FAQ's - All your questions answered.

Read some of the FAQ's for information on: what to wear, when to start, partners, moves, routines, social dancing, beginners class, practice, line dances, what is salsa, westcoast, merengue, bachata, cha cha, dancercise, lindy hop etc and dance etiquette.  If you can't find an answer to your question please contact us for more information.
Contents

Do I need a partner?
How long will it take to learn to dance?
Do you do the same moves each week?
Can I come on my own?
What do I wear?
Can I start anytime or only at the beginning of the month?

What should I expect at the first social dance?

Will I get asked to dance during the social dance?

Are there groups who go to social dances on weekends?

How long should I stay in the beginners class?

Can I practice at home?

Why do you also do line dances?

Dance Etiquette

Where can I buy dance shoes?

Where can I buy a petticoat?

What is rock n roll?

What is Westcoast?

What is cha cha?

What is salsa?


Do I need a partner?

No partners are needed as all classes are progressive, which means you dance a few moves with one person, then move onto the next person and so on.  Progressive lessons also mean you get to dance with everyone in the class so you quickly get to know everyone.  You will also find that dancing with lots of other people helps you learn faster as many intermediate dancers join in the beginners classes to help out and as a warm up.


How long will it take me to learn to dance?


As rock and roll is one of the easiest forms of dance to learn, once you have mastered your basic footwork you can get out on the dance floor and have fun even if you only know a couple of basic moves.  Most people find it takes a few months to get the hang of the basic moves. Even after many years of dancing you can still be learning new moves, which is why dancing is an excellent exercise for your brain and memory as well as for fitness.


Do you do the same moves each week?


A different routine is taught each month.  The first class starts off with a few easy moves, and each week more moves  are added on, so you reinforce the first moves you learnt. At the start of the month the routine is shorter and easier and gets longer and harder by the end of the month. At the end of the month a sheet is handed out listing the routine you have learnt to help you remember it.


Can I come on my own?


Yes, many people come on their own and find that the dance classes are a safe and friendly place for singles, especially single ladies.  After your first class you will know many of the other student as you will have danced with them a couple of time during the lesson and everyone is very friendly.  You will find more experienced dancers are happy to ask a beginner to dance during the social to help them learn as everyone remembers what it was like to first learn to dance. If you are uncomfortable walking out to your car at night there will always be someone who will happily walk you out.


What do I wear?


As dancing is very physical you will find you get hot, so wear short sleeves and light clothing.  Flat (or a low heel) comfortable shoes are recommended, preferably shoes with smooth leather soles that don't grip the floor. Black and white saddle shoes, canvas sneakers and suede soled shoes are also very popular.  Ladies, please avoid high heel stilletos, they can be dancergous on a crowded floor.


If you are attending a big social dance, many ladies wear circle skirts with petticoats and 50's - 60's fashions, (see image below) but many other ladies wear normal dresses or pants, what ever you feel comfortable in.  Guys can wear jeans and t shirts or dress up if they feel like it.  But please keep your attire respectful.  As ladies will be spinning around short dresses and g-strings are not a good look on the dance floor. Thongs and slip on shoes are not suitable to dance in.  Please be mindful that you are dancing in close contact with others so remember the deodorant, and breath mints.  Some people bring a hand towel and change of shirt along.


Can I start anytime or only at the beginning of the month?


Most classes do the same routine for a month, with the beginning of the month at a slower easier pace, but the moves are repeated each week and added to until the full routine is danced at the end of the month.  As each move is taught each week you can start at any time.  You do not have to commit to coming each week, although when you first start to learn it is best to come every week for the first month or 2 until you get the hang of the basics.


What should I expect at the first social dance?


Large dances are held each weekend around Melbourne and are attended by around 200 or more people.  It can be daunting the first time to be surrounded by a dance floor full of people dancing, but remember, every one of them started off just like you.  Ask someone to dance, maybe someone from dance class or a complete stranger, and get on the floor and have fun, even if you can only remember 2 moves.  The more you dance the better you will get and its great fun.  Most people will accept a dance from a complete stranger and its ok for ladies to ask men to dance. 

Every dance has a progressive cha cha where everyone gets to dance with everyone there so you get to say hello to everyone.  Join in even if you don’t know the dance as you will soon learn it and other dancers will help you.  Several line dances are also held and these are great to get your feet moving in time to the music.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the dance, just join in, preferably in the middle and follow the person in front.  By the end of the song you will probably have mastered most of the steps.

You don’t need to dress up but wear layers as you will get hot.  Some ladies wear 50’s and 60’s dresses and petticoats but many just wear normal clothes.  Try to avoid high heels as they can do damage if you accidentally step on someone whilst dancing.  High heels can also affect your balance as you'll be turning and spinning around so flat shoes, or low heels, are recommended.  Arrange to meet some other class members there at a certain time if you are nervous about going alone.  At each dance there will be a few tables reserved for dance students so make sure you book and ask to be seated with others from the class you attend.

So make the effort and get along to your first social dance and join in the fun.  Put your name down on a booking sheet and turn up and know you’ll be sitting on a table with at least a few familiar faces.  After a few dances you will get to know people there and be more comfortable asking for a dance.


