BYOB Group Dance Classes in Chicago
About Group Classes
Our group classes are progressive (although drop-ins are welcome), which means that your skill level will build from week-to-week. When you register for a particular group class, you should expect to attend all four (or eight) dates of that class during the session. Classes are available in Ballroom, Salsa, and Swing.
Both couples and singles are welcome! We rotate partners often to promote a social atmosphere, but rotating is optional. Ages 18 +. All classes are BYOB.
4-week class: $80/person
8-week class: $120/person
Drop-in available for $25/person
Schedule & Classes
BYOB Group Dance Classes General Info
If you’re interested in meeting people and learning communally, all while adding some new dance moves to your arsenal (no dance experience necessary!), group classes are the place for you! Each class focuses on developing a new dance skill while including time to socialize, practice, and enjoy learning together.
We won’t lie: private lessons are the most effective way to learn to dance, so if you’re preparing for an event or have a specific dance style in mind, then we would recommend taking Private Dance Lessons. But, we know that sometimes you want to socialize as much as you’d like to learn to dance, which makes group classes the perfect setting for a night out.
You can join in at anytime! Each class will cover a basic dance step along with more advanced skills and variations. Class schedules are updated every season. Contact us for more information on specific rates and how to get started! If you’d like more information about group classes, check out our Group Class FAQ.
Group Dance Class FAQ
Why group dance classes instead of private lessons?
Group classes at Ballroom Dance Chicago are for dancers who wish to join a welcoming learning environment where they can let loose, have fun, meet new people, and get familiar with a new skill.
At Ballroom Dance Chicago, we believe that the most effective way to learn to dance is through customizable private lessons. In a private setting, you can expect personalized attention to detail when it comes to leading and following skills, technique, connection, and overall fundamentals. Private lessons allow you to dig deeper into understanding movement, and allow for valuable individualized feedback. We find that the more understanding you have of these fundamentals, the more comfortable and confident you are as you progress and learn new material.
However, because we value community so much, we offer BYOB group classes as a focus equally on learning to dance and socializing. Group classes provide an opportunity to learn a variety of movements, and gain insight on dancing in a social setting. Group classes also provide an opportunity to experience dancing with a variety of people, which makes you a more experienced and better dancer! Group classes might be right for you if you:
- Enjoy having a great time
- Want to learn something new
- Want to meet new people
- Want to join a fun community of like-minded individuals
- Are sick of the tired old dinner and a movie date
- Are looking to improve your dance skills
- Need something fun to break up your work week
- Can't resist the urge to dance
Sounds like you? Contact us today to register.
I don't have a partner, can I still come?
You’re more than welcome to join the group classes at Ballroom Dance Chicago if you don’t have a partner. In classes, solo dancers will have the opportunity to learn their part and practice dancing with other uncoupled dancers in the group. We rotate partners often so that you can get experience dancing with a variety of dancers, similar to what it would be like when you go out social dancing. We find that the more people you have the opportunity to practice with, the more you'll understand your own technique/skills.
Couples are also welcome to attend group classes, and may or may not be a part of the rotation depending on their own preferences. If you do plan to dance as a solo dancer, please keep an open mind when attending classes at Ballroom Dance Chicago: we are an all-inclusive studio, so whether you plan to lead or follow, you could be dancing with people of any gender.
After the group classes on Thursdays, we always encourage our students to head out social dancing. There are a couple of specific places that we recommend, and solo students always find this to be a helpful supplement to their classes because they are able to practice their leading and following skills with other dancers at a variety of skill levels.
What is your group class syllabus?
Most ballroom studios follow rigid syllabi that are designed to train people for dance competitions, but at Ballroom Dance Chicago, that’s not the case! We focus on leading and following techniques, while exploring different ways of utilizing musicality. Each week, you can expect to be introduced to new dance concepts that will allow you to move more expressively with your partner and the music. Basically, our group classes are focused on connecting to the music while learning some fancy moves along the way. If you have any questions about particular dance styles covered, feel free to contact us.
Students can jump in at any time; while we continue building on material throughout the group class sessions, students don’t need to come consistently to feel like they know what’s going on. So contact us and join today!
I am afraid of dancing in front of other people. Are group classes right for me?
What better way to overcome your fear of dancing in front of others than to join a welcoming community filled with dancers of all levels and experience?! Ballroom Dance Chicago offers a safe learning environment where you can practice and gain more comfort with your moves without the risk of feeling judged. We know that the more comfortable you feel, the more confident you will become. That’s why group classes have plenty of time for practicing and gaining confidence, along with time for instruction and advice from your teacher.
If you’re uncertain about dancing in front of people, we recommend starting with private lessons so that you can gain confidence and certainty from the individual instruction and attention. Now, we know what you’re thinking, “I don’t want a teacher watching and scrutinizing only me for an hour!” but let us reassure you: we’re here to make you feel comfortable dancing. That means we’ll be honest, constructive, and caring, but never judgmental. We were all beginners once, and can empathize with your tentativeness. But have no fear, we’re trained to work with beginners and inspire people of all levels to find the joy of dancing together.
Do we have to rotate partners?
Rotating partners is beneficial for everyone! We know what you're thinking: you planned to enjoy a nice evening out with your significant other learning to dance and spending an hour in each other’s arms, then the instructor rips you away from one another to dance with a stranger! DUN DUN DUUUUN!
