Workshops are a huge element of event weekends. Event directors gather top-level instructors from all over the globe to give YOU, the students, a world-class education in a subject you love. Here are some helpful tips to help you experience workshops to the fullest. They can also be a way to save money and still get instruction from your favorites pros. Most events include workshops in the price of your weekend pass.

There’s LEVELS to your love [er, West Coast Swing]


For many events most of the workshops will be inclusive to all levels, unless there’s a disclaimer such as “advanced dancers” or “intro for beginners.” However, some events conduct leveled workshops. To determine your level, the staff either bases it on your points in the WSDC system or conducts a Jack and Jill style audition.

    1. If you’re a newcomer/novice the judges often advise you to stick with CLEAN basics. Save the fancy moves for your actual contests.
    2. Give each partner 100% as if you were dancing a real Jack and Jill. This is the litmus test for judges to preview your dancing for the weekend. Smiling and supporting your partners early on is a good way to get on the judges’ radars.
    3. Listen to how results will be announced! Sometimes they’ll post them outside the ballroom, or they announce it right after the heats for a certain level.
    4. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not in the level you think you should be in. Workshops benefit EVERYONE so continue the weekend motivated to work and learn!

Jump in the line –


For a lot of first timers, the uneven number of leads to follows can throw a lot of people. If you find yourself without a partner, find a spot in between couples and wait for the next rotation to be partnered up.

Listen –


Your instructors work strenuously to give you quality information. Be courteous and listen when they’re explaining a concept or pattern. If you have a question wait until their explanation is complete and raise your hand to speak.

High five! –


It’s good to support all your peers in workshops! They’re making an effort to enhance their dancing just by coming out to the workshops. Little things like asking your partner’s name, smiling, and high fiving will make you a memorable dancer.

FILM THE RECAPS! With the convenience of camera phones, instructors encourage you to video the workshop recaps as a resource. Check with the event staff to see if filming on your phone is allowed or if the professional videography staff is compiling a video notebook of the weekend’s workshops.

You can’t always do it all!


Don’t be afraid to skip some workshops if you don’t have the energy or brain capacity to take all the workshops in a weekend. You want to make sure you have enough time to prepare and take part in competitions and enjoy late-night social dancing. Take a look at the workshop schedule so you know which workshops you’d like to take and how they fit into the competition schedule.

Thank your teachers! –


Like I said professionals put a lot of thought and effort into providing material that will make you better dancers. Show your appreciate for all their hard work and tell them thanks after the workshop!

For more on the power of workshops, check out Tessa Cunningham Munroe’s article on the value of workshops.

Alrighty folks, I hope you enjoyed these tips and are ready to learn at your next event! For the  Wandering Westie blog, I’m Stephanie Pham. Keep dancing!

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