FAQ

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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. While it’s true that a majority of men mostly lead and most women mostly follow, 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, we ask that you register in one role and dance that role throughout the full course. If you’re interested in trying out the other role and have questions, feel free to talk to your teachers or send us an email.

Oli, Kris, and Anna from SwingStep. Oli (wearing the hat) is leading; Kris and Anna are following
Al Minns and Leon James. The one flying through the air is following 😉
The DecaVita Sisters, the person wearing black shoes is leading,
the person wearing white shoes is following

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.

FAQ about City Pass Subscriptions

We will prioritise who gains access to courses with the policy of trying to give as many students as possible at least one course. If we still have capacity available beyond that, you might get access to more courses.

For fixed courses, where we keep track of lead-follow ratio, if we have capacity in a specific role and your participation will help with the lead/follow balance, you might get access to more fixed courses. So learning both roles is highly recommended.

We aim to make the experience as valuable as possible for as many participants as possible. And of course, we will adjust our offer to make it more likely that you will have something that you will find valuable. However, we can not guarantee that there will be something for you every week. If we fail to give you a drop-in or fixed course for a week, we ask you to be understanding of the situation. However, if we fail to give you either drop-in or fixed courses for multiple weeks in a row, please contact us so that we can find a solution for you. The solution could be a refund in the form of credit or other solutions.

You can control your subscription, including pausing it anytime, by going to your Account Page, under the “Subscription” heading.

You will continue to have access to the online content and classes until the end of the remaining 30-day period. After this period ends, you will no longer have access, and you will no longer be charged for the subscription; you can always come back to your account and reactivate your subscription to regain access.

If your 30-day period runs out before your ongoing courses do, please communicate with us and we can work out an arrangement together.

The benefit of pausing your subscription is that you do not have to enter your payment details again when you restart, which makes the process much easier for you.

There are no charges for pausing subscriptions.

Please note that this option is limited if you use PayPal: you can only reactivate your subscription once the remaining 30-day period is over. If, on the other hand, you use Stripe, there shouldn’t be an issue.

You can control your subscription, including canceling it, by going to your Account Page, under the “Subscription” heading.

You will continue to have access to the online content and classes until the end of the remaining 30-day period. After this period ends, you will no longer have access, and you will no longer be charged for the subscription; you can always come back to your account and reactivate your subscription to regain access.

If your 30-day period runs out before your ongoing courses do, please communicate with us and we can work out an arrangement together.

If you cancel your subscription, you will have to re-enter your payment details in case you choose to re-subscribe. There are no charges for canceling subscriptions.

You can ask for a rate that works for you via our Pay-it-Forward Fund. Just contact us via email and we’ll give you a discount code to use when you subscribe. We don’t have fixed policies for how much we discount; contact us and together we will find something that works.

Some weeks (for example during public holidays) we might not offer in-studio courses. During these periods we will focus on the online experience or parties. We hope you choose to stay a subscriber during these weeks to support us with financial stability over the holidays.

From the moment you sign up, you have committed to 30 day intervals that automatically renew. So for example, if your subscription starts on January 4th, your next payment date will be February 3rd.

You can pay for your subscription using SEPA or credit card (via Stripe), or using PayPal.

Stripe includes options such as SEPA direct transfer, which will allow for regular transfers directly from your bank account, without needing to use an additional account like PayPal.

If a payment is not completed, you will automatically lose access to your subscription and be moved to the Free Pass Subscription. Payments are made on the first day of each new 30-day period.

However, since we’re using a system that automatically takes care of this for you, hopefully this won’t be an issue. If you do notice a problem, please contact us right away.

Yes, the control is on your side. However, we hope you choose to wait until the end of the fixed course. If you do choose to discontinue a course, please inform us.

We designed the subscription so that you can join anytime you want, independent of our course rounds. If your subscription starts earlier than an upcoming course round, we invite you to join the drop-ins, and of course also use our online program.

Because you can join any time, it’s not possible for us to design our course rounds so that they align with everyone’s subscription. If you plan to pause or cancel your subscription, please do that after a course round is over. If you need to cancel earlier, please contact us.

No, we only offer a subscription program. However, as the subscription commitment is only 30 days, you’ll have the same flexibility as you would by booking only fixed courses, while getting the full benefits of the subscription program.

If you’re a visitor and just want to book a single class, please contact us directly so that we can find a solution for you.

