Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1) Do I need to bring a partner?
    You don't need to bring a partner for any of the classes. We rotate partners so the men dance with all the ladies and the ladies dance with all the men. If there is an unbalanced gender situation, then whichever group has more (ladies or men) simply has to take turns during the rotation. People are also welcome to learn the opposite part (for example, ladies can learn to lead or men can learn to follow).

2) What if I have a partner and I don't want to dance with anyone else?
    Don't fret. We won't force you to take part in the rotation system if you're not comfortable with it. However, we do encourage everyone to rotate because dancing with a diverse group of partners will develop your and your partner's dance skills more rapidly and more completely. It's also been our experience that people who rotate tend to get more enjoyment out of their dancing as a general rule.

3) What should I wear?
    We don't recommend that people buy clothing or shoes until they've gotton some experience with dance and have a better idea of what they want. In our classes, you won't need any special clothing, but we do recommend the following: (1) Wear clothes that are comfortable and are not restrictive to your movement (for example, long tight skirts are not recommended). (2) Wear shoes with flat soles (high heels are not recommended) that grip your ankle, so they don't fly off when you kick. (3) You also want light shoes without a lot of traction (hiking boots are bad), so you can spin with less strain on your knees. (4) For beginners, comfortable dress shoes (like loafters or wing tips) or light gym shoes are fine to start. (5) Its a class, not a social event, so you aren't obligated to dress up. Wear something that won't make you feel self-conscious. We also recommend that you be aware of hygiene (deodorant and toothpaste are your friends). If you tend to sweat a lot, consider bringing an extra shirt or towel and a bottle of water.

4) What's the difference between swing and lindy? What's balboa? Charleston? Collegiate shag?

    These are all swing-era (1920s, 30s and 40s) dances that are very closely related. They share many common fundamentals and can be mixed together fluidly by people who know more than one. Dancers during the swing era didn't necessarily categorize the different things they did, but we do now for the purposes of clarification.
    Charleston was an international dance craze in the 1920s that featured very rhythmic movements (from the African roots of the music and dance) involving lots of kicks.
    As traditional partner dances (waltz, foxtrot, etc.) exerted their influence, the partnering aspects combined with the rhythm of charleston to creat lindy hop, which then followed the trends in the development of American music to give rise to many other forms of American dance, including west coast swing, Carolina shag, east coast swing/jitterbug and even hustle. Lindy hop is the dance most commonly associated with big band music.
    At the same time lindy was evolving from charleston, the Balboa island area of Southern California was crazy about jazz music as well. But there was a problem. The dance halls in Southern California were so packed that there was little room to execute the breakaway steps that defined lindy hop. Also many of the ballrooms outlawed breakaways. Because of these factors, the dancers in that area created balboa, a dance that incorporates rhythms of charleston into a close partnering position much like the foxtrot.

5) Do I have to be a student?
    No!  UGA faculty and staff are welcome, as are members of the community!  Visitors from out-of-state are also welcome to join us!

6) How much does it cost?
    It's FREE due to a grant from Athens Swing Night!

7) What is the format?
    We plan to teach the basic steps, one standard move, and one 'cool' move every class period.  Classes move along in order to allow more advanced students to enjoy the lessons as well, but beginners should not feel out of place or lost!  We will teach three Lindy Hop lessons a month and one Charleston lesson a month.