Styles We Teach
At Full Swing we’re all about swing and jazz dances from the early 20th century.
With a rich history, strong sense of community and almost infinite capacity for improvisation, you’ll be hard pressed to resist the infectious rhythms of this amazing group of street dances.
Lindy Hop (Swing)
When someone says “swing dance”, Lindy Hop is likely what they’ve got in mind – the energetic partner dance from the old films with great hair and even greater dance steps! Lindy Hop is fun and irreverent, a dance with dynamics and a strong focus on lead and follow.
In the ballrooms of 1930s Balboa Island, California, the jazz was fast and hot, and the floors were packed. With beats per minute sitting high and space per person at a premium, Balboa was born: an energetic dance with intricate footwork, a close connection and elegant lines, and all of the fun and swing style that the teenagers of the 30s loved to play with!
The lights are low, it’s the end of the night and the party’s moved from the hectic jumping jazz of the ballrooms to the houses of Harlem. The rent parties, the speakeasies, the back alley dive bars and dingy saloons, where the bootleg liquor gets passed around and the music gets real slow – that’s where you find the blues.
Blues dancing evolved directly alongside blues music at the turn of the century 1910s and 1920s, and takes its character from the driving rhythms, the lazy syncopation and the relaxed pace of the music it came out of.
The roaring twenties were a decade of decadence, rebellion, glamour and change – and at the forefront, leading the way was the Charleston.
It was the biggest dance craze in history, the Charleston turned all the accepted rules of dance upside down and inside out; with wild limbs flying in all directions and knees knocked, the dance was seen as wild, thrilling, rebellious, and even dangerous – but no one can deny it’s a heck of a lot of fun!
What could be better than stomping your feet and making a lot of noise? Stomping your feet and making a lot of noise with style!
The iconic dance of vaudeville and musicals, tap dancing is one of the most widely recognised, entertaining and above all fun styles of dance around. Come along and follow in the footsteps of Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers by learning to tap!
Great option for
• Trying it out for the first time
• Visiting from out of town
• If you have a busy schedule
6 ClassBlock Pass
Our Block Pass
• Most popular option
• Save 25% Off Casual Price
• $75 with Student ID
• Is valid across all of our classes
• 6 Weeks of unlimited evening classes
• Up to 75% off casual rate
• All the dance you can handle!
Saturday beginner bootcamps
Don’t have time for a regular class? Never danced before and want to start with a bang? This is a great way give dancing a go for the first time! Its also still great way to brush up on your level 1 skills before you go into the next block.
Come and learn all the basics of a six week beginner Lindy Hop course in one day. Learn the foundations over four classes, and you’ll be having heaps of fun on the social dance floor by the end!
Full Swing Vintage Dance Studio is a full time studio facility with a teaching staff of 22 teachers!
As the Full Swing studio manager, keeper of the treats and general dogsbody, Ella keeps things running smoothly at Full Swing. Her main duties are sleeping on the couch all day, doing a bork when there are dogs outside, and keeping a close eye on everyone’s food. She’s also the main responder to the Full Swing email. If Ella were a new crayon, her colour would be “food”, and then she would eat the crayon. Ella’s currently recording a tribute album to her namesake, Ella Fitzgerald, called “Lady Has a Snooze”, and the early cuts sound promising.
Saran is a hoofer from way back with over 20 years experience in dance and the firm belief that jazz dances are for everyone, that full body movement and killer rhythms are the way to go, and that creativity and improvisation are the best bits whether you’re a brand new dancer or an old pro! When the oceans rise and fish people take over the world, turning us all into fish people too, Saran would rather be top-half fish than bottom-half and walk around like an oceanic T-Rex. When a movie is made about Saran’s life as a fish person, the humanoid legs will probably be played by the youngest Hanson brother.
Michael was a martial artist who decided to give ballroom dancing a go to try to impress his girlfriend at the time. He jumped across the dance floor from ballroom to swing, and his energetic physical style makes for a heap of fun and the occasional chicken-dance flash mob! If Michael becomes a contestant on the next NZ Survivor, the secret items he’ll smuggle in to ensure success would be a small dog, a ninja sword, and a violin. Whenever Michael can’t make it to teach classes we get Bruce Willis to fill in – and so far no one has noticed.
