If you've never done partner dancing before the whole thing can seem a bit intimidating. The truth is it's really fun, and we want everyone to feel welcome to come givie it a try. If there's anything you're concerned about that's not covered here, please feel free to contact us.
Do I need to bring a partner?
You don't need to bring a partner, we rotate partners regularly in class and a lot of people do not sign up with a partner. Once you get into dancing and training regularly, we recommend finding a person or small group to practice with, but there is no requirement to bring a partner to classes.
Can I bring a partner?
Yes! We have an option to checkout as a couple on our store, and you're welcome to come together. If you aren't comfortable rotating partners during class (for covid reasons, or anything else), it's okay to stay together and not join in the rotation.
However, Balboa is a social dance and we do recommend rotating even if you come with a partner, it helps you learn faster and make sure you're truly leading and following.
What shoes should I wear?
Ideally you want a pair of comfy shoes that can slide past each other easily (no patent leather or big studs/buckles on the inner sides) and can slide on the floor without getting stuck (avoid soft rubber soles with lots of grip).
Smooth soles made of leather or hard plastic eg dress shoes, keds, or Toms are usually very good.
Some followers prefer to dance Balboa in heels as it can help with maintaining good dance posture, but it’s not a requirement.
If you have proper ‘dance shoes’ that’s great, but there’s no need to buy anything new when you’re getting started. Avoid anything open toe like tango sandals, and make sure your shoes stay firmly on your feet (eg. ballet flats are more likely to slip off than something with an ankle strap or high cut upper)
What clothes should I wear
Wear something that lets you lift your arms over your head easily. Also it’s nice for your partner if they can hold onto clothing rather than bare skin, so go for something that covers your back(followers) and upper arms (leaders).
We’ll try to keep the room cool, but dancing can be a sweaty business. Feel free to bring a few layers and add/subtract during class.
There’s no need to be fancy or retro for classes, but you do you, whatever that is! On a practical note for the vintage inclined: Balboa requires some high speed turns and being very close to your partner so we’d recommend keeping skirt volume and petticoats to a minimum.
Should men lead and women follow?
No, everyone is encouraged to do the role they feel most comfortable in and most dancers learn both eventually. There is a historical hangover on this topic so statistically more male dancers lead and more female dancers follow, but we're moving toward a worldwide dance scene where this isn't necessarily the case.
It can be helpful to stick to one role when you're getting started, but there's no one right way to learn a dance. Leading and following are very different skills and neither one is easier than the other. If you can't bear the idea of someone else deciding when and how far you step, you should probably start by leading. If the thought of remembering moves and planning while you dance is horrifying to you, then you'll probably enjoy following more.
What is a 'Switch'?
A switch dancer is someone who can happily lead or follow- an ambidancerous person if you will!
A switch dance is when you and your partner agree to change roles during the course of a single song, so you're sometimes leading and sometimes following with the same partner.
Do you offer a discount for students/unwaged dancers?
Yes! Use the code Student10 or Unwaged10 to get 10% off everything on our site (except private lessons) if you are a student or unwaged.