Rockford, IL 61073
United States

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Dance FAQs

Dance FAQ

What dance events does USA Dance hold regularly?
The Northern Illinois chapter holds two dance events most months of the year. Our 4th Saturday dance is held every month and includes a group lesson from local professional ballroom dance instructors and generally includes a mid-evening showcase put on by the evenings instructor, the instructors's students or other members of the local ballroom dance community. In addition we have one or two dance mixers as part of the evenings schedule.

Our event schedule can be seen on the calendar page.

Do you charge admission for your dances?
We charge a modest admission fee to offset our costs. I think you will find it one of the best values for your money in the area for an evening of entertainment. USA Dance members pay $6, non-members pay $8 and high school and college aged students pay $2.

The admission fee is charged to all in attendance and allows them to participate or watch the dancing, participate in the group lesson, (if offered), and enjoy the showcase, (if presented).

There may be a different fee schedule for special events and workshops that may periodically be held.

What kind of music do you play?
As wide a variety as we can find. We are not a big band music club (we love big band music but it is just one of many styles we play). You will hear the classic singers like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, and Nat King Cole, soaring new age waltzes with Celtic influence, authentic latin mambos and cha chas, rock and roll swings with a 1950s feel, and comtempory popular music.

We borrow a lot from what is being played at the latest ballroom dance competitions. All music is screened and adjusted to be the right tempo to fit a specific dance. We provide a list of dances for the evening so you don't have to guess what dance is appropriate for the music.

Note that all our music is pre-recorded, we do not use live bands. Live music is prohibitively expensive and very few bands can play all the different styles and tempos ballroom dancing requires.

How many people will be at a dance?
Our 2nd Saturday dance held at the new Arthur Murray Studio will usually have between 35 and 60 people. The 4th Saturday dance at the Belvidere Community Building is larger with 100 or more people dancing on a basketball court-sized floor.

What should I wear to a USA Dance?
The dress code for our dances is simple: No jeans and no T shirts are the only stipulations. Men will fit right in wearing a nice pair of pants and a button down shirt or polo shirt. Jackets are not required. Most ladies dress as they would for a date or a night out with their man. Dresses or skirts are the most popular choices, though dressy pants accompanied by a little bling are perfectly fine. You will see a smattering of sequins and swaths of glittery fabrics in the crowd, but by no means do you need a ball gown. Don't dress too warmly; a light sweater or wrap will keep you comfortable until you get warmed up from the dancing.

Do I need special shoes?
Here's a simple test you can try – Put on a pair of shoes and do 'The Twist' on any wood, tile or linoleum floor. If you can do this without having your feet stick to the floor, those shoes will work for you without putting too much stress on your knees. Ladies should avoid extremely high heels and shoes with no backs. For most men leather soled shoes will work just fine. Most dedicated dancers eventually buy a pair of suede soled shoes just for wearing at dances. They are light as a feather and the suede sole gives just the right amount of traction vs. slide and helps to protect the wood floors that we love to dance on.

Can I come to the dance without a partner?
We are a very friendly bunch and welcome both singles and couples at all of our dances. A lot of our dancers like to mingle with the crowd and the mixers ensure that everyone gets a chance to dance. We do not provide dance hosts.

What is a mixer?
Think of it as a dance lottery. Men line up on one side of the dance floor and ladies line up on the other side. They meet at the top of the dance floor and dance their way down to the end of the floor, typically to waltz or foxtrot music. Each couple then separates and rejoins the lines of men and ladies. A mixer usually lasts about 15 minutes so you get to dance with a number of different people.

How old are the people that come to USA Dances?
We are fortunate to get a very wide range of ages at our dances. We have high school and college students in attendance, baby boomers as well as seniors. You will feel comfortable whether you are 16, 36 or 60+. Younger kids of about 10 to 13 years who are ballroom dance students are welcome but should be accompanied by a parent.

What is the lesson at the 4th Saturday dance like?
This is a group lesson lasting one hour with between 50 and 100 people, led by an experienced professional ballroom dance instructor. A different dance is selected for each month's lesson. The dance instructor will begin by demonstrating and explaining the basic step and technique for that month's dance and will then add another move or two for progressively more experienced dancers. A partner is not necessary and participants are often asked to rotate to another partner so that everyone gets a chance to learn.

Can I request a specific dance or music?
Yes. at the end of the evening we provide time for requests of specific music or type of dance.

You mean you dance with people other than your spouse/boyfriend or girlfriend?
Yes. Dancing is the perfect romantic activity for a couple's night out and if you wish to dance only with each other that is fine. There is always something very special about dancing with the one you love. However, most experienced dancers regard dancing as a social, athletic and artistic activity as well. When dancing with someone other than your significant one, it is not about romance. It's rather more like playing a game of tennis with a friend. Changing partners also helps the men to develop their leading skills and the ladies their following skills.

Are drinks available?
All of the Northern Illinois Chapter USA Dances are smoke and alcohol free. We have soda and water for sale and also offer complimentary snacks such as cookies and chocolates.

I am a single lady. Are you sure I will have someone to dance with?
There usually are a few more women than men at the dances. If you are nervous about coming alone, by all means bring a friend. Consider inviting your brother, cousin, adult son, neighbor or male co-worker to come to dances and/or take the dance lessons with you. This will give you someone to learn and practice with. You won't have to dance with just him all night long but the other ladies will be delighted to.

I am just learning. Will I be embarrassing myself?
USA Dance exists to provide an opportunity for people to learn to dance. Everyone is a beginner at some time and especially at our dance.

Other frequently heard comments: "I shouldn't come to the dance because __________________."
(a) I'm just a beginner.
(b) I don't know much about dancing.
(c) I'm just getting started.
(d) people will feel tortured if they have to dance with me.
Our dances are open to everyone at all levels of dance ability. Those of us who know how to dance all had to begin at the beginning and it is the same for everyone. We know exactly how challenging and even intimidating it can be to someone just starting out. We also know how much more fun you will have in your life, how many new friends you will make, how much stronger, fitter, sexier and more confident you will feel as you learn and develop your abilities.