Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Bread & Butter Jam like?
What are Providence Swings classes like?
What are the Saturday dances like?
How do I register for classes?
What kind of clothing should I wear?
What kind of shoes should I wear?
What is the difference between a leader and a follower?
I’m a beginner—can I come to a dance?
I’m a beginner—which class should I take first?
Do I need a partner?
Do you allow drop-ins for classes?
How do I know when I’m ready to move up to the next class level?
What can I do to improve?
Do you offer private lessons?
How can I help Providence Swings?
I noticed an error on the website. How do I let you know about the issue?
What should I do if I feel uncomfortable or harassed by someone?

1. What is the Bread & Butter Jam like?

The Bread & Butter Jam is our weekly practice dance on Thursdays from 8:15–11:00. Everyone is welcome, regardless of age or experience, and it’s an incredibly friendly and welcoming environment, so please join us! top

2. What are Providence Swings classes like?

Super fun! The environment is very supportive, and all of our instructors are at least a little wacky, so the classes are entertaining, as well. Typically the instructors are in the middle of a circle of dancers, so everyone has an unobstructed view. We rotate partners throughout the class, so you have the opportunity to learn and dance with a variety of people. Classes run from 7:00–8:15 pm, unless otherwise noted, and are either followed by a 45-minute practice session (Tuesday classes) or the Bread & Butter Jam (Thursday classes). All classes focus on technique and connection as well as moves, and the instructors are generally available afterwards to answer questions. Group classes are a great way to learn how to dance—not only do you learn the steps and techniques yourself, but they also create a core group of people who know the same material and with whom you can dance and practice. Please take a look at our Classes page for more information. top

3. What are the Saturday dances like?

Since they occur on the weekend, these dances tend to draw people from a bigger geographic area than the Bread & Butter Jams, and some people choose to dress up a little more. We feature guest DJs and/or live music at these events and a large spread of food. Each dance is preceded by a beginner lesson, so bring a non-dancing friend with you! top

4. How do I register for classes?

Go to our classes page and you can sign up online and then pay using PayPal or by mailing us a check. Alternatively, as long as the class isn’t full, you can just arrive 15 minutes before the first class session and we’ll sign you up at the door!  Note that registration is not complete without payment.  Also, we ask that you check-in at the door each week, as we do keep attendance. top

5. What kind of clothing should I wear?

You should wear non-restrictive comfortable clothing. Classes and the Bread & Butter Jam are fairly casual (think jeans and T-shirts), but many people dress up a little bit more for our Saturday dances. The main studio is air-conditioned in the summer, but the dancing will warm you up quickly regardless of the weather outside, so plan accordingly! top

6. What kind of shoes should I wear?

The most important characteristics of your shoes are that they should be clean and comfortable. In inclement weather especially, please bring a clean pair of shoes so that we don’t track in any mud/rain/snow/gum/etc. Typically, rubber soles will make it more difficult to spin and slide, so you may want to consider shoes with hard leather or suede soles.  High heels, open toed, and backless shoes should be avoided. top

7. What is the difference between a leader and a follower?

Nearly all social partner dancing consists of two roles: a leader and a follower. Typical gender roles in partner dancing are that men are leaders and women are followers. Though, some ladies learn the leader’s role and vice versa. A leader guides the dance and decides what moves to do next. A follower executes the moves that the leader suggests and generally is ready for anything. Both roles are equally challenging, but different. top

8. I’m a beginner—can I come to a dance?

Most of our Saturday dances are preceded by a Beginner Swing lesson designed to get you up and dancing the same night, so absolutely! Our Thursday Bread & Butter Jams are preceded by our weekly classes, so check the class schedule to see whether or not the class being offered in a particular month would be suitable.  That being said, we’re a very welcoming and laid-back group, so feel free to come to the Bread & Butter Jam either way! top

9. I’m a beginner—which class should I take first?

We recommend that students start with Intro to Swing A, which is generally offered on either Tuesdays or Thursdays in January, May, and September. This class is geared towards new Swing dancers, and will give you a solid foundation in the fundamentals. Charleston A is another good place to start; Charleston is the granddaddy of all the swing dance, and we generally offer this class on Tuesdays or Thursdays on a rotating schedule in March, July, or November, but please check the class schedule. All Tuesday classes are followed by a 45-minute practice session and all Thursday classes are followed by our weekly dance, The Bread & Butter Jam; so we’ll have you dancing in no time!  top

10. Do I need a partner?

Absolutely not! Most of our students come without a partner, and we rotate partners frequently in all of our classes, so you will have the opportunity to dance with a variety of people each night. top

11. Do you allow drop-ins for classes?

While you can pay for the classes on a week-by-week basis (although you do forgo the discount by choosing this option), in order to maintain the best possible learning environment for the class as a whole, students are not permitted to join a class series after the second week without the instructors’ permission.
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12. How do I know when I’m ready to move up to the next class level?

That’s hard to say. If you have paid for an entire A or B class series, you can retake that series at a discounted rate if you would like to get more comfortable before moving up to the next level. If you are unsure as to whether or not to move on, we’d suggest talking to the instructors of the class you most recently attended and/or the class you are considering taking. They will do their best to help you figure it out. top

13. What can I do to improve?

Practice! (Did you really expect a different answer?) We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to practice dancing on the social dance floor with as many different partners as possible. This is especially important for followers, as this is where you really learn the skill of following. You might also find it helpful to listen to swing music in the background as you go about your day—it’s a great way to get the feel of the rhythms and phrasing of the music. But the key is just to keep dancing—there are dances almost every night of the week in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, so there are plenty of opportunities. Also, don’t be shy about retaking class series—it’s amazing how much more you can pick up the second (or fifth!) time around. If you have previously paid in full for an A or B series, you will also be eligible to retake the same series at the repeat price. top

14. Do you offer private lessons?

Many of our instructors do offer private lessons, but those are arranged individually with the instructors and not through Providence Swings in general. Your best bet is to come on a Thursday in order to get a sense of whose dancing and/or teaching would be the best fit for you, and then approach that instructor. If you don’t have a particular instructor in mind and would like us to pair you up, just contact us and we’d be happy to do so! top

15. How can I help Providence Swings?

We are always looking for help. See our volunteering page for some suggestions and a way to get in touch with us. top

16. I noticed an error on the website. How do I let you know about the issue?

Our site is run by Word Press and the appearance of the site may differ between browsers. First, make certain your current browser is the most updated version. If the error still exist, take a screen shot of the page for reference. To do this hit the “Prt Scr” button on the key board. Open a Word document and select paste (or ctrl V). This will paste an image of your desktop into a word document. Type up a quick run down of the problem along with the OS and Browser version, save and then email a copy of the file to Providence Swings. If you notice a grammatical error, please email us at the address below. top

17. What should I do if I feel uncomfortable or harassed by someone?

Providence Swings does not tolerate any type of harassment. If you are in a situation that you find uncomfortable, please bring this to the attention of a board member. A list of active board members can be found on our website under the “About” tab. In addition to speaking with a board member personally, you can also feel free to email us at info@providenceswings.com.