Is there a code of conduct or any helpful rules or tips?

Yes! Boston Swing Central just implemented a new Code of Conduct that all dancers must follow. Boston Swing Central strives to provide an actively all-inclusive, supportive environment for everyone, and these rules will help make sure we do that! 

We have also created a set of guidelines that will help you become the best dancer you can be! Check out how to be a Swingsation here!

Do I need Reservations or Advance Tickets?

For most of our dances you do not need Advance Tickets or reservations.  If you’d like to take the lesson, then please show up by 8:00pm as jumping in the lesson after it’s started can be challenging to catch up.  A few times during the year we will have a special event where we sell advance tickets.  We’ll have Paypal links, or registration pages for these events and we’ll probably have some text like, “Get your tickets today, as this is going to SELL OUT!” accompanying the event.  But other than those few nights a year, most Fridays, all you have to do is show up and enjoy the dance…

Do I need a partner?

Nope, just show up.  New dancers get a warm welcome by the dance community!  There will be plenty of helpful folks who are ready and willing to dance with new people.  And most dances have a lesson at the beginning too- a great way to meet newer dancers.

Where can I park?

You can park anywhere marked by the colored images on this map.

How long does it take to learn to swing dance?

East Coast Swing, or 6-count swing basics can be learned in a couple of hours.  But, like playing an instrument such as piano, the sky’s the limit!  Few people have sat down at a piano for the first time and started playing Mozart.  Same holds true for swing dancing.  Learning the Lindy Hop can take time and patience.  Don’t be discouraged; take as many lessons as you can from a wide variety of teachers.  Be patient with yourself, enjoy the journey, social dance alot and voila!

East Coast or Lindy Hop? I’m confused- what’s the difference?

East Coast swing, or 6-count swing, is a subset of the Lindy Hop codified and proliferated by Arthur Murray dance studios.  Think of Arthur Murray as the McDonald’s of dancing…and East Coast swing as its hamburger.  Lindy Hop, the predominant form of swing dancing back in the ballrooms of Harlem in the 1930s was too complicated to learn in a simple lesson.  Arthur Murray recognized that the 6-count steps were an easier subset that could be taught easily in a hour or two, so he separated those steps out of Lindy Hop and tadaa!  East Coast Swing was born.

What is Lindy Hop then?

Lindy Hop is a dance based around an 8-count basic, and incorporates all of the elements of East Coast Swing, as well as some Charleston, Fox Trot and other ballroom dances.  It is a wholly American dance; its vernacular is dictated by the dances of the 1920s and 1930s which were in turn derived from the music of the time.  And just as jazz music was a fusion of Western symphonic music and African rhythms, so too is the dance.  The Lindy Hop is mixture of ballroom, Charleston and African dance.

What is West Coast Swing?

West Coast swing is a modern evolution of East Coast swing that is danced to more contemporary music.  The footwork is based on a 6-count basic, but has evolved in a stylized way to fit more modern music.  As it evolved, it became its own dance.  However, it is still a distant cousin, or perhaps a different dialect of the same language.  It’s similar to the differences between British English and American English.  The conversation can still be had between dancers from the various communities, but each side might think the other “talks funny”.

Do I have to dress vintage?

Nope!  Only if you want to.  Style of dress varies a lot.  We would discourage you from wearing sweats, if only because that projects a bit of slovenly image.  Generally, though, going retro isn’t the approach most people take to their dance apparel.  You often see guys in nice t-shirts or dress shirts and either jeans or dress pants; women often wear a dressy blouse and pants, or even go for a nice dress! It’s fairly low key, though, unless it happens to be advertised as a more formal event. Pointy toed shoes or high heels are discouraged.

What is a leader? What is a follower?

In any partner dance, as in life, there are those who lead and those who follow.  Traditionally, these roles have been divided along gender lines, with guys being the leaders and the gals being followers.  This is Massachusetts, however and we’re quite open-minded to either gender assuming either role.

Where can I learn?

Besides the free lessons before most (if not all) of the local dances, a great place to learn is right here at the Crosby Whistle Stop Tuesdays and Wednesday nights with www.newschoolswing.com.  Or during one of our Sunday Swing Boot Camps or weekend workshop events at the studio.  Watch our calendar for upcoming events! We highly recommend you take some of these classes in order to learn more beyond East Coast swing. There are also numerous workshops, dance camps and competition weekends to attend where classes are offered.

What is an Exchange?

