A new dance style can be a bit daunting.

We have a few tips and tricks about our community and what is expected from you around footwear, appropriate behaviour and how to become the best dancer you can be.

Tips and tricks from Swing Riot Dunedin

1. Remember, you’re here to have fun!

Almost everyone will feel a bit nervous or apprehensive before their first dance class. That’s ok! After all, you’re trying something new. Remember that you’ve come to learn the basics – no one expects you to be a master of the dance after just a few lessons (except maybe you!). Our teachers know what it’s like to feel new in class and will take extra care to make you feel welcome.

2. Come prepared

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that you can jump and move around in. We recommend soft-soled shoes (non-marking) or a small dance heel (no stilettoes). You won’t be able to dance in sandals/jandals. Most dancers in our scene wear soft flat shoes (with little grip), or sand shoes. Make sure you look after your feet and choose shoes that have the right support for you.

Be aware of your personal hygiene. Partner dancing is a lot more fun when everyone uses deodorant! Dancing can be a hot business (we know) and it’s expected that most people will be a little sweaty – that’s fine. However, we ask that most people have a spare ‘just-in-case’ top – if you wouldn’t be happy dancing with someone in your state, then it’s time to change! Other tips include: wearing two layers, using a headband/scarf, using a towel.

3. Which role do I take? Lead or follow?

In most partner dances there are two roles: a leader and follower. In your first class, you'll be given the choice to take on one of these roles for that class. The leader is the person who offers direction and ideas, who chooses 'moves'. The follower takes that idea and makes it look awesome. You can choose whichever role you would like to learn, and a lot of dancers in our community dance both roles at different times.

4. Are there any rules I need to know about?

All of our rules are about creating a safe learning environment, based on kindness and respect for others. Everyone attending our classes and social events must abide by our code of conduct. You can talk to a teacher about this at any time. Let us know if you have any questions!

5. How do I become the dancer I was born to be?!

Practice, practice, practice! We try and offer practice opportunities throughout the blocks – so keep an eye out on our Facebook page. You’ll advance quicker if you also take some time at home to practise your triples and other footwork patterns.

As well as regular practice, try to get along to as many workshop weekends as possible. Swing events with weekend workshops happen all over the country – come and chat to us for more details. Our own swing festival is over Queen’s Birthday Weekend in June – this event will give you exposure to great out-of-town teachers and an intensive learning experience to super boost your dancing!

Private lessons can also be great for specific feedback on your own dancing to take you to the next level.

If you’ve still got questions, let us know! You can contact via the contact page of this website.