Swing Dance Lessons in Los Angeles and Orange County

Group lesson led by Dax Hock at the LIndy Loft before the monthly dance
Group lesson led by Dax Hock at the Lindy Loft

Los Angeles and Orange County have some of the best swing instructors in the world. Many Swing venues offer beginner East Coast Swing classes before the main dancing starts. If you are interested in going further, you can enroll in a class series, usually held weekly. If you are really hardcore, arrange for a private lesson from some of the outstanding teachers below.


Venues with Beginner Lessons Before the Main Dance

These are good to get a quick, casual introduction to Swing dancing, usually East Coast Swing (although they sometimes teach Balboa). These are usually very beginner-friendly and non-intimidating if you just want to dabble in Swing dancing. As a bonus, you’ll get to practice what you’ve learned with other people in the class right after, which is invaluable!

  • Atomic Ballroom (Irvine and Fullerton) – Offers classes throughout the week.
  • Juke Joint at the Ventura Beach Club (Ventura) – Kim and Dave, who run this event, are amazing dancers and teachers. I took their classes back when they taught at the world-famous Derby. They have classes on Tuesday nights.
  • Lindy Groove (Pasadena) – Has good beginner and intermediate lessons on Thursdays before the main dance.
  • Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association (Pasadena) – Has a beginner lesson before the main dance on Saturdays.
  • Rusty’s Rhythm Club (Playa Del Rey) – Has a beginner lesson before the main dance on Wednesdays or the first Friday of the month. Pretty much the only decent Swing lessons on the West Side.
  • Old Towne Swing (Orange) – Offers a beginner lesson before their weekly dance.

Weekly Group Classes

To learn anything more than the basics, you’ll have to graduate from the beginner lessons at the beginning of the dances to something more substantial, like group series classes.  These are usually once a week.

  • Ashley Perretta (DTLA) was one of the instructors at Lindy Loft. She now offers group classes at DTLA Studios on Main.
  • Athletic Garage Dance Center (Pasadena) offers weekly beginning Swing/Lindy lessons with Ellie Jay! Currently Wednesdays 7:30-8:30PM.
  • Atomic Ballroom (Irvine) has various dance classes throughout the week. This is a great place to learn if you’re in Orange County.
  • LA Jitterbugs/Steve Sayer (North Hollywood) – These classes are by Steve Sayer and other good instructors. They teach Lindy and Collegiate Shag.
  • Lindy Groove (Pasadena) – Has the Lindy Academy lessons right before the main dance on Thursday.  Taught by Ben and Jasmine, two excellent local dancers/instructors.  Highly recommended!  Check out what they are teaching here!
  • Rusty’s Rhythm Club (El Segundo) has several weekly Swing/Lindy Hop class series for beginners on up! Group Swing Dance/Lindy Hop Classes: Tuesday evening, Intermediate-Advanced with Rusty Frank & Ron Campbell, and Thursday evening, Beginners-Intermediate with Rusty Frank & Ted Stanley.   Every month,  a new Featured Class on Tuesdays, including Charleston, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, etc.  No partner needed! Come and join the fun.
  • Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association (Pasadena) has large group classes in Pasadena. Non-intimidating, good for beginners and for meeting people. Lots of classes throughout the week. This is where I learned the basics (and so did many other Swing dancers).
  • Third Street Dance (Mid-City LA) dance studio offering weekly lessons in many styles of partner dance. Unfortunately, their Swing classes are on hold for now though (check the website and let me know when they are back on).
  • Time2Swing (various locations) Cat and Adolfo teach Swing at various locations including Upland, Orange, Burbank, and Long Beach.
  • The UCLA Swing Dance Club has lessons before their weekly dance. The UCLA Historial Dance Club has 1920s and ballroom dances. Email HistoricalDance@yahoo.com to get on their email list.

Swing Weekends (“Camps”)

If you want to quickly kick up your dancing a notch or two, in one weekend, you should go to a Swing camp.  These are dance “boot camps” packed with excellent classes, contests, and dances. You’ll learn not only from the classes, but also from sheer osmosis from all of the great dancers around you. These are also a ton of fun, and you’ll probably make a lot of new friends! Just rest up before going, because they are exhausting.

  • Cal Bal Classic (Pasadena) annual dance weekend in January focusing on Balboa. This always sells out so get your tickets early.
  • Camp Hollywood (Near LAX) happens once a year around the end of August. This is the largest Swing dance camp in Southern California. Highly recommended if you want to get good quickly and have a great time dancing till 4 AM!  Don’t miss it!
  • LA Shag Festival (Burbank) This is a newer event focusing on Shag which happens in April. Organized by LA instructor Steve Sayer, I think this will be very popular.

