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Learning to dance is fundamentally about learning how to move your body to music and interacting with another human being in partner dancing. Many dancers find it helpful to take classes to build their understanding of the dance as well as their vocabulary.

Class curriculum changes coming in July!

We believe that learning to dance should be fun and challenging and address the unique goals of each dancer. So we are doing away with our old “leveled” tracks in favor of classes catering to learning goals.

Four months of our Beginners Track will remain for those new to swing or new to a dance role. After that, you may choose either our Social Dancers Track focused on building vocabulary, dancing well, and mastering transitions, or our Technical Track where we dive deeply into drilling and mastering simple movements. The Elective Track and Balboa Track will remain for Balboa and other special topics which will have their own pre-requisites. There may be some overlap with material you have learned before, but we hope this new curriculum will broaden your pool of partners and bring a wider perspective to this amazing dance!

Our class syllabus is organized into a Beginners track, a Social Dancers track, a Technical track, an Elective track, and a Balboa track.

BEGINNERS TRACK

The Beginners Track answers the question: “What is Swing Dance?”

Come learn the Lindy Hop! This grandfather of all swing dances is fun, creative, and addicting. Progressive material over the course of the month will get you up and dancing at our weekly parties in no time.

PRE-REQUISITES: No partner required, just bring comfy shoes and your enthusiasm!

FORMAT: There are four months of distinct curriculum mixing 8ct/6ct, 8ct/charleston, 6ct/8ct, and 6ct/charleston. The first rhythm refers to the main focus of instruction, while the second might only be taught in “shapes” rather than a deep dive.

  • Beginning Swing A: 8-count & 6-count
  • Beginning Swing B: 8-count & Charleston
  • Beginning Swing C: 6-count & Charleston
  • Beginning Swing D: 6-count & 8-count

SOCIAL DANCERS TRACK

The Social Dancers Track is a place where dancers with the basic idea of swing dancing come and learn a wide breadth of vocabulary, social dance skills, and perspectives on what constitutes an active, challenged, ever-curious community of dancers who respect each others’ journeys and their own.

These lessons are meant to be taken over and over by (a) providing a bare minimum of required material each month which is customized by instructors through “add-on material”, and (b) offering four months of completely custom content according to each teaching pair’s idea of what is essential to a social dancer.

PRE-REQUISITES: Beginners’ Track or equivalent experience.

FORMAT: Two “vocabulary” months with a minimum of required material will be followed by one “open” month of completely custom material, giving students 8 vocabulary months and 4 open months each year.

Social Dancers - A Dance is Like a Story

In this class, we'll use the narrative as a lens for considering what moves, techniques, and ideas each partner can employ, separately and together, to craft a satisfying dance. What can we do to reflect the music's narrative structure in our dancing? What "characters" can we invent? Do both partners always need to "agree"? How does the history of our dance affect the stories we tell through our dancing? Expect plenty of concrete material such as: jockeying/advanced jockeying, lindy circle (6/8 ct), zippers, funky connections, doing different things together, leading and following comfortably, history/context.

PRE-REQUISITES: All 4 months of Beginners Track or equivalent experience. No partner required, just bring comfy shoes and your enthusiasm!

Social Dancers - Kick It With Us

Build or hone your Charleston skills with these fundamental moves: side-by-side basic step, kick-thru Charleston, hand-to-hand Charleston, Charleston turns, kick-up's. Plus, bonus Charleston material hand-picked by our instructors!

PRE-REQUISITES: All 4 months of Beginners Track or equivalent experience. No partner required, just bring comfy shoes and your enthusiasm!

Social Dancers - Sweet Moves

Take the train to Candyland for sugar pushes and 6-count circles that will delight your senses. We will play with conceptions of stretch and compression and quick turnarounds with custom move selections by our instructors!

PRE-REQUISITES: All 4 months of Beginners Track or equivalent experience. No partner required, just bring comfy shoes and your enthusiasm!

TECHNICAL TRACK

The Technical Track is designed for students who want to dwell into the nitty gritty details of the dance: partnership, connection, stretch, flow, momentum, micro and macro musicality, the utility of the footwork and its intricacies, the importance of movement. Students must be open to learning “advanced” concepts.

PRE-REQUISITES: Beginners Track or equivalent experience.

FORMAT: Class topics are all teachers’ choice.

Technical - Dynamic Connection / Stretch and Compression

Come add a new dimension to your dancing and connection; tension and compression. From gooey to springy, this additional technique will produce giggle-inducing swingouts, allow you to savor your 7&8, and grant you delicious sugar pushes.

PRE-REQUISITES: All 4 months of Beginners Track or equivalent experience. No partner required, just bring comfy shoes and your enthusiasm!

Technical - Get Nerdy With Duration

In this class we'll dig into duration, exploring how we can follow and lead common moves in new relationships to time. We'll focus on clear communication of rhythm and intent, and make our dancing more musical in the process.

PRE-REQUISITES: All 4 months of Beginners Track or equivalent experience. No partner required, just bring comfy shoes and your enthusiasm!

Technical - How to Choreo

Choreographing your own routines teaches you to access your creativity and collaborate with the creative visions of your teammates. Our instructors come with tips and tricks and exercises to put your dreams into practice. Come set a goal to perform in our Annual 30-Second Showcase or just come to learn new skills. All levels welcome!

PRE-REQUISITES: All 4 months of Beginners Track or equivalent experience. No partner required, just bring comfy shoes and your enthusiasm!

ELECTIVE TRACK

The elective category includes class topics that do not quite fit into the other levels such as solo Jazz, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, tap, classic routines (shim-sham, Tranky Doo, the Big Apple), blues… The pre-requisites for a class series vary by topic.

Elective focuses on developing other aspects of a dancer’s knowledge, to make one a more round dancer. Personal body movement through solo Jazz and tap, learning other swing area dances, learning choreography.

Elective - Al & Leon Shim Sham (solo jazz)

The most famous version of the Shim Sham was widely taught by the Ambassador of Swing himself, Frankie Manning. But there are many variations of this popular routine that will stretch your creativity and technical skill! Best of all, it can be done without a partner, and to the same songs as other shim shams, so there are plenty of opportunities to practice on the social dance floor! This month, we'll be decoding the Al Minns and Leon James Shim Sham.

PRE-REQUISITES: Having completed 4 months of Level 1. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - Balboa & Beyond

Want to make your balboa even more shuffley, flowy, and musical? We've spent all year building up our fundamentals, so now let's see what we can do with them! We'll be covering higher-level technique, moves, variations, as well as classic combinations. Get ready to be challenged and have fun!

PRE-REQUISITES: Completion of Balboa Level 1 & Balboa Level 2 at least once. Should know & feel comfortable with: uphold, down hold, come around, ad-libs, toss outs, lollies, swivels. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - Balboa Basics

Originating in the Balboa Peninsula of Orange County, the Balboa combines intricate footwork with smooth body movement, to create a dynamic and fast-paced dance that is fun to watch but even more fun to do! Great for beginners or if you have taken Balboa Fundamentals. This series class will add on basic vocabulary to your Pure Balboa and Bal-Swing foundations.

PRE-REQUISITES: 3 months of Level 1 and/or Balboa Fundamentals. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - Balboa foundations: Out n In's Inside and Out

Come learn balboa, or refine your fundamentals in this foundations class that will go through basic rhythms, patterns and connection. We will cover the primary basic steps in balboa, with a particular emphasis on linear bal-swing movements, out and in's, crossovers, and promenade. Come learn the art of walking with a partner, with style!

PRE-REQUISITES: None. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - Balboa Fundamentals

Originating in the Balboa Peninsula of Orange County, the Balboa combines intricate footwork with smooth body movement, to create a dynamic and fast-paced dance that is fun to watch but even more fun to do! For everyone who wants to learn – or revisit – Balboa fundamentals, this four week series will get you up to speed with basic vocabulary and connection techniques, and get you out on the floor dancing Balboa socially. We'll be covering the basic Balboa rhythm and core Pure Balboa and Bal-Swing figures.

