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Tuesday Night Couple Dancing Classes

Taught by Richard Powers and Rocky Aikens, with Annika Mauro

Classes are every Tuesday evening, April 11 to May 16

A six-week series of partnered social dance classes held at

First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

(only 12 minutes from campus by bike, 8 minutes by car)

Have questions? Check out our FAQ at the bottom of this page.

Introductory Salsa, Bachata and Cha Cha

taught by Richard, with Rocky

7:00 pm - 7:55 pm

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Learn noncompetitive social Salsa, Bachata and Cha Cha, quickly through the basics then on to many variations. This is also a great introduction to couple dancing.


No dance experience is required, just a fun-loving attitude and enthusiasm.

Intro Social Lindy Hop

taught by Rocky, with Annika

8:00 - 8:55 pm


This was Rocky's first love in social dancing, and you'll see why! Learning Lindy Hop is a great way to build on your swing repertoire, and it's super fun.

Experience with another partnered dance is encouraged, but not required.

Intro Social and Argentine Tango

taught by Richard, with Rocky

9:00 pm - 9:55 pm

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Go quickly from basic tango to new figures, styling and the latest twists. This famously dramatic dance is friendly and accessible, without losing authenticity.


No dance experience is required. If you can walk, you can learn tango.



$40 for students, $60 for non-students for each of the three courses.


The price includes all six classes.

Each hour-long class costs about $6.50 (students), and $10 (non-students).

At a fraction of the cost at most other studios, these classes are a great value.


Once you've made the drive, stay for a second or third class!

Richard Powers

Richard Powers has been teaching contemporary and historic social dance for 45 years. He leads workshops around the world and is currently a full-time instructor at Stanford University's Dance Division.

Rocky Aikens

Rocky is a protégé of Richard's who brings her own touch to the dance floor. Her teaching is shaped by decade of social dance experience across genres and dance roles, and a view that dancers should be having fun at all levels of technical skill.

Annika Mauro

Annika will be partnering Rocky's dance classes. In addition to being an amazing dancer and educator herself, she is a mathematics student at Stanford. She also partners Richard's social dance classes at Stanford.

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The Teachers

The Dance Space

First United Methodist Church

625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

The community space at First United Methodist Church is a large dance space with a wood floor. It is located in downtown Palo Alto, biking distance from Stanford campus.

Some parking is available in the church parking lot. There is also an abundance of street parking, and the large Webster/Cowper parking garage one block away.

Introductory Salsa, Bachata and Cha Cha

This is the first time that we've taught Intro Latin dances in four years. Don't miss this chance.

The emphasis will be on ease, comfort and pleasure. Richard teaches accessible styles of noncompetitive Latin dance with a focus on partnering and flexibility, to enable students to dance comfortably with partners whose experience comes from any dance tradition.


This informal style of dancing allows personal expression without requiring rigid technique. The resulting flexibility will give you the confidence to lead and follow anybody, to either fit in or stand out as you wish.


Bachata basics are so easy that you will master them in only two classes. Then we move on to Salsa and Cha Cha, which share all of the same figures, so every pattern you learn in one also works in the other. This makes the classes easier, and helps you remember the figures.


Then we'll go beyond the basics into the figures that stand out — cross-body lead, Sombrero, and shine steps.


Learn how to dance through an entire piece of music without feeling repetitious, with specific suggestions on how to borrow motifs from swing and other dances you already know.


Salsa benefits greatly from taking a class one more time. It sometimes takes a while for the moves and style to get comfortably into the body. Then you find it's becoming instinctive.


This class is also fun place to start partner dancing, or continue after taking Intro Waltz or Swing.

If you already dance, bring a friend who doesn't. This is a great way to introduce someone to couple dancing.


No prerequisites, just a fun-loving attitude and lots of enthusiasm.

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Intro Social Lindy Hop

Lindy Hop is a bouncy playful dance from the 1920s that is now a staple of social dancing all over the US and abroad.

Enjoy the vibrant, fun, and classic music of the swing era, and see how this dance fits with popular tunes today.

This class will teach you the essentials of Lindy hop as it is danced in most places today, encompassing triple step and 8-count swing moves.

Swing dancing and swing moves are common to many dances, and Lindy hop will teach you connection and skills you can use in all of your dancing.

The classic Lindy Hop “Swing out” and “Circle” moves are fun to learn and tricky to master.  Experienced dancers will deepen their technique in a fast-paced dance that benefits from a strong connection.

Learn the swing basic, outside and inside turns, the tuck turn, the classic swingout and Lindy circle, follow swivels, swing rueda, and (of course) the essential playful swing style.

Lindy hop is famously silly, expressive, and welcoming. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood while doing this dance.

Already know a lot of Lindy Hop? This is the perfect way to remind yourself of some figures you may have forgotten, and you'll also become more comfortable with any swing you've already learned. You're not a Swing Kid until it feels spontaneously natural. Here's your chance to get there.

