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Frequently Asked Questions

What is swing dancing?

Swing dancing is a group of dances that were developed along-side the swing style of jazz music from the 1920s onwards. The most common and well-known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, which originated in Harlem. The majority of swing dances originated in African American communities, although others such as Balboa originated in Anglo-American communities.

Do I need any previous dance experience?

Not at all! Our classes are geared for those that have little-or-no dance experience. Many of our members have never had any dance training before, and this is their first experience. Although the majority of the class is geared for those with no dance experience, we offer extra tips and tricks for those who are more comfortable with dance so that they will learn as well.

Do I need to bring a partner to lessons?

No partner is required for any of our lessons. Although we always welcome you bringing new people out to the lessons, we change partners often throughout the class so that you have a chance to dance with everybody. Swing dancing is a very social form of dance, and we actively promote this both in lessons and during social dancing.

What should I wear to lessons?

Proper footwear is essential for making the learning process easier and to prevent any injuries while dancing. We recommend hard leather-soled shoes or running shoes with a bit of slide to them. Swing dancing involves a fair amount of sliding and swivels, and proper footwear will reduce the risk of any joint injuries.

For clothing, we recommend something that you are comfortable in. Jeans and a t-shirt are perfectly acceptable for both genders. Skirts or dresses with shorts underneath is also an option.

How much do lessons cost?

You have two options for lessons:

  1. Drop-in
  2. Membership

The drop-in option costs $10 per lesson; workshops and special events are dependent upon the event. For this option, you pay for your lesson each time you show up to a lesson.

The membership is your best option to save you money and get the most from your UMSwing experience. Membership costs vary each semester, but usually cost around $70 per 8 week course. The membership covers all of your lessons, gives you discounts on merchandise and special events, and makes you eligible for swing dancing subsidizing when offered. We also grant all members the ability and option to both run for an executive position and vote in our elections. The membership will save you over 65% off lesson costs over the semester, and still saves you money even if you only attend one day of lessons per semester. We offer a grace period for purchasing the membership, so if you're not completely sure about swing dancing, you can pay for drop-in lessons for two weeks and have your payments count towards your membership fees.

We accept cash or cheque for class payments. At this time we do not take debit or credit cards.

What should I expect on my first day?

The first day of lessons is both exciting and hectic. Since we have so many people registering on the first day, we recommend showing up at least 10-15 minutes early for registration. Once registered, we will ask you to read over and sign our release waiver, and then we will ask you if you are interested in purchasing a membership. Expect to meet a lot of new people and to have a great time!