I know when I was first introduced to swing dancing, I looked at the people on the dance floor and thought “wow, I could never do that.” A lot of people feel this way, but it’s not true! Anyone can learn to swing dance, and it’s as easy as showing up to your first dance and getting started with a free introductory lesson. Before you know it, you’ll not only be dancing but you’ll also be meeting new people, getting some exercise, and part of an amazing international community of dancers.
Here’s some ways to get started:
1. Go to a Dance!
Almost all dances have beginner lessons before the social dance begins. These lessons are often well-attended not only by beginners, but also by people who have been dancing for some time. The lesson will teach you the basic moves you need to get out on the dance floor your very first night. You don’t need to bring a partner – a big part of swing dancing culture is rotating partners for every dance. Before the lesson is even over, you’ll have met many of the people you’ll be dancing with all night.
Check out the calendar and venue websites on the front page to find upcoming dances and up to date information about what’s going in in Pittsburgh right now!
2. Take a Series of Lessons
If you decide you like swing dance (which we hope you do!) and want to learn more, you can take a series of lessons, usually to 4-6 weeks, that will focus on specific skills and moves to improve your technique. You still get to rotate partners and meet new people, and you will get more feedback from the instructors. Lesson series are offered for a variety of different skill levels, and are available at several venues in the Pittsburgh area.
Some places that frequently offer lesson series in Pittsburgh are Coal Country Traditions, Swing City, and the Pittsburgh Dance Center. You can also click here to see announcements about upcoming lessons all over Pittsburgh.
3. Exchanges and Workshop Weekends
Workshop weekends are held all over the world and are usually made-up of people that have been dancing for a while and have a good handle on the basics. They are usually taught by instructors that travel all over the country. It is usually an entire weekend of workshops and social dancing focusing on one or two areas of dance but they focus on many different aspects of that particular dance. Workshops are often tracked into different levels and dancers of any level can vastly improve their dancing in a short period of time.
4. Private Lessons
Private lessons are a great way to get individualized attention and feedback. Any level dancer can benefit from a private lesson, but they are often most helpful after you have a good handle on the basics and have already taken a few lesson series or workshops. Get in touch with the instructors at local dances or lesson series to find out who offers private lessons.
But mostly, go out, don’t be afraid to ask people to dance, and have a good time!