Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to learn to dance?

By far, the best way to learn to dance is with a private instructor. When you dance with a trained professional, he or she will be able to feel how your carry your weight, whether your balance and frame is correct, and whether you lead or follow correctly, to name a few. In private lessons you also get to learn at your own pace and receive direction specifically applicable to your unique needs.

If you can’t afford private lessons, then by all means attend group classes. And be sure to attend workshops that are specially designed to address technical issues. You might also want to consider gathering up to 6 friends to do a mini-group lesson, or just take a private lesson from time to time for some fine tuning.

Learn more about Private Lessons.

What should I wear?

Everyone generally dresses casual for our classes, workshops, and practice parties that follow classes. For our special event parties, it’s time to kick it up a notch, and occasionally we even have a semi-formal event, but we’ll let you know ahead of time so you don’t come with jeans and a t-shirt and feel out of place amidst suits and ties.

At all times, though, wear something that is comfortable, easy to move in, and that will keep you cool.

Do I need dancing shoes?

When you first start dancing, you can wear any shoe that has a leather or suede sole. Rubber soles generally are not good to wear dancing. Neither are heavy or thick soled shoes. We highly discourage shoes with the kinds of black soles that scuff easy and mark up the ballroom floor. Ladies should avoid open-heeled shoes or any shoes that don’t stay on your feet well. Flip-flops are also not recommended.

When you are ready to make a commitment to dance, we highly recommend dance shoes. They are generally more flexible and light, but more importantly, have nice suede soles that glide, without slipping. You should never wear your dance shoes outdoors, so be sure to carry them inside in a shoe bag.

Do I need a partner?

No. Many of those attending both classes and parties, come without partners, and there is often a good mix of men and women. During the classes, the instructor will always ask the class to rotate to make sure that everyone has a chance to practice with a partner.

I just want to dance with my partner. Do I have to rotate?

It helps your dancing to be able to dance with different people, but is certainly not mandatory that you rotate. If you do not want to rotate, find a spot at the end of a line or outside the line of rotation so that those who are rotating don’t get confused.

Can children attend your parties?

Our events usually don’t appeal to children, but we often have teenagers attend. If you want to bring a child, as long as he or she is well-behaved and supervised, we don’t mind. We even had a 10 year old attend a party once and win our Jack and Jill Swing contest!

What is the age range of those in attendance at your lessons and parties?

Salsa parties tend to attract a younger crowd, ballroom classes an older crowd, but that is always ever-changing, and there is usually a wide range of ages at every event, from 16-80.

How do I get a dance partner?

Attending classes and parties is a good way to meet people and let your needs be known. You can also leave you name and contact information and what you are looking for at the front desk, and we’ll keep an eye out for you. You might also try a partner search at dancepartner.com.

If I'm late for a lesson, can I still join in?

Yes, just enter quietly, but please don’t expect the teacher to fill you in on what you missed. He or she has to consider the needs of the rest of the class. Most likely, though, you will be able to pick up what you missed by watching the rest of the class. It is recommended that you don’t arrive too late, as you will fall behind if you are a beginner.

I want to take a series class, but I have to miss one. Is that ok?

If you can make all the classes, great, but if you miss one, the instructor will review the following week. The teacher won’t be able to give you special attention in class, but you can schedule a private lesson and catch up on what you missed that way, or just do your best to catch up the following week. The cost for the series will be the same, regardless of whether you miss a class or not.

Why would I want to compete?

Competing is a great way to set goals for yourself, and goals are the best way to improve your dancing. Students don’t as a rule compete because they are better dancers, they are better dancers because they compete. Competitions are also very fun and a great way to show your friends and family what you’ve accomplished.

Do I need a partner to compete?

If you don’t have an amateur partner, you can dance in Pro/Am competitions with your instructor.

I just want to be a social dancer. What dances should I learn to dance in the clubs?

Most popular for the nightclubs: Hustle, West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Nightclub 2-Step, Merengue, Bachata, Cha Cha and Salsa. Most popular for weddings/formal events: Nightclub 2-Step, Waltz, Foxtrot, East Coast Swing.

Learn more about the dances at Palomar Ballroom.

What is the difference between International and American ballroom style?

International Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, and Quickstep is done is closed hold. The man and woman never separate. It takes a lot of training to excel at this type of dancing because the man and woman must learn to dance as one. American style ballroom dances, on the other hand, utilize a lot of open moves. The men and women separate, and the woman often does a lot of spins. Think Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and you’ll have a good picture of American style ballroom.

International and American style Latin and rhythm dances are closer in style than the ballroom dances. Both styles do Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing or Jive, and International Latin adds the Paso Doble and Samba, while American Rhythm adds the Mambo and Bolero to its syllabus dances.