Getting Started

(So you want to dance?)

Got dancing fever, but don't know where to begin? We've got the cure! To quote our friends up in Baltimore:

“Modern swing dancing is fun, sexy, exciting, silly, romantic, wild, energetic, passionate, and, with the right teachers, easy enough that YOU can do it!”

What We do Here at SwingCville

SwingCville is a group that specializes in Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, Charleston, Balboa, and Blues. You also might have heard the term "Jitterbug" before - that's the same thing as Lindy Hop or East Coast Swing. These are all dances from the 1920's through 1940's. We (mostly) listen to traditional swing and jazz music from the same era. We hold weekly and monthly lessons and dances, and a few special yearly events. If that all sounds like fun to you, you're in the right place!

If you're not familiar with those dance styles, check out our About Swing page which includes videos and history of each dance style.

If you want to see what our lessons are like, check out the video reacaps on our Lesson Archive.

I'm Ready to Get Started!

We recommend the following schedule to help get you on the floor and having fun as soon as possible:

  1. Make the Crash Course your first lesson!
  2. Come to the "Swing 101" lessons at Cats Corner
  3. Come to Cville Savoy to experience a social dance
  4. Rinse & Repeat

If you have more questions about getting started, feel free to email us at or call 434-260-0049.

① The Crash Course

The Crash Course is held on the 4th Thursday of every month (unless otherwise indicated) from 7:30-9:30pm. There is a short practice session immediately afterwards from 9:30-10:00pm to help you try out the moves you just learned and socialize with your fellow Crash Course survivors! The Crash Course is only $15. Punch Card holders get in for free.

For more information visit our Crash Course Page!

② Swing 101 Lessons

Swing 101 lessons run from 8:30-9:00pm on Wednesdays. We usually teach basic 6-count swing. If you've never danced before, we recommend you start with the Crash Course first before moving on to the weekly beginner lessons.

To help you practice on your own, we post video recaps from lessons at our Lesson Archive. Be sure to review each week before class!

Following lessons we have an hour and a half of social dancing and practice time from 9:00-10:30pm. The absolute best way to learn to dance is to get on the floor and rock out! It's also a great time to interact with other dancers and ask questions.

Cat's Corner is only $5/week, which covers both the lessons and social dance. For more information visit our Cats Corner Page.

③ The Cville Savoy Dance

Our famous 4th Saturday dance has been going strong since 2009. Named after the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, NY, this dance offers three hours of social dancing. We often invite dancers from Richmond, Lynchburg, Harrisonburg, and other nearby dance scenes.

The Savoy beginner lesson runs from 7:30-8:30pm. This lesson does not build on any of our other lessons -- it's a quick class for novices. Just looking for a quick taste of swing dancing to see if it's something you are interested in? Or did you do it years ago and just need a quick refresher? This is the lesson for you! No experience or partner required.

The dance runs from 8:30-11pm, with an after-party once we close up shop. Light refreshments are provided. The dance is only $10 (including the beginner lesson). NOTE: Students get $3 off with a valid Student ID. For more information visit our Cville Savoy Page!


Ⓠ Do I need a partner?

No! Most people come without a partner. In our lessons we rotate partners every few minutes to make sure everyone gets a chance to try new styles. We encourage dancing with as many partners as possible to improve your skills!

Ⓠ So do you do Jitterbug? Or West Coast Swing? Or Lindy? Or...

Here are SwingCville we do the dances that were popular in the 1920's-40's, namely Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, East Coast Swing, and Blues.

Jitterbug is an older word that basically means the same thing as East Coast Swing and/or Lindy Hop, so yes, we do that!

West Coast Swing is a dance that came after the swing era, and we don't usually do that here at SwingCville. If you are interested in West Coast Swing, you might be looking for our friends at the similarly named Charlottesville Swing Dance Society.

Ⓠ What should I wear?

Wear something comfortable that you can move in! Some people get gussied up with a light dress or a shirt and tie, some people show up in jeans and a t-shirt. Just remember you will be dancing with other people, so make sure that shirt is clean, and pack an extra (or two) in case it gets hot.

Wear comfortable, flat-soled shoes. You do not need to go out and purchase new dance shoes, but we do recommend that beginners stay away from high-heels or soles with a lot of tread.

On the rare occasions that we have a band playing for the Cville Savoy, formal-ish attire is suggested.

Ⓠ Do I need dance shoes?

No! While you can go out and buy swing dance shoes (we recommend or The Hip Joint downtown), it is not necessary. Try to wear comfortable shoes with a smooth leather or suede sole. Sneakers and sandals will hinder your dancing. If you don't have leather-soled shoes, a cheap alternative is to stick duct tape on the bottom of an old pair of sneakers or canvas shoes.

Ⓠ What about dance ettiquette?

Swing Cville is meant to be a safe and fun learning environment, so please be respectful of your fellow dancers. Don't complain about others' abilities and don't correct others while on the social dance floor. Say “thank you” after a dance, especially if it's a good one! Wear clean clothes and deodorant, and bring an extra shirt or two. Don't hog the whole dance floor, and try not to bump into other dancers. But if you do, be sure to apologize.

Aerial Policy: Lifts, drops, and aerials are not permitted at Swing Cville unless it is part of a performance or jam with a partner that you have practiced those moves with. Failure to adhere to this rule could result in being banned.