Frequently Asked Questions
What if I don't have experience with dancing?
Everyone who has ever learned to dance started without knowing how to dance in the first place! While some dancers may have prior dance training earlier in their life (such as tap, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, etc.), having experience before you start any kind of partnered dancing or line dancing is not a requirement in the slightest. We help dancers with all skill levels, from experienced dancers that want to compete to new dancers taking their first steps onto the dance floor.
The only thing you need to get started is a willingness to learn!
What are the benefits of learning to dance?
There are many benefits to learning to dance, and we can’t list them all here. So we wrote an entire article for it! Overall, you’ll become more confident, improve your fitness/health, become more social, and be a part of an inclusive and welcoming community. And more!
How long does it take to learn to dance?
We can help you get out on the dance floor within your first lesson! We help students learn the basics of all the major social dances, based on their personal goals, so that they can attend a social dance event and have basic knowledge of how to lead and follow. Learning to dance is an ongoing skill and it’s common to see dancers learning and perfecting their craft for years – and decades. Dancers have that much fun with dancing that they just don’t want to stop! Learning to dance is an engaging and enjoyable part of the hobby, just as much as it is actually getting to dance with friends and meeting new people.
I don't have a partner, can I still take lessons?
Of course! Many people who take dance lessons take them by themselves. Both singles and couples (including dancers who are in a couple, but where their partner is not a dancer) are always welcome at lessons, dances, and events. Due to the structure of lessons in the majority of dance environments, you will rotate partners throughout the lesson (or you will work independently with an instructor), allowing you to meet new people.
What's the best way to learn to dance?
The most effective way to learn for each dancer is going to vary. There are a few key ways that you can learn to dance, and one of the most effective ways to progress in your dancing is to combine a variety of different methods:
- Private Lessons – work one-on-one with an instructor to get personalized attention for your dancing. This is one of the quickest ways to grow as a dancer.
- Group Lessons – learn from an instructor in a “group setting,” alongside fellow dancers in varying skill levels. Group lessons are typically taught in “levels,” such as “beginner,” “intermediate,” and “advanced.” Your private instructor or the current group lesson instructor can advise you on which level you gain the most dance education out of. This is one of the most cost-effective ways to become a well-rounded dancer.
- Social Dancing – usually combining a “group lesson” with hours of “open dancing”, a social dance is a perfect opportunity to meet new people, put your new dance skills to use, and practice elements of your dancing. Commonly referred to as “out in the wild,” social dance settings are one of the most fun ways to “learn” to dance, confirm what you’ve learned, and find the areas of your dancing that you can still improve on.
- Dance Conventions – one of the largest and most effective ways to learn to dance in the world, a dance convention usually conists of 2-4 days of workshops, dancing, and competitions. Some events combine a variety of dances under on roof while others focus exclusively on a single style of dancing.
The most effective dancers combine a variety of different learning “mediums” to become highly well-rounded dancers in their chosen styles of dance. Your personal priority that you want to get out of dancing will affect which methods will be most effective for your dancing.
Do I need special shoes for dancing?
Yes and no. To start, you don’t need any special shoes to be able to get out on the dance floor. If you can, choose that “slide” or “turn” easily on a wooden surface (hard leather shoes or worn-down shoes are a great starting option). The reason for this is that many shoes commonly have rubbery soles which are designed to prevent slipping and sliding, which means it’s difficult to do certain turns in shoes.
As you get more experience with dancing, you may find that an investment in a pair of dance shoes is worthwhile, which have suede attached to the bottom. This is the most common type of “sole” that you’ll find dancers of all skill levels using. Pricing can range from $30 to $100 or higher depending on the style of shoe, how you acquire the shoes (with suede bottoms), and where you get your shoes from. An investment like good dance shoes can last multiple years and becomes just as essential as your dance education.
But don’t let your current shoe selection prevent you from getting started!
