Frequently Asked Questions
If you're reading this page, odds are that you're one of two types of people; you either know and love Swing Dancing and want do know where you can do more of it, or you had a friend that's told you that you should try Swing Dancing and you thought you'd use Google to find out more about what it's all about.
This page is for the second group; the people with lots of questions that they want answered before they decide if they wish to give Swing Dancing a go. Hopefully these will help answer some the questions you may have.
What is Swing Dancing?
Swing Dancing is a style of dancing that developed with Swing style Jazz music in the United States of America during the 1920s and '30s. There are several different types of Swing Dancing, including; Charleston, Lindy Hop, Balboa and Shag.
Some swing dancing can be slow and relaxed, where as other styles can be energetic with couples kicking their legs and leaping into the air.
The only requirement for Swing Dancing is to put your tongue into your cheek and to have fun.
What should I wear?
Comfortable clothing that doesn't restrict your movement.
Swing dancing can raise a bit of a sweat, so make sure that you wear a sport-grade antiperspirant and clothing that allows you to be cool and comfortable.
We recommend that men wear trousers rather than Jeans.
Ladies can wear trousers or a dress or skirt, so long as you are able to stick your knees out.
We recommend not wearing jeans as they often restict movement and you will get hot and uncomfortable when dancing.
You should wear comfortable smooth-soled flat shoes that won't come off when you kick your foot in the air in front of you.
If you know you sweat a lot, we recommend bringing an extra shirt to change into once the class is done.
Do I need special shoes?
No. Some people that do Swing Dancing a lot may chose to invest in getting a pair of Swing Dancing shoes, however you do not need to get these when you are just starting out.
Many Swing Dancers end up getting special shoes for Swing Dancing at some point, but it's certainly not a requirement. If you are looking to get yourself a spiffy set of shoes for the dance floor, many Swing Dancers in Australia choose to get their shoes from dancestore.com.
In the mean time, choose flat, comfortable, closed-in shoes without too much grip and maybe a little slip so that you can twist and turn easily.
What else should I bring to class?
A bottle or water so that you can keep yourself hydrated
A sports towel
A hand-held fan so that you can cool yourself off while you're taking a break
How vigorous is Swing Dancing?
Swing Dancing can be as fast or slow as you like. Some swing dancing is slow, fluid movements, while other styles involve face-paced routines that will give you a cardio workout at the same time.
Charleston and Blues are considered to be the slower forms of Swing Dancing, while Balboa and Shag are much faster. Lindy Hop can be fast or slow, depending on the music.
Gotta Swing teachers make an effort to cater to all fitness levels, so that no one need feel like they're getting lost or left behind.
How fit do I have to be?
While Swing Dancing is a great way to get fit, Gotta Swing's Introduction Classes are low impact classes that are suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
What is the History of Swing Dancing?
Swing dancing almost died out as Rock'n Roll and Jive started to dominate the dance floors around the world.
During the 1990s there was a Swing Dancing Revival as vintage chic of the post-Great War era started to gain a following. The "Old Masters" of Swing Dancing were sought out and their moves and techniques have been passed on from Teacher to Teacher at Swing Dancing events all over the world.
Are there any films I can watch that feature Swing?
Yes! There are many films created in the 1940s that feature Swing Dancing. Some of the more famous clips are below.
YouTube is a treasure trove of Documentaries about Swing Dancing and the great teachers like Frankie Manning, whom helped revive the dance with modern audiences. YouTube also has an extensive amount of recordings from Swing Dancing championships, showcasing some of the best Swing Dancers in the world doing some incredible moves at top speed.
The most famous example of Swing Dancing is in film is the 1941 film, Hellzapoppin' (right). This is Swing Dancing at it's best!
Note: the dancers in this clip really are dancing this fast, the film has NOT been speed up during editing.
Twice Blessed (1945) features slower but still very impressive Swing Dancing moves that look like they belong in a Goofy cartoon.