FAQ and Information
Here’s some answers to some general questions we get asked about Cambridge Swing Dance.
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What exactly is this “Lindy Hop” and swing dancing?
A swing dance is any dance form that is danced to swinging jazz music, the popular music of the 1930's and 1940's (though we're not too purist about it, so covers or new swing songs by modern bands are good too).
Lindy Hop is regarded as the ‘daddy’ of swing dancing but there are other vintage swing dances such as Balboa and Collegiate Shag which are still going strong today. These are all partner dances, where two people dance with each other. We also teach solo jazz, which as the name suggests, is danced without a partner.
What's social dancing?
It's dancing done to socialise! (As opposed to dancing in a competition or as a performance for an audience). Most of our lessons are focussed on teaching you to dance socially with anyone you'd like to dance with.
On Wednesdays, the lessons are each followed by some practice/social time, and on Mondays and Tuesdays following the lesson we run weekly social dance evenings ("socials") where it's normal for people to ask each other to dance and to dance with many people (though it's always fine to turn down a dance, too). We like to invite local bands to provide live music for socials about once a month, as well as having music from our DJs.
We also run one-off events which often have social dancing as part of the event.
(If you're interested in the performance side of things, check out our Performance Troupe).
Do you teach Charleston?
Yes, our Lindy Hop classes teach partnered Charleston as part of our Lindy Hop teaching, both in the 1930's "side by side" style and the 1920's style where you face your partner. Every third month, our Wednesday classes will be Charleston themed, and our Tuesday classes also keep Charleston in the mix.
Do I need to bring a partner?
No. Because swing dancing is a social dance, in our lessons we like to keep students rotating so that they learn to dance with different partners throughout the classes. Sometimes things which don't work with one partner will work with the next! That said, we're aware that with COVID still around, you may want to stay with someone you came with, and this is fine too. (Teachers will ask about this at the beginning of the lesson, but feel free to remind us if we forget).
What should I wear?
Loose fitting clothing is best, and be warned: swing dancing is a decent physical workout, so you will get warm in most classes, and may want to bring a change of top. Jewellery can scratch and get broken, so wear as little as possible.
On your feet, flat soled trainers are perfect, and it’s not necessary to wear leather soled shoes. We generally advise students to avoid open-topped, split-soled or high-heeled shoes for swing dancing.
Can I just turn up?
Yes, of course. If you’re new best check out one of our beginners classes, but yes, you can certainly drop in to those at any time, with no prior dance experience.
Do I need to pre-book?
For our weekly classes and socials, we take card/contactless payments on the door. Our special events can be booked in advance.
Do I have to start at the beginning of a monthly block?
No, all of our classes are run on a drop-in basis, so you can come along any time, and you don’t have to pre-book a full block.
Wednesday classes do have a monthly block structure to aid learning – the classes will follow on from each other each week, allowing you to build on the concepts learnt at the previous classes. If you are a complete beginner or are making the jump from beginner to intermediate for the first time, you'll find it easier to come along at the start of a block, but we'll usually briefly recap the previous week at the start of the subsequent lesson.
Our other classes are entirely self-contained and do not run in four week blocks – come along any time!
Can under 18s join in?
We're a small voluntary group which isn't set up to provide safeguarding for children, so unfortunately people under 18 years old can't dance at our classes and events. From time to time we have family orientated events where kids supervised by a parent or guardian are welcome in the venue, but not for social dancing.
Do you run classes over the holidays?
Yes, our classes run all year round, including some Bank Holidays, except for a couple of weeks’ break at Christmas. Keep an eye on the website or Facebook for more details.
Do you teach air steps/aerials?
Not in our weekly lessons, but we run occasional workshops where we get professionals to teach air steps in a safe way, so keep a look out for those. Note that we don't permit air steps on the social dance floor unless it's in a jam circle or part of a performance or competition, where people nearby can stay out of the way of flying feet.
Why don’t you teach such-and-such?
We try to teach a wide range of material at our classes to keep you interested, while still concentrating on improving the basics and technique. However, if there is something you feel we’re missing, or you’d prefer it if we did things a different way, then please do contact us and let us know. We love to hear your feedback and we are always looking for ways to improve our classes for you.