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LGBTQ Swing Dance

Rock Steppin' OUT

Welcome to Rock Steppin' OUT!

Contact Beth at RSO at rso@lindyhopstlouis.org

We offer a safe and welcoming space for learning and dancing Lindy Hop Swing for LGBTQ-identified individuals and couples, anyone who enjoys dancing with same-sex partners, people everywhere on the gender spectrum, and everyone who appreciates the opportunity to dance outside narrowly defined traditional gender roles.

RSO was created to encourage and embrace LGBTQ inclusiveness to the Lindy Hop St. Louis community and swing dance scene in St. Louis and surrounding area. In doing so we have developed a format that will bridge the gap between the two groups.

Rock Steppin’ OUT takes its name from a fundamental dance move used in swing dance called a rock step, and the idea of being OUT of the closet. Contact us at rso@lindyhopstlouis.org.

Do I need experience or a dance partner?

Absolute beginners are welcome -- no partner or dance experience is ever needed; just come and take the beginner's dance lesson, meet some fun new people, and ask someone to dance. It's that simple.

We know that it can be scary starting something new. Our highly skilled dance teachers will teach you a few easy swing moves, and you'll experience the fun of dancing with a partner in a relaxed atmosphere. We believe that dancing is fundamentally about core body movement and the connection between partners and with the music. Out intentions are to create spaces for this to be practiced and enjoyed by everyone.

OK, when and where is this event happening?

Every last Friday of the Month we will offer a beginner class and social dance that will coincide with LHSL “West End Stomp”.

  • 7:30-8:30p: RSO beginner class
  • 8:30-9p: RSO social dance
  • 9-midnight: West End Stomp social dance with live band

All this happening swing dance fun is taking place at Mahler Ballroom in the Central West End. Parking is available on lot just west of the building and street parking.

How much will it cost?

$8 non-member
50% off for LHSL Members and students with valid student ID
Entry into RSO event 7:30-9p will also grant entry into West End Stomp at 9p – midnight!
Here is the link to becoming a Lindy Hop St. Louis member: http://www.lindyhopstlouis.org/join/

What can I expect?

Along with learning how to swing dance there will be lots of wonderful music played from the 20s, 30s and 40s, both by a DJ and a LIVE BAND! There will be some light refreshments at the RSO social dance, and a bar stocked with wine, beer and soda will be open for West End Stomp.

Dress is wide open. Come to dance and have fun in whatever you feel most comfortable wearing. There is no dress code. But for sure be on the lookout for some vintage dress at West End Stomp -- feel free to join in on wearing something unique or festive.

Dance Etiquette

  1. have fun.
  2. ask someone you haven’t danced with before to dance.
  3. dancers of all levels are encouraged to dance with each other.
  4. clearly state your dance role preference and ask if they are interested in dancing with you.
  5. have fun.
  6. safety first: don’t physically force anyone to do something they are resisting or don’t like.
  7. when in doubt, connect with the music - relax and move slowly.
  8. remember we were all beginners at one time.
  9. try not to assume anyone’s dance role base on their appearance.
  10. have fun.

Lead & Follow Dance Roles

RSO has adapted this philosophy of lead and follow from Dancing Grapevine, and are currently using this and believing it to be a useful definition of partner dancing roles. We welcome questions and comments based on your own experience. We consider this a “Living” Definition that will evolve over time.

What is swing?

"Swing dancing" is a term which covers a variety of partner dances that developed alongside jazz music in the first half of the 20th century. These dances became less common with the advent of rock & roll, but there has been a revival of interest over the last 30 years. These days you can find a swing community in almost every major city in the USA, and many other countries around the world. The styles of swing most commonly seen on dance floors today include charleston, balboa, collegiate shag, blues, and the most popular of all is lindy hop.

Lindy Hop History – a wonderful video account of lindy hop’s evolution over the last two centuries.

Links to LGBTQ Swing Dance groups around the world

Toronto’s Queer Swing Dance Club

London’s LGBTQ Swing Dance Club

Swingtime Boston

Swing Out Sydney

North American Same-Sex Partner Dance Association

Thank you so much to the websites that helped us provided inspiration for the content on this page. If anyone has suggestions or feedback on how to improve this page please don’t hesitate to contact us. Photo credits to Roxanne Miller and others grabbed from unknown places around the web. If one is yours and you would like credit contact RSO.