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Courses:
Ballroom I
Swing I
Lindy Hop I (no prereq)
Swing II
• 
Swing II-r
• 
Swing III
Swing III-LH - Lindy Hop Basics
Swing V - Advanced Swing & Lindy Playtime
• 
Swing Styling (mini)
Latin & Salsa I
Latin & Salsa II (mini)
Latin & Salsa II (full)

Workshops:
Acrobatic Swing!
• 
Latin Hip Movement
Partnering Technique (Leading & Following)

FAQ:
FAQ: Swing I or II for me?



Full Descriptions of All Our
Courses and Workshops



Not all courses are offered every session! Please check our Current Classes and Upcoming Classes pages for schedules and prices.

We look forward to seeing you!

NOTES: This page serves as something of an archive of our course descriptions from the past few years. Accordingly, you'll see some course names and numberings that almost overlap, since we have sometimes re-used the same course-name while the course contents kept evolving. (At the time the courses were offered, there were no ambiguities, but on this page there may be.) We apologize in advance that some listings are complete, while others are a bit sketchy. We hope eventually to fill in the gaps.

INSTRUCTOR for all dance classes is Ken Kreshtool, Professional Ballroom Instructor (also B.A., M.A., J.D., and currently trying to finish up a Ph.D.). Five times student-commented in his Harvard University campus classes (by Harvard students) as "the best instructor I've ever had in anything."

  


BALLROOM I

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         Foxtrot, Rumba, Waltz and Tango (if there's time) -- these are the dances you need to know, along with Swing, to dance elegantly to almost every dance orchestra. Plus technique and partnering skills. This superb, brief course will make you a better dancer than any comparable course in the Boston area.
          We'll learn 6 Foxtrot figures, 6 Rumba figures, about a dozen Waltz figures, and, if there's time, 6 or 7 Tango figures. Even more important, we'll use those figures as the context in which to learn a high level of Leading and Following skills -- because that is where the real magic of partner dancing is found.

  • Prerequisite: Ability to count to 4.
  • No partner or experience needed.
  • 6 weeks - 1.5 hours each week - 9 hours total. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)

(The following is a summary list from a previous class session. Coverage changes slightly every time we teach, depending on instructional detours, calendar contraints, and just plain serendipity.)

Ballroom I  -  Summary List
. The following is just a compact summary of variations taught in class, with 'logical' groupings.  It is fairly close to the the order in which we taught things in this particular class.

  • Good (momentum-based) Leading & Following Technique

Foxtrot

  • Foxtrot Basic step
  • Hesitations
    • Forward (often called out as "Forward-Backward" in class)
    • Sideward
    • Turning
  • Promenade
    • Regular
    • Fancy -- with Lady's Traveling Underarm Turn
    • Tips:
      • Promenades can go through the center of the room if a miracle occurs and the center is clear for long enough, or along a wall (Man facing outward).
      • It's best to start a series of Promenades with a regular Promenade, not the Fancy one.
      • It's handy to end a Promenade series with a Sideward Hesitation (to gather down the lateral momentum), and then do some Turning Hesitations to get back to facing the right way.

Rumba

  • Rumba Basic (Box version)
  • Rumba Hesitation
  • Forward Progressive Hesitations (first the L.F. goes forward, then the R.F. goes forward, etc.)
  • Cuban Walks Forward (curving slightly to Left)
  • Cuban Walks Backward (begin after 1/2 Box)
  • Slow ("4-Chunk") Underarm Turn -- with feeling!

Waltz

  • Waltz Basic Box
    • simple and square
    • super-flying open-angles version -- emphasis on the 2nd corner!
      • emphasis on the 2nd corner
      • 1st step is very minor, rather small, and your weight is shifting past it immediately
  • Waltz Hesitations
    • Forward (often called out as "Forward-Backward" in class)
    • Sideward
    • Turning
  • Waltz incarnation of Slow ("4-Chunk") Underarm Turn
  • algorithmic adaptations from Foxtrot -- on the first 3 Waltz beats, stretch the Foxtrot's first "Slow" step into a Waltz Hesitation; and then for the second 3 beats do a half-box-like something.
    • Forward Hesitation + Backward Half Box (cf Foxtrot FWD-BWD Hesitation)
    • Waltz Promenade Hesitation = Prom. Hesitation + Prom. finish (cf Foxtrot Promenade)
    • Biltmore = FWD Hesitation + FWD Half-box (cf Foxtrot Basic)
  • Forward Progressive Half-Boxes (a.k.a. Boxcars or Chain Steps or Change Steps)
  • Left Box Turns [worked on very briefly]
  • Right Box Turns [demonstrated briefly, but not really learned]
  • Half-Box Link -- for changing from Left Box Turns to Right Box Turns [demonstrated briefly, but not really learned]

Tango

  • Tango Basic ( "T - A - N - G - O " -- where T-A are one unit, and N-G-O are another half-box-like unit)
  • Tango Hesitation
  • Tango Promenade (with a "trick" to make it work smoothly)
  • [This was as far as we got in our most recent (May-June 2001) Ballroom I course. We didn't quite get to all 6 or 7 Tango moves...)

As far as we know, no other 6-week Ballroom I class comes even remotely close to teaching you this much. (In fact, we might not make it through the entire repertoire each time -- although we did last time! )



  


SWING I

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         An unusually thorough and entertaining Beginners course. You'll learn over 20 moves, turns, spins and dips in just 6 weeks, plus expert technique tips.
          Throughout, we'll strongly emphasize good (momentum-based) leading and following technique, because that's the key to becoming a superb dance partner.
         After our Swing I course, you'll know more Swing moves -- AND you'll have better dance technique -- than after any other Swing I course on the East Coast.

  • Prerequisite: Ability to count to 6.
  • No partner or experience needed.
  • We often have several Swing I classes running concurrently. If so, you are welcome to attend any or all of them for no extra charge (e.g., to make up a missed class, or for extra practice time).
  • 6 weeks - 1.5 hours each week - 9 hours total. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)

(The following is a summary list from a previous class session. Coverage changes slightly every time we teach, depending on instructional detours, calendar contraints, and just plain serendipity.)

Swing I  -  Summary List
. The following is just a compact summary of variations taught in class, with 'logical' groupings.  It is NOT the order in which we teach things!  Instead, we teach in an order that makes for the fastest and easiest learning.

  • Good (momentum-based) Leading & Following Technique
  • Basic step - Single, Double, Triple
    • Closed Position
    • Open Position
  • "Simple" change of places (low hands)
  • Arch Turn
  • Lady's Inside Turns (aka 'Loop' Turns) (left side; right side)
  • Sweetheart (2-hand version of Lady's Inside Turn) (left side; right side) -- also known as Cuddle or Wrap or Basket
  • Lady's Outside Turns (left side; right side)
  • Parallels (2-hand version of Lady's Outside Turn) (left side; right side)
  • Man's Outside Turns (left side; right side)
    • High-hand version
    • Break through the hands -- 2 versions
    • Fred Astaire-inspired version
  • Man's Inside Turns (left side; right side)
  • Man's Sweetheart (just for fun)
  • Various Alternating-Person and Mix-and-match Turns Series
    • Almost every conceivable combination
  • She-Go/He-Go (5 different versions)
  • Double Arm Slide (aka Dishrag or Drape) (3 different exits)
  • Simple Dip [if we have time]

As far as we know, no other 6-week (or even 10-week) Swing I class comes even remotely close to teaching you this much!



  


LINDY HOP I (8-count Swing)

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[We have re-arranged our curriculum, and at the moment this course is not offered. Instead, we offer "Swing II-B (Lindy Hop moves)" which assumes that you have taken Swing I.]
          An in-depth survey of the basic Lindy Hop steps -- the old 8-count members of the Swing family. We'll cover as many basic variations as we can, including the basic turns from closed and open positions, the basic Charleston kicks, and some miscellaneous other goodies. We'll focus on the underlying structural mechanics much more than other courses in the area do, so that you learn these tricky-to-master steps far more quickly.
          This course has NO dance prerequisite -- that is, you do not need any Swing or other dance background. We'll start right from scratch. (It's helpful if you can count to 8, however.)

  • Prerequisite: ability to count to 8.
  • No partner needed.
  • 6 weeks - 1.5 hours each week - 9 hours total. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)

(The following is a summary list from a previous class session. Coverage changes slightly every time we teach, depending on instructional detours, calendar contraints, and just plain serendipity.)

Lindy Hop Basics  -  Summary List
. The following is just a compact summary of variations taught in class, with pseudo-'logical' groupings.  It is NOT the order in which we teach things!  Instead, we teach in an order that makes for the fastest and easiest learning. Also: The stuff we cover in this course varies from session to session, depending on the whim and memory lapses of the instructor.

NOTE: The following list is from the recent Lindy Hop Basics course that had a Swing II prerequisite -- boy, did we cover a lot! However, when we teach Lindy Hop I from scratch (with no 6-count Swing prerequisite), the coverage will be smaller! That is, we'll get as far into this list as possible, but we won't finish the list. Items in gray probably won't get covered in a Lindy Hop I class.

For Lindy Hop, "Closed Position" means Side-By-Side Position.

  • Some small bits:
    • Stomp Off (just a fragment, not a whole a move)
    • Heels
    • Swivels
    • Kick Away
  • Jockey (in Side-By-Side Position)
  • Lindy Basic, Open Position to Open Position (some say "Lindy Turn," some say "Swing Out")
  • Lindy Basic, Open to Closed (some say "Lindy Circle")
  • Lindy Basic, Closed to Open (some say "Swing Out")
  • Variations on 1st-half of Lindy Basic (Open to Open, or Open to Closed) :
    • Lady's Inside Turn (cf Stop-N-Go)
  • Variations on 2nd-half of Lindy Basic (Open to Open, or Closed to Open) :
    • Lady's Outside Turn
    • Ditto, with Man's follow-through
    • Lady's Inside Turn
    • Reverse Groucho
      • High-hand lead
      • Free spin lead
  • Charleston kicks:
    • Simple Charleston "kicks"
    • Turn-Through-Middle Charleston kicks
    • Hand-to-Hand Charleston kicks
      • with or without Kick Arounds
      • Exits:
        • From right-leg-kick half (Frankie Manning style)
        • From Kick Arounds
  • Jig Walks:
    • Slow, ending with High Kick (some say "Skip Up")
    • Slow, plus several Quicks
    • Slow with Half-Turn-Around [not yet learned]
  • Texas Tommy
  • Exits from Side-By-Side Position, in addition to Lindy Basic Closed to Open:
    • Tuck-Then-Arch-Turn
      • Single turn for lady
      • Double turn for lady
    • Tuck-Then-Arch-Turn, with Around The World Turn for man

As far as we know, no other 5-week Lindy - Level I class comes even remotely close to teaching you this much. (In fact, we might not make it through the entire repertoire each time.)



