Here are some things it’s helpful to know before your first dance class. You can also check out our What is Swing? page for additional information.
A style of Jazz music that originated in Black American cultural spaces in the 1920s and 1930s with small groups of musicians in New Orleans and the Big Bands of the Harlem Ballrooms, and other American cities. It is characterized by a swinging or syncopated rhythm. Dances that are performed to this music are called Swing dances, after the music. Lindy hop is the original partnered Swing dance, and many dances have evolved out of it, as the music has changed, and as the dances have moved around to different geographic regions and picked up different influences. Jitterbug, Jive, Rock & Roll, Boogie Woogie, West Coast Swing are all off-shoots of Lindy hop. At Rhythm City, we are devoted to Lindy hop and related Vintage Jazz dances, such as group solo dances that were performed socially at ballrooms in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, and continue to be studied and danced today, worldwide.
The member of a partnered dance who determines the moves danced at any given time. The lead initiates the momentum, direction, and flow of the movement of the dance.
The member of a partnered dance who waits for the direction of the lead, and then executes the move or movement that has been led. The follow dances the moves determined by the lead, but may do so in their own particular way, using their own style and flair.
What happens in most dance classes, where leads and follows change partners every few times we try a move, so that every follow dances with every lead. This is the best way to improve your connection (lead and follow) skills, as you learn a lot from how different partners lead or follow, and how different partners respond to your execution of a move.
We usually advocate rotating in our beginner classes, because it is a helpful learning tool, and because it helps to establish and nurture a community of positive students sharing in a group learning environment. Our priority is a community of Swing dancers who mix, mingle, and participate in a joyful dance scene. However, due to health and safety concerns you may prefer to remain with only one or two partners throughout a class and/or dance. You can indicate your preference when you register and/or at class.
For questions about levels, history of the dance, what to wear, and what music to get, see our What is Swing? page.
Rhythm City Swing dance classes resumed in Spring 2022! Read our welcome message and health and safety class policy, then check the schedule and register below.
Beginning Swing Lessons are designed to get you out on the dance floor and having fun immediately. The Thursday Swing 1 class is followed by the weekly swing dance, Rhythm City Strut. It's free for Swing 1 and 2 students! Each series is 5 weeks of 1 hr classes. Subscribe to our youtube channel for practice/review/recap videos.
- $75 / $80 at the door
- $125 for two people or Swing 1 & 2 for one person online/ $130 at the door
- $40 in advance to repeat the series (Swing 1 only)
- $40 limited subsidized access available for low incomes
- All prices include GST
- Mask-wearing is recommended, though not required, so please be considerate of others’ decision to mask or not, and be prepared to put on a mask as a courtesy to your dance partner if they request it.
See also First time taking dance lessons? tab above for lots more useful info, including class rotation policy.
Intro to Swing
Get started in the wonderful world of swing dancing! There’s nothing like moving in rhythm with a partner. If you’ve always wanted to try but were afraid you’d have two left feet, these are the classes for you. Super basic and easy-going, learn to dance in a friendly, supportive environment. Meet new people, get moving, improve your co-ordination, and have a lot of fun! We start with an introduction to partner dance technique and 8-count swing dance basic steps, and we put them together so you can enjoy the dance and the music with any partner! No partner required to register or attend.
You’ve never danced Lindy hop before! Maybe never danced with a partner. These classes are about getting comfortable with the basics of the dance: rhythm, partnering, simple patterns, and understanding their connection with the Swing music that they were developed alongside.
Join this class for absolute beginner material, as well as for a refresher of these basics.
- Thursdays 8-9pm at St Michaels Hall, 2474 Prince Edward Street
You feel moderately confident in the basic steps and partnering skill of Lindy hop, and now you want more. More moves and more of the groove and musical connection that make Lindy hop so exciting and magical. We review the material from Swing 1 and toss in a lot more next level material. This series is intended to be taken multiple times to experience a broad range of Swing dance essentials such as:
- 6-count basics and how they can mix with 8-count in social dancing
- Charleston steps and variations
- Confidence dancing to a wider range of tempos
- Swing outs and variations
- More moves and mixing all the material into your social dancing
- Lead and follow technique: listening to your partner
- Improvisation and expression: don’t just do the steps – dance!
Pre-requisite: Swing 1 or equivalent. You should be comfortable with the 8-count basic and a few moves using that basic.
- Thursdays 6:45-7:45pm at St Michaels Hall, 2474 Prince Edward Street