An Exchange is a dance weekend, that gives the host city a chance to show off as many of their best venues, bands, dj’s, and fun parts of what there is to do. The host city opens it’s doors for the Exchange weekend and invites dancers to come visit. Normally the visiting dancers are housed with other local dancers, so you have a friendly face to welcome you & ease your stay.   Boston has an exchange of our own called Dirty Water Lindy & Blues which is being run by Boston Swing Central (check out this awesome event by following the link).

Where can I learn more?

Boston Swing Central is now offering Swing Boot Camp, twice a month during the Fall/Winter months and once a month during the Summer.  See our lessons page for the next opportunity.  We also have our Kind of a Big Deal workshop weekend.

In addition to local studios such as New School Swing and Hop to the Beat, there are many dance camps (that’s right, this one time, at dance camp….) and workshops available.  We recommend you check out: Beantown Dance Camp for a camp that is great experience and not too far from Boston.  Going to a camp or a workshop is a fun and intensified way to learn a lot of material in a very concentrated amount of time.

Who is Frankie Manning? Norma Miller? Dawn Hampton?

Attending a Boston Swing Central dance you might often hear us champion Frankie Manning or invoke his name in some context. You might also here the names of Norma Miller and Dawn Hampton. These three are all dancers from the original swing era. And in the case of Norma & Frankie, they are both original Lindy Hoppers from the 1930s Harlem Ballrooms.

Frankie Manning was was a dancer, choreographer, performer and innovator of the Lindy Hop. He was a member of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers a perfomance troupe which appeared in several movies and in Life Magazine. After his storied career as a professional swing dancer, Frankie disappeared from the public eye and went to work at the Post Office where he worked for years. Very few if any of his co-workers knew he was a dancer, let alone an amazing one who had invented airsteps (or aerials).

In 1986, Steven Mitchell & Erin Stevens found Frankie, brought him out of retirement to teach them the Lindy Hop. Since his discovery, Frankie spent the remainder of his life teaching, performing and promoting the Lindy Hop becoming the dance’s Grand Ambassador, and it’s spiritual leader. Frankie died in 2009 right before his 95th birthday. Many of us learned from him or were inspired by his talks. We keep his memory alive by spreading the joy of swing dancing and in particular the Lindy Hop, the Shim Sham and his favorite music, Count Basie’s “Shiny Stockings”.

If Frankie was the King, Norma Miller is the definitely the Queen. She too was one of the Founding Lindy Hoppers who has spent a great deal of her time inspiring, teaching our current generation of swing dancers.

Dawn Hampton is a little younger and was from the next generation of swing dancers. She was also a jazz musician and a cousin of famous xylophone player, Lionel Hampton. She often appears at dance camps where she performs and waxes eloquently about the love of the dance. If you ever get to hear her speak or watch her dance, she will lift you up with her presence, truly an inspiration to us all!

Where else can I dance?

 Wednesday –  MIT Lindy Society. See www.mit.edu/swing
Friday – Boston Swing Central
Saturday – Several other monthly dances
Uptown Swing – www.hoptothebeat.com
See www.havetodance.com for a complete and up-to-date calendar of all activities.

Is Boston Swing Central a non-profit?

Yes, Boston Swing Central was granted our non-profit status in late 2011.  We are extremely excited to have gotten our non-profit status achieving one of our primary goals  which was to give the Boston Swing Dance community a living and working organization dedicated to keeping Lindy Hop alive and well for years to come.

On written request, we are required as a non-profit to share our financial information.  But we think it is important to make this publicly and readily available to everyone so they can see where our money is spent.  You can learn more about what your ticket price buys you (and it mostly goes to rent and the bands), read this article here for a summary of BSC financial data.

FY 2010 Tax Documents

FY 2011 Tax Documents

Where It All Goes Article

How Much Does the Dance Cost? How much is the lesson?

Our Friday night dance includes a lesson in the price of admission from 8 to 9pm.  Prices are as follows:

– On DJ nights, our dance is $10 for General Admission.

– On Band nights, our dance is $15 to $25 for General Admission. The admission rate depends upon the band size and where the band is from. Bands that are more expensive are usually bigger like a 14-piece big band or from further away like the Boilermakers who hail from Pittsburgh.

– We have a mix of 70/30 band and DJ nights.

– We offer a discount to students and seniors with a valid ID.

How old do you have to be to attend the dance?

You should be 18 years of age or older to attend Boston Swing Central.

Do you serve alcohol?

No, we do not serve alcohol and most dancers prefer to drink water to avoid dehydration.