Lauren started dancing due to a potent combination of her parents playing a lot of Hot Club de France and a long history of watching dance films and wanting to learn a partner dance but not use so much hair-gel as they do in Strictly Ballroom. Balboa is her jam, for the subtleties of the connection and the relaxed energy. Her toothbrush is blue, green and white (she checked) and, when asked about the worst hairstyle she’s ever had, replied “I grew up in the 80s. That’s all I want to say on the matter…”
A friend of Andrew’s wanted a wingman to attend a swing dancing class and he bravely volunteered. Before he knew it he was hooked, and here he is today! Andrew loves Balboa for it’s subtlety, playfulness and flow, and if given the choice between always being hot or always being cold, he’d choose cold… like blue steel. The eventual biopic movie of Andrew’s life will be called Plan 9 from Outer Space, and Andrew will be played by Halle Berry.
Becky began Ballroom, Latin American and New Vogue classes when she was 14 to learn “proper” dancing for her school ball. She got into swing dancing after seeing a demo at Vic Uni one lunch time – they all looked so joyful! She couldn’t possibly choose between Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen for a favourite artist, but loves all music from the 60s. Her favourite toothbrush ever was a shiny red one, which she kept buying duplicates of for the next decade, and her reality TV tagline would be “put the lime in the coconut.”
A tall, lanky, monkey-like male from a sub-species of Homo sapiens, Alistair began dancing Lindy Hop in late 2011 before quickly taking up Balboa, Charleston and Blues, becoming our resident DJ, and holding the record for MOST BEST waistcoats at the studio – with some stiff competition from Brent, however. When he’s not dancing he’s usually at the studio anyway, working on some target practice with his impressive collection of nerf guns (so be warned if you drop by outside of class hours!). If given the choice, Alistair would prefer to be top half fish rather than bottom half, simply because his shimmy would be even more impressive with scales.
Rachel started dancing Swing in 2012 at the suggestion of a friend, and since Balboa and Lindy Hop got her hooked, her favourite style really depends on what music is being played and how she’s feeling! When this Full Swing invesigative reporter got the inside scoop, Rachel confided that she’s never pulled a sickie, her toothbrush is pink, and the future biopic of her life will be called “All the Things!”. Rachel will be played by Rachel Weisz, because Rachelception is a well documented phenomenon (among Rachels, that is).
Ams grew up with all sorts of music, from Jimi Hendrix to Tibetan throat singing monks. When she moved to Wellington and didn’t know anyone she went on a mission to find a hobby with great people to hang out with. She spotted a ‘Lindy Bomb’ on the waterfront one afternoon, thought it looked incredible and was in class the next week! She loves Lindy Hop the most, because you can express your personality and even share jokes just by dancing – and when you get it right you feel like a million dollars! If Ams were a new crayon, she’d be chocolate orange. Who knows what colour that is, but it tastes amazing!
Jen joined Full Swing from Dunedin where she headed Dunedin’s swing scene, Jen began dancing in 2008 as a way to meet new friends while studying at the University of Otago and hasn’t looked back since, heading Dunedin’s swing scene for several years then heading up north to join the team at Full Swing! Jen’s favourite style of dance is actually a little known form of interpretive dance called “OnoCATopoeia”, in which you dance normally but make realistic cat sounds a lot. This technique also helps with getting out of parking tickets, awkward conversations, and… well, most things really. We don’t know the worst hairstyle Jen’s ever had. There appear to be no photographic records of her pre-2012. We assume the worst.
Emma started dancing during primary school with a place called “The Felines” (No cat
dancing sadly but the name was definitely a draw card). In an attempt to avoid sports
of any kind she eventually found an activity that was right up her alley – Ballroom and
Latin American dance. After competing throughout New Zealand during her teenage
years, eventually it was time to step away from the rhinestones and fake tan, and
swing dancing seemed like a lot of fun. Her favourite style now is solo jazz, and “80s
emotional ballad dancing – that’s a style, right?” Fittingly, her reality TV show tagline
is “She’s a maniac on the floor, and she’s dancing like she’s never danced before”,
and she firmly believes that no one can twirl a tambourine like Stevie Nicks can.
