The Dances we Teach

 Ballroom

Emphasis is on social, not competitive, dancing. My usual strategy is to give you just

the author dances with her partner

Swing is just one of many dances we teach

enough of each dance to make it around the floor before going back to learn more steps for each one. That way, you can go out and practice as soon as possible without having to sit out the dances you have yet to learn. Click these links to find out more about each ballroom dance we teach:

Swing

Lindy hop, the original swing dance, is a complex partner jazz dance, very innovative and playful. East Coast Swing (Jitterbug) is a very simplified version of Lindy for people who want to start with an easy dance. West Coast Swing is another complex musically oriented dance, like Lindy, but with a slick, sophisticated style, usually danced to rhythm and blues. Click here to learn more some Swing variations.

Country Western

Like Ballroom and Cajun, several dances are included in the same event. In fact, Country Western is similar to ballroom. There is a line of direction (Two Step and Waltz travel counter clockwise around the floor) for some dances, while others are danced in one location on the floor. Two Step, the main dance, is similar to foxtrot, but with the complex arm figures of swing. The waltz resembles a cross of Viennese Waltz and Swing. Over the years, Country Western versions of Cha-Cha, West Coast Swing, Night Club Two Step and others have been added to the mix. In addition to these partner dances, line dances (choreographed routines that repeat themselves) and partner line dance (specific routine with a partner) are usually announced by the DJ and added in as well.

Contemporary

Salsa is a very popular fast latin dance. Salsa is relatively easy to learn as a basic dance, but evolves into one of the most challenging dances. Unlike Ballroom and Country, when you goe salsa dancing, you spend the evening mostly dancing Salsa. An occasional Rumba, Meringue, or Cha-Cha may come up, but you won’t sit out many dances if Salsa is all you know. Click here to learn more about Salsa. Night Club Two Step was created to solve the problem of a ballroom type dance in a nightclub situation where there is no line of direction. Because of it’s romantic, waltz like feeling, it’s a popular first dance for weddings. It’s usually danced to slow rhythm and blues. Freestyle (just moving to music, not touching your partner), is what most people do at parties and clubs. There are no rules except staying on beat and moving with a lack of awkwardness. Even those are not hard and fast rules if you don’t care what you look like. You’re really just dancing with yourself despite the fact that another person is dancing in front of you. Freestlye lessons are for people who are self conscious about how they look on the dance floor or are bored with what they already know. Blues is a close, slow dance that can be very sensual or more formal depending on how you do it. It’s popular in the Lindy community, but if you have a partner you can do it anywhere. Somewhat challenging to lead, it’s extremely easy to follow and can be danced to the widest variety of music.

Cajun and Zydeco

In Louisiana, these are separate dances, danced in separate communities. In the Bay Area, however, they are merged into a mix of the two styles. The music is energetic and happy, and the crowd is friendly.

Like Ballroom, several dances are included in the same evening. There is a Cajun Waltz, Cajun Two Step, Cajun Jig, Zydeco Two step, and Blues.

In California, the Zydeco Two Step and the Cajun Jig are often combined into one dance. Many people also do East or West Coast Swing as well, and all of these dances are danced regardless of whether the music is Cajun or Zydeco.

While the Louisiana Zydeco is a complex and challenging dance, the California version is much simpler and relatively easy to learn. This is a great dance scene for beginners to hone some partner dance skills.