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Where To Dance

as of Dec 20, 2015

I get asked all the time: "Where do you go dancing?" So I've compiled a list of locations and venues by type. I live in Southern California, so most of the venues are based in L.A. County or Orange County. However, I have traveled a bit, so eventually I will add other venues from other counties/states/countries, as well as links to other websites that go into greater details of what is out there.

Generally speaking, most of the venues will have some sort of lesson available before the main dancing starts. It's best to check each venue ahead of time to confirm that's the case.

Please let me know if you would like me to add a venue or event to the list, or if there are any broken links/changes to a particular venue. You can do so through my Contact page.

Click on the   icon to reveal the venues associated with the styles.

Swing Dancing

Swing dancing and its many variations, including East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Balboa, Shag, Charleston, etc.) originated in America in the 1930s and became popular world-wide during the 1940s due to WWII and the American GIs traveling all over the world and bringing it with them. In Los Angeles, it experienced a Renaissance at a (now defunct) venue called "The Derby", which surged in popularity after the movie "Swingers" was shown in theaters. From there the rebirth of swing crossed all borders and is still an international phenomenon with venues and special events taking place on nearly every continent. One variation of swing dancing called West Coast Swing has evolved into it's own style and has a separate entry here.

There is already a great calendar that is updated regularly covering events in LA/OC/San Bernadino: Swing Dance L.A.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CA, USA)

*** PASADENA AREA ***


LindyGroove

Pasadena. Every Thursday. Music is usually DJ, but they will have the rare live band for special events. Several hundred people show up. A wide variety of ages and skill level. Good classes offered at different levels. They also have a smaller Blues room which opens up around 10 pm. A really fun venue.
Website
Facebook

Here's some video of their nightly birthday dance where folks rotate and cut in on the various birthday gals/guys.

Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association (PBDA)

Pasadena. Every Saturday. Music is live. Classes too. I haven't been in a long time, so my info might not be solid. Check the website for more details:
Website
Facebook

Third Saturday Swing

Pasadena. Third Saturday / month. Music is usually DJd, sometimes live. People running are very good instructors.
Website
Facebook

The Barkley Restaurant

South Pasadena. Usually weekly live music that you can swing dance to. Check the calendar. Primary focus is as a restaurant, so the danceable area is really small. The bands are usually very good. Atmosphere is very nice and the food is good.
Website
Facebook


*** SAN FERNANDO VALLEY ***


Joe's Great American Bar and Grill

Burbank. Usually has stuff happening Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues. Always live music. Occasional lessons. Cool venue with a small dance floor. Food is good. Staff is awesome. Check schedule for events.
Website
Facebook


*** DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES / HOLLYWOOD ***


The Lindy Loft

Los Angeles, downtown. Run by Dax and Sarah, who are insanely good. World Champions. Good people to learn from, from what I gather, although I have yet to attend. They are a more recent venue. I'm guessing it's all DJ'd, but can't be sure. It's mostly lessons with occasional social dancing. They have live music once/per month. Check the calendar.
Website
Facebook

The Cicada Club

Downtown Los Angeles. Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays. Check calendar. High class dinner / entertainment experience that focuses on vintage recreation. The building survived the decades and is a great example of Art-Deco. By far the loveliest venue and used for many movie / t.v. locations. Live bands and occasional floor shows of dance numbers. Rarely ever dance lessons. Really great venue for a classy date or upscale birthday party. One of my favorite "go to" joints for visitors coming to Los Angeles and looking for something unique to do. Bring your own partner.
Website
Facebook

Swingtronic

Los Angeles. Bi-weekly at Pour Vous. Join the community to get on the list/info. An alternative swing venue that that remixes old school vintage swing with modern electronica. Primarily works best with uptempo swing styles like Balboa, but can me fused with other things. Something worth checking out if you are familiar with the style or just curious to see what people do. It can be awesome. Bring earplugs if you have sensitive hearing. The location has a very tiny dance floor, but it's a pretty sweet little venue. Definitely more bar than dance floor.
Website
Facebook


*** SOUTHBAY ***


Rusty's Rhythm Club

Playa Del Rey. Wednesdays and Fridays usually (check schedule). Always live music. Fun venue. Rusty is a phenomenal dancer and person. Part of her class structure sometimes involves learning fully choreographed routines which are performed at the events.
Website
Facebook

4th Saturday Swing

Long Beach. Fourth Saturday. It's relatively new, so I haven't been yet, but I hear it's a great venue! They have a beginner class followed by live music.
Website
Facebook


*** WHITTIER ***


Memories Dinner and Dancing

Two locations, one in Whittier and one in Montebello. Whittier location has Lindy Hop every Monday night. Check the website for other events and lesson schedule.
Website
Facebook

ORANGE COUNTY (CA, USA)