  


SWING II

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          In this Intermediate/Advanced level course, you'll master most of the more intricate spins and turns of Swing, improve your technique skills dramatically, learn a few sweet dips, and learn the basic steps of Lindy Hop. We'll even try some of the safer acrobatic steps.
          We'll begin exactly where Ken's Swing I class left off (see above), so yes, you are perfectly prepared!
          Then we'll accelerate through the entire Intermediate repertoire and well into the Advanced moves, picking up technique skills that make your partnering more and more magical. The more advanced you get, the faster you can absorb new material -- so you will typically master 3 to 8 new moves or variations per lesson. Really. (We teach them in related groups -- the more closely related, the more we can learn at one go.)

  • Prerequisite: Swing I or equivalent.
  • No partner needed.
  • 6 weeks - 1.5 hours each week - 9 hours total. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)

(The following is a summary list from a previous class session. Coverage changes slightly every time we teach, depending on instructional detours, calendar contraints, and just plain serendipity.)

Swing II  -  Summary List
. The following is just a compact summary of variations taught in class, with 'logical' groupings.  It is NOT the order in which we teach things!  Instead, we teach in an order that makes for the fastest and easiest learning.

Additional note: The stuff we cover in this course varies from session to session, depending on the whim and memory lapses of the instructor. Usually the differences are in the extended variations on a basic theme. For example, sometimes we might do 8 double turns and 2 dips; other times 6 double turns and 4 or 5 dips.

  • Tuck Turns
        - 5 different tuck turns (each with Lady-only and Lady-and-Gentleman versions)
  • Double Turns
        - approx 8 different double turns
  • Catapults
    • Return on:
      • original side
      • opposite side
    • When returning, Gent can lead:
      • Simple half turn
      • Outside turn for Lady (straight bowling to high hand)
      • Inside turn free-spin for Lady (low J-hook/candy-cane lead)
  • Miscellaneous Moves
    • Rolling Off The Arm
    • Rolling Back Onto The Arm
    • Rolling Back In, with Man's Roll Across
    • Noodle from side to side
    • Simple Slingshot
    • Sugar Pushes (different from "West Coast Swing" item of same name)
          - 2 different flavors
    • Pretzel
    • Texas Tommy
      • single
      • double, where second is a big around-the-world wheel action
    • Barrel Roll (a.k.a. London Bridges)
      • Regular Hands
      • Double Shake-Hands
    • Tunnels
    • "Simple" Dip
  • Shake-Hands Stuff (some of this is duplicated elsewhere)
    • Getting into Shake-Hands Position:
          - 5 different moves
    • While in Shake-Hands Position:
          - 4 different moves
  • Semi-Acrobatic Stuff (sometimes omitted)
    • Technique practice
    • Side Cars
    • Straddle
    • Shoot-Through
    • Death Drop Dip
  • When no separate "Lindy Hop Basics" class is offered:
    Lindy Hop Basics (for Lindy Hop, "Closed Position" means Side-By-Side Position)
    (Note: Whenever Lindy Hop Basics or Lindy Hop I is offered as a separate course, the following Lindy Hop moves will be omitted from Swing II, and instead we'll do more fancy turns and other fun stuff.)
    • Lindy Basic, Open Position to Open Position (some say "Lindy Turn," some say "Swing Out")
    • Lindy Basic, Open to Closed (some say "Lindy Circle")
    • Lindy Basic, Closed to Open (some say "Swing Out")
    • Jockey (in Side-By-Side Position)
    • Simple Charleston "kicks"
    • Turn-Through-Middle Charleston kicks
    • Exits from Side-By-Side Position, in addition to Lindy Basic Closed to Open:
      • Tuck-Then-Arch-Turn
        • Single turn for lady
        • Double turn for lady
      • Tuck-Then-Arch-Turn, with Around The World Turn for man

As far as we know, no other 6-week (or even 10-week) Swing II class comes even remotely close to teaching you this much. (In fact, we might not make it through the entire repertoire each time -- although we did last time! )



  


SWING IIr

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          Identical to Swing II -- because it is Swing II -- but at a slight discount. For people who have already taken our Swing II and wish to repeat it in order to "refresh" their memories on the details of the 40 or so moves that we blasted through.
          Think of it as the most entertaining dancing/practicing time you can find -- and with expert guidance through all the millions of easy-to-forget details.
          Why "Swing IIr"? Because one person recently mentioned to us that he took Swing II twice, and learned MUCH more the second time through. So we thought we'd make it an official offering. (We figure this is more fun than slowing down Swing II into two half-speed courses. And it's more consistent with our "layered learning" approach, anyway.)

