Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to bring a partner?

Not at all. In our group lessons, workshops and dance parties we rotate so you do not need to bring a partner. However, if you bring a partner and prefer not to rotate, just let the instructor know at the beginning of class, and they will accommodate you too.  Also, don't be afraid to come by yourself.  Sometimes new students are hesitant if they don't have a wingman, but once you walk into class you will instantly meet many others as your instructors will organize the class and have you rotating and dancing with everyone.  

What kind of attire do I wear?

Typically business casual or smart casual is fine.  Whatever makes you comfortable and will keep the others in class comfortable too.  For some events like Strictly Ballroom Dance Parties we recommend sportcoat for gentlemen and cocktail party attire for ladies.

What kind of shoes do I wear?

You do not need professional dance shoes. Anything that has a smooth sole would be great. You do not want to wear anything with a rubbery bottom like an athletic shoe that will stick to the dance floor. As you get more involved in dancing, you may choose to invest in a pair of ballroom shoes. We can send you suggestions where our instructors find their shoes.

Do you have a parking lot or free parking available?

Yes! We have a free parking lot along the northside of building, but if it gets full you can park on the street directly outside the front door.

How do I sign up for classes?

You can view our schedule online and register by calling 773.635.3000 to enroll using a Visa, MasterCard or Discover card. Registration can also be done during office hours at our studio via cash, check or credit card. If you prefer to mail in a check, please include your full name, phone number, e-mail, title and date of the class(es) you are registering for and mail the payment and registration to: May I Have This Dance Attn: Registration 5246 N. Elston 2nd Floor Chicago IL 60630

Can I pay when I get there or should I pay in advance?

Paying in advance is the only way to guarantee your spot in class. However, if there is space left, walk-in registrations is allowed. If you register at least 5-days in advance you may qualify for an early-bird discount and save money!

What if I have never danced before, will I be lost?

Not at all! Most people's first time through our doors is as a total beginner. Our instructors are incredible at getting even those with two-left feet learning to dance in no time. We offer a variety of beginner lessons which are a perfect place for beginners to start or to refresh the basics.

Can I watch a class before I attend it?

To respect the comfort of our students we do not allow people just to watch classes. You can always take a workshop or attend one of our dance parties to experience our atmosphere and staff.

Do you offer discounts for youth, high school, or college students?

Yes! We offer discounted group lessons and dance parties for full-time high school and college students.  We also offer some limited discounted private lessons for youth 17 and under.  Some restrictions apply.  Contact our studio for specific details and to take advantage of this program.

May I videotape a class?

We do not allow videotaping during classes. However, students are welcome to videotape each other after class to capture "videonotes" of what you learned.

I am worried I will be the oldest (or youngest) one there, what is the age of students attending your classes and dance parties?

We have a variety of age ranges that come here from teens to 90+. On any given night we may have a large group from a local college to a roomful of boomers. The important thing is that they are all young at heart and are friendly and welcoming no matter what your age. It is a common sight to see people dancing with each other even if they have a 40+ difference in age!

Are food and beverages allowed at the dance parties?

We have a drinking fountain. But, you are welcome to bring your own refreshments and snacks if you'd like to enjoy in between classes or during our dance parties.

Will I meet people I can potentially date there?

The main focus is to learn to dance, be active, and make new friends.  We welcome couples and singles.  We are by no means a "meet market."  Most people come here to focus on the dancing and to expand their circle of friends. However, it is very possible that you may meet the woman or man of your dreams while taking one of our dance classes.  Hundreds of couples have met during a MayI class or event.  Many have gotten married, and you know they tore it up on the dance floor!   We take pride in providing a friendly, safe, and nurturing atmosphere. Part of that is making sure everyone is comfortable. Luckily the overwhelming majority of students and patrons behave like perfect ladies and gentlemen. On the very very rare occasion that our staff becomes aware of someone acting inappropriately or making others uncomfortable, we immediately and very discreetly address the situation.

Do I need to arrive early to class if it is my first time?

Yes, please come in a few minutes early to sign in and fill out a brief waiver.

How long is a class?

Typically, each class meeting is 55 min long. So, a typical Series would be 4 weeks, 55 minutes each week.  Workshops are either 1 hour (55 minutes), 2 or 3 hours.  Some workshops and Special Programs may be longer.   Occasionally due to holidays or intensive weekends, a 4-week series may be compressed to fewer meetings of longer periods (such as two meetings of two hours each).

What happens if I miss a class? Do you offer make ups?

Unfortunately, since it is rare to offer the same class more than once each month, we do not allow jumping into other classes as make-ups. We usually recommend taking a private lesson, at an additional expense, to make up for any material you missed. If you cannot schedule a private lesson, then don't drop out! The instructors usually include a quick review of the previous week's materials. Just don't rely on this often, as you don't want to fall behind or cut yourself short.

Do you take credit cards?

Yes, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. There is a $10 minimum for credit card charges. We also accept cash or check.

Once I have taken dance lessons is there a place I can practice what I learned?

Yes we have dance parties every Friday and Sunday night, which are a perfect place to practice and have fun!  You don't need to bring a partner to our dance parties since most everyone rotates, mixes, and mingles.  We also welcome students to practice at the studio, see below for more information about practice time.

