QuickSilver Dance Center

Answers to frequently asked questions

  1. Click to show/hideTo register for a dance class, do I need to have a partner?

    No,it is not necessary to sign up together with a dance partner. During class we will rotate partners for the instructor to dance with all students, so you won't stay with any one partner for very long anyway. We make a very dedicated effort to have the ratio of men to women balance before the class begins – we will "recruit" if necessary. However, this points out how important it is to register ahead of time!

  2. Click to show/hideHow far in advance do I need to register for a class?

    It would be great if everyone registered a week to 10 days prior to the beginning of a new session of classes! Realistically, though, the deadline is 1-2 days prior to the class. And if, for some reason, you were not able to register ahead of time, don't let that stop you from coming! We will not turn you away – we just can't guarantee that you will have a partner that first night of class (one of the reasons why we rotate!).

  3. Click to show/hideWhat do people wear to class?

    There is no "dress code". Some people come straight from work and consequently are in work clothes. Others have time to change into more casual wear. In the summer we get dance students in shorts and T-shirts. The bottom line: wear what makes you comfortable!

  4. Click to show/hideWhat shoes should I wear?

    You do not need expensive dance shoes – at least not until you reach a point where you know this is a hobby you intend to pursue! At the beginning level of dance, we recommend shoes which meet three criteria: the shoes should slide across the floor (i.e. leather or suede soles); they should stay on your foot when walking backwards (no flip-flops or other casual shoes); and they should be comfortable! For ladies we add one more recommendation: protect your toes by wearing a closed-toed shoe rather than an open-toed sandal.

  5. Click to show/hideWhere can I buy dance shoes and dance boots if and when I decide I want them?

    In Austin, dance shoes are carried at Dorothy's Dance Shop in Round Rock; Capezio in the Gateway Shopping Center; and Movin'Easy which has two locations: on Hwy 620 near Lakeline Mall, and on 30th Street and Guadalupe, just a few block north of the UT campus. All are listed in the phone book.

    In San Antonio, Dorothy's Dance Wear is on the Old Austin Highway. You can also go online directly to the manufacturers such as Capezio, Bloch and Ci, all of whom make excellent Dance Sneakers as well as suede-soled professional dance shoes for Ballroom and Latin dancing. I prefer the Dance Sneakers because you can wear them as street shoes without destroying their dance-ability. [Suede soles should not be worn as street shoes!]. You can also look through Internet distributors such as Liberts and JustForKix. Don't forget to check the square dance shoes at TicTacToe. Coast and Elegance also make good dance shoes (strong heel, comfortable arch support, padding under the ball of the foot).

    Dance boots from the Evenin Star Boot Company — which are as comfortable as an athletic shoe — can be obtained through directly from their Web site, or by calling their Rockport, Texas, office at 800-833-5246. If you order Evenin' Star boots, keep this information handy: Men's boots are called Cheyenne. Women's boots come in several styles, most women get the Dusty; the Vicky is a fringed boot, the Karen is for tall long legs, and the Kacey is for extra-wide calves. All boots come in 2 widths, A=narrow and B=wide. Regular heel is 1.5" although you can request higher.

    Toe shape can be pointed or rounded, your preference. Standard colors are Black, White and SkinTone. Standard boots come with a shank and welt. Standard boot price is $199/pair plus shipping and handling and (in Texas) sales tax. Altogether it comes to about $228.

    Specialty Boots can be ordered but will cost extra: different colors (red, navy, gray, etc); material other than calfskin (ostrich, rattlesnake and so on); and if you want shank-less and/or welt-less this also costs extra (this is for competitors to be better able to point their toes for prettier lines, and to grip the floor better).

    One important piece of advice: GO UP a half size from your street shoe, do not go down, even though the latter is what the people at the boot company will tell you to do. Everyone I know who went down a half size has regretted it and has had to send their boots back. You will be told that the boot "will stretch after you break it in for 6 months" -- why should you be in pain for ANY length of time? If it is too small, it will not get any bigger. If it is too big, wear a thicker sock!

    One other option, for those of you with foot problems which require additional support and/or protection: try dancing in Bowling Shoes. Bowling shoes are strong and sturdy, but will slide easily on a wooden floor. An added advantage is cost – you can find Bowling Shoes at Academy for under $40!

