What can I expect from joining your group for dancing?  Here we try to answer some of our most asked questions so you can join as at ease and ready to dance!

What is a snowball?

We begin every weekly dance with a snowball to start the night of social dancing.  A snowball begins with only the teachers dancing while the rest of the room claps to the music in a circle.  Periodically, either the teachers or the DJ will call “Snowball!” and whoever is dancing at that time will thank their current partner for the dance, and find a new partner, preferably someone who hasn’t started dancing yet if there are still people out.  Eventually the whole room will be dancing.

Do you offer dance lessons?

We offer weekly swing dance lessons at the Laurel Theater in Fort Sanders before our open social dance to our swing DJs (8:15-10:30 pm).  Admission for the dance is $3 ($2 for students) and includes the drop in lessons.

  • 7-7:30 pm Intermediate Drop In
  • 7:30-8:15 pm Beginner drop in classes. No partner or dance experience necessary for our classes.  We’ll get you on the dance floor in no time!
  • 7-8:15 pm Series Lessons – Series rotate with a new topic/skill level every month.  Watch the website and calendar for monthly updates!

What can I expect from a drop in dance class?

Our beginner lessons start from the basics and aim to teach you enough so you can comfortably spend the night on the dance floor after your very first lesson.  You don’t need to have any dance experience whatsoever and you don’t need to bring a partner.  Classes rotate regularly so you have a chance to dance with many different partners.  If you do come with a partner, you are strongly encouraged to rotate with the class as it is very difficult to learn this dance with only one partner.

What’s a “role” and how do I pick one for class?

Swing dancing is a lead follow dance.  Leaders create the shape of the dance, and communicate ideas to their follow about momentum, direction, and rhythm.  Follows react to these ideas while maintaining/absorbing/creating momentum, rhythm, and together they create a dance.  The “traditional” roles are for men to lead and women to follow, but you should choice to take class as whichever role you want to.  You may decide to dance one one role forever, or dance both roles socially, or take different classes as different roles; we only ask that you choose only one role for the duration of a single class.

Where can I dance?

The KSDA hosts weekly swing dances to our swing Djs at the Laurel Theater in Fort Sanders 8:15 – 10:30 pm.  Admission for the dance is $3 ($2 for students) and includes the drop in lessons:  7-7:30 pm Intermediate and 7:30-8:15 pm Beginner.  Also watch the website and calendar for updates on our monthly dances, annual dance festival, and where we might be dancing around town.

Do I need a partner?

No!  All group lessons rotate partners, so you will have a chance to dance with everyone in class.  (It is not mandatory but extremely encouraged to rotate partners if you come with a specific dance partner.)  During the dance, anyone is welcome to ask anyone to dance, and anyone has the freedom to say no to a dance, with or without a reason.

I don’t have any dance experience.  Can I still come?

Of course!  If you’ve never learned any dance before this is a great place to start.  Don’t be afraid to ask the teachers questions after class and remember the most important part of dancing is to have fun.

Will I be able to dance after my first class?

Yes!  Our beginner lessons focus on going over the fundamentals in a way that is accessible with no dance experience whatsoever to let you get out on the dance floor your very first night!  Just because you no few or no moves, doesn’t mean you can’t dance for a whole song and have a blast.

What should I wear?

Shoes with smooth soles are recommended so you can pivot or turn your feet without hurting your knees (like keds that have been worn down, toms or a shoe with a leather sole).  Please do not wear flip flops  or other backless shoes to the dances, as they are not safe.  Heels can also be popular shoes for dancing, but stilettos are discouraged.  For dances we recommend you wear comfortable clothing you can move easily in.  It’s not uncommon for many dancers to wear dresses and slacks, but it’s just as normal to wear shorts or blue jeans with t shirts

What’s a KSDA Benefit Card?

KSDA benefit cards are an easy way to save yourself some money when attending the weekly dances, local swing dance band performances, and local swing dance events such as exchanges and workshops. Card holders are offered a discount on all KSDA-affiliated events around town so the card pays for itself pretty quickly.  It is $20 for a year’s membership, and only $10 to renew every year after. You can talk to the door person to get a card at any Wednesday night dance.  New in 2016, local students now receive benefit cardholder discounts with a school ID.

What’s a swing dance exchange?

It’s an entire weekend full of dancing with people from all over the country! You get to travel to a new place, stay with some super nice dancers, meet a whole lot of new friends, and dance for three days straight. There are no lessons, just awesome music from regional DJs and some super sweet bands to keep you dancing all night and early morning long!

What’s a workshop weekend?

Workshops usually have two days full of lessons from very experienced dancers, both regional and international dance instructors, and a variety of track levels to fit your current dance level. They have nightly dances so you can practice what you learned, or just wind down and relax before attending classes again the next day.

What’s a private lesson?

A private dance lesson is an hour’s worth of one-on-one time with an instructor. They are the best and quickest way to get feedback on your dancing and work with someone you trust and admire to help you get better much faster. Prices for these lessons vary based on the teacher and can be found here.

I have some thoughts I’d like to share.  How can I do this?

That’s great!  You can fill out a comment card at any weekly dance with a dance ambassador.  Or you can submit it online, anonymously or otherwise.

What should I do if something/someone makes me uncomfortable?

If you ever feel uncomfortable or harassed at all for any reason during a KSDA event, we want to hear from you.  All reports will be handled with the level of confidentiality and discretion you request.  You can read our Code of Conduct here.  You can contact us by:

  • Contacting a Community Ambassador in person. These people can be identified by the rainbow paracord bracelets they will be wearing on their wrist. There will be at least 2 of these individuals at any KSDA sanctioned event.
  • Calling or texting 865-224-6830
  • Emailing ambassadors@swingknoxville.org
  • Leave anonymous feedback or otherwise via http://swingknoxville.org/feedback
    • Please try to include as much information as possible and sufficient details so that we can appropriately assess the situation.