Dance Lessons

Lesson Length

Classes can be anywhere from sixty (60) to one-hundred and twenty (120) minutes long, and can be multiple sessions on multiple days. Approximately fifteen (15) minutes will be allotted for each dance style, with extra wiggle room for review/questions.

Lesson Content

Lessons are for beginner-to-intermediate dancers, and no prior experience is needed! Although ballroom dance culture traditionally expects men to lead and women to follow, anyone regardless of gender expression is encouraged to learn whichever they are more comfortable with. In every dance and lesson, I endeavor to make trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming individuals feel welcome. The only requirement is that once an individual has chosen to either lead or follow, they stick with that choice for the remainder of the current dance style to avoid confusion. For example, if you decide to lead at the beginning of the Waltz, please continue to lead during the Waltz. When we switch to Foxtrot, you can switch to following if you desire.

The beginning of the class will briefly touch on important etiquette; hygiene and hydration are emphasized, as well as dance-specific actions that are considered harassment, such as non-consensual dipping/lifting, intentionally bumping into people, or inappropriate dance frame.

I will also remind attendees of the dress code. While each event's rules will vary, this is an example dress code. In crafting a dress code, I place an importance on avoiding gendered, body-shaming, or sexuality-shaming language.


Partners will rotate so that everyone gets a chance to dance with multiple partners, thereby learning faster. This also ensures everyone will be able to practice with another person in the event that there are an uneven number of leaders and followers. If any individuals are uncomfortable with partner rotation and wish to stay with a particular partner, they can do so. However, no partner is necessary to attend the dance lessons or the ball itself.

Dance Styles

While the Waltz (slow) is always taught as the first dance, I like to teach 3-5 dances total (2-3 dances for accessable classes). These may include but are not limited to:

Dances taught at the lessons will be featured in the playlist for the event's formal ball. There are usually additional dance styles to flesh out the flow of the evening. Don't worry if you don't know the name of the dance on the screen. They are there as suggestions for dancers who are familiar with that style. You can always dance a different style as long as you stay out of the "fast lane" (which is the "outside" of the counterclockwise line of dance) for traveling dances (see image below).

© Fanime Black & White Ball.


You don't have to adhere to the formal dress code to attend formal dance lessons at any given convention. My suggestion is to wear comfortable shoes if you are new to dancing, or dance shoes if you're more experienced. Don't know where to start? Check out my page on dance shoes. Lesson floors are typically carpet, so be prepared. Additionally, if you're wearing an uncomfortable cosplay, feel free to modify it during class for your comfort (e.g., take off armor, put on pants under a skirt, etc.).


When you come to class, regardless of whether you know anyone in the class, I want you to bring an attitude of eagerness to learn and respectfulness toward your fellow dancers. Please assume that every person is there with the desire to learn dance and make new friends. That means that dance class is for learning about dance, not about meeting new people you could possibly date. Why are my formal balls not called "proms?" Here's why.

If you are new to dancing, it might be unclear what behavior might come across as "creepy" or harassing. There is always a code of etiquette that includes a harassment policy. (Here is an example of an etiquette policy.) Please read it to understand how harassing behavior might be classified. For example, dancing with a frame that grabs the side of a person's chest, while incorrect, is also something that many people would feel to be inappropriate, regardless of whether it was your intent to touch them that way.

I'm Afraid Someone's Watching Me

A lot of people have told me a reason they don't attend dance lessons is that they fear others are watching them in a critical way.

If you're new to dance, you might not know that there is such a thing as "social partner dancing" and it is separate from "competitive ballroom/Latin dancing" (like you would see on Dancing with the Stars). When you are in a class that teaches competitive dancers, you may be scrutinized so that you can correct your form for the judges. My classes are for "social partner dancing," which means that nobody is taking the class to learn and apply techniques for someone to watch. Hopefully, everyone is there to learn for the purpose of dancing casually in a way that's more expanded than the "zombie hug!"