  6. Click to show/hideI've never danced; can you teach someone with two left feet?

    That's what we are here for! As long as you are motivated, we will do our best to break down any "mystery" about dance steps in order to make it easy for you to learn how to dance, and to be comfortable while you are doing so.

    And don't think that you are alone – the majority of people coming to dance class feel the same way!

  7. Click to show/hideI've taken classes elsewhere; do I need to take your "beginner" classes or can I start higher up?

    This question is difficult to answer without actually seeing you dance. Every instructor will have their own style of teaching, their own schedule of how much to teach at one time, and their own progression in which they teach the steps. Moves you learned in a Beginner class somewhere else might be in our Level 3 class, and consequently what we cover in our Beginner class might be all new material to you. Our general recommendation is to start at the beginner level no matter what: you will learn the instructor's terminology and what they consider to be fundamental principles of the dance; you will meet more new people (more potential dance partners); you might actually learn new material; and even if you have seen the material before, you can use this opportunity to improve your technique, your presence on the dance floor, your personal style, and your skill at leading or following. However, if you truly do not want to start at the beginning level, you can request a "dance evaluation" with one of our instructors, who will then determine the appropriate class for you.

  8. Click to show/hideCan I join the current 4-week class already in progress (say, during the second or third week)?

    Not recommended! Don't forget that our classes are always two hours long. During the first week of any class, quite a lot of fundamental information is presented: the principles and characteristics of that particular dance, what to listen for in the music of that dance, "ideal" posture and frame versus "realistic" posture and frame, floor courtesy, and more. Plus, the instructor will define terminology which will be used throughout the course.

    By the second week of class there is an expectation that you are already familiar with the two hours of material covered in the first week. We don't have the time to go into such great detail again, because we have a full agenda for the remaining weeks of class. It isn't fair to the other students in the class, to expect the instructor to slow down for a late-comer, at the expense of moving on with the curriculum. If you really and truly want to join a class in progress, speak to the instructor about doing a private lesson to catch up on all that you missed.

  9. Click to show/hideWhat can I do to catch up if I have to miss a week of class?

    So long as you don't miss the first week of a class, we have built-in (that is, free) ways for you to get caught up. First we suggest alerting the instructor of your pending absence. The week before you will be away, you should plan to stay after class to get a preview of the new material. Then, the week after your absence you will get to go through the "review" which is standard procedure for the first half of class anyway, every week except Week One. And, we have structured practices every Sunday night which can be used for a make-up lesson, especially if your absence was unexpected. And of course, if it will make you more comfortable and confident about the material, you can always schedule a private lesson with the instructor ($60/hour).

  10. Click to show/hideWhere do people go to practice their dance moves?

    Many C&W dancers enjoy Graham Central Station in Pflugerville on Friday nights, or Midnight Rodeo in South Austin on Saturday nights. Every now and then, we enjoy a field trip to Cowboy's Dancehall in San Antonio. They even have a live rodeo on Friday nights.

    East Coast Swing, Jitterbug, and Lindy-Hop dancers often enjoy dancing at the Texas Federation of Women's Club mansion at 24th and San Gabriel on Thursdays. West Coast Swing dancers enjoy weekly Swing dances at Uptown Dance, starting at 8pm.

    Ballroom dancers practice with the Austin Ballroom Dancers also at Uptown Dance, while seniors (over 50) enjoy ballroom dancing at the Senior Activity Center on Shoal Creek and 29th Street.

    Look in Thursday's XLent section of the Austin paper or check with the Dancers Guide to ascertain which club on which night for which type of dancing you seek.

    In general, dancers going to any of the clubs listed arrive early in the evening and leave when the floors start filling up with people who have not had any dance training or who are there for reasons other than practicing their dance steps.

    Go Dance also offers popular dance events on weekends with a $5 cover charge. See Dancing in Austin on our list of links to others for more ideas.

  11. Click to show/hideWhat's the difference between East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing and Country Western Swing?

    The music! Different dances exist because different types of swing music exist. West Coast Swing is danced at the slower end of the musical spectrum and leans more towards Rhythm and Blues music than to Rock'n Roll. East Coast Swing and its cousins (jitterbug, lindy hop, jive) favor the up-tempo sound of faster Rock'n Roll, including the Big Band sound, music from the 50's and 60's, and the "hillbilly rock" from country and western music. When dancing to traditional country and western music, including Bob Will's famous Western Swing, we borrow moves from these Swing dances and adapt them to true Two Step footwork.

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