Private Lessons

Okay, if you want to get really good, private lessons are the way to go.  These can improve your dancing in ways that group classes just can’t. Private classes may seem expensive but they are worth every penny if you measure personal progress against taking group classes. Here is a listing of private instructors in the LA/OC area:

  • Ashley Perretta (DTLA) was one of the teachers at Lindy Loft. She offers private lessons.
  • Atomic Ballroom (Irvine) offers private lessons in addition to group classes.
  • Essex and Lee (Whittier) – East Coast Swing and Lindy lessons from Essex and Lee of Memories.
  • Jeremy Otth and Laura Keat – Two of my favorite dancers in, specializing in authentic Lindy and Balboa. I have personally taken classes from them. Catch them at Camp Hollywood.
  • Rusty Frank (West Side – El Segundo) – California Swing Dance Hall of Fame and award-winning dancer offers private as well as group lessons, from basics to choreography.
  • Stephen Sayer and Karine Hermes (North Hollywood) These popular and award-winning instructors offer private lessons in addition to their weekly classes. My wife and I took a private Lindy lesson with them and it was amazing. Send them an email to set up a time.
  • Time2Swing (various locations) Cat and Adolfo offer private lessons around L.A.

Online

Dax and Sara’s Rhythm Juice offers a subscription to some great online videos and courses.

LA Jitterbug (Stephen Sayer) offers its online Swing Dance Academy on Patreon.

Instructors, please leave a comment below and I will be happy to add you to this list!

Classes to Avoid

Without naming names, I would avoid dance lessons from the well-known big dance class corporations. Swing is a street dance, and you’ll learn the most current and frequently-used moves from people who swing dance because they love it. 

All of the people and groups I’ve mentioned above have a passion for swing dancing. I see those people out dancing all of the time, and have taken lessons from many of them. They will teach you moves and styling that people are actually doing in the real world today.

Also, avoid taking Swing lessons from folks who don’t primarily teach Swing dancing, such as ballroom dance instructors and salsa teachers.  Those dances are fine, but if you want to learn authentic Swing, learn from a true Lindy Hopper. – Brian

Note: I don’t offer formal lessons. Please contact one of the professional instructors in the lists above for lessons!


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38 Comments
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Brooke
Brooke
1 month ago

Where is the best place to swing dance for college students?

min
min
7 months ago

Hello, I am a swing dance leader. I’m planning to visit LA in early May, but I want to take private lessons. Can you recommend a follower teacher? qwas1406@naver.com

Dayna stover
Dayna stover
3 years ago

Hi my name is Dayna and my husband Andy and I are interested in taking some lesson could you please reply with info on times places and prices for your private lesson

Jane
Jane
3 years ago

Hi Brian and All,

I’m a female beginner Lindy follow looking for a MALE lead teacher for private Lindy lessons (not a couple).
I live in West LA.
If anyone reads this and has a connection please reach out to me at swimcloser@gmail.com :)

Thank you :)

PS: I have reached out class leaders and others in the community before posting this message.

Azman Awi
Azman Awi
3 years ago

I also provide private Lindy Hop Swing lessons. For more information, please contact me at itsaswingthingla@gmail.com

Azman Awi
Azman Awi
3 years ago

Happy New Year! I would like my Facebook site to be listed as one of the Swing Dance resource.

https://www.facebook.com/itsaswingthingla/

I am also starting a new Swing Jazz Steps for Beginners https://www.facebook.com/events/1228782290603748/

Thank you!

Krista Martinez
Krista Martinez
3 years ago

Hello! Happy New Year! Is there anyone in the Ventura County area, or willing to come to Fillmore Ca 93015 to teach?

BoWo
BoWo
4 years ago

Hi, does anybody dance in LA the European style of six count swing called Boogie Woogie?

Brian
4 years ago
Reply to  BoWo

Hi BoWo,

I don’t know of a venue that does Boogie Woogie specifically. Anyone else know?

Brian

Brian Shag
Brian Shag
4 years ago
Reply to  Brian

Steve, Karine, and Chanzie teach LA style Boogie Woogie. It’s lower key and smoother than the European style.

AD818
AD818
5 years ago

Oops…I’m trying to find beginner swing classes in the Studio City/Sherman Oaks area???

Brian
5 years ago
Reply to  AD818

Hmmm, I don’t know of swing dance lessons in that area. Anyone else know?

Brian

Denise Baires
Denise Baires
4 years ago
Reply to  Brian

Any one know of dance classes in Ontario ca area teaching east cost swing classes ?

Brian Shag
Brian Shag
4 years ago
Reply to  Denise Baires

The closest place I can think of that teaches Lindy near you would be Metro Swing in Pomona.

AD818
AD818
5 years ago

I’m trying to find beginner swim classes in the Studio City Sherman Oaks area