Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center, with its spacious 7,200 square foot floating hardwood dance floor, is the largest climate controlled ballroom in the Baltimore Washington area.
If you’re visiting this Silver Spring Ballroom for the first time, welcome.
We look forward to seeing you at Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center. Please allow us to share what you can expect from us.
First, our ballroom offers something for everyone, regardless of level of expertise. New dancers looking to take the first step or who just need a little encouragement find a friendly and welcoming place to get started. More experienced dancers enjoy an appealing variety of opportunities to learn, to practice and to dance and socialize with different partners. All dancers—including serious dancers oriented to competition—are impressed with the ballroom’s large and open space. Dancing is more enjoyable when you have space to move around the dance floor.
Dancers can enjoy refreshments including wine and beer from our Take Five Cafe. The cafe is open during most evening dances.
What to Expect
Next, we hope you’ll take a few moments to flip through the pages of our website and see all Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center has to offer. Then we invite you to experience us up close—by taking a lesson or a class or attending a dance.
We recognize that ballroom dancing is new to a lot of people. Even accomplished ballroom dancers may be unfamiliar with Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center, which may be different from other ballroom dance centers.
So let us familiarize you with our ballroom dancing culture.
With the exception of events designated otherwise, we’re not overly formal. We’d like our dancers to feel comfortable, whether dressed casually or in their club finest.
Gentlemen are asked to wear shirts and long pants. Blazers, jackets and ties, while welcome, are not required. Ladies should keep in mind that overly billowing blouses, pants or long skirts, as well as bulky or dangly jewelry, might impede free movement. Shorts should not be worn.
Many dancers wear suede-soled or scored leather-soled dance shoes or any shoes that are comfortable and move easily on hardwood surfaces. We ask that ladies wear shoes of a comfortable heel height and avoid high platforms and sharp stilettos.
Tips for Beginners
If your first visit to Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center is your first step into ballroom dancing, we’d like to offer some advice that our more experienced dancers found helpful as beginners:
- Take the group lessons offered free before each evening of general dancing.
- Introduce yourself to your lesson partners and suggest practicing together when the dance is played during general dancing.
- Practice what you learned in the lessons on the dance floor.
- Watch the way in which more experienced dancers dance.
- Consider contacting one of the Ballroom’s Dance Instructors for private lessons.
Ballroom Dance Customs
The dancers at Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center observe the same social graces as ballroom dancers anywhere:
- Graciously accept invitations to dance. If you must decline, do so politely and quickly so that the person has time to find another partner.
- Thank your partner when the dance ends.
- Be aware of your surroundings and proximity to other dancers.
- If the dance floor is crowded, please curb excessive speed and grand gestures.
- If your partner muffs a step, please consider it an opportunity to improve your skill at leading, following and interacting with your partner’s movements.
- Avoid congregating near the entrance to the dance floor so that everyone can move about freely.
- When applicable, follow the rules of the “line of dance.” (see below)
Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center Traditions
- Ladies are welcome—and encouraged—to ask gentlemen to dance.
- Be open-minded. If you decline a dance because you are a beginner, please reconsider. Dancing with a more experienced partner is one of the best ways to learn. Ask for your partner’s patience; he or she will gladly oblige.
- If you make sure that everyone around you is having a good time, you’ll have a good time too.
Line of Dance – Rules of the road to avoid traffic snarls
The “line of dance” is the direction in which dancers move around the dance floor. To avoid collisions, all dancers move in the same general direction—counterclockwise, like the Outer Loop of the Beltway.
Slower-moving dancers are asked to dance closer to the center part of the dance floor. Confused? Watch the other dancers on the floor and you’ll pick it up quickly.
Please note: Line of dance rules apply only to traveling dances. When dancing traveling dances, couples move or travel around the dance floor. The Waltz and American Tango are examples of travelling dances. The other kind of dance is known as the spot dance. Couples stay more or less in one place while dancing spot dances. Examples of spot dances are Swing, Rumba, Cha-Cha and Salsa.
Do you have questions? We’ve compiled answers to our dancers’ most frequently asked questions:
Q.I don’t know anything about ballroom dancing yet, and feel intimidated about attending the social dance – any suggestions?
A.First of all, please remember that everyone has to start somewhere. If you are interested in learning to dance, take that first step. Attend a Friday or Sunday night social dance, take the lesson, watch the dancing, join the mixers and line dances, practice your lesson steps.
Q.What if no one asks me to dance?
A.This is unlikely to happen – especially on a Friday evening when everyone is in a TGIF mood, or Sunday when the weekend draws to a close. Gentlemen will be pleasantly surprised to know that ladies are not shy about inviting them to dance. But, if you do sit out a dance, enjoy the break and put the time to good use. Listen to the music as you watch the dancers’ feet; listen as the DJ announces the recommended dance and then observe how the dance is done; observe dance postures; and notice how the dancers navigate the line of dance.
Q.How can I increase my chances of being asked to dance?
A.You may want to try sitting in an area where there appear to be other singles, or at a table as close to the dance floor as possible. Give the impression that you are looking to dance – if you are deep in conversation with your friends, someone might assume you’d prefer to talk than dance. Catch the eye of approaching partners. Smile!
Q.Do I need a partner?
A.No – many people come to the dance by themselves or with other friends. Singles are always welcome at Hollywood Ballroom.
Q.Neither my partner nor I knows how to dance yet. Any tips for how we can dance on the first night we attend?
A.Almost every dance has a simple, basic step that is the foundation for that dance. Learning the basic step as each dance is played is a perfect way to learn to dance. You’ll also find some dances are easier than others. The Latin dance Merengue is a great beginner dance. It is a one-step spot dance with direction changes and simple turns. You’ll catch on quickly by watching people do the Merengue – it’s as simple as walking and turning in place to the music. Other dances that are easier to learn include East Coast Swing, Sway, Rumba and Salsa.
“The Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center has a friendly atmosphere where anyone can feel relaxed. The music and lighting are magical. It is truly a special place.”