  • Prerequisite: our Swing II class.
  • No partner needed.
  • 6 weeks - 1.5 hours each week - 9 hours total. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)


  


SWING/LINDY HOP III

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          In this newly improved Intermediate/Advanced level course, you'll master some of the most intricate spins and turns of 6-count Swing, improve your technique and styling skills dramatically, and learn Intermediate steps of 8-count Swing ("Lindy Hop"). We'll even try to get to some of the safer acrobatic steps.
          We'll begin exactly where Ken's Swing II class left off (see above), so yes, you are perfectly prepared!
          We'll learn most of the remaining double turns and combination turns of 6-count Swing (whatever we didn't get to in Swing II), and we'll pile on the 8-count Swing ("Lindy Hop") variations, too. (We may also try looking at videos of old-time Swing and Lindy dancing -- with digitally-enhanced slow motion -- and trying out what we see.) By the end of this course, we should be looking pretty terrific on any dance floor !

  • Prerequisite: our Swing/Lindy Hop II class or equivalent.
  • No partner needed.
  • 6 weeks - 1.5 hours each week - 9 hours total. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)


  


SWING III-LH - Lindy Hop Basics

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          [Note: this "LH" version of Swing III was created to teach Lindy Hop to folks with an extensive Swing background. It is not currently offered.]
          An in-depth survey of the basic Lindy Hop steps -- the old 8-count members of the Swing family. We'll cover about a dozen variations in all, including the basic turns from closed and open positions, the basic Charleston kicks, and some miscellaneous other goodies.
          In order to cover this much ground, in this course, we'll start by modifying figures and techniques that we've already learned in our own Swing I and Swing II classes, instead of starting from scratch. Accordingly, this class requires (a) that you have taken our Swing II class; or (b) that you have taken our Swing I class plus you've gone dancing a bunch (say, about 10 hours worth); or (c) that you have learned the equivalent -- including a thorough mastery of the Swing move usually called "Stop-N-Go."

  • Prerequisite: ONE of the following:
    • our Swing II class
    • or our Swing I class plus 10 hours of Swing dancing out in the so-called Real World.
    • or equivalent including a thorough mastery of the "Stop-N-Go" move.
  • No partner needed.
  • 5 or 6 weeks - 1 or 1.5 hours each week - somewhere between 5 and 9 hours total. (It varies from session to session, depending on calendar constraints.)

(The following is a summary list from a previous class session. Coverage changes slightly every time we teach, depending on instructional detours, calendar contraints, and just plain serendipity.)

Lindy Hop Basics  -  Summary List
. The following is just a compact summary of variations taught in class, with pseudo-'logical' groupings.  It is NOT the order in which we teach things!  Instead, we teach in an order that makes for the fastest and easiest learning. Also: The stuff we cover in this course varies from session to session, depending on the whim and memory lapses of the instructor.

NOTE: The following list is from the recent Lindy Hop Basics course that had a Swing II prerequisite -- boy, did we cover a lot! However, when we teach Lindy Hop I from scratch (with no 6-count Swing prerequisite), we won't cover quite this much!

For Lindy Hop, "Closed Position" means Side-By-Side Position.

  • Precursor moves:
    • Stop-N-Go (from Swing II )
    • 8-count Closed Position Basics (regular closed position, not Side-By-Side)
    • Randomly alternating Closed Position Basics: 8-count and 6-count
  • Other small bits:
    • Stomp Off (just a fragment, not a whole a move)
    • Heels
    • Swivels
    • Kick Away
  • Jockey (in Side-By-Side Position)
  • Lindy Basic, Open Position to Open Position (some say "Lindy Turn," some say "Swing Out")
  • Lindy Basic, Open to Closed (some say "Lindy Circle")
  • Lindy Basic, Closed to Open (some say "Swing Out")
  • Variations on 1st-half of Lindy Basic (Open to Open, or Open to Closed) :
    • Lady's Inside Turn (cf Stop-N-Go)
  • Variations on 2nd-half of Lindy Basic (Open to Open, or Closed to Open) :
    • Lady's Outside Turn
    • Ditto, with Man's follow-through
    • Lady's Inside Turn
    • Reverse Groucho
      • High-hand lead
      • Free spin lead
  • Charleston kicks:
    • Simple Charleston "kicks"
    • Turn-Through-Middle Charleston kicks
    • Hand-to-Hand Charleston kicks
      • with or without Kick Arounds
      • Exits:
        • From right-leg-kick half (Frankie Manning style)
        • From Kick Arounds
  • Jig Walks:
    • Slow, ending with High Kick (some say "Skip Up")
    • Slow, plus several Quicks
    • Slow with Half-Turn-Around [not yet learned]
  • Texas Tommy
  • Exits from Side-By-Side Position, in addition to Lindy Basic Closed to Open:
    • Tuck-Then-Arch-Turn
      • Single turn for lady
      • Double turn for lady
    • Tuck-Then-Arch-Turn, with Around The World Turn for man