*** IRVINE / COSTA MESA / TUSTIN ***


Atomic Ballroom

Irvine.
Tuesday nights has Sock Hop swing in the main room and Balboa in the side room.
Friday nights has Lindy Hop in the main room, Argentine Tango in the side room, and Fusion in the upstairs lounge.
Saturday has ballroom in the main room every Saturday. On the first Saturday of each month there is blues night that I host there.
All nights have DJd music except for very rare special events. Wide age range. Lessons before hand for each room (some free, some cost). Lots of different skill levels.
Website
Facebook
Atomic Fusion Lounge Facebook Group


*** FULLERTON / ORANGE ***


Strutter's Ball

City of Orange, at the Woman's Club of Orange. Wednesday nights. Lessons before social dancing. I think it's mostly DJd music with occasional live bands.
Website
Facebook

INLAND EMPIRE (CA, USA)

*** SAN BERNADINO ***


The Blue Swing

San Bernadino. Every Saturday. Swing and Blues music/dancing. Music is DJd. I've never been, so I don't know much about it.
Website

*** RIVERSIDE ***


The Blue Swing

San Bernadino. Every Saturday. Swing and Blues music/dancing. Music is DJd. I've never been, so I don't know much about it.
Website

West Coast Swing (WCS)

West Coast Swing has it's roots in Lindy Hop, but has evolved into its own style. It tends to be danced in a slot in a 4/4 rhythm without syncopated beats. Music tends to be modern, and styling tends to be more smooth and upright vs. low and bouncey in traditional swing a.k.a. East Coast Swing dancing.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CA, USA)

*** SAN FERNANDO VALLEY AREA ***


Black Out Fridays

North Hollywood. 1st & 3rd Friday of every month. Located at Liv'art Dance Studio. Class before hand at 8pm, dancing from 9pm to 1am.
weblinks TBD

Sonny Watson's Street Swing

Tarzana. Every Wednesday night. Lessons from 7-9, dancing from 9 - midnight. Hosted by Sonny Watson and the Valley Swing Dance Club.
Website
Facebook


*** SOUTH BAY AREA ***


Phil and Mindia's 1st Saturday Swing

Lomita. Usually the 1st Saturday of every month. Workshops in Country 2 step, Nightclub 2 step and WestCoast Swing from 4 pm to 8 pm, dancing from 8 pm - 1 am.
Website

Diamond Swing

Torrance. Monthly event, usually the last weekend of any given month. Check website for calendar and details.
Website


*** WHITTIER ***


Memories Dinner and Dancing

Whittier location has West Coast Swing on Tuesday nights. Check the website for other events and lesson schedule.
Website
Facebook

ORANGE COUNTY (CA, USA)

*** FULLERTON / PLACENTIA ***


The Clubhouse

Placentia. Every Sunday. Doors open at 6. Free intermediate lesson at 6:15, open dancing starting at 7 pm.
Website


*** IRVINE / COSTA MESA ***


Atomic Ballroom

Irvine. Every Thursday night is their West Coast Swing "Swing The Blues" night hosted by Ben Morris.
Website
Facebook

DanScene

Costa Mesa. Every Tuesday night is the DansScene studio's WCS night, from 8:45 pm to 12 am.
Website
Facebook

Salsa / Latin

Salsa is a social dance with Latin roots from NewYork, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Colombia. Sometimes a Salsa dance will include other Latin social dance styles such as Cha-cha, Mabmo, Rhumba, Merengue, Bachata, etc. It will depend on the venue. The ones listed below are some of the most well known venues. If you want to really tap into all your salsa options (in L.A., O.C., and elsewhere), then I would check out Salsa Hook.com.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CA, USA)

*** CENTRAL LOS ANGELES ***


The Granada

Alhambra. The Granada is a nightclub, dance studio, and restaurant/bar all rolled into one. Although there are several salsa clubs in Alhambra, the Granada is by far the most well known. They have Salsa/Bachata nearly every night. Check the website for their calendar/line up.
Website
Facebook

Stevens Steakhouse

Commerce. Stevens Steakhouse is a restaurant that has been around since 1950, and on Sunday nights they have their Salsa / Bachata dance club.
Website
Facebook


*** WESTSIDE ***


Zanzibar

Santa Monica. Mondays, 8pm to 2am. Could be a live band or dj. Check website for calendar.
Website
Facebook

Wokcano

Santa Monica. Tuesdays, 8pm to 1:30 am. Check website for calendar.
Website
Facebook

ORANGE COUNTY (CA, USA)

*** TUSTIN / IRVINE / COSTA MESA / NEWPORT BEACH ***


Tapas

Newport Beach. Thurs-Sunday, bachata and salsa. Check website for schedule.
Website
Facebook

Atomic Ballroom

Irvine. Salsa every Wednesday night. Shares their Tango night which is in another room.
Website
Facebook

Argentine Tango

Argentine tango originated in Buenos Aires towards the end of the 19th century. Unlike many social dances, the rhthym and tempo of the dance can change dramatically and rapidly. It is a very intense, emotional dance, and in my personal opinion probably the most difficult of all the social dances to learn. But if you learn it... woah Nelly! The social dances are called "Milongas".

LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CA, USA)

*** SAN FERNANDO VALLEY ***


The Tango Room

Sherman Oaks. Milongas are every Saturday night. Class from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, dancing from 9:30 pm to 3 am.
Website
Facebook


*** WEST L.A. / SANTA MONICA / VENICE ***


Makela Tango

Venice Mondays, West L.A. Tuesdays - Sundays @ SoHoDanceLA. See website for full schedule of dances and classes.
Website
Facebook

By Your Side Dance Studio

Culver City. Primarily classes. See website for full schedule of events and classes.
Website
Facebook


*** SOUTH BAY ***


LBC Tango Club

Long Beach. Tuesdays at Dancesport California. Dancing starts at 8:30 pm. Facebook page is more updated than the website.
Website
Facebook

ORANGE COUNTY (CA, USA)

*** TUSTIN / IRVINE / COSTA MESA / NEWPORT BEACH ***


Celebration Dance Studio

Tustin. This studio is run by Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrioneuvo, who are some of my all-time favorite instructors. They have a Wednesday night Milonga with a lesson at 7 pm, dancing starts at 8 pm.
Website
Facebook

Atomic Ballroom

Irvine. Every Wednesday and Friday night. Friday night is off in one of side rooms, as the main room is used for Swing and the upstairs area for Blues/Fusion.
Website
Facebook

Astoria Ballroom Dance Studio

Costa Mesa. They have Milongas on Thursday nights at 8:30 pm with a lesson at 7:45 pm.
Website
Facebook

Avant Garde B.A.L.L.R.O.O.M.

Newport Beach. They have a lesson + Milonga on Friday nights from 8:30 pm to 1 am and Saturday nights from 7:30 pm to 1am.
Website
Facebook

Victorian / Masquerade Balls

Victorian Ballroom dancing is like traveling into time or walking onto the set of a movie. Imagine everyone dressed up in 1800s formal wear, waltzing, doing the polka, as well as pattern dancing.

Often events will change venues, so the listings are organized by where the group sponsoring the events are based, rather than specific venues. It's best to look at each group's website for details.

If you want a broader view on these kinds of dances, as well as other eras like jazz, ragtime, and some other swing events, I highly recommend visiting Mass Historia's Calendar page

LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CA, USA)

Social Dance Irregulars

Twice a year. They have a spring ball and an autmumn ball. The autumn ball is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The spring ball varies depending on the venue's calendar. Music provided by a live band. They have dance cards and a refreshment room in one of side chambers. The venue is really quite lovely. See the video below for a sense of what it is like. One of my favorite events, and great for beginners who have never done this sort of thing before.
Website [p.s. that's me in the mask on their home page :) ]
Facebook

Victorian Tea And Dance Society

They usually have a monthly dance event as well as occasional special dances. In addition, the group will sometimes go on costumed outings like to the Huntington Gardens to have tea, walk the grounds, etc. They are lovely people.
Website

The Jane Austen Evening

This is an annual event. They have a tea service in the afternoon with a guest speaker who talks about some aspect of life or literature in the time of Jane Austen. In the evening is the dance. Great fun. Very popular. Sells out every year.
Website

The Edwardian Ball

This is an annual event. They have one event in San Francisco and another in Los Angeles. It celebrates the works of artist Edward Gorey, but it is done in the style of a turn-of-the century over-the-top Moulin Rougesque/Steampunk masquerade ball. Although there is dancing (electronica waltz as well as modern electronic house), most of the attraction is the cirque/burlesque/musical numbers as well as all of the fantastique costumes. One of my favorite events.
Website
Facebook

The Labryinth of Jareth

This is an annual event that spans two days. It's a masssive masquerade ball inspired by the movie "Labyrinth", with multiple rooms, circus acts, and dancing of all kinds - from disco/funk/80s in one room to electronica in another, two waltzing/victorian in the Clockwork Ballroom. The theme is high fantasy, and half the fun is just seeing all the amazing costumes that people come up with.
Website
Facebook

Blues Dancing

Blues dancing dates as far back as blues music and grew in parallel with swing dancing. It has its own set of variations for different tempos and like other social dance forms it has evolved over the years. It has especially taken off over the last decade with national and international blues dancing events popping up. Although there are many various forms of blues music, they still tend to conform within a particular type of musical / lyrical structure.

