Tuesday Night Couple Dancing Classes
Taught by Richard Powers with Rocky Aikens
Tuesday evenings, October 3 to November 14
Skipping Halloween, Tuesday, October 31
A six-week series of partnered social dance classes
held in the large dance hall of the First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Have questions? Check out our FAQ at the bottom of this page.
Intro Waltz and
7:00 pm - 7:55 pm
Waltzing is the most romantic partner dance of all, often described as an ecstatic experience. Get ready now for dance parties, weddings, Friday Night Waltz, and the Stanford Viennese Ball!
No dance experience is required, just a fun-loving attitude and enthusiasm.
Intro-to-Advanced Nightclub Two-Step and Waltz Swing
9:00 pm - 9:55 pm
Nightclub Two-Step is an easygoing dance, with intuitive variations coming naturally and intuitively. It's also one of the most useful couple dances, because it can be done to half of today's popular music.
Experience with any partnered dance is encouraged, but not required.
$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 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 is a protégé of Richard's who brings her own touch to the dance floor. Her dancing is shaped by more than a decade of social dance experience across genres and dance roles.
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.
Intro Waltz and Cross-Step Waltz
Enjoy an easygoing introduction to two kinds of waltzing: Cross-Step and Rotary Viennese Waltz.
Waltz is enjoying a resurgence in the Bay Area and around the country, thanks to great new waltz music and the timeless attraction of traveling with a partner in your arms. Richard is busy leading Waltz Weekends across the country — learn it here from the primary source.
In past years, the 7pm class covered both waltz and swing in six classes, which always felt rushed. Now we have time to do it right — six classes for waltz, followed by six classes of swing at 8pm. This will provide a solid introduction to couple dancing.
The students in next quarter's Tuesday night "Mastering the Viennese Ball Dances" class will have already learned the basic waltz. Here is your best chance to come up to speed on waltzing before taking those next steps. Start ramping up to the March 2nd Stanford Viennese Ball now.
The 7, 8 and 9pm classes provide an easy and fun way to start partner dancing, with an emphasis on comfort and pleasure. Richard teaches accessible styles of noncompetitive social dancing with a focus on partnering and flexibility, to enable students to dance comfortably with partners whose experience comes from any dance tradition.
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.
This class will teach you the essentials of 4-count, 6-count, and triple step swing, also known as East Coast Swing and Jitterbug, as it is danced in most places today.
Enjoy the vibrant, fun, and classic music of the swing era, and see how swing dancing fits with popular tunes today.
East Coast Swing is an easy, fun and playful style of swing which is usually danced to faster, high energy music. Gain a solid foundation in 4- and 6-count swing, and then progress easily from single to triple swing.
Swing moves are common in many other social dances, so this class will teach you connection and skills that you can use in all of your dancing.
These informal styles of swing allow 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.
Swing dancing can be enthusiastic or silly, expressive and welcoming. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood while swing dancing!
No prerequisites, just a fun-loving attitude and being ready for anything.
Intro to Advanced Nightclub Two-Step and Waltz Swing
This is the first time that we've taught Nightclub Two-Step in five years. Don't miss this chance!
Nightclub Two-Step, also known as Club Two-Step and NC2S, is dreamy! It's a "sweetheart dance," slow and easygoing, but it can also get fancy.
If you've taken NC2S in Social Dance 1, these variations go far beyond those basics.
Waltz Swing is partially Nightclub Two-Step in waltz time, but it also has a second family of variations, that can easily be reverse engineered to become new NC2S variations.
Follows will appreciate Rocky's styling pointers in Nightclub Two-Step. In our approach to Collaborative Partnering, the Follows set the style, which the Leads follow. Everyone dances; no one gets danced!
For those who are new to Nightclub Two-Step, the basics will be covered in the first classes. Then we'll spend the rest of the time on many variations, so this class is useful if you already know basic NC2S. That's where these dances really become fun.
Take all three classes! If you think you might get too tired for three classes, don't worry! We made the third class very low-impact. Nightclub Two-Step is one of the gentlest social dances.
Prerequisites: Experience with any partnered dance is encouraged, but if you take the 7 and 8pm classes (especially 8pm), that will give you the experience you need for this class. All of the basics will be covered, plus many variations!
Frequently Asked Questions
There are three rules in social dance:
Smile at your partner
Laugh at yourself.
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 always 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—Nightclub Two-Step is one of the gentlest social dances.