Fun social dance classes

Culture & Values

About Us

Our aim is to provide a fun, comfortable environment for you to learn to dance, listen to some great music and enjoy the company of others. We pride ourselves on having a really nice bunch of people coming along regularly to our classes who all share our culture and values.

We Encourage Participation

It's much more fun to join in rather than sit on the side and watch. Do you like people watching you? Probably not!

  • We're all about participation. Watching won't give you a feel for what a fun and rewarding experience Modern Jive classes can be.
  • If you want to know what a class is like then come and join in and have a try. If you don't enjoy it or want to leave then we will happily refund you the cost of the class.
  • If you've missed the beginning of the class, it's ok to have a quick peek but then we ask that you either join in or come back another time.
  • Most people who come along to our classes have never danced before and their first Modern Jive class is often their first ever dance class. This can be a bit daunting and is made worse if they sense someone they don't know is watching their every move!
  • Feel free to talk to the venue manager if you have a special requirement (there's a sign at each venue showing who the venue manager is).
We Don't Give Unwanted Feedback

Please don't give feedback or advice unless the person has asked for it

This applies to everyoe all of the time! (can be good advice in life too)

  • It NEVER comes across well and often crushes the confidence of the person you're trying to "help".
  • It's better to give people encouragement rather than criticise them.
  • While we all want to help the newer dancers at class, often they receive conflicting advice as they go round. It is best to let them listen to the teacher, smile and help only if they ask for it.
  • The only exception is if the person is potentially harming you or themselves.
  • Work on your own dancing - no one's perfect!

Perform your role to best of your ability

If you're giving feedback then you're not working on your own dancing. There are heaps of areas you could work on:

  • Balance
  • Timing
  • Technique
  • Partnership
  • Musicality
  • Style etc.

Dance to the level of your partner

Experienced dancers, especially the leads, should always find out the ability of their partner so they can dance moves at the appropriate level. Freestyling a few beginner moves is often enough to gauge someone else's level.

  • Don't try to teach someone a move for which they have not yet learned the correct technique. If you can't lead it then don't use it!
Supporting Beginners

While we all want to help the newer dancers, often they receive conflicting advice as they go round the class. It is best to let them listen to the teacher, smile and help only when they ask for it.

Learning to dance in a new environment is challenging and at times overwhelming. We carefully pitch our classes to allow new dancers to be able to survive on the dance floor. It will take time for beginners to get the finer technique points which is why we must allow them to progress at their own pace.

We often get feedback from beginners that while they enjoyed themselves overall, they didn't appreciate other dancers trying to correct them or teach them new material.

Here's what is helpful and what is not:

Helpful & Supportive Habits 😊

  • Smiling and acknowledging your partner
  • Encouraging beginners for getting something right
  • Allowing your dance partner to listen to the class teacher
  • Developing and improving your own dancing
  • Being the best lead or follow for your partner

Unhelpful & Discouraging Habits 😢

  • Talking while the teacher is talking
  • Telling a beginner what they are getting wrong
  • Looking bored
  • Ignoring your partner or checking your phone
  • Trying to fix your partner's technique while ignoring problems with your own

Give encouragement rather than unsolicited advice.

We all have different approaches and different speeds of learning when faced with something new. There are many aspects to learning the lead and follow roles and it's best to let someone focus on one or two aspects rather than trying to get them to get everything right.

  • We want people to feel great regardless of whether they get it right or wrong.
  • It's better to give people encouragement or be the best lead or follow that you can. No matter how good intentioned, there is nothing worse than being given unsolicited advice or feedback on what we should be doing - it can be crushing!
  • While we all want to help the newer dancers, often they receive conflicting advice as they go round the class. It is best to let them listen to the teacher, smile and help only when they ask for it.
Asking, Accepting, Declining a Dance

Asking someone to dance

We're all here to dance so there's no need to hold back. We work hard to develop a culture of inclusivity at our classes and events. For a new dancer or even a regular dancer it can be scary asking people to dance as a fear of rejection can be so intense it stops people from wanting to come back.

  • Anyone can ask anyone else to dance regardless of ability / skill level.
  • Introduce yourself and ask "would you like a dance?". A big smile always helps too 😄.

Even better, give the person you're asking a way out in case they are tired, taking a break or some other reason:

  • "would you like a dance or are you taking a break?"

Accepting a dance

We encourage dancers to take any opportunity that is presented to them. If someone has the courage to ask you to dance often saying yes may just make their night.

Words to the effect of "Yes I'd love to!" generally go down well compared with "er, suppose so".

You'd be surprised how much an enthusiastic response can boost someone's confidence.

Finishing a dance

  • Thank your partner at the end of a dance rather than just walking off without a word.
  • If someone has asked you for a dance and it's been enjoyable then you may like to ask them for a second dance (Quite often the second dance goes better than the first).
  • Allow people to dance with others, two songs is a good guideline or if you feel 'trapped' then explain that you want to 'work the room' or that you've promised a dance with someone else before the night finishes.

Declining a dance

It is not part of our culture to turn down beginners or inexperienced dancers simply because they aren't very good yet - please don't discriminate on ability. Crew who are on duty are committed to always accepting an invitation to dance (bear in mind that crew have nights off where they're not on duty)

You have an issue

If someone asks you for a dance you do not have to dance with them. Maybe you're,

  • tired and need a break
  • or in the middle of a conversation
  • or you've promised the next song to someone else

Maybe respond with: "No thank you" and suggest later or another time.

The other person is the issue

You are perfectly entitled to refuse a dance with someone especially if,

  • they have bad body odour (or you could say "Sure! After you change your shirt or put on some deodorant!")
  • or bad breath (or you could say "Can I ask you to have a mint?")

Feel free to talk to the venue manager who can then can deal with the issue discreetly (without mentioning your name) and help that person to get more dances. Ideally stay busy dancing with other people or dance on the other side of the room. Alternatively you may have no choice but to say "No thank you" but this time with no explanation especially if,

  • they have been rough or dangerous in the past
  • their behaviour, language or manner is inappropriate

Either tell the person that their behaviour is making you uncomfortable and to please stop, or, please do talk to a member or the crew, ideally the venue manager.

Sadly some dancers take the approach of not wanting to rock the boat or cause a fuss. PLEASE cause a stir / please rock the boat / make a fuss because you're helping us maintain a safe environment and preventing others being subjected to similar behaviour.

I've been declined for a dance!! 😢

This has happened to me (Matt) - I was turned down many years ago. After I got over the initial shock and dent to the ego I asked "do you mind if I ask why?", she said sure and proceeded to say that in previous dances I'd been rough. I was shocked and embarrassed but again after putting pride aside I asked if I could ask again another night and promise to be gentler - she said yes and all was fine from then on thanks to communication.

If you're honest then you can't do any better than that.

The Privacy of Others

While it's great to be able to share our experiences with friends or family we respect the private lives of dancers and crew.

  • We do not record any classes without the permission of both the venue manager and the teacher.
  • We avoid public discussion of people's private lives both at class and on our social media groups.
  • When videoing or taking photos have as few people in the background as possible, if need be go to a corner of the room out of the way of other dancers and check with the venue manager when is the best time.

See also: