Getting started with swing

Here’s all the info you need to start learning to swing dance with us

1. What is swing dancing?

2. Why learn with JazzMAD?

3. Learning options: course, workshop or taster?
 

4. What our customers say

5. First timer FAQs

what is swing dance?

Swing dancing is the popular partner dance from the 1930s and 1940s, that is experiencing a huge revival all around the world today. It’s called swing dancing because it’s done to swing music – big band jazz from the late 1920s through to the 1950s. The dance is energetic, joyful and fun – it’s the happiest dance on earth!  We teach the Lindy Hop – the original swing dance that was born in Harlem, New York in the 1930s. Your JazzMAD teachers will teach you all about the history of the dance, but read our blog post here if you’d like to know more now!

 

why jazzmad?

JazzMAD was founded by Sharon Davis, a world renowned and award-winning swing dancer. Sharon has been dancing swing for over 20 years and studied with some of the original creators and legends of the dance including Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Dawn Hampton, Jean Veloz, Sonny Allen, Sugar Sullivan and Mabel Lee.

We teach friendly and inspiring swing dance classes focussing on the original swing dance of the 1930s, the Lindy Hop. We seek to honour both the history of swing, as well its ever-changing landscape as a living, evolving dance.

 

We are a boutique dance school and our goal is to offer London’s highest quality swing dance lessons. We’re not the cheapest, because we focus on quality over quantity. We never compromise on our dance spaces – all our classes are held in professional quality dance studios and beautiful halls. Our world-class, internationally recognised teachers offer high level, focused learning.

And finally, we aim to create a learning environment that is warm and welcoming to all. Our classes are safe spaces and our lessons are always gender-neutral. We hope to dispel the myths surrounding who can be a dancer, because truly it is for everyone. We encourage and guide our students to find their own unique style in the dance and be themselves. We create good-vibe environments filled with happy music, happy dancing and happy people.

I will risk overdoing it, but I really must complement you on your style of teaching and the material you gave us newbies. It suited me down to the ground, and I feel it has given me the tools to start exploring and learning on my own. Thank you!
Lotta Andreasson

learning options

Beginners are in safe hands at JazzMAD! We’ve taught thousands of people to swing dance from scratch. Our teachers are experts at providing a safe, welcoming & fun environment to start your swing journey! You have three options for getting started with swing dance with us:

(Note: not all of these options have re-started yet, after the pandemic. If you don’t see any dates available to book yet for your chosen option, please check back again soon!)

Swing Beginners Course

Our intensive 12-week beginners course is the best way to start swing dancing. In 12 sessions you will learn all the fundmental footwork, classic dance moves & technique, plus learn about the history of the dance & music. You will learn both dance roles – leading and following.  The course comes with lots of bonus resources like videos and a course handbook. This is a progressive program, so you must book the full course. The cost is £185.

Best for: people that like intensive learning and can commit to 12 weeks for a comprehensive introduction to the dance.

Learn more

Intro to Lindy Hop Workshop

Ideal if you’d like to spend a single afternoon doing a deep dive into swing dance! Our 3-hour workshops are for absolute beginners to learn to dance from scratch, no experience or partner needed. People with two left feet very welcome! You need to choose to learn either the Leader or Follower role for this workshop.  The cost is £45 and we recommend booking.

Best for: something to do on a weekend.  People who want a thorough introduction but can’t commit to the 12-week course. 

Coming soon

Taster Class

Alternatively, you can get started with a drop-in class or taster. These short drop-in classes are a great option if you need flexibility or want to try a few classes before you commit to a course. Drop-in classes are less technical, focused more on learning-by-doing and getting you on the dancefloor having fun as quickly as possible. Keep your eye out – sometimes we even offer a free taster class as part of an event.

Best for: flexibility. If you’re not sure if swing dancing is for you (or dragging along a friend who you know will love it if they try it).  

Coming soon

I took the 12-week beginners’ course and was lucky enough to be taught by Sharon, Nancy and Cat, all of whom have different styles and strengths. This made for a diverse and really interesting course, and each instructor was clearly thoroughly prepped for our class. Highly recommended!

Daisy Coole

frequently asked questions

Q: What should I wear and bring to my first class?

A: Just wear comfortable clothes that allow for unrestricted movement. Jeans and a t-shirt (or anything similar) is perfect.  Swing dancers usually wear flat, closed shoes with leather or suede soles – but street shoes like trainers will be absolutely fine. No high heels or any shoes that will scratch or mark the dancefloor. We love talking about shoes, so feel free to ask your teacher for the lowdown on the best shoes for swing dancing. Bring a bottle of water.

Q: Can I drop-in to the Swing Beginners course?

No, the course is a progressive 12-week program. You must sign up for the whole course. But if you can’t commit to the course, you can attend a Beginners workshop, drop-in classes or taster instead. With those you can start anytime, take them in any order, and come along whenever you can make it.

Q: Can I come to the first class of the course to decide if I want to take the whole course?

Sorry no, there is limited capacity so you will need to book the full course to attend. So if you’re not sure the course is right for you, try a workshop, taster or drop-in class first and book the course when you are feeling ready.

Q: Can I pay for the course in instalments?

Yes, if you are unable to pay the course fee in full, then email info@jazzmad.co.uk to arrange a payment plan of three instalments instead.

Q: What if I have to miss a week of the course?

Don’t worry! If you miss a class, you will still get the practice videos from that week, which you can use to catchup. The teacher will also help you catch up in the next class if you need help.

Q: I can’t make the first class of the course! Is it ok to start from week 2?

Yes, no problem! Register for the course online, and just show up to Week 2. We will get you up to speed, as in Week 2 we revise everything we did in Week 1 before moving on. You’ll also get sent videos of what we learned in Week 1. 

Q: Why should I take the 12-week course, instead of a workshop, drop-in class or taster?

Workshops & drop-in classes are wonderful because they are cheap, flexible and fun. But by their nature you will not learn as much nor as quickly as you will in our 12-week course. The course is a progressive, structured and intensive program. You’ll meet the same students in class every week, which is a great way to make friends, but also means we can make the material progressive and move through it faster. In the course we also send you a weekly email with supporting videos and other resources, plus you get a course handbook with lots of helpful information, and there’s a mid-course presentation on swing dance history too. So the course has a lot of extra value packed into it!