Social Dancing with SwingStep Berlin

Next opportunities to join us for swing dancing with us.

Entrance: 7-15 EUR

Free for SwingStep city pass subscribers

We are back! After more than two years of break, we are very happy that we can do our Monday Social again, because we really missed that cozy atmosphere, dancing to great music, enjoying a drink at the bar, socializing and hanging out…

And how is this for a great start: The whole month of January we have live music for you with The Big Five, each week, but only those four times!
The Big Five play small combo Swing music inspired by the best bands of the 30s-50s… and do they swing! If you have seen them live recently, you know what we are talking about…

Besides the live sets we will have recorded music with different DJs that focus on danceable Swing music, but not only. We want to embrace all the differernt Black American cultural art forms, so we invite our DJs (and bands) to be free in choosing their music with variety. There might be New Orleans Jazz, Big Band Swing, Kansas City Blues, Bebop, Rhythm’n’Blues, Funk, Soul, Disco, House, Hip Hop (you name it…), so we can all explore how our bodies want to move to different syncopated rhythms!

Other than that, we aim to create a relaxed atmosphere that feels welcome to anyone and everyone. There is no dress code, but there is a code of conduct. We want you to know that if you feel unsafe / bothered by something or someone, you can always come to talk to any of us. Also, if you have any feedback/advice on our code of conduct or policies, please reach out to us (we are always learning) 🙂

There might be moments during the party when we take photos or film for documentation and social media. By coming to the event you are agreeing to this, but you can always talk to the person behind the camera or us, if you prefer not to be captured, so please don’t hesitate.
All infos on our media policies.

* About the entrance fee:
We wish we could make social dancing free for everyone! Unfortunately we have costs to cover like the venue, DJs, bands etc., so we ask an entrance of 7-15 EUR. You choose how much you can give, our hope is that we get an average of 11 EUR. If you cannot afford this, please talk to us at the door or in advance. We don’t want money to be the reason that you cannot join the party (eg. we always look for people to help out, but also we have a fund to support dancers without financial means).

Ballhaus Prinzenallee,
Prinzenallee 33, 13359 Berlin

Walk through the big gate, the entrance is in the backyard.


Public transportation
U-Pankstraße (U8)
Osloer Str./Prinzenallee (M13)
Prinzenallee/Soldiner Straße (Bus M27)

You want to know what it’s like to dance with us?

Watch some videos here, or just drop by and see for yourself.
– We would love to get to know you.

FAQ for beginners

The most common word people use to describe Lindy Hop is “fun”! And we agree: What makes this dance so unique is that it takes the best of two worlds: a great connection to your partner balanced with an amazing freedom of self-expression.

But to stop at “fun” doesn’t do the dance justice. Lindy Hop was created in the 1920s in Harlem, a Black neighbourhood in New York City. It was born of hard times, of people creating something new, pushing past their stresses and troubles, defying racism and other hardships with joyous expression. We’ve prepared more content for both History as well as well as Anti-Racism in today’s Lindy Hop community.. 

Contrary to many traditional partnered dances we know in Europe, Lindy Hop is centred around improvisation and freedom of expression. This means that both partners influence and create the dance together spontaneously, like a conversation between friends. It also means that there isn’t just one right way to do things, instead you have your own interpretation and can display your personality. It’s also a “social dance”, which means that we strive to learn how to dance with any other Lindy hopper wherever they might be from; in our classes that means that from day one you get to experience the joy of learning with a whole group instead of a fixed partner.

Our answer is: no! Well, sort of 😉

Lindy hop is part of a family of swing dances such as Charleston, Shag, Balboa, Blues and others.

Because this dance culture is not strictly defined by rules, as you continue dancing you’ll hear these words used in different ways. For now, you can think of Swing as a big umbrella that covers a lot of dances, and Lindy Hop and partnered Charleston are what we’re doing. Many dancers use the term Lindy Hop for both Lindy Hop and Charleston as well as Solo Jazz, since most lindy hoppers dance all of these interchangeably within the dance.

Today in the broader dance world, when people refer to jazz dance, they are usually referring to a dance style that appears on Broadway and other performance contexts, a discipline that’s connected to contemporary and ballet dance – and, incidentally, is usually danced to non-jazz music.

When we lindy hoppers talk about jazz dance though, we usually mean solo dancing to jazz music. Sometimes this is in the context of partnered dance – breaking away from our partner to express ourselves independently before coming back together again. Sometimes it’s a full dance on its own, alone or in a social environment with one or many partners (but without touching).

Solo Jazz, like Lindy Hop, has a set of so-called basics, moves and movements that are so classic and common that they appear in many contexts and that most experienced dancers know them. Often you’ll hear these most classic steps referred to as “vernacular jazz”. Vernacular means “originating from the people”; these steps were not created in dance schools or on stages by professional artists, they are movements that come directly from the everyday experiences and expressions of the people.

Also, like Lindy Hop, the dance is all about self-expression, so a big part of Solo Jazz is to create your own way of doing things and putting your personality into what you do.

When dancing with a partner, we talk about leaders and followers. Classically, the person dancing in the role of leader initiates movements and directions and the follower interprets and actively dances them. However, there is no hierarchy to the roles and throughout the dance both partners continuously make decisions on how and where to go. This means we have two definitions of leading and following:

  • the basic position you take and which movements you tend to do: the leader usually starts the dance standing on the left side of the follower and starts moving with the left foot, while the follower is on the leader’s right and starts with the right foot.
  • the partner who initiates a movement is “leading” it and the person reacting is “following”. These actions happen independent from the basic role.
  • We can take this thought further and think of Lindy hop as a team creation: whether the team is you and the music, you and your partner and the music, or an entire group of dancers creating movement to the music. Partners and teams co-create the dance.

