Frequently Asked Questions
Can I come on my own?
Yes. You will dance with other people in class and we change partners regularly, so by the time we get to social dancing you will know plenty of people to dance with.
What if I want to dance only with my partner?
That’s fine. Just let people know to move past you when we change partners.
May I dance with the teacher(s)?
Yes please, otherwise we get lonely!
What should I wear
Wear whatever you feel good in, bearing in mind dancing is a physical activity. Whether that means you turn up in jeans or your vintage finest is up to you!
Do I need special shoes?
Dance shoes definitely make things more comfortable as they are lightweight and support your feet properly, plus they usually have a leather, resin, or suede sole which slides and spins on the floor much more easily than a grippy rubber sole. However, many people choose to dance in sneakers like Keds or Converse. Aris Allen even make sneakers with suede soles.
Some people modify a pair of comfortable shoes by glueing a layer of chromed-leather (suede which is treated with chromium salts to make it more hardwearing) to the bottom of their shoes. We suggest that first you get a cobbler to sand the bottom of the shoes smooth so the glue sticks better. You can buy chromed-leather cheaply from hardware or DIY stores in the form of a welding apron which you can cut up. You may even be able to get something in a pound shop!
Personally, I prefer dance shoes with a hard leather or resin sole for maximum slippiness! Ultra slippy shoes also force you to improve your technique and balance.
What is leading or following?
Leader and follower are designations for the dancers comprising a dance couple in some types of partner dance. The leader is responsible for guiding the couple and initiating transitions to different dance steps and, in improvised dances, for choosing appropriate dance steps to suit the music. The leader conveys their choices and direction to the follower through subtle physical and visual signals, thereby allowing the couple to be smoothly coordinated. These choices are communicated by partner connection.
In partner dancing, dancers seek to work together to create synchronised or complementary movements. The leader is largely responsible for initiating movement, whereas the follower’s role is to maintain this movement (though they may choose not to). Many dancers describe this process as involving the initiation of momentum or ‘energy’ (by the lead) and then the subsequent maintenance, exaggeration, decreasing or dissolving of this momentum by both partners.
Are the dance roles gender specific?
No. Although traditionally the men led and the women followed, we are non-gender-specific: anyone can do either role, regardless of gender. Some people like to learn both roles so they can dance with anyone, and in fact we encourage this flexibility.
Is this same-sex dancing?
Not exactly. We encourage people to dance with each other regardless of gender: women dance with women, women dance with men, men dance with men, whatever.
I'm not LGBT*. Can I still come dancing at Pink Swing?
Yes. We are LGBT* friendly, not exclusive. All we ask is that everybody is respectful of others.
I'm gender queer. Will I be welcome?
I'm a trans-woman. Will my breast forms fall out?
It has happened to me! Now I use post-surgery bras with special pockets to hold the breast forms to stop this happening. These are also much more comfortable as there is then a layer of fabric between the form and one’s skin. Marks and Spencers, Debenhams and Asda among others sell post-surgery (also known as post-mastectomy) bras.
I'm a trans-man. Should I bind?
Balboa is a dance that involves a chest-to-chest connection. If you would normally bind in social situations, then you might want to bind before dancing.