East Bay Waltz

A casual social dance in Berkeley, CA.

The next dance is Saturday, June 15th.
It's pride night!

Intermediate Rotary Waltz: 4-5:30 p.m.
Introductory Cross-Step Waltz: 5:30-7 p.m.
Social Dancing: 7-10 p.m.
$10-20 sliding scale (or pay what you can). Cash or Venmo only.

Our Covid safety policies have changed. Mask wearing and vaccinations are now optional. Respect for other dancers and their masking decisions is still required, of course.

The first class (from 4-5:30 p.m.) is an intermediate class on our main dance, the rotary waltz. Robert G teaches. This lesson is for folks who already feel comfortable with rotary waltz. We'll be focusing on connection and conversation, looking for the leading that happens in the follower role and vice versa, and why "backleading" might not be such a dirty word.

The introductory class (from 5:30-7 p.m.) will be on cross-step waltz, which is an exciting newer style of waltz danced to slower music. No experience or partner necessary! This "beginner lesson" is great for anyone who doesn't yet feel confident in 3/4, even if you've taken a lesson before.

And then, it's our social dance party (from 7-10 p.m.)! Jay C. will be our DJ to celebrate pride with the waltzes, swings, polkas, fusions, salsas, and more that sing to our LGBTQ+ dancers and all of our community who dances with them.

As always, EBW is a come-as-you-are, all ages, gender neutral, no-partner-required, ask anyone to dance event where we value consent and everyone is welcome.

Feel like volunteering? We are always looking for people to help out by sitting a door shift. In return for your time greeting peoples and handling moneys, you'll get in for free. Sign up here (even if you've volunteered before, so we know to expect you this time.)

Special Notes: Please wear non-marking shoes to the event, or dance shoes if you have them! We've been getting black scuff marks on the newly-refinished floor of the Finnish Hall, and some of them don't scrub off. Thanks!

In addition, we and many dancers will appreciate it if you can reduce or eliminate heavy perfumes/colognes or other scents. Please be mindful of those with sensitivities or allergies! Thanks again!

COVID-19 Policy

If you have symptoms or believe you are sick, please stay home. This is basic dance courtesy for all contagious diseases, not just Covid-19. Besides, attending a dance while sick isn't very fun, and won't be appreciated by the other dancers. It is much better to stay home, rest, recover, and come back and have fun with us the following month.

Mask wearing and vaccinations are optional. We will not be checking vaccination records nor requiring masks in the ballroom. We do require all attendees to respect other dancers, including their choice of masking. All dancing at EBW is strictly voluntary, and anyone can refuse a dance for any reason, but ridiculing or badmouthing others is not allowed.

EBW staff will keep the windows and doors open to the extent possible. Do not close outside windows or doors without checking with us.

Dates for the rest of 2024:

Saturday, June 15, 2024
Saturday, July 20, 2024
Saturday, August 17, 2024
Saturday, September 21, 2024
Saturday, October 19, 2024
Saturday, November 16, 2024
Saturday, December 21, 2024
Saturday, January 18, 2025
(hey, that's 2025!)

So wait, what is this?
Some kind of friendly casual social dance party?

East Bay Waltz is a casual social dance held each month on the third Saturday, featuring mostly waltz and cross-step waltz, with polka, swing (from both coasts), and latin dances thrown in to mix things up. There is a class usually for intermediate dancers from 4-5:30 p.m., and from 5:30-7 p.m a waltz class for beginners that starts at the very beginning and will get you from walking to dancing. Then, there's DJ'd social dancing and fun times from 7-10 p.m.

$10-20 sliding scale (or pay what you can). No one turned away for lack of funds. Cash or Venmo only, please.

We have volunteer options available! Front door volunteers get in for free in exchange for sitting door for a set. If you're interested, sign up here.

Come by yourself, or with a friend, or a crowd. People of all ages, races, genders, sexualities, nations, or creeds are welcome. Dress in jeans and a t-shirt, or dress up all fancy-like if you've the inclination. Bring a (K)N95 mask and proof of Covid-19 vaccination, and please avoid wearing rubber-soled shoes or shoes that might leave marks on the wood floor; also please avoid wearing perfumes/colognes or other heavy scents. Everybody ask anybody to dance!

EBW is a volunteer-run event. The DJs, teachers, board members are all volunteers. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or just want to chat, you can reach us at info@eastbaywaltz.com, or talk to us on the Facebook.

Where we dance

East Bay Waltz takes place in the wonderful Berkeley Finnish Hall, on Chestnut at University.

The Hall is a 7 to 10 minute walk from the North Berkeley BART Station and is easily accessible by the 51B AC Transit bus.

1970 Chestnut Street
Berkeley, CA 94702

Who are you?

EBW is a volunteer-run event. The DJs, teachers, board members are all volunteers. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or just want to chat, you can reach us at info@eastbaywaltz.com, or talk to us on the Facebook.

We have a wide variety of teachers and DJs from all sorts of different backgrounds.

Robert G.

