Welcome! Great that you are interested in learning swing dance with us… Let’s get you started!
Which swing dance styles can I learn?
We currently teach regular classes in Lindy Hop and Solo Jazz.
What can I expect from your dance school?
The Swing Era has a large community of welcoming, friendly dancers across all ages and from all over the world. Our teachers will make you feel welcome and you can learn at your own pace; the most important thing is having a great time, dancing to beautiful vintage music and meeting new people. We run regular classes, occasional weekend workshops and different unique events throughout the year. We are passionate about live music, and have 3 bands which regularly play at events.
What does Lindy Hop look like?
What is Lindy Hop?
Lindy Hop originates from Harlem, New York City. It was danced first in the famous Savoy Ballroom by African American dancers in 1928, and was danced throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Lindy Hop evolved from different dances, including jazz, tap, breakaway and 1920s Charleston. It used elements from African American dances and European partnered dance.
We have structured our 6 week courses so they are inspired by the rich history of swing dance and swing music. Each course is dedicated to a historically significant dancer or musician.
Which Lindy Hop classes can I start?
We run 6-week Courses in Moseley (Thursday nights) and drop-in classes in Bournville (Tuesday nights).
What is Shag?
Shag is one of the authentic swing dance styles, danced to faster music. Shag is a lot of fun, expressive and a great and accessible way to dance to fast music. Many years ago, the Shag was born on the beaches of South Carolina. Quick and smooth, the dance rose in popularity among young people in the 1940s as they stepped and twirled to “beach music.” For beginners, the rhythm might sound familiar. The basic steps for the Shag follow the “one-and-two, three-and-four, five-six” pattern. To put it very simply, it’s a lot of stepping forward and backward in those counts, switching your weight between your right and left side throughout.
We’re currently not running any shag classes, but please check out this video to see what it’s like!
Solo Jazz is basically dancing to the same kinds of tunes partnered swing dances are danced to, but on your own! In class you’ll learn anything from classic moves and routines which are known the world over, and also how to put these together in your own way so you can improvise to pretty much any music you like!
Which Solo Jazz classes can I start?
We run regular solo jazz and routines workshops. See our events page.
We’re currently running a high level all female jazz group taught by Suzanne Grubham. Get in touch to find out more at [email protected]
More questions answered…
Who dances lindy hop?
At The Swing Era we pride ourselves to being welcoming and inclusive to everyone. No matter what your gender, background, religion, sexuality, or age (18+) is, you are welcome to join our community of friendly dancers. All our staff and volunteers adhere to our Code of Conduct and are trained to make everyone feel safe and welcome. If you have any specific concerns or questions about inclusivity or whether this might be the dance for you, you can always contact us beforehand.
Leaders & Followers – what is that?
Lindy Hop is a partner dance with a Lead and a Follow. As a Lead you will learn how to lead and communicate the dance moves when you are dancing with your partner. As a Follow you will learn how to be responsive to your Leads communication and how to add styling to your dance moves. Traditionally guys lead the girls, but in the contemporary swing dancing scenes across the world the dance is NON GENDER SPECIFIC. This means that you can choose whether you want to start as a leads or follows, or dance both roles as you progress! Just make your mind up which you want to do before you register for a course.
Do I need a dance partner?
The best way to improve your social dancing and to meet new people is to dance with lots of different people! That’s why we rotate leads and follows around the class regularly so everyone gets a chance to dance with everyone else.
However, teaming up as a balanced Lead/Follow couple (non gender specific) will really help you to access all different classes and workshops, since often we have a limited number of single tickets available. Connect with other students.
What sort of dancing shoes shall I wear?
Please wear flat indoor shoes that will not damage the dance floors (we don’t want to damage the floors with black soles or grit of the street). When choosing shoes, think above all: comfort. Soles that don’t have too much grip on them are best, but there’s no hard set rule. If you want to splash out, some people go for dance shoes that have suede or hard leather on the bottom.
What clothes should I wear?
Again, aim for comfort. No rules for this either, but best wear something you can move freely in. Please avoid wearing big arm bracelets or watches that will get caught in the dance.
What should I bring?
Swing dancing can be quite a workout, you’re likely to sweat. Since Lindy Hop is a partner dance it is important to be mindful of your personal hygiene: bring deodorant, a towel and an extra shirt or dress.
I have an injury or disability. What shall I do?
It’s important that you let your dance teachers know of any injuries or disabilities that might affect your safety in class before you start class. We will also ask you to fill in a form to gather this information, which includes a disclaimer. Be aware that Lindy hop is not like other partner dancers, it’s a lot more energetic and requires a certain level of fitness. It’s more sporty than other styles. If you are unsure whether this is something for you, please contact us beforehand.
Will any photos or videos be taken during the classes or events?
Yes, we love making photos and videos of the events we run for marketing purposes (to show other people what a great dance lindy hop is!), and to be able to give our dancers something to remember the event. Generally we don’t take any photos or videos during our regular classes, but this might happen on occassion. If you are uncomfortable with having a photo or video taken of you during a class, you can always discuss this with our team on that day
What do students think?
‘Had such a fabulous time. The teachers were incredible and broke everything down perfectly. They were welcoming and patient and created such a lovely atmosphere.’
(student July 2019)
I had 2 left feet and never danced before but have broken those barriers down and it has become the highlight of my week! I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I do!’
(student July 2018)