It's easy to say "dance like no one's watching" if you are an experienced dancer. But if you are a new dancer, you might not know the truth: that unless you brought your own "judge" to sit in, nobody in the whole room is "watching" you in any sort of critical way, except for me! And the only reason I'm watching you is to make sure you have attained the concept of the move in a safe and conventional manner that your partner will understand, no matter who your partner may be, across all countries and languages.

I want my lessons to be a place where you feel safe enough to try and possibly fail. Failure is, in fact, very welcome as a co-teacher! If you don't fail, you may never learn to your own satisfaction. Whether it's forgetting how to do the basic step, not signaling soon enough, or losing the rhythm of the music, you are allowed to make mistakes. I will do my best to offer suggestions only, and not demands. I won't yell at you or demean you in any way, and I will discourage your classmates to correct you if you are uncomfortable.

Most importantly, if you make a mistake, it's more likely that it reflects my teaching ability more than your ability to learn. Everyone learns in a different way and I do my best to accommodate several different ways, but I can't always cover them all. If you don't help me by letting me know that you didn't learn something (which can be by making a mistake!), I can't necessarily tell that you are struggling.

Here's an example of how someone in my class once let me know that they needed help:

Student: I can't wrap my head around this move.
Me: That's okay! It's a pretty easy one and once you practice a few times, you'll get the hang of it.
Student: You know, I feel uncomfortable when you say that.
Me: When I say what?
Student: That this step is "easy." It's not easy for me!
Me: Thank you for telling me. What could I be doing to make you feel more comfortable?
Student: Call it "simple." The figure is only a couple steps. But it's hard for me to do.

From then on, I've modified my language from "easy" to "simple" because I realized that the way I was framing it made that person nervous and unable to learn the step.

If you have a question about something, you can raise your hand and/or wait until I put on music to come around and answer individual questions. Otherwise, I try to leave time at the end of class for more detailed questions and answers. Some people say "there are no stupid questions," but I know "if you have a question, someone else probably has it too!" Your questions matter and can change the lesson for the better, for you and anyone else who didn't want to speak up.

Right to Decline

Anyone has a right to decline to dance with anyone else, for whatever reason. You deserve to craft a dance experience that feels good for you.

How to Decline Politely

Regardless of what the situation is, after you decline someone a dance, sit out for the rest of that song. It can hurt someone's feelings if you say "no thanks, I want to sit out this Waltz," and then that person sees you twenty seconds later Waltzing with someone else. We want to assume that everyone at a social dance is there to apply what they've learned and grow as a dancer while making friends. Declining a person without sitting out gives the impression that they aren't "good enough" to dance with you, even if that's not what you think of that person.

In order for no feelings to be hurt (whether you have a physical or emotional reason not to want to dance), these are suggestions of how to decline. You don't need to know all of these, but make sure to start with, "No thanks" to be polite. Try to use "I" statements to express to the other person that it's not their fault you don't want to dance—even if, sometimes, you feel like it is.