As far as we know, no other 5-week Lindy - Level I class comes even remotely close to teaching you this much. (In fact, we might not make it through the entire repertoire each time -- although we did last time! )



 


SWING V
Advanced Swing & Lindy Playtime

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          Moving up from Move-mastery to Dance-mastery. We'll play with multiple Swing styles, techniques, hip movements, swivels, footwork variations, musicality, and -- most important of all -- partnering skills. We may even watch videos of old-time Swing and Lindy dancing (with digitally-enhanced slow motion) and try out what we see. (March Mini-Session: we can only watch some video fragments IF someone can bring in a TV. We'll supply the super-duper VCR, but lugging a TV is beyond us at the moment.)
          We'll run this course with substantial cooperative effort and democratic input. That is, we'll be helping each other learn and experiment much more explicitly than usual. And therefore . . .
          Partner required, more or less. It doesn't have to be a spouse or even a honeybun, but you really ought to sign up with someone. We'll change partners a lot, as usual, for better learning. But some of our experimentation will be best done with someone you already know. Moreover, this class will be strictly gender-balanced at each lesson, and, of course, coming with a partner gives you priority. (After that, it'll be first come, first served. Yes, this is a change from our usual mellow approach. It seems more or less necessary for this particular course. Hope you don't mind.)

  • Partner required, more or less.
  • Prerequisites:
    • our Swing II plus Lindy Hop experience (our Swing III - Lindy Hop Basics, or Lindy II elsewhere).
    • Ability to stay perfectly on beat, at both very fast and very slow tempos (tempi ?).
      (We know that some folks are still gaining mastery over this. We strenuously recommend that you dance for another month or two first, to nail this down, then join us. It's just a matter of time and practice, so take your time. This course simply won't be any fun for you -- or your partners -- until you can stay perfectly on the beat without even thinking about it. We want you -- and your partners -- to be able to concentrate on the fun stuff ! )
  • 5 weeks - 1 hour each week - 5 hours total. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)


  


SWING STYLING
For Intermed. level dancers

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          Moving up from Move-mastery to Dance-mastery. We'll play with multiple Swing styles, techniques, hip movements, swivels, footwork variations, musicality, and -- most important of all -- partnering skills. We may even watch videos of old-time Swing and Lindy dancing (with digitally-enhanced slow motion) and try out what we see.
          We'll run this course with substantial cooperative effort and democratic input. That is, we'll be helping each other learn and experiment much more explicitly than usual.

  • Prerequisite: Swing I or equivalent.
  • No partner needed.
  • 3 weeks - 1.0 hours each week - 3 hours total


  


LATIN and SALSA I

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         Salsa, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Mambo -- plus Merengue and Bachata. These are the primary Latin dances you ought to know, to be ready for both Ballroom Latin dancing and Latin Club dancing! We cleverly begin with the structures that Rumba, Cha-Cha, Mambo and Salsa share in common -- so we can start learning all four simultaneously! Then we learn the aspects and variations that distinguish the different Latin dances. We'll also concentrate on Latin hip movement and good partnering technique. Near the end of the course, we'll get a quick immersion into Merengue and Bachata, which are the other two commonly played kinds of music at "Salsa" clubs. (They'll often play 4 or 5 Salsas, then 4 or 5 Merengues, then maybe a Bachata or two, then start the cycle over.)

  • Prerequisite: Ability to count to 4.
  • No partner or experience needed.
  • Whenever you wish, you may come to the other Latin/Salsa I section (e.g., to make up a missed class; for extra practice).
  • 6 weeks - 1.5 hours each week - 9 hours total. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)

(The following is a summary list from a previous class session. Coverage changes slightly every time we teach, depending on instructional detours, calendar contraints, and just plain serendipity.)

Latin & Salsa I  -  Summary List
. The following is just a compact summary of variations taught in class, with pseudo-'logical' groupings.  It is NOT the order in which we teach things!  Instead, we teach in an order that makes for the fastest and easiest learning. Also: The stuff we cover in this course varies from session to session, depending on the whim and memory lapses of the instructor.

Note: L.H. = Left Hand     R.H. = (guess)

We started with Rumba, Cha-Cha and Mambo, going SIDEWARD for the "Slow" step:

  • "Zig-zag" Basic step (this is not an official name; we simply used it for descriptive purposes)
    • Closed Position
    • Open Position
  • Cross-Over Breaks ("New Yorkers")
    • "distance" technique for catching her hand or her back
  • Cross-Over Break with Spot Turn
    • Waist-height lead (both people turn)
    • High-hand lead (Lady turns; man does usual Rock-Step as in a Basic)
  • Reverse Cross-Over Breaks ("Reverse New Yorkers")
  • Mix-and-Match Cross-Overs (Regular and Reverse)

Then in Cha-Cha we added the following:

  • A transition to "Shine" or "No-hands" Position with forward-backward Basic (namely, Gentlemen: Spot Turn to no-hands Cha-Cha-Cha through center, then Rock-Step as usual, then do the next Cha-Cha-Cha straight backwards, and continue.)
  • Embellishment on the Cha-Cha-Cha step: hook or "lock" the feet on the 2nd Cha
    • Either on forward half, or on backward half, or both
    • No need to match what partner does
  • Forward Spot Turn Series (Man, then Lady, etc.)
  • Forward Half Turns (sometimes called "Half and halfs")