PRE-REQUISITES: 3 months of Level 1 and/or previous Balboa experience recommended. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - Balboa Growth

Ready to twist? This class will harness the rotational basics of Balboa Plus to send energy out and back and around in all sorts of creative moves!

PRE-REQUISITES: Balboa Plus or equivalent mastery. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes.

Elective - Balboa Plus

Originating in the Balboa Peninsula of Orange County, Balboa combines intricate footwork with smooth body movement, to create a dynamic and fast-paced dance that is fun to watch but even more fun to do. In this 4-week Beginner/Intermediate series, we’ll explore the rotational energy of Balboa and Bal-Swing, adding some new vocabulary focused on Lollies and toss-outs to really get you spinning!

PRE-REQUISITES: Beginners are welcome, but some prior experience with Balboa and Bal-Swing will be helpful. (If you took our "Balboa Crash Course" series and are ready for more, this class is for you!) No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes.

Elective - Balboa Transitions

Starting to feel solid on your Bal basics, but still intimidated by the idea of dancing a whole song (or night!) of Balboa? Fear not! We will show you some smooth transitions to incorporate Bal into your Lindy and Charleston, and vice versa.

PRE-REQUISITES: Students must know and be able to demonstrate up & down hold basics, come around, toss outs, lollies, and swivels (recommended completion of WNH Balboa Levels 1 & 2 at least once). No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - Balboa: Out and In variations and extensions

End your year with a few new tricks, learn new variations both independent and partnered that will stretch your experience with out and ins.  We will cover classic out and in variations along with some of our favorite ways to play with one of the most fundamental movements in Bal Swing.

PRE-REQUISITES: Beg-int Balboa, comfortable with out and ins and crossovers. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - Body Movin'

Like a spoken word poet or hip hop rapper, the true beauty and skill of improvised solo jazz comes not from staid, neutral steps, but from your own, unique FLOW that allows you to choose from a variety of movements at any given moment. This class will encourage you to think about your momentum, body shape, and natural movement to hone your skills as an improvisational solo jazz artist.

PRE-REQUISITES: Minimum completion of 3 months of Level 1. No partner required, just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - California Flight School (PARTNER REQUIRED)

Prepare to soar! Fly with us and learn classic and dynamic airsteps such the Pancake and Lindy Flip. The class progresses from basic concepts of basing and flying, with an emphasis on safety and fun. These are the aerials for the California Routine, so this series integrates seamlessly with the Level 3 California Routine performance class; take both series to learn the ultimate Routine!

Note for those who took the Flight Academy classes last summer: this course will cover different aerials.

PRE-REQUISITES: Partner required, as you'll be working as a team together for the full series. Any combination of guys and gals are fine. Clothing should be comfortable, with no large buckles or other hard objects; bases and flyers should both wear level sole shoes (no heels please). We'll cover more details in the first class. No dance experience needed, but a sense of adventure required:) See you on the tarmac!

Elective - Dean Collins shim-sham (solo jazz)

Want to level up your shim sham? Learn this slidey, smooth, syncopated version by that old-time So-Cal dancer, Dean Collins. You will not only learn a new version to rock on the dance floor, but also investigate variations that you can add independently to your own movement, whether social or solo.

PRE-REQUISITES: Familiarity with the "basic" shim-sham routine and/or experience with solo jazz movement recommended.

Elective - Expand Your Solo Jazz Universe

In this class we'll experiment with many different approaches to solo dancing. We'll think in rhythms, explore contrasting shapes, draw on the power of dancing with others, and lots more.

PRE-REQUISITES: Some partnered swing dance experience preferred. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - First Stops (routine)

Ready, set, THROWDOWN! The First Stops routine (which showed off both partnered and solo dynamism) was used by original Savoy dancers to wow onlookers in competitions and jam circles. This fast-paced choreography is full of rhythmic challenges we'll add to your social dance vocabulary, and by the end of the month you'll know this classic routine forward and back!