  1. If you simply don't want to dance with the person who's asking for any reason and don't want to give a reason, you can say: "No thanks, I'm sitting this one out."
  2. If you are tired/sweaty/need to drink water or rest, you can say: "No thanks, I need a break for a little while."
  3. If you don't know the dance style that's displayed and you don't want to try it right now, you can say: "No thanks, I don't know how to do that dance." The person asking may offer to teach you while you dance. If you are comfortable and/or trust the person to be able to teach you, you can say yes at that point. If you are not comfortable, you can then say: "No thanks, I would like to learn it some other time."
  4. If you don't want to dance the style that's displayed, say: "No thanks, I would rather dance to a different style." The person asking may still wish to dance with you to a different style and ask what you would prefer. For example, if you don't know the Foxtrot that's currently playing, you could say, "Let's dance to a Waltz instead." When the next Waltz plays, find that person and dance with them then.
  5. If you have already promised to dance the current or upcoming dance with someone else, you can say: "Sorry, I already promised the next dance to someone else." You can even add "Maybe after that!" if you do want to dance with them, but please do attempt to find the person once you have danced with the promised person. Make sure to explain that you already promised the dance to the person asking, otherwise they might see you on the dance floor with someone else after you turned them down.
  6. If you specifically don't want to dance with someone because they are making you uncomfortable (for example, they touched you or someone else inappropriately, or made you feel pressured, or they seemed to want a romantic connection instead of making a friend to dance with), and if you think you need help keeping them away from you, it's okay to go to a staff or security member and tell them about your situation. If you have further needs from this harassment situation, feel free to contact the harassment email or phone number we provide on the screen. If you would feel more comfortable leaving the situation entirely, feel free to leave. You don't owe anyone an explanation for why you are feeling uncomfortable. Additionally, don't feel bad if you choose not to report the person who made you uncomfortable to the harassment staff. There are many reasons why people choose not to report and one of the top reasons is that they felt pressured to share information when they weren't ready.
  7. You are also allowed to attend the lessons or the formal ball itself just to watch other people dance from the sidelines. If someone asks you to dance in that case, you can say: "No thanks, I'm just here to watch." They may encourage you to learn a dance. This is usually not an attempt to coerce or bully anyone into dancing when they don't want to, but rather an attempt to reach out (usually by more experienced dancers) to make sure the person can learn a dance style if they want to but didn't tell anyone who could help them. Again, if you feel comfortable, you can say yes to the person asking, but if you still don't feel comfortable, you can say: "No thanks, I don't want to learn that style today."


Our aim is to provide the most accessible atmosphere possible for anyone who wishes to attend a formal ball/dance as well as lessons. While we recognize that people with certain disabilities may not always be able to perform dance steps or learn in a space with lots of conflicting noise, I want to impress that there are always modifications we can make, or help you make, to create an enjoyable experience for you.

For those with physical limitations, I will demonstrate several ways to do a step. While it is a little harder for someone with limited mobility in the legs to dance with others in a social setting, it's possible. Wheelchair ballroom dance is actually well established (see here) and something I would like to learn how to teach better.

For those with visual limitations, while the lesson will be spoken, it may be easier to learn in a more private setting where I can work with you and/or anyone who travels with you to understand body positioning and balance in a safe way.

For those with auditory limitations, lessons are both spoken and physically demonstrated. Depending on a convention's provisions, we may be able to provide an interpreter as well. The name of the dance style is also presented on the wall for everyone to see.

For those with auditory processing disorders or an aversion to certain sounds, my team and I will provide disposable foam earplugs. It is advisable for anyone considering long-term attendance at loud formal dances to look into their own sound-reducing headphones or custom earplugs, if financially possible, so you can go into any event knowing you will have a resource to feel more comfortable or safer.

If you wish to have a quieter atmosphere in which to learn at the convention, please contact me about private lessons at I can also provide lessons at the $30 and $50 tiers of my Patreon if the commitment is for three or more months.

We display the location of the "quiet room" (if the convention has one) on the screen alongside the harassment helpline or email number for those who wish to step out and deescalate or just take a break.

What if I'm Already a Dancer?

Do you have experience with dance before stepping into the classroom? Awesome! I love it when more experienced students join in with the beginners to help them see another level of success in dancing. If you come from a dance background than partner dance, that's okay! If you come from a partner dance background, whether competitive or social, I'd still love to see you there. You know better than anyone that having more helpers in class means less time the teacher takes to explain concepts for multiple learning types. However, please continue to listen to my instructions and respect my authority as teacher. Much appreciated! Let's keep growing our community to be one that supports every experience level of dancer!

Let Me Know if I Missed Anything!

If you still have questions that I haven't covered here, please let me know by contacting I'm always looking to make our community a more accessible, friendly, and informed space. Thank you!

Return to the Dance Home Page