Authentic jazz- and swing-era dancing in the Greater Vancouver area
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Also check out: detailed FAQ on different types of swing dancing, swing dance etiquette, and dancing at restaurants and bars.
Do I need to bring a partner?
Nope! Swing dancing is a social dance, we like to mix and dance with lots of different people. Some people have regular partners or friends they like to dance a lot with, some people dance a lot with everyone. Either way, feel free to come to a dance alone, with friends, or with a partner. If you’re coming alone, a great way to meet people is to take the drop-in lesson, even if you’re not new to dancing. We encourage everyone to rotate partners during the drop-in lesson, so you get a chance to meet people (plus it'll make you a better dancer!), but if you'd prefer not to rotate during the lesson, that's ok too.
What should I wear?
Wear something that you like and that’s comfortable to move in. Many dancers are into vintage fashion and enjoy dressing up for dances, but lots of people dress casually. In general, dance with a live band are dressier, but many people wear jeans & t shirts too.
Swing dancing is energetic, and chances are, you’re going to get sweaty. Bring a few extra shirts and change as soon as your shirt becomes noticeably damp. This isn't just for men - women often need to bring a change of clothes too. Consider wearing an undershirt to put an extra buffer between your sweat and your partner. Also: wear deodorant, bring mints or gum, and avoid strong perfume.
You'll most likely want to avoid backless dresses, strapless dresses, extra high heels/stilettos (or heels at all if you’re new to dancing – try a low-tread sneaker like Keds), shoes without straps to keep them from falling off your feet, and light colored clothing if you’re prone to sweating through your clothes.
Should I learn to lead or follow?
Whatever you want! All we ask is that whatever role you choose, you stick with that role for the duration of the lesson. Once the dance starts you can switch it up if you'd like!
Do you have a reduced rate for groups, students, or spectators?
The only reduced rate we offer is for groups of 10+ people. To take advantage of this rate, you'll need to email us a list of people ahead of time and arrive together. The group rate is $5 for Djed nights and $12 for band nights. If coming out dancing is putting a strain on your budget, consider volunteering for us!
I'm nervous about asking people to dance, declining dances, etc. Can you help?
We've got a whole page for you with info about how to ask someone to dance, how to politely decline a dance, what do do if someone's bothering you. We also have a Code of Conduct - please let us know if you think someone is violating it or you feel uncomfortable for any reason.
What is swing dance anyway?
AKA, what's the difference between East Coast & West Coast Swing? We help you navigate the minefield that is swing dance nomenclature here. Also check out this collection of our favourite swing videos!
What are some good songs for swing dance?
Where can I take lessons?
The VSS doesn't offer classes on a regular basis (except for the occasional Balboa class). For lessons in Vancouver, we recommend Rhythm City Productions. Other organizations offering classes & events can be found here.