PRE-REQUISITES: 8-count and 6-count basics, swingout, inside/outside turns, understanding of stretch, compression, relaxed connection, pulse.

Elective - Fluid Movement

Swing dance can be powerful and explosive, or sharp and defined, but by far the most felicitous connection comes from smoothing the edges of your movement until there's little boundary between you and me, follow and lead, your ideas and my ideas. Come and work on creating a solid foundation of movement that will both improve your most basic triple-step and also give you the body awareness to build complex rhythms and patterns of your own.

PRE-REQUISITES: 8-count and 6-count basics, swingout, inside/outside turns, understanding of stretch, compression, relaxed connection, pulse.

Elective - Introduction to Air Steps

Flight Academy, class of 2015! Time to soar from the deck and fly high! In this elective series, you'll be trained from the ground up to be pilots and flyers with super fun, flashy, and safe lifts and aerials for swing or other dances. We'll build from solid fundamentals to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable. Top Gun ain't got nothin' on you all after this series, get ready for some action!

PRE-REQUISITES: Partner required, as you'll be working as a team together for the whole series! Any combination of guys and gals are fine. Clothing should be comfortable, with no large buckles or other hard objects; bases and flyers should both wear level sole shoes (no heels please). No dance experience needed, but a sense of adventure required:) See you on the tarmac!

Elective - Introduction to St. Louis Shag

St. Louis Shag is a rhythmic, high energy swing-era dance that has been rapidly gaining devotees in the modern, global swing dance scene. Originating from the rebellious youth of St. Louis in the 1930’s, it is characterized by a bouncy pulse and quick triple steps. This class will introduce the fundamental technique and shapes of St. Louis Shag, as well as ways to incorporate these movements into other partner dances. Learn more about the history of St. Louis Shag here.

PRE-REQUISITES: Some partnered swing dance experience preferred. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - Jam Steals

Learn to steal like Bonnie and Clyde! This month, Richard and Margot will show you some fun and flashy moves to break into your next steal jam -- burlap bag and stripey tee not required.

PRE-REQUISITES: This series is for intermediate level dancers and above; you'll need to be able to dance a variety of standard 6 & 8 count patterns in both Lindy and Charleston to get the most out of this class. No partner required, just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - Jazz Up your Partnered Basics

They say you must learn to play by yourself before you play with others, so how do you make that jump to partnered playtime? This class will teach you new solo jazz moves for every level of learner and also how to execute them in slick partnered moves. Adding jazz roots to your movement will make any partnered dance more fun, authentic, and playful!

PRE-REQUISITES: Having completed 3 months of Level 2. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes.

Elective - Solo Jazz Basics

Balance, rhythm, shapes, and technique! Solo jazz is a great way to groove with your friends in circle, entertain yourself to the max without a partner, and even incorporate into your social dance variations for extra flair. Learn the skills necessary to jam it out wherever you are, whoever you are with!

PRE-REQUISITES: None. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - The Hard Stuff: an intermediate/advanced Balboa workshop

For experienced Balboa dancers only! This class will challenge you to keep your balance, your speed, and your form with fun figures and new ideas. Come prepared!

PRE-REQUISITES: 3-6 months of Balboa instruction or at least 9 months of continuous Balboa social dancing.

Elective - The Shim Sham (solo jazz)

Everybody SHIM SHAM! More popularly known as the tap dancer's anthem, swing dance ambassador, Frankie Manning, is well known for instilling a non-tap version in the lindy hop community. Play a proper song in any dance venue in the world, and you'll see dancers of all levels break apart to perform this iconic solo routine.  We'll cover the ENTIRE ROUTINE in one fun, intensive session.

PRE-REQUISITES: Having completed 3 months of Level 1. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - The Tranky Doo (solo jazz)

"The dipsy doodle is the thing to beware
The dipsy doodle will get in your hair
And if it gets you, it couldn't be worse
The things you say will come out in reverse
Like 'You love I and me love you!'
That's the way the dipsy doodle works."