EBW Board, Teacher, DJ

Robert started social dancing in 2007, when he arrived all unsuspecting-like at a birthday party and found himself in a 4-Hand Reel. It wasn't long before he was waltzing, jigging, lindying, etceteraing, and recategorizing his music collection by dance type.

Alan K.

EBW Board, Teacher, DJ

Alan has been trying to determine if one can dance "too much" since 2007. Other dances he has DJed and/or taught at include Vintage Invasion, Queer Contra Dance Camp, Parlor Ceili, Loony Ceili, and Ashkenaz Anglo-Celtic Ceilidh, which he also co-hosted. He took the advice "You Gotta Get a Gimmick" to heart and, through his own series of dances, created the Showtune Shindig, now an EBW favorite. At EBW he has taught waltz, Irish ceili, polka, east-coast swing, west-coast swing, lead/follow switching, country two-step and more. An experienced follow and lead, he loves the social and the dance parts equally and hopes you'll join him for a dance.

Caroline V.

EBW Board, Teacher, DJ

Caroline was first taught to social dance from her older sister who introduced her to the joys of Salsa and Latin music. Caroline discovered Irish Step Dancing on her own and in college she became obsessed with Blues and West Coast Swing (WCS). While studying abroad in Ecuador and England she attended many Cuban Salsa/Rueda classes as well. Caroline teaches the annual WCS class at East Bay Waltz and loves to both lead/follow multiple dance styles! Please grab her for a Latin dance or to lead or follow a WCS/Cha-Cha/Blues all-inclusive dance.

Jay C.

EBW Board, DJ

Jay started attending contra and square dances just a few years ago. From there he quickly branched out into ballroom and several other styles and has been exploring the works of social dancing ever since. He has recently relocated from the mountains and now you might find him dancing ballroom, fusion, swing, Irish ceili, or whatever else he may find interesting on any night of the week. He is also an occasional DJ at EBW.

So what exactly goes on at this party?
Will it hurt? (no.)

The evening begins at 4 p.m. with either an intermediate/advanced class in waltz, or an all-levels class focusing on one of the other dance styles we practice, for those who want to build up their dance skills.

An introductory class at 5:30 p.m. follows, for beginners and those who don't yet feel confident with rotary and cross-step waltz (and for more experienced dancers who want to brush up on their basics and be an example for newcomers).

At 7, our open dance party begins. There is plenty of room to leave your coats and things while you're dancing and seats for when you're not dancing to relax and socialize.

While songs and dances played vary by evening, below is a sample set list of what you might see:

Code of conduct
Because it should be fun for everybody.

We aim to make EBW a welcoming and friendly place to dance, and to learn to dance. We do not tolerate any form of sexual harassment, discrimination, or violence. Should such unpleasantness happen, please contact the DJ, teacher, or person at the door, and we will gladly deal with the issue as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Policy

If you have symptoms or believe you are sick, please stay home. This is basic dance courtesy for all contagious diseases, not just Covid-19. Besides, attending a dance while sick isn't very fun, and won't be appreciated by the other dancers. It is much better to stay home, rest, recover, and come back and have fun with us the following month.

Mask wearing and vaccinations are optional. We will not be checking vaccination records nor requiring masks in the ballroom. We do require all attendees to respect other dancers, including their choice of masking. All dancing at EBW is strictly voluntary, and anyone can refuse a dance for any reason, but ridiculing or badmouthing others is not allowed.

EBW staff will keep the windows and doors open to the extent possible. Do not close outside windows or doors without checking with us.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or just want to chat, you can reach us at info@eastbaywaltz.com, or talk to us on the Facebook. While at the event, you can also slip a note into our suggestion box, which is located on the snacks table. Please help us make this dance as safe and enjoyable as it can be.

Resources & further readings
This might be on the quiz (there is no quiz).

EBW Teacher and DJ Guidelines

EBW teachers and DJs are all volunteers. If you're doing that, or just are interested in what they do, please read the EBW Teacher and DJ Guidelines.

(updated Feb 2024)

Cross-Step Waltz

About half or so of our waltzes are at a tempo appropriate for the Cross-Step Waltz, which is newfangled and somewhat unusual and a lot of fun. We teach this version of waltz in the beginner class every other month.

Choreographed Dances

There's a Bohemian National Polka on the set list at every dance, but we only teach it maybe once a year (usually in the fall).

We also dance the Congress of Vienna Waltz at every dance, and sometimes teach it in the beginning rotary waltz class. If you don't know it, feel free to ask somebody who does to lead or backlead you through it!

We dance the Midnight Waltz Line Dance at every dance. Check out the video review on our YouTube channel. Feel free to join in and follow along!

Mixer Dances

It's great to dance with new people! To that end, we have two choreographed mixers in each night, as well as the traditional "Dance with a Stranger" dances where everybody, y'know, goes and dances with a stranger.

We briefly teach each mixer before dancing it, but if you'd like a reminder or study aid, here are the choreographies:

Other fun and exciting dance parties

The SF Bay Area is blessed with opportunites to social dance!

And some gender-free dances partly run, or frequented, by EBW folks!