No. Westies (WCS Dancers) are very friendly people and love to dance with everyone. In fact, we make it a point to dance with new members of the community! People come by themselves, with a few friends, or as couples and all ages are welcomed and encouraged to join in the fun. After attending a couple social dances, you will never be without someone you know!
Not at all! Most instructors have the leaders and followers rotate so that everyone gets the benefit of dancing with everyone. If you’re taking a private lesson, an instructor may either work with you alone or ask you to bring your partner along. All professionals are skilled in both leading and following and can teach you.
Even if you’re experienced in other styles of dance, it is best to learn the fundamentals in a class as not everything you need to know can be picked up by watching without feedback from an instructor. Many experienced dancers will use videos to add new patterns to their repertoire, but we do not recommend trying to learn from video alone.
The timeframe to learn WCS depends on many factors. Natural ability and talent, time spent in class, practice at home, and on the social dance floor will all come into play. The dancers who progress more quickly make practicing alone and with others a habit and dance with as many different people at social dances as possible. Don’t be shy to ask more experienced dancers to dance with you (whether you are male or female); this will help you progress more quickly. Everyone started at the beginning and understands that it takes a while to get comfortable with the dance. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy the dance and the people you dance with. Remember, anything worth doing takes effort!
WCS can be danced to a variety of genres which makes it an attractive style to learn. Genres include contemporary, pop, funk, hip hop, R&B, country, and others. The music is usually 4/4 time with beats per minute ranging from 65-130.
Westies usually wear pants, either slacks or jeans, and a nice shirt, but overall fairly causal. It’s a good idea to bring a spare shirt with you in case you get sweaty. Excessive jewelry is also discouraged (especially on the hands) because bodies will be in movement and jewelry could get caught.
For both ladies and gents, choose comfortable shoes with a slick sole that won’t stick on the floor. Also make sure that the shoes are secure when wearing and don’t have high heels. When you first come out dancing, there is no need to buy dance shoes. After you’ve been to a few dances you might want to look into dance shoes with suede soles that will allow for comfort and ease of movement on the floor. We recommend Wes, The Shoe Guy for your some shoes. West Coast Swing shoes are slightly different than ballroom dance shoes.