Will I get asked to dance during the social dance?


After each class there are a couple of hours of social dancing.  This is the best time to practice what you have just learnt in the class and to get to know the other students.  Many students sit and chat and catch up with the friends they have made between dances, while others dance until they are worn out.  It is expected that students will go and ask other students for a dance and if you are asked for a dance it is polite to accept and have a dance for 1 or 2 songs. It's is ok for ladies to ask a guy for a dance as well as guys asking the ladies.  It's also ok to ask more experienced dancers to help you with a move after the lesson.  At each social after the dance class the teacher will call for a progressive dance where everyone dances a routine then moves on to the next partner.  When the song finishes you can then dance for a song with whoever you were with.  This way the beginners often get to dance with the more experienced dancers, and those who are a bit too shy to ask for a dance will get to have a few dances.  If you don't know the progressive dance it won't take long to learn it as others will help you along whilst you are moving around the circle so please join in.


Are there groups who go to social dances on weekends?


Yes there are many students who go along in groups to Adrian's social dances that are held each weekend all over Melbourne.  There are several students who book tables for groups from the dance classes, so ask around to find out who is going.  You can also ring Sophy on 0402402913 to book for a dance and ask to be seated on a table with Adrian's dance students so you will know some familiar faces.  Every social dance also has a progressive cha cha where you can say hello to everyone there. See the social dances tab for details of dances held in Essendon, Burwood, Wantirna and Bundoora.


How long should I stay in the beginners class?


Once you have mastered the basic footwork and are confident in your lead or follow skills you can then try the intermediate class.  Many students do both the beginners and the intermediate class each week.  If you go each week you should expect to be able to move up to the intermediate class after a few month of dancing.  Beginners should be able to join in the social dancing after a few weeks.  And remember the more you dance and the more you practice the quicker you'll learn.


Can I practice at home?


Yes!  The best way to master your basic footwork is to practice it at home between classes until your feet get the hang of "one, two, backstep".  You can practice with or without music until you have mastered your "backstep".


Why do you also do line dances?


Line dancing is great to develop timing, balance and practice some moves. Dancers learn to listen to the music and move in time to the beat as well as master some basic steps, all without a partner. For some people they are easier to learn and less intimidating as you don't have to deal with holding on to a stranger at the same time. At most rock and roll dances there are usually several line dances so it's good to learn some in class so you can join in with the rest of the crowd. If you are single it gives you an chance to dance whenever you want to.



 

Dance Etiquette


As dancing is a social activity and you may often be dancing with people you don't know very well, here are some pointers on dance etiquette for you to think about.


  • When things go wrong on the dance floor always apologize. Generally it does not matter who is at fault.
  • If you are sick stay home.  If you need to cough or sneeze do so into your arm, not your hand.  Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer, throughout the evening.
  • If you accidentally kick or bump someone while dancing, always apologize.
  • If the dance floor is crowded, dance in your own space and try to avoid big kicks and bumping into other dancers. 
  • If you are engaged in a conversation move off the dance floor.
  • To cross the room either dance across the floor or walk around the perimeter
  • Carry food and beverages around the perimeter. Wipe up your own spills. Drinks spilt on a dance floor are dangerous.
  • While dancing, do not give dance tips unless asked. If asked, just give tips about what you were asked about. When engaged in giving a lengthy tip, or if you stop dancing to discuss it, move off the dance floor.
  • When asking for a dance, notice what the person is doing before you ask them. Be wary of interrupting conversations.
  • Ask politely, "Would you like to dance?" Avoid grabbing a partner and pulling them onto the dance floor.
  • One or two dances at a time is the norm within our dance community. Should you want another dance with your partner, ask them first. Consider asking them if they want to dance at a later time.
  • It is very acceptable for ladies to ask gentlemen to dance. Most gentlemen are flattered by the offer.
  • You can politely turn down a request to dance by saying something like "No, thank you. I'm sitting this one out." or "I'd be happy to dance with you later. I just need to rest now." If you turn down a request to dance, to be polite, it is important that you not dance at all during the dance in question. An exception to this would occur when you have promised a dance to someone else. Then you can politely explain your situation to the requester at hand.
  • Try to follow the Golden Rule: treat others as you wish to be treated.
  • Smile.
  • Make eye contact, however do not stare down your partner. If this is difficult for you, one trick some people use is looking at their partner's shoulder or their earlobe. This confirms that you are paying attention, yet you are not staring.
  • Focus on your partner. Your job is to make the person you are dancing with look good. For leads this means being conscientious of your partner's skill and adjusting your lead to the situation. For follows this means avoiding back-leading or other actions that make the lead feel "unimportant." For both leads and follows, if you stay aware and adaptive of your partner's feelings, you will be a popular dancer.
  • Thank your partner after each dance.
  • It is not necessary to apologize to your partner if a particular move is not executed perfectly. The point is not to have a perfect dance, but to have fun. However, if your mistake may have physically hurt your partner, please apologize and make sure they are okay.
  • Dancing is a social thing, therefore talking while dancing is okay and not considered bad etiquette. Moreover, not talking while dancing is not considered bad etiquette either. Do what makes you feel comfortable.
  • Don't be stinky! You will be dancing in close quarters with a lot of new people. You may want to chew gum or bring breath mints. Some dancers avoid eating certain foods (garlic or onions, for example) on dance days. Remember to wear deodorant.
  • Avoid wearing spike heels.
  • If you’ve brought along food and drink to a dance, please place your rubbish in the bin before leaving.
  • Remember how you felt at your first dance and try to make newcomers feel welcome.
  • If you unintentionally touch or graze someone’s private areas apologize.