"Turquoise" is slang for music that feels like Blues music, you can dance to it with Blues dancing technique / styling, but technically isn't Blues. Some Blues venues tend to focus on strictly blues music, some allow for some turquoise, others allow blend it all together with fusion dance music (see next section).

The venues listed below are dancer-oriented. If you are interested in just going to local blues clubs to listen to live blues music (which may or may not have a dance floor), I would start here: Mary4Music.com. If you come across something good, let me know about it and I'll add it to the list!

LOS ANGELES COUNTY (CA, USA)

Do Something Blue (DSB)

Last Friday of each month. Music is DJ'd with maybe a live performance 1/year. There is usually a class at 9pm, dancing starts at 10 pm and goes til 2am. DSB is currently transitioning venues and looking for a new permanent home. Check the website to see where they are going to be for any given month:
Website
Facebook

Below is some video from one of their occasional blues dancing competitions. It'll give you some idea of what it's all about.


*** PASADENA AREA ***


LindyGroove

Pasadena. Every Thursday. Although primarily a swing venue, they have a smaller Blues room which opens up around 10 pm. Music is Dj'd. Goes til around midnight.
Website
Facebook


*** SAN FERNANDO VALLEY ***


Joe's Great American Bar and Grill

Burbank. Usually has stuff happening Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues. Always live music. Occasional lessons. Cool venue with a small dance floor. Food is good. Staff is awesome. Sundays is usually blues, but check schedule for events. Type of music depends on the day / band.
Website
Facebook

Blues Liberation Front

Sherman Oaks. The second Saturday of each month. Music is primarily Blues with some turquoise and a smattering of fusion. Depends on the DJ. Good dance floor. Fun atmosphere. They have recently added a class that takes place before the main event. Class is at 8 pm, dancing starts at 9 pm till around 1 am. Don't forget to check on the password, as it changes each month.
Website
Facebook


*** WESTSIDE (Santa Monica) ***


Potluck Blues

Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade. The second Sunday of each month during spring/summer/fall. Usually shuts down when the temperature drops / holiday season starts up. It's on concrete, so wear appropriate shoes. Location tends to be between Arizona and Wilshire, closer to the Wilshire side. Musically speaking, Pot Luck is exactly that. It all depends on who shows up and wants to play something.
Website TBD
Facebook

Harvelles (Santa Monica)

Harvelles is one of the longest running live music venues that has a dance floor. It's a very small dance floor - maybe four or five couples tops, and that's crowded. But it's a cool venue. Check out the calendar for upcoming acts.
Website
Facebook


*** LONG BEACH ***


Harvelles (Long Beach)

Harvelles has recently opened up another club in downtown Long Beach. I have not been to it yet, so I can't be sure about the dance floor. If you go, I'd love to hear a report back.
Website
Facebook

Fusion Dancing

Fusion dancing comes in two flavors: true fusion and lyrical (sometimes called Cascadian free-style).

Lyrical free-style doesn't have a tradition or structure. It's pretty much do whatever feels right.

True fusion is the art of combining, shifting, and mixing/matching dance forms you are already familiar with in new combinations to the music. For instance, switching from Blues to West-coast to Tango and back to Blues again, all within the same song. Pretty much any social dancing style that you have learned can be applied. Musically, most fusion events will have alternative modern music with maybe a smattering of Blues, Tango, Westcoast, etc. Depending on the DJ, you might hear electronica, eclictic pop, or ballad anthems.

Blues Liberation Front

Sherman Oaks. The second Saturday of each month. Music is primarily Blues with some turquoise and a smattering of fusion. Depends on the DJ. Good dance floor. Fun atmosphere. They have recently added a class that takes place before the main event. Class is at 8 pm, dancing starts at 9 pm till around 1 am. Don't forget to check on the password, as it changes each month.
Website
Facebook


*** CENTRAL LOS ANGELES (Alhambra) ***


Angel City Fusion

Alhambra, at the Javyee Dance Center. The third Saturday of each month. It's a relatively new venue, but turn out has been high enough that they have two rooms going simultaneously with different DJs. Dance class takes before hand that will usually teach something about one of the primary dance styles (Blues, Tango, Swing, West Coast) and how to incorporate it into your fusion dancing.
Website
Facebook

ORANGE COUNTY (CA, USA)

*** IRVINE / COSTA MESA / TUSTIN ***


Atomic Ballroom

Irvine.
Tuesday nights has Sock Hop swing in the main room and Balboa in the side room.
Friday nights has Lindy Hop in the main room, Argentine Tango in the side room, and Fusion in the upstairs lounge.
Saturday has ballroom in the main room every Saturday. On the first Saturday of each month there is blues night that I host there.
All nights have DJd music except for very rare special events. Wide age range. Lessons before hand for each room (some free, some cost). Lots of different skill levels.
Website
Facebook
Atomic Fusion Lounge Facebook Group