Nick was a jazz musician with a sister who did swing dancing, so when he was at uni he decided it was a good way to meet people! His favourite style is Lindy Hop (which came as a shock to us) because he doesn’t feel like you need a “persona” to do the dance properly – you can just be yourself and let your personality come out. He has no idea who would play him in the movie of his life, and made the mistake of asking us – so based on the fact he also told us he had frosted tips in 2008, we’re very much looking forward to the experimental art film “Nick, okay?” in which the lead character will be played simultaneously by all five members of NSYNC.
Murray got into dancing when Full Swing was known as Studio Red, and he went along to help check people in and ended up learning! His favourite style is Lindy Hop, and as far as music goes he thinks swing is built for moving to, Ella Fitzgerald is timeless soul food, and Pink Floyd pushed the envelope. If Murray were a new addition to the crayon box he’d definitely be red, and if he had to get out of a parking ticket he’d rip a small hole in the corner then shove his arm and then whole body through it.
Amy tried out ballet when she was 6 years old but found that way too boring and strict. So
when she saw three girls Tap dancing in a talent show at 9 years old, she was sold and has
been Tap dancing ever since! Now though, Tap Dancing and Lindy Hop have an equal place in
her heart – Tap because of the awesome rhythms and routines (#tapladies) and Lindy because
of the collaborative and impromptu nature of the dance. In fact, she loves dancing so much she
has pretended NOT to be sick in order to attend rehearsals! The story of Amy’s life is entitled
“Giving Instructions to Small People”, with series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 available on
Netflix and 12 coming out in theatres next year, starring Emma Stone as a primary school
teacher with a secret life as a Lindy Hop / Tap Dancer, who just keeps on truckin’…
Sonya is a super cool person who got into dancing due to some well-hidden leprechaun heritage. She has a cat and is one of our most traveled dancers, having hit the local dance floors everywhere she can find, from Wellington to China! With the belief that dance isn’t dance if it isn’t fun, Sonya’s favourite style is “fun and random”, she briefly rocked a real 80s perm and feels there is no going back, and if a movie were made about her life (starring Uma Thurman) it would be called Nailed It. When asked if she’d prefer to be top half fish or bottom half fish, her reply intrigued us: “Top half if I was an orca, bottom half if I was a mermaid.”
Brent was very shy, so his parents thought starting ballroom dancing was the answer. Initially he HATED it – not much fun dancing with your sister! It grew on him though, and having achieved everything he wanted to with ballroom (including traveling to dance overseas) he gave Lindy Hop a go. His favourite is Blues; for the music, the natural movement and the time to think and express himself. In another life we fear Brent may have been a fixer for the mob, because when asked how a pizza delivery person might benefit from scissors he responded “cut off a persons finger if they didn’t pay up!”
Grace moved to New Zealand when she was ten, and her mum signed her and her sister up for after school classes to try and get them to meet new people and try new things. From there she did hip hop, jazz and contemporary for many years before starting swing dancing (and it’s definitely way more fun!) She loves the energy and extravagance of Lindy Hop, and getting to utilise that same energy in solo dancing, with even more freedom – but also Balboa, with the speed and the close connection…. can she choose all three? Of course she can! Grace is not they type of person who needs a reality TV tagline because her facial expressions would say everything that needs to be said – and she believes that if you ate yourself you would neither become twice as big or disappear completely: her scientific opinion is you’d become half the size you already are.
Sarah’s mum took her to ballet class at age 4 and look what happened! She’s tried every type of dance she could, and loves anything surprising, exciting and different – Charleston-Contemporary hybrid anyone? If Sarah found out she was just someone’s imaginary friend she’d immediately ask them to imagine her onto a round-the-world flight. Sarah’s reality TV tagline: “My tap dancing’s so good even Fred A-stares.”