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Tuesday Night Couple Dancing Classes

Taught by Richard Powers and Rocky Aikens with Annika Mauro

Classes are every Tuesday evening. January 17 to February 21

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

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


Intermediate to Advanced Cross-step Waltz

with Richard and Rocky

7:00 pm - 7:50 pm

Ramp up to the next level with this favorite. Cross-step waltz is the most creative branch of the waltz family, and is continuing to evolve forward each year.


Prerequisite: Some experience with basic cross-step waltz, or being a fast learner.

Viennese Ball Dances

With Richard and Rocky

8:00 - 8:50 pm


Several kinds of waltzing will be covered, including the original waltz from the Strauss Era, reverse Viennese waltz, redowa, on-the-fly waltz variations, and more! This class is the best preparation for the Stanford Viennese Ball.


Prerequisite: For those who know a waltz of any kind.

Intermediate West Coast Swing

with Rocky and Annika

9:00 pm - 9:50 pm


WCS is the smooth, popular youngest sibling in the swing family, and is the fastest-growing dance in the Bay Area! Fine-tune your collaborative partnering, quality of motion, connection, and musicality.

Prerequisite: Some experience with West Coast Swing, or being a fast learner with experience in another style of swing.


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


The price above 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 historic and contemporary 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.

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 several nearby parking garages.

Intermediate to Advanced Cross-step Waltz

This is the first time that Intermediate-Advanced Cross-Step Waltz has been taught in five years. 

These are the intermediate/advanced variations which are never taught in the daytime social dance classes. Many of these figures have never been taught in this series, so you can continue taking this level indefinitely. 

These variations will be carefully taught and practiced, until they're as smooth as silk. You master them here! 

When Waltz Etcetera in Seattle sent out their class schedule featuring Cross-Step Waltz, they wrote, "Cross-step waltz is a delightful, swooping, playful dance; it's our favorite kind of waltz and the core of a lot of what we teach. The structure of cross-step waltz lends itself to many elegant variations, much more so than other kinds of waltz." The director Zachariah Cassady added further, "this wonderful dance, my personal favorite, is the best partner dance in the world." 

Practical skills include leading and following secrets, to develop more collaborative partnering skills. 

Learn it from the source while you can. Richard is recognized as the world's expert on Cross-Step Waltz. 

If you already know these variations, bring a friend who only knows a basic waltz. This is a great way to introduce someone to the wide world of waltz variations. 

Prerequisite: Knowing any kind of waltz, or being a quick study in learning new dance forms. 

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Viennese Ball Dances

This class goes beyond the steps—to the magic of the most romantic partner dance

This is the way to prepare for the Stanford Viennese Ball on February 25th. The final class in this series is February 21st, just in time for the ball! 

This is always the largest Tuesday night class of the year. It goes beyond learning the steps, to mastering them. 

Several kinds of waltzing will be covered, including the original waltz from the Strauss Era, reverse (modern ballroom Viennese waltz), leap waltz, polka, and the redowa—the closest thing to flying on a dance floor. 

Learn On-the-Fly Waltz Variations, which are fun to dance spontaneously, even with a less experienced partner. These are fairly easy variations that can be led and followed without needing to be rehearsed in advance. 

If you already know these variations, bring a friend who only knows a basic waltz. This is a great way to introduce someone to the wide world of waltz variations. 

This is not a beginner's waltz class. The prerequisite is familiarity with a basic waltz of any kind (polka also counts). 

If you've learned some waltz but it's rusty, don't worry. The basics will be covered before moving on to the finer points and variations. 

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Intermediate West Coast Swing

The Intermediate level of West Coast Swing is where your success and confidence blossoms. WCS benefits from taking a class one more time.  It takes a while to settle comfortably into the body, then at this level, it starts to become natural and effortless. 

Expand your options, and then get fancy with new moves and great styling.  

WCS is the fastest-growing dance in the Bay Area! 

The Follow is more active and even proactive in WCS, adding a lot of styling and embellishments.  Rocky has a lot to offer Follows in this class! 

For Stanford students, WCS is only taught once every three years, in Traditions of Swing.  Don't wait— learn it now! 

West Coast Swing is constantly evolving, and today's WCS has a new look.  Here's your chance to learn the hottest new moves and styling in 2023. 

West Coast Swing is similar enough to Lindy Hop, Cha Cha and Club Two-Step to allow you to incorporate moves you already know from those dances. 

Prerequisite: Some experience with West Coast Swing, or being a fast learner with experience in another partner dance style with swing moves (e.g. underarm turns).  The key to intermediate dancing is outstanding fundamentals, so we will review the basics, but the pace of review will be set for dancers with some familiarity with West Coast Swing.

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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.

Masks: Masks are required! Surgical or KN-95 (or equivalent) preferred.

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.

Typically (but not always), the 7pm class is designed for beginners. If you are an absolute beginner, please read the class title and description to make sure it's a beginner level class. If there is no beginner level class offered, there are still other opportunities to learn the basics. The 7pm class at Friday Night Waltz is nearly always beginner level.

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.

Make sure you don't fall too far behind. Not only will you get less out of the series, but your partners won't learn as much if they have to catch you up on what you missed instead of practicing new material with you.

Note that the pricing is a flat rate for all 6 classes, so if you miss classes, you will not get a refund for the classes you missed.

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 lots of 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 will 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?

Generally, yes. But please remember that if you are an absolute beginner, the 8pm and 9pm classes may be too difficult and fast-moving for your skill level. Intermediate and advanced dancers are welcome (and encouraged) to take the beginner level classes. Your experience helps newer dancers learn more quickly.

Other questions? Contact us!

More questions? Email Richard.

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