Questions are a given in any learning setting, so you might as well start right here. We’ve gathered together some of the most frequently asked questions about ballroom dance lessons to help you out. Got others? No problem! Use our convenient feedback form and we’ll do our best to get you an answer.

Do I need a partner?

No, you don’t need a partner. In our group classes, some people come with partners and others don’t. People who need a partner tend to connect with other partnerless students quite naturally. Sometimes the classes end up perfectly matched, sometimes they don’t. If there are more of one gender, the instructors will take turns partnering with any members of the class that don’t have a partner.

Ladies who join the class together as friends sometimes want to partner with each other because of their friendship. We don’t recommend that unless one of them really wants to learn the man’s step. That’s because the lady who takes the man’s role won’t get a chance to learn what the lady’s steps really are, missing out on the main elements of the lesson and often getting confused and frustrated. It’s better to partner with an instructor even if you only have a partner for part of the class than to learn the wrong steps. Of course, if you wish to learn the steps of the other gender, you’re welcome to do so.

Do I have to start at the beginning of the program?

You may start at any time, as long as it’s the beginning of a new dance. You don’t have to wait for the full program to start again as you typically must with other community centre programs.

Our programs cycle through a set number of lessons and dances and then repeat. So rather than waiting until the end of a 12 week program, you can start at any point in the program. For example, if you miss the first 4 weeks, you just start on week 5, which is the beginning of a new dance, then continue through the next 11 lessons until you’ve finished all 12. This is one of the great benefits of the punch card system. You can even miss classes because of vacation, work or family issues and simply pick up the classes you missed the next time they cycle around.

The Level 3 program consists of several weeks for each dance, but the same structure applies. Start any time that a new dance begins. Check with your area coordinator to discuss if you’d like to get started.

Check the calendar to see what’s next on the schedule for your level and preferred facility.

What kind of shoes should I wear?

The answer depends a bit on the level of training you’re participating in.

Level 1 Classes

For the Level 1 program, street shoes are perfect. But you may find it challenging to use running shoes or sandals because you won’t be able to turn very easily in them. Crepe-style rubber soles may also present problems for the same reason. Normal dress shoes are best. Please do not wear shoes that could leave marks on the floor.

Level 2 Classes

For the Level 2 program, you can certainly wear street shoes, but you may find it easier to dance the new steps wearing actual dance shoes. These have a suede bottom so that they glide easily on the floor. This makes turns more comfortable, and they’re quieter as well. We’ll be happy to direct you to merchants where you can buy dance shoes. Just ask!

Level 3 Classes

The Level 3 class assumes that you have been dancing for a while, so you probably already own dance shoes. If you don’t, it would be a good idea to get a pair because these steps are more advanced and you’ll benefit greatly from the use of real dance shoes.

If you want to know where to buy dance shoes, ask your area coordinator or instructors. Just use our convenient online feedback form.

What clothes should I wear?

Wear whatever you’re comfortable in. We recommend that you wear something that makes you feel good. After all, you don’t want to be dancing while being self-conscious about something besides your dance steps! Be respectful of others by dressing appropriately for a class setting.

In the Level 2 and 3 classes, ladies will find that wearing dresses or skirts will help them (and the instructors) with proper technique in the use of leg actions.

Do you switch partners?

No. Some dance schools make a practice of asking partners to switch regularly throughout the class. We don’t, as this can be uncomfortable for couples. In one of the Level 1 classes we ask partners switch momentarily as a lead/follow exercise, but it only takes a few minutes and it’s a lot of fun! Except for that one instance, partners stay together for the duration of each class.

How long will it take to move to the next level?

We recommend that you stay at your current level until you’re comfortable with the steps. Since the program repeats, it’s easy to tell when you feel that you can do the steps competently enough. At that point, it’s time to move up to the next level. If you’re still trying to remember the steps you’re learning now, moving up will only add to your confusion and you’ll find it frustrating and discouraging. Many people repeat each level several times before moving to the next level. That’s normal, and it’s the best way to learn.

What if I don't know anything about dancing?

Perfect! Our Level 1 program is perfect for raw beginners; people who have never done any ballroom dancing at all. You’ll feel right at home! The classes are light, easy and fun, with laughs and an informal, friendly atmosphere that will make you feel comfortable.

Some people in the class might look to you as if they already know what they’re doing, but that’s only because they’ve taken the class before, maybe even several times. Don’t be intimidated! They were raw beginners once, just like you.

Will I have to perform or compete?

No! We don’t have any tests or demonstrations by students in our classes. Only the teachers demonstrate to show you how things should be done.

Of course, if competitions or medal tests are something you wish to do, talk to us and we’ll be happy to give you more information so you know how to proceed. Private lessons are vital if that’s your plan. But very, very few students have a desire to go that route. Most are in the classes just to learn for their own social enjoyment.

If you are interested in competition, talk to your instructors. Wendy and George have limited availability for Pro/Am competition, where a student competes while partnered with their professional instructor. It’s a lot of fun and absolutely the fastest way to grow your skills as a dancer.

Do I have to know about music?

Not at all! Just as you don’t have to be a mechanic to learn how to drive a car, you don’t have to be musical to learn how to dance. Having said that, partner dancing is about moving to music, so we do teach you how to count the beats in the music. For some people, it can take a bit of time to get comfortable with this, but you’re not alone. Most people struggle with this when they first learn how to dance.