FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS SWING DANCING?
"Swing" is an umbrella term for a variety of different styles of dance that were created primarily by African American dancers for the jazz and big band music of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.
Some of the varieties of Swing include Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Shag, Balboa, Bal Swing, East Coast Swing, and West Coast Swing. As a whole, swing is known for its creative energy and playfulness.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR AND BRING?
For lessons, wear clothing that is comfortable to move in and shoes that have a slightly slippery sole. (Swing dancing is easier on your knees and joints when your feet can slide on the floor rather than stick to it). A bottle of water is also handy to have. And don’t forget $7 cash to get into the lesson.
For events, vintage styles are welcomed and encouraged, but the most important thing is that you wear what you'll be comfortable in. You can get more tips in the "How to Be a Good Swing Dance Attendee" section of our Safe Spaces policy.
WHAT ABOUT CANCELLATIONS?
Watch our Facebook page for cancellation information. We will post at least a half an hour before the lesson if we need to cancel due to weather.
Cancellation of events will be posted on our Facebook page at least an hour before the event. Refunds for previously purchased tickets will be decided on an event by event basis.
DO I NEED A PARTNER?
Nope, you do not need a partner to attend any of our lessons or events.
At our lessons everyone rotates partners regularly throughout the lesson. At events we encourage all our dancers, both leads and follows, to ask a lots of different people to dance.
However, if you're still afraid you won't have anyone to dance with, you can sign up to get a buddy for your first lesson.
DO I NEED PREVIOUS DANCE EXPERIENCE?
Nope! Unless otherwise stated in our event description, you don't need any prior dance knowledge.
Our lesson series start with the basic steps, and we provide "catch-up" instruction for anyone who has missed previous lessons in the series.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM A TOPEKA SWING DANCE LESSON?
We’ll start with a group warm up, then depending on your level of dance we’ll place you in a lesson that’s right for you, from absolute beginner to our intermediate level. In our hour-long lesson we’ll laugh a lot, challenge you with new material, and have a great time. Then we’ll come back together for announcements followed by a half an hour or so of DJ’ed music where you can practice, ask questions of the instructors, and social dance.
I'M STILL NERVOUS.
Swing dancing is so much fun, plus we’re a really friendly group! We’ll bring you into our community with open arms.
We know swing dancing can be challenging at first, but having fun is more important to us than "perfect dance steps" - and besides, we all started where you are now, as complete beginners.
It is so worth it. So come check us out! And if you’re feeling nervous about showing up alone, check out our Buddy Program.
DO I HAVE TO ROTATE PARTNERS, EVEN IF I CAME WITH SOMEONE?
Yes! Everyone rotates partners at our lessons. Dancing with lots of different people helps us learn from each other and become better dancers. It also gives us a chance to get to know other cool people and provides an inclusive community environment where everyone can participate, even if they didn't come with a partner.
The exceptions to rotating are if you are under 18 or have an injury that would inhibit you dancing safely with other partners. (Please speak privately to an instructor if this is the case.)
However, you should feel free to refuse a dance with any person for any reason. See our Safe Spaces policy for more information on how we keep our community safe.
WHAT CAN I DO IF SOMEONE MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE?
We encourage consent and instruct dancers to ask each other for a dance even during lesson rotation. You can always refuse a dance with anyone for any reason.
For other issues:
Talk to the person and ask them to stop that behavior.
Talk to a Topeka Swing Dance teacher, event organizer, or staff member.
Fill out an incident report.