Have no fear; you'll thank us later. While rotating partners is certainly not mandatory at Ballroom Dance Chicago, we do highly recommend it. Here are some ways it can benefit you:
- You'll learn faster! That's right! Dancing with a variety of dance partners helps you better understand the nuances of leading and following. By rotating partners you are forced to problem solve with new people, and new difficulties that you wouldn't have otherwise come across, and makes you that much better when you do come back to your original partner!
- Maybe you've been struggling through a certain pattern with your partner. You're likely to find another dancer in the group that understands the pattern and is able to give you more insight so you can better execute the movement with your original partner
- You'll meet new people! You are in a class full of people that have something very important in common: YOU ALL LOVE DANCING! You may find you'll meet a new friend while rotating, and dancing with others in the class.
- You'll gain more confidence! Maybe you aren't typically comfortable going out there and introducing yourself to new people. You can practice your social skills in a safe environment, and gain self confidence for other social situations.
- You'll be better prepared to enjoy yourself social dancing!
If you’re still skeptical about rotating partners, not to worry. You can absolutely hang out with the same person all of class, and if you feel like rotating later on, not a problem!
Are group classes right for preparing for my wedding?
Unfortunately not. Group classes are designed specifically for students looking to explore a new skill in a more social environment. If a couple that happens to be engaged would like to start with group classes, simply as a way to learn to dance while also having a night out with friends, we welcome you!
But, while group classes can be a very accessible introduction to dancing, we only allow couples preparing for their first dance to take private lessons. With the full attention of one instructor, couples can gain a more solid base for dance techniques that are more difficult to master in a group setting. Additionally, couples preparing for a wedding can focus on their particular vision and goals for their first dance, rather than following the group curriculum. We find that private instruction is the most effective way to feel comfortable and confident when it comes time to dance for your friends and family on your wedding day. Through private instruction, we ensure that your first dance will be personal, beautiful, and memorable.
Ballroom Dance Chicago is the top rated studio in Chicago for couples preparing to dance for their wedding, so we know our stuff! If you’d like to read reviews of past wedding students, check out our Reviews page. We have dozens of 5 star reviews on the Knot from students who found private instruction incredibly helpful.
If you are interested in a complimentary consultation to experience what private lessons are like at Ballroom Dance Chicago, please contact us and be sure to check out more information on our First Dance Lessons page.
What should I wear?
Wear anything that you feel comfortable moving in – whether that’s workout gear, formal wear, or anything in between. Typically, our students come dressed in slacks, jeans, t-shirts, and day dresses, but feel free to dress to your personal taste. There is no dress code at Ballroom Dance Chicago; as long as you feel comfortable in your outfit, it’s fine by us!
For footwear, we recommend wearing shoes with a leather, suede, or non-grip bottom that enclose your foot so that you can slide easily on the floor, and your shoes stay firmly attached to your feet. For this reason, dancing in flip-flops or sneakers is not permitted. Dress shoes, flats, low heels with straps, or pumps, usually work the best. Ladies, if you’re uncomfortable wearing heels, don’t! Dancing in flats is completely fine.
As you begin taking classes, you may discover that you’d like to purchase dance shoes. Speak to your instructor about what kind of shoes would work for the dance you’re learning/would like to learn, and they can send you in the right direction for purchasing dance shoes.
While fashion does have a place on the dance floor, there are specific trends to reconsider/avoid while dancing:
- Long necklaces generally become a nuisance when you dance as you begin to spin, and your necklace flies out in front of you. By wearing shorter necklaces, your partner will appreciate not being hit in the chest/face as they’re leading you into a turn.
- Large rings can also become problematic if you’re doing a dance with a lot of changes to the hand hold, such as swing or salsa.
- Tops with drapey and excessive fabric for the sleeves can hinder the arm connection between you and your dance partner. Wear at your own risk!
- If you want to wear short skirts/dresses while dancing, just make sure to wear shorts underneath.
- Keep in mind you’ll be touching people’s underarms. Sleeveless clothing is not the best idea for social dancing.
- Save your studded clothing for another going-out occasion. No one likes being poked.
- If you have long hair, make sure to put it up in a bun, so that when you’re spinning, you don’t whip your dance partner/yourself in the eyes!
The classes are BYOB - what can I bring?
For group classes, only wine or beer is permitted. One bottle of wine or a six pack of beer is allowed for every couple or solo student. Feel free to bring any non-alcoholic beverages as well! Ballroom Dance Chicago provides water, glassware, and bottle openers each class, so don’t worry about bringing anything beyond your drink of choice.
Can we take group classes at both your Lakeview studio and West Loop Loft?
We're currently building our class schedule at the West Loop Loft, so right now all of our classes take place at our Lakeview location. Watch out for group classes at the West Loop location in the coming months! If you have any questions, click here.
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Why group classes at BDC?
At Ballroom Dance Chicago, we know that life is chock full of appointments, personal devices, emails, and a barrage of messages from the media. We also know that dancing is an antidote to this fast-paced, hectic world. That’s why, in our group classes, we focus on connection, socializing, and having a great time. While many other dance studios will focus heavily on “the steps,” “the footwork,” or the intricate details that aren’t necessary to have a good time dancing, we instead focus on connection: to our partner, to the music, to the community of the group class. That way, dancing becomes not only a physical skill, but a mental retreat from the crazed world of the day to day. When was the last time you truly unplugged for a whole hour and spent time connecting to new friends or a loved one?
It’s probably been a while. When you’re ready to spend more quality time, away from your phone, all while learning to dance, contact us!