Frequently Asked Questions
For a demonstration of our beginner curriculum (and what you should know before signing up for an intermediate level class), check out our beginner level class overview.
Since 1994, GottaSwing has set the standard in swing dance instruction by offering eight-week beginner and intermediate Jitterbug and Lindy Hop classes, as well as a variety of subjects designed to broaden your swing dance world. You never need a partner, and all ages are welcome. We work hard to create a warm, friendly and welcoming environment. Besides learning to dance, you’ll find a new social world to explore and enjoy with on-going dances as well as special events.
What about a credit or refund?
Please note that all arrangements for credit must be completed by the last night of the class session you registered for. Once a session has ended, no accommodations will be made.
If you sign up and pay for a class series and are unable to take or complete the series, you may receive credit to re-take the class at another time. You MUST contact Debra by email at Debra@gottaswing.com no later than 40 days after the first night of the class you initially signed up for in order to obtain this credit. The credit can be used at any Gottaswing class venue if space is available. Some restrictions may apply.
You can request a 50% refund up through the second night of class; after that we are unable to make any refunds. If you decide to drop the class, you MUST contact Debra by email at Debra@gottaswing.com no later than the morning after the second night of class with your request. If you opt for a refund, you may NOT receive a class credit.
What do I wear to class?
We recommend that students wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing that does not restrict movement and flat, smooth-soled shoes. You want comfortable shoes that will stay on your feet securely; think of something that would be comfortable for running to catch the bus. As you get more experience you may want to look into special dance shoes, but there are no special requirements. Feel free to ask your instructor for suggestions.
How about private lessons?
Debra offers private lessons at her home in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, DC, easily accessible by both Metro and car. She has two cats (important to mention in case you're wildly allergic!). Private lessons are $80/hour for up to two people, cash or checks accepted. Please note the cancellation policy: 24-hour notice of cancellation is required or full payment is expected. Contact her at Debra@Gottaswing.com.
Tom specializes in helping couples get ready for their wedding dance; contact Tom at Tom@Gottaswing.com for his availability and rates.
Our other instructors are also available for private lessons and may be contacted directly:
Do I need a partner?
You never need a partner at GottaSwing! We rotate partners in our regular beginner and intermediate classes, so everyone gets a chance to dance, practice, and have fun. (We do offer some specialty classes where a partner is required, but that is specified in the class description.) Our dances are fun, friendly and casual events where all are welcome—no need to feel shy.
What is the age range?
GottaSwing actively encourages dancers of all ages to participate, welcoming everyone from high school kids to empty-nesters. Because the emphasis is on friendliness and fun, no one needs to feel uncomfortable. Children younger than 14 should be accompanied by an adult.
When can I start? How do I register?
Learning to dance with GottaSwing couldn’t be more convenient! We have extensive class locations across Virginia, DC, and Maryland. There’s sure to be a location near you. Once you’ve found the nearest location, you can see when the next round of classes will begin as our dates are staggered depending on the location. Check out our Schedule to find a class near you!
To register, click here. We look forward to dancing with you soon!
How much does the 8 weeks of classes cost?
It costs $120 for either our full beginner or intermediate classes. That is $15/class to learn a dance that will bring you joy for the rest of your life.
I’ve never danced before. Is it really for absolute beginners?
Yes, absolutely! We know that most adults have never danced before and we promise to take care of you and make learning your first dance steps as comfortable and fun as possible!
How can I find out more about events and classes?
Make sure to browse our calendar and you an also sign up for our newsletter here.
What kind of dance can I learn with GottaSwing?
Our primary focus is on Lindy Hop, also known as Jitterbug. It’s the original dance of the swing era that evolved alongside the hot jazz in the dance halls of Harlem, New York, and especially at the Savoy Ballroom. During our beginner class, you will learn six count swing, Lindy Hop, and Charleston.
Once you’re comfortable with those, you can take our intermediate classes where the material is chosen by our individual instructors and starts to be more diverse. We can’t recommend highly enough taking classes from different instructors so you can experience a variety of styles and influences all to become a well rounded dancer.
Would you love to perform? Consider joining our Eight Week Wonders dance team! Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you'll land in the stars.
Is there dance etiquette?
Like most of life, there are rules and there are guidelines. In the swing dance community, we want everyone to feel comfortable, safe, and have an enjoyable time. This handy checklist helps to ensure that dancing is fun for everyone:
You have the right to refuse a dance at any point in time. We strongly believe that you should dance with people of all levels and style, but that does not mean you HAVE to accept all dances. On the flipside, graciously accept when someone turns you down for a dance since dancing with them is a privilege, not a guarantee.
The dance community’s doors are open to everyone. Employ the Golden Rule and don’t use language or actions that would make anyone feel less welcome or safe within our community.
The social dance floor is not the time or place to ‘teach’ your partner unless they specifically request tips or advice. The only time when it’s appropriate to offer unsolicited feedback is someone is hurting you or endangering you, themselves, or other dancers. Let them know specifically what caused your concern.
Don’t monopolize one dance partner. We all have favorite dancers who we look forward to dancing with, but there’s a good chance there are others who also share that same sentiment. Who knows, you could be that person! Monopolizing any one individual means that they don’t get to dance with other dancers and others don’t get a chance to dance with you. Circulate and mingle.
People come to our dances to dance and socialize. Leave the pick up lines at the door.
What can I expect to learn in the Beginner 8 week Class?
In our beginner level, you will learn the essentials of swing dancing starting with six-count, eight-count Lindy Whip and Circle, and both side-by-side Charleston and Back Charleston. The material is progressive and becomes increasingly skilled as the course continues.