Rivertowne Ballroom
305 Pollock St.
New Bern, NC 28560
(252) 637-2003



1.  What is the difference between East Coast and West Coast Swing?
East Coast Swing is very fast and bouncy and is danced to the big band music of the forties and fifties, as well as to contemporary rockability. It is a popular dance in clubs, and can be danced with a triple step (the basic step is “trip-le-step, trip-le-step, rock-step”), or, when music is very fast, it can be danced with a single step (“step, step, rock-step”). East Coast Swing is similar to Jive, which is an international style ballroom dance used at dance competitions. It is generally danced in standard dance position with leader and follower facing each other. East Coast Swing is upbeat and very easy to learn.West Coast Swing is danced to the blues and contemporary music; typical West Coast Swing artists are Bonnie Raitt, Tracy Chapman, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal and Joe Cocker. It is danced in a “slot”. Leaders and followers must each know their steps independent of each other, and for that reason West Coast Swing is known as a “smart” dance. West Coast Swing is a playful, sensual, earthy dance with syncopated rhythm which can be a bit tricky to pick up at first. At advanced levels, the follower has more autonomy and control over her steps than in any other ballroom dance.
2.  What should I wear?
You should wear something that is comfortable, easy to move in, and not too warm because you’ll be working up a little sweat on the dance floor! You should wear comfortable shoes with leather or suede soles that stay on your feet well; shoes that lace up or have adjustable straps work very well. Sneakers, rubber-soled shoes, and shoes that are too big are very difficult to dance in.
3.  Do I need to buy dancing shoes?
If this is one of your forays into dancing, you do not need to rush out and buy special ballroom dancing shoes. Wear comfortable shoes with leather or suede soles that stay on your feet well (shoes that lace up or have adjustable straps work very well). If you continue to pursue your dancing, you will soon want to purchase a pair of dance shoes. When that time comes, your teacher can give you guidance on purchasing proper shoes and direct you to sources.
4.  Do I need to bring a partner?
You do not need to bring a partner to any part of our class. During the class, the instructor will have you rotate partners every few minutes so you will have the opportunity to dance with everyone in the class. Dancing with a variety of people is the best way to learn social dancing and is also a great way to meet people.
5.  Do we have to rotate?
Although we recommend rotating partners as it has been proven to help your dancing, rotating is not mandatory. You and your partner are free to stay with each other for the whole class; just be sure to stand slightly outside the rotation so the people who are rotating will not be confused.
6.  Are there more women or men at the classes?
Although it’s impossible to predict the ratio for any given class, generally there are roughly the same number of leaders and followers. If there are extra leaders (or followers), the extra leader (or follower) should stand between two couples in the rotation so when the instructor has the students rotate, the extra leader (or follower) will get a partner in the next rotation.
7.  Can I join in a lesson late?
You should definitely join right in. The Instructor will teach the remaining steps from scratch, and you will probably be able to pick up any steps you’ve missed from watching the other dancers and the instructor’s review.
8.  Should I take private or group classes?
We recommend both. Private lessons will provide you with individualized instructions and work on your technique, your leading (or following), and any specific difficulties you may be having. Private lessons are essential if you are interested in becoming a serious dancer.Group classes are a great way to practice the steps until they become ingrained in your “muscle memory”. Group classes also provide you with a great opportunity to practice dancing with a variety of partners and to meet new people and potential dance partners.
9.  What hours are instructors available?
We have instructors teaching seven days a week, weekends and evenings. Your private lessons will be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you.
10.  What is the difference between International Style and American Style?
International Style is used in dance competitions and is based on strict, formalized patterns and foot positions. It is not generally used in social dancing.American Style is freer, easier to learn, can be danced in open position, and is used for social dancing. Beginners should start out learning American Style, and can then progress to International Style if they would like to compete or push their dancing to a new level.
11.  What dances should I work on if I want to go out dancing in the clubs?
Salsa and Swing (including Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing) are the most popular dances in local clubs right now. These dances are fun and easy to learn, and the clubs have a variety of live bands and DJ’s that will provide plenty of music to keep you dancing all night long.