Then we stayed with a forward-backward Basic and learned Salsa:

  • Forward-Backward Basic step
    • Closed Position
    • Open Position
  • Tips for men:  #1 Start the lead for HER turns when you are going BACKWARD. Start your own turns when you are going FORWARD. (Usually.)  #2 If you are close enough to end a move in Closed Position, you are also close enough to end the move in Cross-Body Lead.  #3 If you are close enough to end a move in Cross-Body Lead, you are also probably close enough to let your Left Hand do a Cuban Curl behind your head as the rest of you gets into Cross-Body Lead.  #4 If you are feeling rushed during a Cuban Curl action, go slower and finish it smoothly, even if it finishes a bit late.
  • Tips for ladies: #1 Keep your elbows forward and arms "toned" for a good frame.  #2 Be prepared for Cuban Curls.  #3 Always snake your Left Elbow up and into place ASAP . . . easier to do if it's somewhat up at all times.
  • Right turns (Forward Spot Turns, either full turns or half-and-halfs)
    • Full turn for Lady
      • Lead with one hand (Open Position)
      • Lead with two hands (Open Position)
      • Lead with two hands (Closed Position)
      • Lead with two hands from 2ble-Cross-Hands Position (e.g., half-cycle after Cross-Body Lead)
      • Can end in Open Position, Closed Position, or Cross-Body Lead
    • Half-and-half for Lady
    • Full turn for Man
      • Low-hand action
      • High hand action
    • Half-and-half for Man
      • Low-hand action
      • High-hand action
    • She-Go/He-Go (Lady's Right Turn, then immediately Man's Right Turn)
    • Lady's Right Turn followed immed. by Man's Half-and-half
  • Left turns ("delayed" type of turn)
    • Man's Left Turn
    • Lady's Left Turn (with pinball-machine style Lead done by Man's R. Hand.)
      • Finish with Man's Left Hand going high
      • Finish with Man's Right Hand going high [not learned]
      • Can end in Open Position, Closed Position, or Cross-Body Lead
  • Cross-Body Lead
    • From Closed Position
    • From Open Position
      • Ending regularly
      • Ending in 2ble-Cross-Hands (2ble-Shake-Hands) Position -- Right Hands above
  • From 2ble-Cross-Hands (2ble-Shake-Hands) Position - right hands above:
    • Lady's Right Turn (already mentioned above)
    • Cross-Body Lead
    • Cross-Body Lead with Extra Turn - Man's Left Hand goes high for the final leading
    • Cuban Curls "Waterfall" (3 Cuban Curls in a row)
    • Double-Cuban Curls (both arms - L.H. behind Man's head, R.H. behind Lady's) into Cross-Body Lead
  • From 2ble-Cross-Hands (2ble-Shake-Hands) Position - left hands above:
    • Cross-Body Lead (not done in class, but straightforward)
    • Cross-Body Lead with Extra Turn - Man's Left Hand goes high, Man's Right Hand goes low

Then we quickly surveyed Bachata and Merengue.

As far as we know, no other 6-week Latin & Salsa I class comes even remotely close to teaching you this much. (In fact, we might not make it through the entire repertoire each time. )



  


LATIN and SALSA II
( 3-week Mini-Session )

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         We'll continue where our most recent Latin/Salsa I class left off -- with 3 more weeks of SALSA moves, plus a wee bit of Merengue and Bachata! And we'll get our Latin Hip Movement looking a whole lot better!

  • Prerequisite: A little Salsa experience (for example, our LATIN and SALSA I class, or elsewhere).
  • No partner needed.
  • Mini-Session: 3 weeks - 1 hour each week - 3 hours total (although we'll almost always run longer than 1 hour)


  


LATIN & SALSA II-A and II-B
( 6-week full course )

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         In both Latin & Salsa II courses, we'll start where our Latin & Salsa I class left off -- so yes, you are perfectly prepared for either II-A or II-B! We'll learn 6 more weeks of SALSA moves, plus a bit more of Merengue, Rumba, Cha-Cha, and Bachata! And we'll get our Latin Hip Movement looking a whole lot better!
         Our Latin and Salsa II curriculum is now too extensive for just one 6 week course -- we simply need more time to get through all the cool new moves we want to teach you! So we'll be offering Latin & Salsa II-A and Latin & Salsa II-B on an alternating basis -- teaching different sets of fancy stuff in each! You can take them in any order. They will, of necessity, overlap somewhat, especially during the first 2 weeks. So whenever you register for your second one, you'll get the "repeat" discount of 1/3 off!

  • Prerequisite: our Latin and Salsa I or equivalent.
  • II-A and II-B can be taken in either order.
  • No partner needed.
  • 6 weeks - 1.5 hours each week - 9 hours total. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)

The Latin & Salsa II-B description below is a work in progress. It lists only some of the things we've done, and was posted in this form just to begin to help folks in a recent Latin & Salsa II-B class.

