Where should I dance in LA?
August 16, 2010 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Help me have happy feet. I'd like to dance. Not clubbing; I wnat to do partner dancing, or group jazz type dancing or something. Where can I do it in Los Angeles (pref West LA area)? Bonus points if the average age is between 35 and 55. More info inside.

I previously spent a bunch of time in the 2-step/WCS/Hustle scene at Hacienda Hotel, and although I looove those dances, I didn't like the scene because the dancers (to me anyway) acted very clique-y and competitive.

To give you an idea, I'm in my 40s, female, want to dance a few hours a week for fun and exercise, but I don't want to compete or go to dance conventions, or even really take regular classes right now. I just want to go have fun dancing with people. Bonus points for non-creepy people! ;-)

I have some experiences with most of the partner dances, but I don't have regular friends who would go with me; I'd be showing up as a single woman by myself.

I'm even open to new (to me) types of dance. I'm intrigued by group dancing, like jazzercise type stuff (I used to love step aerobics), but I can't touch my toes. ;-)

Learning and/or performing routines sounds fun. I'd take those hip hop classes they used to have at gyms, but I'm not a member of a gym right now and don't want to join one, unless it was some type of dance gym. I'm sure there must be small studios in Venice or Santa Monica or Culver City with eclectic/fun dancing - help me find them!

The aim is to have fun and get exercise, not necessarily to get better in my technique, and definitely not to compete.

Any ideas are much appreciated!
posted by bluesky78987 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This may not be far enough west for you, but check the schedule at Dance Arts Academy. They've got a big selection of different classes and the overall vibe seems very friendly and not-competitive.
posted by corey flood at 6:32 PM on August 16, 2010

I'd Google around for some East Coast Swing (much lower key than WCS) and definitely contra dancing. The contra scene should suit you to a T.
posted by Miko at 7:09 PM on August 16, 2010

I have recommended this before, and will happily recommend it again--Contra, English Country, and Scottish Country Dance are all great for social dance. Contra is the easiest to pick up, but my favorite is Scottish Country. They are sort of more in the square dance sort of style than the partner dance style, but it is really fun, and there really isn't any competition to be had. There is never any problem with going to these types of dance events as a singleton, and people will most likely be more than happy to have you! Also, changing partners every dance is encouraged, and you don't spend all of the time dancing with your partner, so creepiness is relatively easily avoided (though I don't remember meeting any creepy people at any events I've ever gone to). The gender ratios can be a bit skewed depending on the location, but there is generally no problem with women playing the mens' parts!

Searching on the internet leads me to The California Dance Coop, which looks like a reasonable place to start for information. I don't know much about LA, so I can't help you with location stuff.

I would suggest trying to find a nearby Contra dance, and going to see what it's like and if it appeals to you. There is no problem with showing up just for one night and deciding you don't like it. Just bring a pair of soft shoes (ballet shoes are good if you have them, but no heels please!) and have fun!
posted by that girl at 7:13 PM on August 16, 2010

Try contra dancing. It's a New England folk dance in which couples dance in facing lines. All dances are taught before starting, and are called through-out the dance so that you can follow along.

I find it:
  • Not clique-y: the contra dance culture encourages dancing with a new partner each dance---I've gone entire dances without dancing a contra with my wife.
  • Not competitive: it's a social dance, and more experienced dancers typically actively seek out newcomers to dance with.
  • Fun and social: A live band plays the music, adding to the ambiance.
Found a schedule of contras from the California Dance Coop Los Angeles. (My location is New England, so I can't vouch for those particular dances.) Perhaps an LA-native contra dancer can chime in with more local dances.

Typically ages at New England dances are within your age range, but it varies by dance location. Creepy people are exceedingly rare---the family atmosphere and lack of drinking culture keeps them at bay. My single female friends tell me that they feel much more comfortable at a contra dance than another other type of dance.
posted by flicken at 7:14 PM on August 16, 2010

Ever since moving away from LA I've missed Lindy Groove. It's a weekly Lindy Hop/East Coast Swing/Charleston dance that attracts a huge variety of ages (teens to retired) and skill levels (first-timers to pros). I almost always showed up as a single female and had no trouble getting dances. I found it to be pretty relaxed and friendly, and there are (beginner/intermediate/advanced) lessons beforehand that are great for meeting people at your skill level. Iirc, only the advanced lessons require continuous attendance ... The others are all standalone.

Happy dancing!
posted by Metasyntactic at 7:26 PM on August 16, 2010

Look into Zumba. There are hoards of people (mostly women but a few men like me) that do this religiously.
posted by Octoparrot at 8:16 PM on August 16, 2010

I second flicken and That Girl regarding contradance. I am a regular participant in the Cal Dance Coop dances and enjoy them very much. There are two dances a month in Brentwood, which I think would be pretty close to you. First Saturday and Fourth Saturday. Lesson happens one half hour before the dance and then you dance from 8 to 11pm. Flicken summed up the general way the dance works, so I won't repeat all that. If I had to guess, I'd say that most people show up as singles. My husband and I try to attend together but that's not always possible, but we have no issues going alone if necessary. Our son, who is 21 often attends with us. I'd say the general age at the dances skews older though -- you'll find plenty of people in your age group, but one of the fun things about contra is dancing with people of all ages.
posted by jvilter at 10:09 PM on August 16, 2010

Response by poster: Ok, Contra Dancing is sounding fun, I'll look up some dances in my area. Brentwood is perfect. And I will look up Linda Groove and Zumba. Thanks everybody!

Any other types of dancing available around here? Any place where uncoordinated people learn routines together?
posted by bluesky78987 at 7:57 AM on August 17, 2010

I used to go to the Hacienda and agree with your assessment. LA has a decent Argentine Tango scene, but it can be a bit clique-y as well, plus it takes some concentrated effort to learn. How about Country line dancing? The Borderline in Thousand Oaks is the closest place for me and isn't too far from West LA. Thursday and Saturday nights are best.
posted by doctord at 8:36 AM on August 17, 2010

Pasedena has one of the world's largest and best lindy hop dance venues. There is a wide range of ages and skill levels. It is every Thursday and is only $7 and includes a free lesson (they offer beginner and intermediate).

As an added bonus, if it is your birthday, or the birthday of a friend you can convince to go, you and 10 people get in free and get your own table and cake (half of the people have to have never been before).

I have moved away from LA but I really miss my Lindy Groove .

No partner necessary, fun friendly and social. Give it a try. :)
posted by vegetableagony at 5:25 PM on August 19, 2010

Sorry I should have been more clear, Lindy Hop is a type of swing dancing. It is very energetic and playful, danced mostly to jazz and swing music.
posted by vegetableagony at 5:26 PM on August 19, 2010

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