more intermediate moves because you're not concentrating on how to execute the basic.
- What's the difference between Monday and Thursday classes? Thursday classes are geared to teaching you what you need to know to have an evening of great social dancing; Monday classes will advance and refine those skills, give you a broader vocabulary of dance styles and moves, and generally up your dance game!
- How old do I have to be? We welcome anyone over 18 years of age to participate. Sometimes we'll be holding an event at a venue that requires attendees to be 21, and we will let you know if/when that is the case. We always ask that anyone under 21 obey Wisconsin law and refrain from consuming alcohol at our events.
- Do I need to bring a partner? No! Swing is a social dance. We rotate partners as part of the lessons to get you accustomed to dancing with different people throughout the night. Both leads and follows should feel comfortable asking anyone to dance. Don't have a partner for the current song? Get your solo dance on. Anything goes!
- What should I wear? You'll see all sorts on our floor. From jeans and t-shirts to cocktail dresses -- remember, it's a physical activity, so whatever you're comfortable wearing is probably fine. Some people like to dress up in vintage/swing style (particularly on band nights), but most keep it pretty casual. Know that the room can warm up pretty quickly once everyone is moving, so layers that can be removed are helpful as well as a change of shirt (or two) if you're prone to sweating. Spins and twists can cause skirts to be air born, so a pair of shorts or leggings underneath can be helpful. Sometimes we have costume or theme nights and, while everyone is encouraged to dress up, it's never required to do so.
- What about shoes? You don't need specific or expensive dance shoes to participate. Again, comfort is key. Swing is a fast and energetic dance with lots of spins and turns - very high heels, heavy treads or little ankle support (like sandals/flip flops) can lead to injuries and are not recommended. Any pair of clean, low traction, comfortable shoes will do. Keds or Converse are some easily acquired choices - or any good cobbler can add a suede sole to a pair of shoes for maximum slip. Some venues (our Monday lessons, for example) do not allow street shoes worn on the dance floor, so it's good to have a dedicated pair of shoes for such occasions or plan to dance in socks.
- Do you offer private lessons? CCSwing doesn't offer private lessons directly, but some of our teachers do. Prices vary from teacher to teacher based on their experience, size of group, distance to travel, etc. We're happy to help put you in touch with someone to get private lessons set up. Head over to our private lessons page for more information and to fill out a questionnaire.
- What do you mean by Lead and Follow? In all social dancing, one of the partners is called the lead (the person who lays out the structure of the dance and often initiates moves) and the other is the follow (the person who responds to and elaborates on what is lead). Both roles are extremely important, require different skills, and work together to create the dance. We encourage everyone to place themselves in the lessons wherever they feel the most comfortable and not choose based on gender. More and more dancers these days are learning both roles and becoming "ambidancestrous," and we think that's awesome -- so choose your role at will or mix it up as the night goes on!
- This was so much fun! Where can I find more dancing!? All over the world! We try to keep up with lots of the local and regional events and will list them on our calendar when we know of them. Stop by our front table to see what's going on and pick up a flyer or two for some of the bigger workshops and exchanges happening around the country. If you find yourself traveling, a quick internet search will probably turn up the local swing scene. It's a fantastic way to make new friends. Welcome aboard!