Latin & Salsa II-
B  -  Summary List. (1) The following is just a compact summary of variations taught in class, with pseudo-'logical' groupings.  It is NOT the order in which we teach things!  Instead, we teach in an order that makes for the fastest and easiest learning. (2) The stuff we cover in this course varies from session to session, depending on the whim and memory lapses of the instructor. (3) The list below is mainly a list of move names. Fuller descriptions are available to people who have taken the class (email us for details).

NOTE: It is very difficult for us to list our Latin & Salsa II moves by name, for 2 reasons:

  1. Salsa does not have standard names for its moves. Virtually every move is given different names by everyone. And the same names get applied to several different moves. It's crazy. The only universally agreed-on name we've found is for the Cross-Body Lead. Thank goodness there's at least one.
  2. We have trouble remembering what the heck we actually did in any class. Sometimes we'd stick to the instructor's lesson plan, and often we'd get off on a tangent and follow the tangential path for the rest of the lesson.

So we've simply done the best we could here.

Abbreviations:
L.H. = Left Hand     R.H. = (guess)

Note: in class, we used the phrases "cross-hand position" and "shake-hands position" interchangeably. Strangely, "cross-hand" is usually pronounced as singular, while "shake-hands" is usually plural.
X-H = Cross-Hand (i.e., Shake Hands)
1XH or 1-X-H = single Cross-Hand / single Shake-Hands
     1XH / R.H. = Shake Hands position, Right Hand to Right Hand
     1XH / L.H. = Shake Hands position, L.H. to L.H. (less commonly encountered)
2XH or 2-X-H = Double Cross Hand or Double Shake Hands
     2XH (R.H. above) = Double Shake Hands position, Right Hands are above
     2XH (L.H. above) = Double Shake Hands position, Left Hands are above. (This is where we are immediately after finishing a 2XH Lady's Right Turn. Note that some moves require this as their starting position.)
CW = Clockwise. CCW = Counterclockwise.

We started by reviewing a bit, and at the beginning of each class we practiced some new footwork patterns.

Solo footwork practice:
The idea of doing the footwork patterns in isolation (without partners) is to give ourselves a chance to get familiar with balancing ourselves, before we add the complication of accommodating a partner at the same time.

  • Back Turn / Hook Turn
    • Step-Step form
    • Hook-Step form
    • Hook-Pivot form
  • Double Right Turn. "Slow" form, in that it transpires across 2 half-Basics.
  • Side to Side Basic (also known as "Salsa Basic" or "Reverse Crossover Breaks")
  • Copa (a.k.a. "Salsa Spin" or simply, to some people, "Left Turn")
  • Round Basic

Moves:

  • Cross Body Lead (usually abbreviated CBL or XBL -- the "X" stands for "Cross") -- crispy!
  • CBL with Extra Lady's Turn (a.k.a. "CBL with Inside Turn," or sometimes just "Inside Turn")
    • End in Open Position. (see 2 moves down for Closed Position ending)
  • Lady's Left Turn ("delayed" style Left Turn, as opposed to the "early" style Copa Left Turn)
    • "Pinball machine" lead
    • Can end in Open Position
    • Can end in Closed Position (using "catch-her-back" technique skills)
    • Lady's styling: "fly" the L.H. upward
  • CBL with Lady's Extra Turn -- Closed Position ending (use "catch-her-back" technique skills)
  • Lady's Hook Turn
  • Man's Hook Turn
  • REVIEW: Tag #1
  • SMALL NEW MOVE: Man's Right Turn, under own high L.H. (instead of going low with the L.H.)
  • Tag #2 (from Regular Hands, instead of Cross-hand)
  • Sidewards Stuff
    • Reverse Cross-Over Breaks
    • Cross-Over Breaks: Too hard during fast music so almost never done in Salsa or Mambo, but very easy to do during Cha-Cha or Rumba music.
    • Hook Turns
      • Man's Hook Turn (when Man is moving towards Leftward end)
      • Lady's Hook Turn (when Man is moving towards Rightward end. This is the sidewards equivalent of Lady's Hook Turn listed above.)
  • Swing-derived Turns (alternating Lady's Loop Turn, and Man's Arch Turn or Break-Through-Hands Turn)
  • Stop 'N' Go. (entrance: 1XH). Remember, gents: your Right Elbow must never hit her neck.
    • Man's R.F. goes nowhere on Quick-Quick
    • Man's R.F. does Cross In Back (XIB) on Quick-Quick
    • Man's R.F. breaks straight forward on Quick-Quick
  • Arches. Starts in 2XH. Essentially, same as Stop 'N' Go with man's XIB footwork in the middle.
  • Copa
    • 1XH Copa
    • 2XH (L.H. above) Copa
    • Exits: simple, or catch-her-back to Closed Position
  • Behind-the-back Copa
    • Standard exit
    • Hip Spin Catch-Her-Back exit
    • Hip-to-hip-to-hip toss, with Hip Spin Catch-Her-Back exit
  • CBL with Hand-Toss. Start in 1XH (R.H. to R.H.). Hand-toss comes early: it's on second half of 2nd Quick.
    • Vertical hand toss; catch Lady's other hand with Man's other hand.
    • Sidewards hand toss; catch Lady's other hand with Man's same hand.

Then we quickly surveyed Bachata and Merengue.