Where can I buy dance shoes?


If you would like to purchase dance shoes please ask around at class as there are several specific dance shoe specialists.  Adrian has a range of shoes available.  Rock and roll dances and festivals often have stall holders selling shoes and clothing. 


Or check out some of the following;

Bop Jonnys  -  www.bopjonnys.com.au

Georgeous Gear  -  www.gorgeousgear.com.au

Durrant Shoes  -  www.durrantdance.com.au

Bloch  -  www.bloch.com.au

Manhattan Shoes -  www.manhattanshoes.net


Where can I buy a petticoat?


Adrian has a selection on petticoats available for sale.  Please ask him at dance class, or at a social dance, or sms for colours and prices.  They are also available at rock n roll festivals.


What is rock n roll?


A trip back to the dance halls of the 1950's, with petticoats and ponytails, blue suede shoes, hot rods, and greased up hair are a common sight at the rock n roll dances held today. A night full of great rock music and dance floors filled with people enjoying rock n roll dancing. During the development of the musical genre "rock n roll" in the 1950's, dances to go with the music were also created, a free style of dancing with lots of improvisation.  Rock and Roll of the 1950s became popular with teenagers, much to the dismay of the parents, and it soon gained a 'bad boy' image that gave rise to Teddy Boys in Britain. Rock and Roll was thought to be both the result and the cause of youthful rebellion against the nation's social problems at the time.  No wonder it became so popular!  Rock and Roll dancing emerged in America from the Swing dance Lindy Hop. It became popular after interest in the dance style was aroused from the success of the film 'Rock around the Clock' in 1956.  A 1959 dance book describes "Rock 'n' Roll" as  "...a dance which leaves much scope for personal expression and interpretation in style, movement, rhythm, and even in the manner in which the figures are constructed."  An easy 6 beat footwork and a lead and follow format, allows complete strangers to dance together without having to remember sequences or patterns. Rock n roll is one of the easiest forms of dance to learn and be able to enjoy socially and can be danced to lots of music, not just 50's style.  Kicks and acrobatic elements such as lifts, throws, jumps and flips, are all characteristic of Rock and Roll dancing.


What is Westcoast?


Westcoast is a very smooth and easy dance to learn, a type of modern jive / ceroc dance style that can be danced to most music from top 40 hits, to big band swing music, and everything in between, as well as rock n roll.  Its a great dance to know when the music isn't right for rock n roll and once you learn it you can use all your rock n roll moves to dance westcoast.  There is some confusion with this and West Coast Swing which is a lindy hop derivative. Adrian started teaching this style about 30 years ago as Westcoast Swing, long before modern jive and ceroc were developed, or West Coast Swing was introduced. It was a variation of the Hustle which was huge in the 70's after Saturday Night Fever. The name was changed after American West Coast Swing became more well known in Australia in the late 90's and the confusion started, so its now called "Westcoast".  As Adrian says it was called Westcoast  " because it was similar to a movement most people make when they have had too many Westcoast Coolers, which were popular at the time. "


What is cha cha?

The cha-cha-chá, or simply cha-cha, is a dance of Cuban origin. It is danced to the music of the same name introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrin in the early 1950s. This rhythm was developed from the danzón-mambo. The name of the dance is  derived from the shuffling sound of the dancers' feet. A progressive cha cha is danced at all the rock and roll dances, and there are many songs played at rock n roll dances that you can dance either rock n roll or cha cha to.

What is Lindy Hop?

The Lindy hop is an American dance that evolved in Harlem, New York City, in the 1920s and 1930s and originally evolved with the jazz music of that time. It was very popular during the Swing era of the late 1930s and early 1940s.  Lindy was a fusion of many dances that preceded it or were popular during its development but is mainly based on jazz, tap, breakaway, and Charleston. It is frequently described as a jazz dance and is a member of the swing dance family.

What is Salsa?


The name salsa (meaning mixture) has been described as a dance since the mid-1970s. The use of the term for the dance started in New York. It evolved from earlier Cuban dance forms such as Cha cha cha and Mambo which were popular in the Caribbean, Latin America and the Latino communities in New York since the 1940s. Salsa, like most music genres has gone through a lot of variation through the years and incorporated elements of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean dances such as Guaguanco and Pachanga. Different countries of the Caribbean and Latin America have distinct salsa styles of their own, such as Cuban, Colombian, Puerto Rican, L.A. and New York styles.