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Beginners Dance Classes in Bristol

We run beginners Latin & Ballroom classes and beginners Salsa classes most terms.  New beginners dance classes start three times a year in January, April/May and September.  The classes usually start around the same time as school terms but we don’t stop for half term.

If you haven’t danced before you should come to the beginners dance classes for the start of term. If you miss the first class, you can still come along the next week. The classes are progressive so it’s best to start within the first few weeks of a new course so that the class can progress from week to week. The beginners dance classes generally run for 12-13 weeks. We also understand people can’t always make it every week, so there is always a little bit of revision each week.

All classes £7 (£6.50 Concessions) per person per class.

Beginner Latin & Ballroom Classes

It is too late to join the existing classes this term, but there will be new beginners classes starting in September 2017. Please join our mailing list for new term announcements that we will send about a month before classes begin.

Beginner Salsa Classes

Due to the reduced schedule we are currently unable to offer beginners salsa.

Put the start dates for the next term in your diary now, or sign up to our free newsletter, so we can keep you posted on upcoming classes and events. Also if you can’t find answers to questions here or already have some dance experience, and want to find out about our many other levels of classes from Improvers through to Intermediate and Experienced, please contact us so we can help you find the right level for you.

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How Class Works

In class we demonstrate small groups of steps for a dance. We then walk the man and the ladies through their respective steps. Everyone tries dancing together and then we add music. We repeat this process.

The atmosphere in class is very light hearted and it is a pleasant way to spend an evening and to learn the dances. There is no need to feel self conscious because everyone else is in the same position and concentrating on their steps.

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Our class venues


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Come on your own or with a partner

During a typical class you will have the opportunity to meet and dance with many people as we encourage everyone to change partners regularly in each class. This means no one feels left out and it makes the classes very sociable and you soon get to know everyone by their first name.

Casual dress, no special clothes or shoes needed

The classes are relaxed and casual so anything you feel comfortable in is fine. Just wear comfortable clothes that you can move freely in. You can wear normal shoes, preferably ones that allow your foot to swivel on the floor. If you’ve been dancing for a year or so and you’ve got the dancing bug you may want to invest in some proper dance shoes.

No booking required, no obligation, pay as you go

Just turn up and pay at the door. Try it for a few weeks and you’ll be hooked, but if you don’t want to continue or need to take a break, then you can. All classes £7 (£6.50 Concessions) per person per class.

No experience necessary, anyone can learn

You don’t need any experience and don’t need to know a thing about dancing before the classes, we explain it all. We start from scratch, breaking everything down step by step. Walking through on your own, then with a partner, then to music. Building from week to week, you’ll be dancing before you know it!

Dancing is good fun and good exercise

You have seen the Strictly Come Dancing celebrities fall in love with dancing and shed pounds in the process. We can’t promise you’ll lose weight but our classes provide the sort of gentle exercise that is important for a healthy lifestyle.

A skill to last a lifetime

Dancing is a life skill and you can learn it at any age. Our classes are for adults and we teach a wide range of ages, the majority of which are in their late 20s, 30s and 40s.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Click a Frequently Asked Question below to see the answer

When can I start?

We run three terms a year which start in January, April/May and September. Each term we have one or more beginners Latin and Ballroom classes. Although one can catch up easily enough if you have missed the first few weeks, after that it is best to wait until the next term unless you're a quick learner. If you have experience call us to discuss which class would suit you.

When and where will the next beginners class be?

We don't make a decision about which days or which venues the beginners classes will held at until near the end of the previous term. Please join the mailing list so we can send you the times and dates as soon as they have been set.Subscribe to our newsletterIf you do not have experience you need to go to the venue(s) where we have beginners classes, and you need to start as near as possible to the start of term which are in January, April/May and September.

Do I need to come with a partner?

No, our classes are popular so there are generally plenty of men and women who come without partners. During a typical class you will have the opportunity to meet and dance with many people as we encourage everyone to change partners regularly in each class. This means no one feels left out and it makes the classes very sociable and you soon get to know everyone by their first name.

Can I just go to a class at the nearest venue?

We strongly advise you to go to a class that reflects your past dancing experience. If you have never danced Latin and Ballroom before, it is simply not practical to turn up to a more advanced class if you are a beginner. Please come to the venue(s) where there are beginners classes, or call us if you have experience so we can direct you to the most appropriate class.

I’ve danced ballet/salsa/LeRoc/etc before do I still need to go beginners

Yes, although you will probably pick up the steps at a faster rate, it is best to do the beginners to understand the fundamental ideas and principles involved. If you want to supplement the beginners by attending the improvers class as well, then that will help you progress faster, with your Latin and Ballroom dancing.

How much does it cost?

All classes are £7 (£6.50 for concessions) per person per class. You pay at the start of each class and there is no need to book, just show up. You only pay for the classes you attend.

Do I need to have any previous experience?

No, we assume you have never danced before and know nothing. We start with the absolute basics, and most people in the class probably have no experience either so everyone is going to be finding their dancing feet at the same time.

Do I need to buy dance shoes?