  


ACROBATIC SWING!
(2-week Workshop)

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         Dips and deep dips, hip throws, shoot throughs, a toss or three, and some lift-spins. (Some of these are covered gently in Swing II -- but we'll go at them more vigorously in this workshop.)
         Note that aerials and acrobatics are banned at virtually every dance venue in the Boston area. You won't get to do these much out there in the real world -- but they are fun anyway.

  • Partner REQUIRED!
  • Prerequisites:
    • Men: You must be in shape enough to be able to lift your partner safely multiple times.
    • Women:
      • You must be strong enough to do 1/2 the work on all moves!
      • You must be willing to be lifted, and quite possibly dropped.
      • You must bring a bicycle helmet or a pillow for a few of the moves. (The pillow will go on the floor.)
    • Everyone: You must be willing to sign a liability waiver.
  • We'll be as careful as we know how, but: there is a substantial risk of injury.
  • 2 weeks. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)

Recommended gear:

Clothing
       - Shorts, skirts, or other very light clothing. We'll get very warm.
       - Women: Your legs are going to be up in the air from time to time -- so wear pants, or shorts under your skirt.
Shoes
       - Women: For the Shoot Through, shoes whose heels can slide well on a wood floor.
       - Everyone: For all other moves, comfortable, stable shoes -- even sneakers -- are excellent.
Miscellaneous gear
       - For several moves, a bicycle helmet or a pillow for the woman is required. (The pillow will go on the floor.)
       - A partner (required).

(The following is a summary list from a previous class session. We will probably not be teaching this again in the near future because (a) these moves are dangerous as hell, both to the people doing them and to everyone dancing nearby, and (b) all of the local dance places ban the "aerial" acrobatic moves.)

Acrobatic Swing Workshop  -  Summary List
. We expect to learn the following:

  • Basic Acrobatic Stuff
    • Technique elements' practice
    • Frog Jump; Straddle Jump
    • Frog Jump with Kick; Straddle Jump with Kick
    • Side Cars
    • Straddle
    • Shoot-Through
    • Simple Sit Spin
  • Dips
    • Death Drop Dip
    • Overturned-Double-Turn Dip --> Death Drop Dip
    • Figure-4 Dip
    • Dip --> Walk-Over (maybe)
  • Standard Jitterbug Flips
    • Over-The-Arm Flip
    • Around the Back Flip (Shoulder-Hook version)
    • Straight-Over-The-Back Flip (Interlocked-arms version)
    • Side-Car Cradle to Around-The-Back Flip (maybe)
    • Straight-Over-The-Back Flip (Wrist-hold version) (maybe)
  • Lift Spins
    • "Simple" Lift Spin
    • Side Lift Spin (maybe)


  


LATIN MOVEMENT & LATIN HIPS
(2-week Workshop)

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         In this workshop, we'll spend our time becoming better at the fluid hip movement that characterizes all Latin dancing -- in both the Ballroom Latin repertoire (Rumba, Cha-Cha, Mambo, Merengue, Samba) and in the Salsa club repertoire (Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, etc.). The same Latin hip movement will make your Swing look less stiff and more, um, Swing-ish.
         We'll work our way through a series of graduated exercises designed to take us Gringos from where we are to where we want to be. We'll do this in the contexts of both Latin and Swing dance (according to class members' experience), applying the technique skills to different variations.

  • Prerequisite: At least a little Latin, Salsa, Swing or Lindy dance experience.
  • No partner needed.
  • 2 weeks. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)


  


PARTNER DANCE TECHNIQUE
(2-week Workshop)
"How to be a much better dance partner than you already are."

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         Virtually all of the magic of partner dancing comes in the partnering quality. And just as with gymnastics or figure skating, making it look effortless requires a substantial level of technical skill. The ideal place to focus our improvement efforts is on the "bones" of a dance --  the deep levels where certain modest adjustments in the fundamental aspects of movement and connection (and attitude) allow everything else to unfold almost effortlessly.
         In this workshop, we'll spend our time learning many of the underlying Following and Leading techniques that allow instantaneous communication with your partner. These are the tips that the expert dancers know -- but which almost never get taught in dance classes. The tips and exercises in this workshop will help you become MUCH better partner dancers, and you'll no longer need extraordinary clairvoyance to follow each other brilliantly. We'll learn techniques that apply in the contexts of both Closed Position dancing and Open Position dancing.

  • Prerequisite: At least a tiny bit of Ballroom, Latin, or Swing experience.
  • No partner required.
  • 2 weeks. (Occasionally shorter or longer, depending on calendar constraints.)


  

FAQ
Frequently asked questions: "Which SWING class should I/we take . . . ?"

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     • "I've had one or two of those free lessons at the local dance places, and I've gone Swing dancing quite a few times. Which Swing class should I take -- Swing I or Swing II ?"

     • "I've taken a Swing dance class (or two), but my partner hasn't. I've shown him/her some stuff, and we've gone Swing dancing quite a few times. Which class should we take -- Swing I or Swing II ?"

     • "I've taken some Lindy Hop classes, which teach some 6-count moves. Which Swing class should I take?"

For our answers and recommendations, click here.



Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
We would love to hear from you.

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