If you've ever heard this song and wished you could join the rush to do this wacky dance, now is the time! Join us as we break the Tranky Doo down, learn the technique behind the moves, and perform it every time the DJ plays it during the dance!

PRE-REQUISITES: Having completed 3 months of Level 1. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - The Trickeration (solo jazz)

Not just a jazz move, the "Trickeration" solo jazz routine is rhythmically challenging and exciting. The Queen of Swing, Norma Miller, used it to audition candidates for her professional jazz troupe, the Jazz Men, and separate the wheat from the chaff. Come learn a routine that will inspire your musical understanding and quality of movement.

PRE-REQUISITES: Basic solo jazz (like the shim-sham).

Elective - Vintage Movement

Celebrate African-American history this month by taking a dive into the vintage dance scene of the early 1900's. Our expert panel of instructors will teach a new dance each week to help you understand the origins and siblings of Lindy Hop at the start of the Jazz Age, including Blues, Charleston, and Solo Jazz.

PRE-REQUISITES: This series is for intermediate level dancers and above; you'll need to be able to dance a variety of standard 6 & 8 count patterns in both Lindy and Charleston to get the most out of this class. No partner required, just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Elective - We Cats Will Swing For You (solo jazz, int. level)

We Cats Will Swing:
You've learned the Shim Sham, and maybe even the Tranky Doo or Big Apple, and you want more! Solo jazz movement is a great way to learn rhythm and musicality, to train your body's reflexes, and teach yourself how to hold on to choreography. We have put together a special routine for intermediate+ dancers that can be busted out whenever you hear this special song played. Come out and learn this fun performance piece choreographed by Cari, Hannah, and Lori!

PRE-REQUISITES: One month of solo jazz experience.

BALBOA TRACK

Balboa A1 - Balboa Foundations: Pure Bal

Starting with the chest to chest pure balboa foundation, we'll show you the moves and techniques that make balboa a unique and fun swing dance! We'll cover pure bal, ad lib steps, lollies, out and ins and more! Come learn the dance that California gave to the swing era! Attendance required for advancement to Balboa A2 class series.

PRE-REQUISITES: 3 months of Level 1 and/or previous Balboa experience recommended. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Balboa A2 - Pure Bal Improvisations

Pure Balboa is a sweetheart swing dance that focuses on an incredibly subtle closed connection and intricate footwork. This course builds on the Balboa A1 beginner class by adding more rhythms and connective tissue for new variations that will allow you to add improvisational flair to your dances!

PRE-REQUISITES: Balboa A1 – Balboa Foundations: Pure Bal class series. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Balboa B1 - Bal-Swing Fundamentals

Learn how the rotational energy of Balboa and Bal-Swing can propel you into the classic moves of the era, including lollies and toss-outs.

PRE-REQUISITES: None. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Balboa B2 - Bal-Swing Comes Back Around

Ready to twist? This class will utilize your rotational fundamentals to harness energy between partners and send you back and forth and around again!

PRE-REQUISITES: Bal-Swing Fundamentals, OR must be competent in up-holds, down-holds, ad-lib steps, lollies, tossouts. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Balboa C1 - Out N In Fundamentals

Come learn balboa, or refine your fundamentals in this foundations class that will go through basic rhythms, patterns and connection. We will cover the primary basic steps in balboa, with a particular emphasis on linear bal-swing movements, out and in's, crossovers, and promenade. Come learn the art of walking with a partner, with style!

PRE-REQUISITES: None. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

Balboa C2 - In N Out Secret Menu

In Balboa, the secret menu is where you can really customize what you want from your dance. Using the solid out 'n in fundamentals from the previous class, you will learn to mix in more complexity to your patterns and explore creativity to the music.

PRE-REQUISITES: Balboa C1 or must be comfortable with a pure balboa basic, out n ins, lolly kicks. No partner required; just bring your enthusiasm and comfortable clothes!

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