You can sign up for a pay-it-forward subscription and set up a monthly donation in the amount of your choice.

Or, for a one-time donation, simply send money to our bank account with the description “Pay-it-forward Fund”.

When signed in, you have an account page that lets you control all the details you need…

Under “Home”, you control your personal information, and you can give a default partner code, if there’s a partner with whom you regularly sign up to classes.

Under “Subscriptions”, you can directly manage your subscription – you can change, pause, or cancel it any time. This is the place to change or update your payment method.

Under “Payments”, you can see your payment status and download your invoice.

Under “Courses”, you have access to the online program.

If you need to change your password, please log out and then use the “Forgot password?” option in the log-in screen.

If you have any issues, please contact us.

FAQ about SwingStep classes

At SwingStep, we are passionate about teaching Lindy Hop, and we spend a lot of time developing concepts that provide you with the best learning experience possible. Our classes are designed to keep you in flow – that means we want to challenge you enough to keep the class interesting and fun, while giving you all the tools you need to succeed.

We are fully complying with all Covid-19 regulations and recommendations, which is why our live classes currently are a little different from their usual format. For more information, please check our pages for Berlin and Heidelberg. We’re doing our best to find new and creative solutions to keep up our high standards even under these special circumstances.

Once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, the main difference you’ll notice will be that our dance is very social.

Because Lindy Hop is a dance that values dancing with many different people, our classes reflect that. During class, we rotate partners regularly, so you get the chance to practice the same movement with different people. A great benefit of it is that you really learn the technique behind the movement and can make it work on the social dance floor no matter who you dance with.

This also means that you don’t have to worry about how well you get along with a single person, since you won’t have to spend the entire class with just them. And it means you get to know all the people of the other dance role in the class fairly quickly without having to worry about finding something smart to say.

If you do sign up with a partner, the rotation also makes sure that both of you learn your best-quality dancing, so it makes your time on the social dance floor together more valuable. The rotation speed and group size will make sure that you will dance with your partner regularly throughout the class, just not all the time. If you are worried about the partner changes, please talk to our team and we will look for a good solution.

We understand that it can happen that you are unable to attend one or multiple classes for individual or personal reasons. We do not refund any portion of your subscription fee due to missed classes. However, we can offer you the following options to catch up with the content:

Participate in the drop-in classes to catch up with the overall experience of dancing.

Use our online training program to learn the topic better. Note that we do not aim to have the in-person classes and our online videos to match. Please ask for advice from our team if you’re not sure which parts of our online offer are right for you.

(Depending on Covid situation) See if there is a parallel class/course with the same content on another day that you can participate in. Ideally, ask a fellow student from your class of the opposite role to go there with you as a partner, so that your participation does not change the follower to leader ratio of that class. However, please note that if you and your partner do not have the appropriate experience or if the class is full, the instructors can ask you not to participate. This is not part of our official terms and conditions, but a gesture of goodwill from us to make it easier for you to catch up on missed material. During times of Covid restriction, please check with us before joining any parallel class.

In addition, when we offer practice sessions, it is a great opportunity to meet up with other students to train the material you have missed; and often a member of our team is available to help you and to answer your questions.

As part of our product, we provide short video recapitulations of each class, a “recap video” which you will receive via link in an email shortly after each class. These videos can be used to remind yourself of the content you’ve learned, or see what you’ve missed.

You can try swing dancing right now from your living room to see what this dance can do for you! Get started right away, kick it up by yourself or with a friend. Our online courses are pretty close to what you’ll experience in class, and you can try the first lesson for free.

Also, our City Pass subscription comes with a 7-day free trial period, and you can join classes from the moment you start your subscription. A new fixed course might not be available just yet, but you can join a drop-in class right away.

In future, we hope to offer a more traditional drop-in experience, that lets you spontaneously come to class.

For now, due to corona, we need to control class sizes and strictly collect contact information, so we are asking that you register for each drop-in class you will attend. Also, please let us know if you won’t be attending, so that we can offer that slot to someone else.

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It will depend on how much of the course has already started, what topic the course has and based on your experience.

If you don’t get access to a fixed course, you are welcome to still join any drop-in class that fits your experience level as well as taking advantage of our online courses and practice sessions.

If you have a confirmed spot in any fixed course or drop-in, and you no longer plan to attend, please email us right away so that we can offer this spot to another subscriber.

