Start Swing Dancing With A Community Lesson

Like many people who’ve learned to dance in New Orleans, I got my first lindy hop lesson in a darkly lit bar in one of those “hipster” places in the Marigny neighborhood, surrounded by strangers. I was hesitant to give up the comfort of my drink to join in, but everyone looked like they were having so much fun! So I set my drink down, got a quick lesson, and when the live music started that night after the lesson and I saw everyone dancing – I was hooked. And now here I am.   

That’s an example of a community lesson. Typically, the lesson is done for tips at a bar or other venue where there’s about to be a live band or other music to start using what you just learned. It’s an opportunity to make new friends, sample the wide world of swing dance, and (with a little consistency on your part) get you a comfortable trying some basics while the music plays.

What Will I Learn At A Community Lesson?

Community Lessons aren’t meant to teach you advanced concepts, tricky techniques, or flashy styling. With only half an hour or an hour of class, you’ll likely learn some six count basics, eight count footwork, basic Charleston, and maybe a few turns. If those phrases don’t mean anything to you then you’ll be in good company. Most people taking a community lesson have never done any swing dancing before and are just looking for the fundamentals to get started. 

I don’t mean to say you can’t learn a lot at a community lesson. You can take your dancing pretty far just knowing the basic steps and getting comfortable with a partner. But more advanced concepts will take some dedicated lesson time and plenty of social dancing to master. 

What Should I Bring To A Community Lesson? 

You don’t need to bring anything with you, not even a partner. Just make sure to wear something comfortable that you can move around in and some shoes that will stay put on your feet. You’re also going to need some money to tip the instructors, get a drink (it doesn’t need to be alcoholic, but you’ll need some refreshment), and tip the band if there’s live music. The hard-working people of New Orleans live off tips, so make sure you show your appreciation and support them for their hard work to make your evening something special.

Who Teaches The Community Lesson?

Crescent City Swing teaches many of the community lessons, but there are no shortage of talented dancers and teachers in New Orleans. Our recommendation? Try a few and find the lesson that works with your schedule, as well as has a teacher that you connect with. But remember that variety is the spice of life, and getting a lot of perspectives on the basics can be really helpful.

Where Can I Find One?

Not sure exactly where to start? You can always check our resources page, as well as follow Swing Dancers of NOLA to see a list of common community lessons. But for starters:

I've Taken Plenty Of Community Lessons And I'm Hooked. What Do I Do Now?

Well done! Starting is the hardest part. If you're serious about having a good time, keep going to your community lessons and enjoying our live, local music. But if you want to get more serious about your learning, Crescent City Swing is here for you. Take a look at our course offerings and consider getting a pass to try Lindy Hop I or Charleston I. There's a lot to learn out there.

Community lessons are a great way to get started dancing. Nothing beats the fun and adventure of meeting new people and making friends while you start something new. If you've been waiting, give it a shot. There are so many opportunities here to jump in. We hope to see you there!