Frequently Asked Questions

What material does GottaSwing teach? • What if the weather is bad? • What if I have to drop out of class? • What if I have to miss a class? • How about private lessons? • Do I need a partner? • What is the age range? • What’s the proper dance etiquette?


What Material Does GottaSwing Teach?

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.

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 (meaning it builds upon material from previous weeks) and becomes increasingly skilled as the course continues. The intermediate level builds upon these basics and aims to improve your skill level and dance vocabulary.

What if the weather is bad?

If class is cancelled due to inclement weather, we will post a message on the CALENDAR after 3pm. You may also call the Dance Hotline at 703.359.9882.

We will also attempt to send out an email bulletin. 

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.

Class Credit

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 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 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.

What if I have to miss a class?

Students are always welcome to make up missed classes at other locations. All classes must be made up during the session. Refer to the Calendar or Email for assistance. You do not need prior approval to make up a class.

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

Tom specializes in helping couples get ready for their wedding dance; contact Tom at 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!

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.

If you want even more from your dancing, we offer specialty classes for Balboa, aerials, and more. You can also contact us to book private lessons

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 flip side, 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.

  • Ask someone to dance! Don’t be shy. Everyone is a little intimidated when they’re a newbie. Be generous and welcome new folks into the dance scene.