We get lots of great questions that we’ve compiled below to introduce you to our dance scene!
Question: I’ve never danced before, is swing dancing easy?
Answer: Yes yes yes! We have excellent instructors that work with dancers of all levels. All that is required is a positive attitude and a willingness to learn….oh and being ready for a lot of fun!
Question: What is the dress code?
Answer: We recommend you wear comfortable clothing which allows you to move easily. Some of our patrons will wear dress pants or dresses, most opt for nice casual, and some wear jeans and a t-shirt. The club is air conditioned, however some patrons are known to bring an extra shirt or two if they perspire a lot with activity. We also highly recommend deodorant and to avoid strong perfumes in case someone has an allergy.
Question: What kind of shoes work best for swing dancing?
Answer: We recommend comfortable shoes that allow you to turn or spin. If you are new or joining us for the first time, you may want shoes that have a little bit of grip such as running or athletic shoes. Hard leather shoes, or shoes that are “chromed” or have suede soles work well. Sticky soles that stick to a hardwood floor or very high heeled shoes are generally not recommended for swing dancing. Flip flops, mules or clogs will be difficult for you and your partner unless there is a heel or ankle strap. Some older, more worn athletic shoes may be all right. You may also want to have some padding in your shoes if you plan to dance a lot.
Question: Do I need a dance partner?
Answer: No, we will rotate partners during lessons so everyone has an opportunity to participate. Lindy hop is a social dance and it is typical to dance with many different people, and not just your significant other or close friends.
Question: When are classes?
Answer: We have introductory 30 minute lessons and a 30 minute intermediate/advanced lesson every week on Thursdays. On special Saturdays, complimentary with dance admission. If you prefer more instruction, we have a monthly series consisting of four weeks of one hour lessons that starts the first Thursday of the month.
Question: Where are classes?
Answer: Thursdays HU can be found at the Polish National Home in Hartford. Occasionally, special Saturdays we can be found at the Circle of Life in East Hartford; check this website for more details on which Saturdays.
Question: What kind of music is swing music?
Answer: Swing dancing is based on American jazz music with a swing rhythm ranging from the 20s – current. Popular swing artists are Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and Chick Webb.
Question: What is swing dancing?
Answer: The swing dancing taught by Hartford Underground is based on American jazz and includes lindy hop, east coast swing, charleston, and balboa. We do sometimes play blues and soul music later in the dance, which are also based upon American jazz. For more details check here
Question: What is a “lead”?
Answer: Lead refers historically to the male dance partner, however we welcome either gender to learn this role. A lead anticipates and directs motion of the follow, allowing both partners to embellish and participate in the conversation of the dance.
Question: What is a “follow”?
Answer: Follow refers historically to the female dance partner, however we welcome either gender to learn this role. A follow dances more in the moment, responding to suggestions from the lead, while both partners are participating in the conversation of the dance.
Question: Can I just watch a class?
Answer: Hartford Underground is a non-profit organization. Even by watching, we assume that you are having a good time and we are providing your entertainment, therefore we ask that everyone pay to attend.
Question: How can I improve my dancing?
Answer: There are many ways to improve your dancing. Attending workshops or monthly lesson series are a good place to start. Hartford Underground can recommend local instructors who provide private dance lessons. We also recommend that you dance as much as possible; find local events, carpool with friends to workshops/exchanges/camps/ competitions/dances, or even find a local practice partner. You can video tape yourself or dance in a mirror. While typically a humbling experience at first, you will learn a lot about what you look like dancing as a comparison to what you want to look like. The New England area is rich with many dance opportunities within a short driving distance. www.swingmonkey.com is a calendar showing regional opportunities. We can also recommend many online lessons, blogs, or video resources for further instruction and inspiration. You can become as good a dancer as you want to be, just requires a bit of investment.
Question: I have two left feet, do you really think you can teach me to dance?
Answer: If you are willing to learn, we should be able to teach you to dance. Everyone learns at a different pace, and has a different starting background. Many of us that you see as instructors didn’t dance anything like we do now when we started. It took many years of dedicated practice to get where we are today. We were once in your shoes, trying to figure out how our feet and arms worked to the music…oh yeah, and that partner thing too. (Where is the one again?)
Question: How do I ask someone to dance?
Answer: It is acceptable for either gender to ask the other to dance. If you are asking someone to dance for the first time, try saying “Hi, would you like to dance?”, and extending your hand. It is unwelcome to simply pull someone on to the dance floor if you don’t know them. Please try not to monopolize a partner, as there are likely many other people who would like to dance with them.
Question: What is the appropriate way to say no to a dance?
Answer: Ideally you want to say “yes”, however if the answer is truly “no” it is best to be polite and honest. As a general rule, no one should feel forced to accept a dance if they do not want to dance for any reason. If you have declined a dance, unless you had previously promised to dance with another partner and stated so, it is polite to wait until the next song before dancing again. If you do promise someone a later dance, it’s polite to follow up.
Question: Is it appropriate to provide instruction on the dance floor?
Answer: It is never appropriate to provide instruction on the floor unless your partner has specifically asked for feedback. However, if your partner is hurting you please tell them as firmly and politely as possible. If you choose to ask an instructor for feedback, please be courteous about the amount of time you are requesting as instructors are there to social dance too. Private lessons are available.
Question: I learned all these cool aerials, can I do those on the dance floor?
Answer: No, aerials are not acceptable on a social dance floor as it can put your partner and other dancers at risk of injury. While you and your partner may know what you are doing, other people may not be aware of the moves and can suddenly move into your dance space or bump into you.
See our Code of Conduct Page for Additional Safety and Awareness Information.