Lindy Hop lessons for beginners in London. Learn to swing dance from scratch with classes & workshops for adults. Dance, laugh, make friends, get fit & have fun! Here is everything you need to know about getting started with swing.
What is swing dancing?
Swing dancing is an umbrella term for the family of partnered dances that had their heyday in the 1930s & 1940s. Swing dancing is experiencing a huge revival all around the world today. It’s called “swing dancing” because it’s done to swing music (swinging jazz – also called Big Band Jazz) dating from the late 1920s to 1950s, but also played live by many wonderful jazz bands today.
The most popular swing dance is the Lindy Hop – the original swing dance that was born in Harlem, New York. Lindy is energetic, joyful and fun – it’s the happiest dance on earth! You might have also heard it called The Jitterbug. Want to know more? Watch the video below to see some original Lindy Hop inspiration, or click here to read our article about the history of Lindy Hop.
Hi, I’m Sharon!
Come take a dance lesson with me in London! My name is Sharon Davis and I have been dancing and teaching swing & jazz dances for over 20 years now.
I had the great fortune to study with some of the original creators and legends of the dance including Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Dawn Hampton, Jean Veloz, Sonny Allen, Sugar Sullivan, Ray Phelps and Mabel Lee.
Sadly most of this generation have now passed on, so it’s my greatest joy to share the knowledge & beautiful spirit I learned from them and pass it on to you.
So let me show you the happiest dance on earth! Join me for a lesson and I will teach you my personal swing dance system.
It’s based around a foundation of four pillars:
- Courageous movement
- Compassionate connection
- Historical appreciation
- Musical intelligence
I love to teach and I carefully plan my classes to fast track your dance learning and give you the best possible technique. But, as the late great Frankie Manning used to say, “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!” So I make sure my classes are full of fun, chat and giggles too. My goal is to leave you thoroughly addicted to swing!
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!
Throughout the year we run beginners-level learning in a few different formats. Look for any session in our schedule labelled “Level 1 Beginners”. Choose the format that’s right for you: drop-in classes, a workshop, a short course or a 1:1 private lesson.
The fastest way to get started with swing is by attending a drop-in beginner class. These short 1-hour lessons are a great option if you want a taster, if you need flexibility or if you want to try a few classes before you commit to a workshop or course.
No partner needed. No experience needed.
You will learn just one dance role (leader or follower) in a drop-in class.
Attendance: With drop-ins you can start any time. You don’t need to attend the classes in any particular order, and it doesn’t matter if you miss a week or attend irregularly.
Booking: You can book online, or walk in and pay at the door.
- trying out something new with no commitment
- dragging along a friend you know will love it if they try it
Ideal if you’d like to spend a single afternoon or evening doing a deep dive into swing dance. Our workshops last 2-4 hours depending on the topic, and price varies accordingly.
Our beginners workshops are for absolute beginners to learn to dance from scratch, no experience or partner needed. People with two left feet very welcome!
Booking is required.
In workshops you must choose to learn just one dance role – either the Leader or Follower role.
- something to do on a weekend
- people who want a thorough introduction but can’t commit to a regular weeknight or a course
Take a short course for a more intensive programme to learn swing dancing.
In a course you will be learning with the same group of people, so material can be taught progressively.
In our beginner courses you will learn the fundamental footwork, classic dance moves & technique, plus learn about the history of the dance & music.
Our beginner courses are unique for a number of reasons:
- Learn Sharon Davis’s unique swing dance system. This course is the culmination of Sharon’s 20 years of experience, studying with the legends & masters, and dancing all over the world teaching and sharing her passion. This course has a carefully planned curriculum designed to fast track your dance learning, while giving you the best possible foundations.
- Unique to this course, you will learn both roles of the dance – how to be the leader and the follower! Later you might choose to specialise in just one role, as many dancers do, but having fundamentals in both will make you the best possible dancer. You will rotate partners in class, dancing with both men and women – a great way to make friends. This course is gender neutral. Old school dance for new school people!
- Extra long 90 minute classes mean you get tonnes of material and plenty of practice time in class.
This is a progressive program, so you must book the full course. Booking is required.
- people that like intensive learning and can commit to the full length of a course
- people interested in technical details and building a really strong foundation for their dance practice
Private lessons can be the fastest, most effective way to learn to swing dance from scratch. Get expert private tuition at a time that suits you. This can be a private 1:1 lesson for an individual or a couple, or you can book a private class for your group.
To find out more about booking a private lesson click here.
Why learn with JazzMAD?
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, atmospheric bars and beautiful halls. Our world-class teachers offer high level, focused learning.
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.
Some of the best teaching in town. Always challenging and fun, Sharon gives great personalized advice which helps you improve your dancing. I have been to many JazzMad workshops and definitely recommend them!
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
Simply the most comprehensive swing course available. Some day, all swing courses will use Sharon’s methods.
– Richard Hills
The teachers are awesome, bring good vibes, professionalism and fun. Thanks so much.
– Lauren Browne
Excellent thoughtful instruction from a dedicated and passionate teacher, you won’t find better!
– Leah Frenette
The Swing Out Clinic with Sharon Davis was awesome! Every point that was covered was done in a very inclusive and engaging manner and the notes that Sharon shared with us (which included some homework, by the way) were very comprehensive and useful. I am looking forward to trying out all the great things that I learnt on the day!
– Arun Sagar
JazzMAD took my dancing to a whole new level. I just completed a 12-week beginners course, where I learned both the leader AND follower roles. It is making me a MUCH better dancer. Plus, the teachers bring an endless amount of natural energy, enthusiasm and true love of swing dancing. (Nancy, you and Sharon are amazing and I love you both SO MUCH!!) Definitely signing up for the Improvers course! I can hand-on-heart recommend JazzMAD to anyone who wants to learn from the basics to those wanting more advanced moves!
– David Scales
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!
frequently asked questions
Q: Are there any prerequisites for your Beginner level classes?
- No dance experience is needed, our Beginners (Level 1) is for absolute beginners
- No partner needed, you will be rotating partners in class.
- Our classes are gender neutral and we encourage all our students to try both dance roles. So please only attend if you are happy to partner with every other student in class. This means you might be dancing with men, women, in between and beyond! Old school dance for new school people, cool?
- This is an adult dance class, all attendees must be 18+
- Swing dancing is a physical pursuit and classes may at times involve rigorous activity. A good level of basic fitness and range of movement is needed. If in doubt please consult your GP before participating.
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 a single class of a course?
No, the courses are a progressive program. You must sign up for the whole course. But if you can’t commit to the course, you can attend a workshop or drop-in class instead. With workshops and drop-ins you can start anytime, take them in any order, and come along whenever you can make it.
Q: Can I pay in instalments?
Yes, if you are unable to pay a course fee in full, then email email@example.com to arrange a payment plan instead.
Q: What if I have to miss a week of the course?
Don’t panic! If you miss one class in a course, the teacher will help you catch up in the next class, no problem.
If you have to miss more than 2 sessions of a course though, please contact us to see what is the best course of action.
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 pop us an email to let us know that you will be missing the first class.
Q: Why should I take a course, instead of a workshop or drop-in class?
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 courses.
A 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 the material can be progressive and we can move through it faster. The time between each class lets the material sink in, so that each week you arrive to learn more, you have properly absorbed last week’s material.
In a course you will be taught more detailed technique and theory, hear more about the history of the dance… all things we don’t always have time for drop-in classes. Many of our courses also include supporting videos and take-home resources to enrich your learning experience.
If you have the time to devote to a course, this is the number 1 best way to learn!
Q: Can I come to the first class of a 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 or drop-in class first and book the course when you are feeling ready.