Simply pick your most comfortable shoes that won’t fall off while moving around and join in on the fun.
Where can I go dancing at?
There are many different places that you can go dancing at throughout and around Fort Wayne, IN.
Nearly every weekend, the Anchor Room is used by various clubs and instructors from the area, holding lessons and open dancing. This is a great way to get more exposure to dances, practice your dancing, and meet new people at the same time.
Each month, the Fort Wayne Dancesport meets at the IPFW Walb Student union for their “chapter dance,” which features a group lesson followed by 3 hours of open dancing. This is the largest reoccurring ballroom event in the area.
How can I practice my dancing?
Using a combination of solo and partner practicing, you can improve as a dancer. The most effective methods will vary from person to person, so it’s worth taking some time to find out how you learn best. You can ask your instructor about what you can practice and how you can best practice.
Where can I find music to practice/dance to?
Multiple resources for music can be found online to practice to. As long as you have an internet connection and no bandwidth restrictions, the following resources can be streamed as needed:
(playlists coming soon!)
- Radio WCS – live radio of all WCS music.
- Ballroom Playlist (YouTube)
- (Our recommendations.)
If you’re looking for music on the go, there are different options for you to take the music with you. Certain providers provide “offline” options to allow you to continue listening to your music even if you go out of range of the internet. Check out Spotify, Amazon Music, x, and y.
What should I wear?
Above all, you want to wear clothing that is comfortable and allows you to move freely. Avoid clothing that is too restricting and feels like it’s “pulling” when you extend your hands straight up, straight out, or straight forward.
For what you would wear on a casual day is perfect for group lessons. Most social dances have a similar dress code, but may feel slightly “dressier” than casual wear. When attending events, make sure to pay attention to any attire or wardrobe mentions, as some events may specifically be more formal or have certain requirements.
What all can I "do" once I know how to dance?
There are different avenues that a dancer may go as they get more comfortable with their abilities. There is no right or wrong way to pursue dance. Some see it as a social activity and hobby, allowing them to mingle and meet new people, while having a fun and engaging activity to participate in. Others find a lot of value in becoming proficient in their hobby and enjoy the progress of learning to dance and mastering their art. Others still take on a more competitive approach, taking on national and global competitions around the country or the world.
It really comes down to what your presonal interests are. You can always talk with an instructor or another experienced dancer to see what kind of activities they like and WHY they enjoy it. When you’re just getting started, simply focusing on “learning to dance” is a great initial focus. You can (and probably will) change your mind as you learn more and experience more of the dance culture.
I have a busy schedule, is dancing right or me?
Most dance instructors are able and happy to work around the schedule that you have. Group lessons are typically set-in-stone (on a per-month basis) and won’t change in time, but working with a private instructor may be able to work with you to find a time that is convenient for your schedule.
There are dance events happening nearly every weekend and occasionally throughout the week. Most events happen in the evening. Check out our hours and calendar to learn more or simply send us an email and we’ll help you find a time that works on your schedule.
What is "leading" and "following"? Which one is for me?
Leading and following are “roles” within the partner dancing world. In each dance partnership there is a leader (who is “leading” or who “leads” the follower) and a follower (who is “following” or who “follows” the leader).
The leader of the dance is someone who “guides” the follower through various patterns by making clear suggestions about how he or she wants the follower to proceed.
The follower of the dance is someone who “interprets” the leader’s suggestions.
A common analogy is that the leader is the “frame” to a picture while the follower is the “art” in the picture. The leader gives a framework for the follower to express herself or himself in.
In recent decades, leaders have traditionally been male and followers have traditionally been female. Many organizations and dance communities throughout the world are gradually moving to “role” based dancers, rather than “gender” based dancers. At the Anchor Room we want our dancers to play in the role that they are most interested or most comfortable playing.
Furthermore, some dancers even choose to learn both the lead and follow roles, allowing them to become highly proficient at their chosen styles of dance.