Normal everyday shoes are fine, you do not need dedicated dance shoes to take part in classes and dances. Any type of footwear that is comfortable, in a good state of repair and allows your foot to swivel on the floor are best. You can learn in trainers, but they’re not ideal.

After a year or so some students get proper dancing shoes. Here in Bristol there are three dance shoe shops selling different makes and styles of shoes.

Holbrook’s Dance Shoes are based in Henleaze at 33-35 Southmead Road, Henleaze, Bristol, BS10 5DW on 0117 924 74 74.

Dance World in Bedminster at 52 Bedminster Parade, Bristol, BS3 4HS on 0117 953 7941.

Dancewell in Cotham at 60 Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6JX on 0117 973 0120. Their web site does not show ballroom shoes but they do have a small selection in the shop in Cotham.

Do I need to book ahead?

You do not need to book ahead. Just come to class and pay for each lesson as you arrive. You don't pay for lessons you miss and there is no up front cost or commitment for a whole term. When the same class level if offered on more than one night people often go to whichever is most convenient that week.

How should I dress to come to class?

The classes are relaxed and casual so anything you feel comfortable in is fine. Just wear comfortable clothes that you can move freely in. You can wear normal shoes, preferably ones that allow your foot to swivel on the floor.

I have two left feet, is it worth me coming?

Most people can dance, they just don't know it yet. Some people will pick things up more quickly than others. Everyone will be too busy with their own feet to notice what you are doing and you may even surprise yourself.

How long are terms?

We try to run our terms to coincide approximately with school terms so usually a term lasts twelve to fourteen weeks. We have three terms a year starting in January, April/May and September.

What happens if I miss a class?

Don't worry we always revise the previous week's steps. Not many people can make it to every class and there are usually a few people each evening who missed the previous lesson.

Is there parking?

Parking differs are each venue. St Bonaventures has a large car park in front of the venue, Cairns Road church has a small car park on either side but you may need to park on the streets around it. Elmgrove Centre does not have a car park and you will have to park on the streets around it. We ask that you please show consideration to the people living around our venues and not block their drives or garages.

Where can I put into practice the dances I will learn?

We host weekend dances several times during term times. This is ideal for our students as everything is geared to the dances we teach in class, we always call out the type of dance that will be played and may even count you in. There are many Latin and ballroom events in and around the Bristol area which you will usually find out about once you start coming to the classes.

What dances will I learn?

We teach nine of the ten international style dances in our Latin and ballroom classes. However, at the beginners level we teach four of the Latin dances (cha cha cha, rumba, jive and samba) and two of the ballroom dances (modern waltz and quickstep) plus the rhythm foxtrot. Towards the end of the first year we introduce the tango. In the second year we start the slow foxtrot and around the beginning of the third year we include the Viennese waltz. We delay the start of these dances because they are more demanding and require a level of experience.Our salsa classes are separate to the Latin and ballroom classes. Currently we are running a reduced schedule and do not have any salsa classes available.

How long does it take to learn?

This isn't a process with a definitive end. After one term you will know the basics of about seven different dances and you should feel confident enough to come along to one of our dances and dance these. We teach roughly five years worth of intermediate levels and then have an experienced class which has students who have been coming for fifteen years or more.

Is there an exam?

No, there are no tests or exams, nor do you get a certificate or qualification. You will not be forced “to perform” and everything is very relaxed and sociable. Dancing is purely for your enjoyment. It is fun to learn and is a skill for life. If you wish to take an exam we can put you in contact with organisations who organise medal tests.

Do you have competitions?

We do not teach competitive dancing and are not involved with any competitions. Some of our students are involved with competitive dancing but that is not part of our classes or associated events. If you wish to take part in competitions, we can put you in contact with local DanceSport organisations.

Do I need a fake tan or leg warmers?

Definitely not, this is social dancing for normal people, and you don't need to be a prima dona or career dancer.

Are there any age limits on your classes?

We teach adults, but beyond that there are no specific age limits. We are pleased that there is usually a range of ages from university students through to pensioners attending our classes.

Can you teach us for our wedding dance?

At the moment due to our reduced schedule we are unable to provide private/individual lessons. But we can put you in touch with people who can provide this.However, we feel it would be far better for you to come to a term of dances than trying to cram a routine in a few lessons. Not only would it make that first dance far less nerve racking, it gives you an opportunity to start learning something you may enjoy for the rest of your lives together.

What actually happens in class?

We explain and demonstrate a bar or two of steps, we then walk the ladies through their steps, then the men walk through their steps. Then everyone tries it with a partner. We repeat the process ironing out problems or refining the steps and then we practice to music. Each week we review what we have done before then add more so that the dances build up.

As there are are a number of different dances we cover two different dances in each lesson, and each dance is covered for two or three weeks before we move onto the next one.

Why not watch the video of how class works on the home page.

How many people are in your classes?

Our classes vary in size depending on the level and other factors but beginners classes are always large with dozens of people so there is a friendly party atmosphere. It also means that no one is on show and you will end up meeting plenty of other people.

What sort of music do you play?

There is a wide variety of old and new music that is used for Ballroom and Latin dances. Here is a selection of music to give you an idea of what can be danced to.