In Lindy Hop, we don’t see the dance roles as gendered. Our scene welcomes anybody to dance either role. It is also common for Lindy hop dancers to learn both roles as their dancing ability advances, and at a social dance to change roles every dance or even within one dance. So it doesn’t matter how you identify, you can dance either one or both roles.

In order for the leader-follower balance to work in class, in our regular partner dance classes we ask that you register in one role and dance that role throughout the full course. We do occasionally also offer ELEF classes, where you get the opportunity to learn both perspectives in one class. Those classes might be marked as ELEF in the title or description. If you have any more questions about this, feel free to talk to your teachers or send us an email.

At SwingStep, we encourage everybody to see themselves as dancers rather than “Leaders” or “Followers”. This is why we offer ELEF classes that give everybody the opportunity to learn the dance from the Leader and Follower perspectives. This is known as “Everybody Leads and Everybody Follows” or “Switch dancing”.

As the name suggests, when you take these classes, you’ll get the opportunity to learn the content from both perspectives. This will allow you to deepen your understanding of the concepts and ideas more deeply, dance with anyone in the class and never have to wait for the right amount of “opposite roles” to show up so that you can dance.

When you book a subscription with us, you’ll have access to any classes you want as well as all the online classes. If you have primarily explored the dance from one perspective, you can use your subscription to join classes that suit your experienced level in the role you have less experience in.

Question: What if I feel too challenged doing both roles?
Answer: We encourage you to take care of your own needs at this moment. For example, make an agreement with your dancing partner to either get the help you need or revert to your stronger role.

Question: What if I only want to learn one role?
Answer: We encourage learning both roles, because it makes you a more flexible dancer and brings more dancing opportunities (and also fun). However, we will not force you to switch roles. Take care of your own preferences and needs.

Question: What if I want to only dance with my partner?
Answer: We strongly encourage you to rotate and explore the dance with everybody in the class. However, we will not force you to rotate or switch. Take care of your own preferences and needs.

The quick answer is: most likely yes!

Here’s why: Lindy Hop is not a standardised dance with rigid rules of conduct. You can dance it slow or fast; choose relaxed and easy going steps, or flashy and even athletic movements. You can dance it in either role independent of the traditional stereotypical gendered roles. You can express joy, passion or excitement to just mention a few possibilities. These are just a few reasons why we can find people from all walks of life enjoying Lindy Hop.

So if you are looking for an activity that gets you moving and is fun at the same time, if you are looking for a world away from the everyday grind, if you are searching for a place where you can start something that will fill you with energy, then yes, Lindy Hop is for you. Learn more about this here.

It doesn’t have to be!

We want everyone to have access to Lindy Hop, independent of their financial situation. At the same time, we are a business, and need to charge money in order to offer our activities. So, in order to make it possible for anyone to join, we have created a Pay-it-Forward Fund. Subscribers who can afford a little more contribute to the fund, and those who need a discount can use the fund.

If you want PiF funding, please email us with your request and we’ll create a discount code you can use in your registration. No explanations required; please don’t be shy with your requests!

If you want to contribute, you can make a one-time donation, or you can set up a PiF subscription to make regular contributions.

We hope so!

Our aim and vision for the SwingStep community is that anyone – from any background, age group and physical ability, of any race, gender or sexual identity – should feel welcome and at home at our classes and events.

To a great extent, we believe we have created a very welcoming environment for anyone interested in the culture of swing dancing. This is not to say that inappropriate gestures and uncomfortable experiences never happen in our community. However, we are committed to fight for you and support you with what you need to make our classes, events and community a place where you can be yourself and have fun without having to keep your guard up.

Common worries people have when approaching us for the first time are:

  • I don’t speak the language well
  • I’m too old
  • Are there other Black people?
  • Will the community be friendly to foreigners?
  • I feel a bit too overweight for dancing
  • I prefer to dance in the non-traditional role; will people support this or will it be awkward?

No matter what your concern, we hope that we can make Lindy Hop a welcoming place for you. If you ever experience any issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us – talk to your teachers or send us an email. Also, please have a look at our Safer Spaces and Code of Conduct page to see more details on expected behaviour and how we handle difficult situations.

Corona: Current Rules

The official restrictions are lifted for now, but we still recommend you to do a test before you come anyway.

We are happy to say that we can continue allowing partner change in classes.

Hygiene regulations of course also apply. People with Covid-19 symptoms, or who have been in contact with someone with Covid-19, are not allowed to attend class. Our hand washing station is there for you when you enter the studio as usual. We’ll keep the studio ventilated to ensure air flow.

We encourage you to wear a mask in the hallway and when using the bathroom. You can take it off as soon as you pass the check-in. While dancing you don’t have to wear a mask – although you’re welcome to do so if you prefer.

In case of an infection, we’ll do our best to inform everyone involved. Please keep your subscription info up to date and accurate; go to your Account Page to make any changes.

When you sign up and participate in our classes, you do this at your own risk. We’ll do all we can to make it as safe as possible, but of course we cannot make any guarantee. By participating, you acknowledge that you’re aware of the risk and that SwingStep GmbH can’t be held responsible for possible infections.
You also promise that you will follow our hygiene rules, to protect yourself and others.