5:30 p.m. -- Arrive; find each other in the Grand Ballroom;* kibitz before the lesson
6:00-6:45 p.m. -- Beginning West Coast Swing lesson. You will learn sugar push, underarm turn, and left-side pass -- enough to get you through an evening as a beginner. If there's time, Kelly might teach the whip.
7:00-10:00 p.m. -- Dance. This is a *social* event, so everyone asks everyone else to dance, no matter your skill level. It's expected.
Admission (you will pay when you enter the building): $12
If you've been before, come back for a refresher and a fond farewell. If you've never been, come see what you've been missing every month.
West Coast Swing lesson by one of the best dance teachers in the U.S. National champion, judge, Swing Hall of Fame inductee and teacher par excellence, Kelly Casanova, will be conducting her regular 2nd-Sunday beginner lesson and dance in West Coast Swing. She has extensive experience teaching first-timers, and her lessons are tailored to give newbies the basics (~4 moves) needed to get through an evening. For at least the first hour of the dance, she will play music slow enough for beginners to try out their new steps. After that, the slower pieces will be interspersed with the more up-tempo tunes for the non-beginners who usually join after 7:00 p.m. Spacious dance floor to move at your own pace.
There’s also lots of empty space at the end of the big ballroom, which is useful if you want to practice what you’ve just learned and just dance off to the side at your own pace by yourself or with another beginner. Sometimes beginner refugees from the adjoining lessons/dances in other areas of the building wander in and do just that. It’s a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere.
If you don’t want to dance during the faster tunes, you can hang out at the large round tables with chairs (there are many) on the perimeter of the dance floor and chat, or watch the other dancers. Feel free to bring a snack, if you wish. Or, you might want to check out the salsa dance in the adjoining ballroom.
If people are interested, I can explain a little about West Coast Swing and some of the basics prior to the lesson. For overachievers who want to play around with the steps before the lesson, these might help:
Things You Might Want To Know
Avoid ingesting anything likely to make your breath funky. Ditto for anything with garlic or onions prior to the dance. To be safe, I would suggest a 6-hour interval prior to the lesson.
Bring mints/mint gum.
The air-conditioned ballroom may be cool at first, until you start dancing and warming up, so you might want to dress in layers, or bring a light sweater/overshirt that you can shed later.
You will be in fairly close contact (i.e., within sniffing distance) with your partner. If you’re not familiar with the rigors of partner dance, be forewarned that it can be vigorous exercise once you get going. You likely will sweat. Experienced male dancers arrive freshly showered and bring a change of 1-3 shirts for the evening. Ladies: No loosely-knit tops (e..g., crochet) or anything likely to trap your partner's finger. Ditto for long beaded fringe or anything that will fly up and hit someone else as you move. Use your best judgment as to whether you think you will soak through your top and need to bring an extra. Packing a small towel with your dance gear is a good idea. (I also pack a hand fan that I got in Chinatown. Very handy for cooling down.) Bottom line: it’s contact dancing, and partners are more enjoyable to dance with if they're not wet to the touch.
Shoes: smooth, non-marking soles are best. Non-marking are a must (don’t want to damage the ballroom floor). I've seen people cover their shoes with socks so as to avoid damaging the floor. That works, although it may be a little slippery. (On the other hand, it makes for AWESOME slides!) If you decide your shoes aren't workin' for you during the lesson/ dance--and you don't mind risking having your toes stepped on--you can always dance in your socks. Ladies: make sure your footwear will stay on and support your feet, and that you can balance steadily in it when you turn and spin.
About the venue: http://www.allegroballroom.net/
Easy on/off freeway access (by the maze in Emeryville) with lots of free parking in the large lot.
* Grand Ballroom -- Once you’ve paid at the front desk, make an immediate left (you’ll see the coat rack against the wall), and go through the white double doors. After you've entered the Grand Ballroom, look to the right for the Meetup sign on one of the tables.
Prepare to learn something new, or practice something you already know, and have fun!