Remember being at school when the teacher put on 1940s music, forced the boys and girls to pair up and taught the class how to Jitterbug like in ‘the olden days’? No? Just me? Well, London is ripe with tons of swing dancing classes and freestyle dances for both beginners and those who know their Lindy hop from their Balboa. So grab a (preferably willing) partner, dig out those ’50s-style threads and flaunt your finest eight-count any day of the week.
Monday Market House, Brixton
Start the week as you mean to go on by learning to Lindy hop in Lambeth. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned dancer, this class beats your average Monday evening spent making a big bolognese to freeze and catching up on 'Girls'. 7pm (beginners), 8pm (improvers). £10.
Tuesday The Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch
This free swing session kicks off every Tuesday night at the Shoreditch Blues Kitchen. Cut to: convincing your work mates to go for a quick beginning-of-the-week tipple and, come 10pm, ordering four rum and cokes and doing the twist with your boss to live big band classics. From 9.45pm. Free.
Wednesday Crows Nest, Crystal Palace
Jumpin’ at the Palace is a weekly social dance hosted by the trusty folks behind Swing Patrol. Skip the midweek zumba class you hesitantly booked while feeling guilty on a Sunday night and get down to SE19 because this event is free and basically counts as a workout, meaning you can save your pennies for a well deserved Maccy’s afterwards. 8.45pm-11pm. Free.
Thursday Hammersmith Club, Hammersmith
Billed as west London’s premier swing dance night, A-Train is an extravaganza of classes for beginners and improvers. Stick around for the freestyle dancing and roll into Friday in style in the charming period dance hall, which dates back to the eighteenth century. From 7pm. £12.
Friday Arcola Theatre, Dalston
No partner (or pre-booking) needed for Tiger Rag, a boozy Friday-night jazz fest to be found deep in Dalston. Learn your stuff at the 9pm class and, for the love of God, please wear comfortable shoes because this live-music affair jives till 3am. 9pm-10pm. £10.
Saturday Hornsey Town Hall, Crouch End
A fitting venue for 1930s jazz and blues on original 78rpm records, Hornsey Town Hall is a modernist gem of a building slap-bang in the middle of forever cute Crouch End. On the second Saturday of the month, join Nighthawks Vintage Dance Club and swing dance the night away in stunning art deco surroundings. Monthly, £8 early birds, 12 thereafter. Check Nighthawks FB page for details of April event.
Getting your dance on isn’t exclusive to after hours or necessarily facilitated by alcohol, as proved by Swing Patrol’s afternoon sessions. If you’ve had a slow weekend and feel energised come 2.30pm on Sunday, navigate your way to Exmouth Market and hit the dancefloor without spending £7 on a double vodka or finding yourself in someone’s sweaty armpit with deafening house music in your ears. From 2.30pm. £10.
Wanna learn more fancy footwork? Bust a move at the best dance classes in London.