The short answer is: don’t hesitate to talk to us as soon as you struggle or there is any confusion – we are happy to help you!

Here are some ideas how we can help you in specific situations:

  • If you struggle with a specific move in class, ask for help or feedback immediately – typically your teachers have the tips that you need.
  • If you want to repeat chunks of classes or even the entire class at home, you can use the online program in addition to our local courses; as part of your City Pass subscription, you have access to the Online Pass (that’s over 90+ hours of online classes as well as online training sessions). Be aware that our online classes are not intended to have the same structure and context exactly as our in-studio classes; ask us if you need advice for where to look.
  • If you are having a hard time catching up with the material, drop by during the practice time in the studio or online as part of the online membership (see calendar). Here, you can practice alone or with a partner. There will often be a teacher around; feel free to talk to them, they can for example show you short exercises that you can do at home on a regular basis.
  • Often it is a good idea to train within a group and motivate each other. Why don’t you make a training group with some of your classmates and dance friends? (Tip: ask around on facebook! In Berlin, use the SwingStep students’ group “SwingStep Berlin – Group”. In Heidelberg use the community group “Heidelberg Swingt”.)
  • If you would like to fast-track your skills, private classes are ideal: we can offer tailor-made classes with a lot of individual feedback. Click here for more info or talk to your teachers directly.

All our courses are designed so that we share with you fundamentally important concepts, even from the very first week of Swing 1. If you have experience from other Lindy Hop schools, it may not be necessary for you to take each of our courses from scratch, but we have noticed that people have a more enjoyable learning experience with us, and learn important new concepts, if their first course with us is slightly below what they expected based on their prior experience.

Please go through the course descriptions to see which course makes sense for you. If you’re not sure, just talk to us or email us at either [email protected] or [email protected], and we will work to find the right fit.

We always try to offer a follow up course for your group, so you don’t need to worry about changing your schedule every 6 weeks. It doesn’t always work, but normally you can trust that your next course will be on the same day, and at the same time and place. So all you need to do is register in time.

It’s also a great idea to augment your fixed course, or take a break from it, and change it up by joining drop-ins for a while. The mixed-experience learning environment you’ll have at the drop-ins can be really valuable, and often in drop-ins we’ll work on topics that aren’t part of our regular fixed courses.

FAQ for other things

In our experience the level requirements in different schools, cities and at international workshops can vary quite a bit. If you want to get a recommendation on which level will make the most sense for you, feel free to ask us. We can discuss it via email, or perhaps we can arrange for a teacher to consult with you during a practice time.

Yes! We have a full online training program for teachers: check out our Teachers Pass.

If you’re interested in one-on-one training tailored to your needs, you can book a private session with us.

You can also hire us to come to your school and train your teachers.

Learn Lindy Hop from beginner to advanced with us using our:

Drop-ins

Drop-ins are weekly classes that you can join at any time.

The classes are independent of each other, so it doesn’t matter which week you join or whether you skip a class.

You can come with or without a partner. The lead and follow balance depends on who shows up.

Courses

Courses consist of consecutive weekly classes; usually 6 weeks total.

The group stays together over the duration, and works on material that progresses week to week.

You can sign up with or without a partner and we will work to balance the groups.

Online Courses

The online program brings the course experience straight to you at home.

You can learn from these videos with or without a partner, and you can start any time you want.

In live sessions we train and listen to music together – also part of the online program.

Our Prices:

Trial Class

Free

If you want to check and see if Lindy Hop with SwingStep is for you, just pick one of the drop-in classes here and join. Your first class is free.

If you want to see what classes with us are like, and maybe get a little head start, click here to read more. 

Single Class

15€ / Class

If you are interested in occasional drop-in lessons this is a great option for you.

After that, select the drop-in lesson you want – you need to register in advance to ensure your spot and to get a confirmation email with time and location details.

What you get:

  • Join anytime!
  • Join one class
  • Access to lots of free online videos
  • Class video summary

City Pass

59€ per 30 days

If you dance more than 3 times within 30 days, this is the best option for you. 

With a City Pass you can join as many drop-ins and courses as you like (as long as there are spaces available).

What you get:

  • Start anytime!
  • Join many classes
  • The first 7 days for free
  • Access to all online videos
  • Class video summaries

You can:

  • Pause or cancel anytime without any fees.
  • Need a discount? See our Pay-it-Forward fund.

Want to Know More?