I don't feel comfortable taking group lessons just yet is there any other options?

Yes we offer private dance lessons which are a great way to work one on one with an instructor.  Our professional instructors are great at taking it at a pace that's best for you.

How do I know which level of dance I should take?

If you are new to a dance, start with a "Level I" class which is usually designated by a roman numeral "I" after the dance name on our schedule. Or, you can take a class designated as an "Intro" ‚"Sampler" or "Basics" class. Any of these classes are usually represented on our monthly schedule with a dashed box around them, or color coded for new dancers. If you are an experienced dancer, taking classes for the first time with MayI, we still recommend you start with a Level I as we find that even students from other studios benefit greatly from the technique and connection taught in MayI classes. However, if you feel like you would be better suited for a more advanced class, contact us directly to schedule a mini-private evaluation lesson with one of our instructors. They'll be able to tell you exactly where to start.

What is the cancellation policy?

The cancellation policy can be found on the Pricing & Policies page for group lessons and the Private Lessons page for private lessons.

Can I use your studio to practice?

We welcome dancers to practice material learned at May I Have This Dance by appointment for $6 per person, per hour. Students that are actively taking multiple group lessons, boot camps, performance classes, and/or private lessons may get occasional waivers of this floor practice fee from their instructors. Please call ahead 773. 635.3000 for practice space availability.

I have taken dance lessons at another studio, and thought I was a pretty advanced dancer. Why do I find it difficult to dance with people from other studios or at the clubs?

Many ballroom studios focus on getting their students to enter very costly dance competitions. Many other social dance latin or swing studios focus on impressing students with fancy patterns that aren't as socially useful. This results in students of a particular studio only being able to dance with their teachers or maybe some other students from that particular studio. Even if you've achieved an "advanced dancer" status at another studio, that may not necessarily mean that you have been taught the skills it takes to comfortably lead or follow various dancers from various backgrounds. May I Have This Dance is well known for teaching people how to actually lead or follow practically anyone and how to dance successfully with people of all levels and from any studio or background. For specific feedback and tips on how to improve your connection so you can dance with just about anyone, consider taking a few private lessons from a May I Have This Dance instructor.

Which dances should I learn first?

It really depends on what you are interested in learning, what your goals are, what music you like to dance to, and what best fits your schedule. May I Have This Dance teachers and classes can break any dance down and make it easy and fun to learn, so don't be shy about enrolling in a "harder dance" first.  Nevertheless, if we were to categorize which social dances are the easiest to most challenging to learn at a basic level, it would go something like this:
Easiest to Learn:
Merengue
East Coast Swing
 
Still Pretty Easy:
Waltz
Foxtrot
Tango
Salsa
Rumba
Bachata
Slow Dancing
Polka
 
Moderate
Hustle
Nightclub Two Step
Country Two Step
Samba
Bolero
Argentine Tango
Cha Cha
Mambo
Lindy Hop
 
Challenging
West Coast Swing
Chicago Steppin'
Zouk
 
Very Challenging
Viennese Waltz
Quickstep
Freeform/Fusion

How long will it take for me to learn to dance?

In most classes, you will feel like you're dancing by the end of the first hour! Often, students say they feel ready to test out the waters at a party or social dance after completing a 4-week series or a few private lessons. After that, it really depends on how you personally define being ready or feeling successful. Some students take a few months of dance classes and they are happy with just a handful of basic steps to a couple dances. Others strive to be among the most skilled dancers so they take several classes every month for a year, two, five, or beyond. More than just taking classes or privates, becoming a skilled dancer usually means you should take a hybrid approach to learning and practicing. Group lessons are the most common and popular, and they are a lot of fun! Supplementing with some private lessons is always a great idea as you will get that personal, one-on-one, and immediate feedback on the little things that make a huge difference. Finally, you have to apply and practice, and there's no more pleasurable way to do this than at a May I Have This Dance dance party like the TGIF Dance Parties, SOS: Swing on Sundays, Strictly Ballroom Dance Parties, or Willowbrook Salsa Wednesdays!

How long will it take for me to be awesome?

This also depends on your natural ability, how much time you can fit dancing into your schedule, and how motivated you are. Although any time you invest in learning to dance is a great benefit to you, your social life, and your skills on the dance floor, it's no coincidence that the best dancers, and those that learn the quickest are putting in a lot of time and effort into their dance development. Part of your development is getting regular practice "in the wild." There are plenty of opportunities for certain dances at nightclubs and other dance parties. Of course, we highly recommend the dance parties we host because everything is strategically planned to help students and dancers get the most of their time on the floor. From the music we select, to the mixer activities, to the sampler lessons before the dancing, and even the staff we have available at each event...it's structured so you can make the most of what you've been learning and put it to good use on the social dance floor. Everyone is different, so there is not just one right answer, but a general guideline we find to be true:
 
Fast Track: At least 4 class series per month.  At least 1 private lesson per week.  At least 2 weekly dance parties (TGIF, Strictly Ballroom, Swing On Sundays, or Willowbrook Salsa)
 
Average Track: 2 to 3 group lesson series per month.  At least 1 private lesson every two weeks.  At least 2 weekly dance parties.
 
Dabbler Track: 1 or 2 group lesson series per month. Occasional private lesson to clean things up. One dance party per week or less.