There are three rules in Lindy Hop: (1) Smile at your partner (2) Laugh at yourself (3) if you and your partner are having fun, you’re doing it right.

Prerequisite: Experience with another partnered dance is encouraged, but not required. Beginners with an excitement for a challenge and taste for fun will have a great time.

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Intro Social and Argentine Tango

Tame the tango! Tango is dramatic, nuanced, and often thought of as advanced, but in six comprehensive weeks, we will make it straightforward, accessible and friendly, without losing any of the authenticity.

Tango partnering will improve your dancing in every other dance form. Both leading and following skills reach a noticeably higher level in tango. We will focus on concepts that will grow your understanding of each role, as well as focus on details that will take your dancing to a new level, inside and out.

Dancing tango is like a puzzle that you put together a different way each time. Learn the essential pieces here!

Then after covering the basics in the first three classes, we'll move on to figures and styling you've likely never seen before.

Most of the classes will be in today's social tango. Then Richard will show the connection from social tango to today's Tango Argentino. He directed the nine Stanford Tango Weeks, where he learned from the leading Argentine masters.

Afraid tango will make you feel like a poser? Don't be! We will teach ways to ramp up your authentic tango style in every move you make, without feeling like a pretender.

"Tango is about being in the moment, with the music; and responding to your partner. It's a very concentrated thing; you can't think about anything else while you are doing it." - Alan Lee.

If you already dance, bring a friend who doesn't. Tango is a great way to introduce someone to couple dancing.

No prerequisites. All of the basic will be covered, plus many variations!

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Frequently Asked Questions

There are three rules in social dance:

  1. Smile at your partner

  2. Laugh at yourself.

  3. If you and your partner are having fun, you're doing great.

...that being said, here are some things you might also want to know:

Do I need a partner?

Nope! We rotate partners in class. This really speeds up learning for everyone and puts the "social" in "social dancing." You have the option to enroll with a partner who you can start and end the class with, but it is perfectly normal not to have one.

We roll balance the classes upon registration, so you won't have to worry about not having a partner often, due to too many Leads or Follows in the class.

Do you really really want to dance only with the partner you came with? Talk to your instructor when you arrive. It's not absolutely required to rotate partners (especially if you have health concerns about rotating), but you will learn faster if you dance with many people.

What do I wear?

Clothes: Wear comfortable clothes that you can move around in.

  • Note: Some dance moves involve spins. If you arrive in a skirt, you may be more comfortable with shorts underneath.

Shoes: For beginner classes, most shoes will be serviceable, and many students will even wear socks to class. Don't let a lack of perfect shoes keep you from dancing. If you have some options, opt for comfortable shoes with somewhat slippy bottoms (cloth or leather soles work well). Sneakers can have too much traction. Avoid high, spiked heels or big, chunky shoes with platform soles. They don't generally afford enough agility and can be dangerous and painful if you happen to step on your partner's foot.

What is your COVID-19 policy?

We request that all students are vaccinated against COVID-19. Students are required to wear masks in class (KN-95 or equivalent preferred).

What if I have no dance experience?

One thing that makes social dance special is that most social dancers begin dancing as adults. You will not be alone.

What if I have to miss a class?

Missing a class or two is not a problem, as long as you find ways to keep up with the material. We typically send emails with descriptions and demonstration videos of what we learned. Please read/watch them and practice on your own. It's especially helpful to have a friend or partner in the class who can catch you up on what you missed while you were gone.

Should I pre-register as a Lead or Follow?

That's entirely up to you!

In most partner dancing, the "Lead" suggests which dance moves to do, and the "Follow" interprets cues from the Lead. In the Old Days, the "men" led, and the "ladies" followed, but many things were different in the Old Days. Nowadays, many dancers eventually learn both roles.

We do ask that you pick one role and stick with it for the whole six week class so that you don't fall behind. Also, enrollment is role-balanced, and if you switch roles, you may cause an imbalance, and others may have to stand out more often in rotations.

The Enrollment Game: We role-balance enrollment. If you are willing to dance either role, you may have an easier time getting into classes. If you are waitlisted for a particular role, please let us know if you're willing to sign up for the other role.

What's my registration status?

Classes typically fill up, and we also role-balance enrollment, so filling out the registration form does not guarantee that you are in the class.


When your enrollment request is processed, we will send you an email with your status. You will either be admitted, waitlisted because the class is full, or waitlisted because of role balance. If you are admitted, you will get an email with a link to pay for the course. If you are waitlisted, we will send you a follow-up email if/when you make it off the waitlist.

Can I take more than one class?

Yes! As long as you've made the trip, stay for one or two more classes. If you think you might get too tired for three classes, don't worry! We made the third class very low-impact—tango is the gentlest social dance that there is.

Other questions? Contact us.

More questions? Email Richard.

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