Links to Iowa Social Dance Groups and Bands
ISU and Ames Social Dance Links
Social dancing in Ames: This weekly calendar includes ballroom, swing, Argentine tango, folk, and salsa provided by Valerie Williams of Co'Motion Dance Theater.
ISU Ballroom Dance Club: That's us! We exclusively dance social ballroom featuring dances like swing, waltz, foxtrot, tango, cha cha, rumba, salsa, and merengue. Music is typically big band with pop music played for swing and foxtrot. Both students and non-students are welcome. Become a fan of our ISU Ballroom Dance Club Facebook page and receive updates about our upcoming events. Meetings are throughout the year, except during Christmas break.
NOTE: Those primarily interested in competition ballroom should check out Cyclone Ballroom below, which also does some social ballroom. There's about a 10% membership overlap between both groups.
Cyclone Ballroom: Formerly the ISU Ballroom Dance Company, they promote ballroom dancing primarily in American smooth and American rhythm competition styles. In addition, all members have the opportunity to join their competition ballroom team. They meet during fall and spring semesters.
Cyclone Swing Society: ISU based swing group emphasizing triple-time east-coast swing (ECS) and smooth-style Lindy hop. Their focus is more on show-dance swing moves (lifts, aerials, flips) rather than social swing dancing. Also check out Cyclone Swing Society's Facebook group for their latest breaking news. Formerly named ISU Swing & Lindy, they meet during fall and spring semesters.
Descarga Latin Dance Club: ISU based Latin dance group emphasizing salsa with some merengue and bachata included. They host the Descarga Latin Dance Festival in middle April at the ISU Memorial Union. Descarga is active throughout the year, except during semester breaks.
ISU Memorial Union Workspace: They host numerous arts activities including a weekly drop-in Argentine tango class and occasionally a short course in swing dancing at the ISU Memorial Union. Classes are offered every semester—summer included.
Red Friars Dance Club: They sponsor live big-band semi-formal dances once a month on Fridays from October through May. Annual, discounted memberships are available during early September, but couples can attend/purchase individual dances by first contacting any current member.
High Society Big Band: Ames' only ballroom-dance-oriented big band.
Central Iowa Social Dance Links
Lake Robbins Ballroom: One of the closest ballrooms to Ames. They have a very nice, large wood floor and host live-band dances on most weekends. Genres include big-band, swing, and occasional country western dances.
Dance Club 76: They host a ballroom dance typically on the second Friday of every month, from 7-10pm, at the Northside Senior Center in the Park Fair Mall at 2nd & Euclid, Des Moines, IA. DJing by Carr Tunes playing foxtrot, waltz, Latin, polka, and requests. Dress is business casual. Purchase either an annual membership or individual dances.
Des Moines Ballroom: This dance studio, now under new ownership since August 2010, sponsors dance instructors for numerous forms of social dance, especially ballroom. They also host low-cost, drop-in, ballroom socials every Friday night from 8-10pm.
Des Moines Dance: This non-profit group hosts dance classes in Des Moines and the surrounding areas. Although they primarily teach ballroom dance, they also host instructors for country, polka, and night club 2-step. In addition, they have a very active instructional calendar for all nights of the week, and have a ballroom formation team that performs throughout central Iowa.
Swing Des Moines: They hold swing dances on the third Friday of each month. They also host a swing-dance calendar as well as information about the different swing-dance forms, music, and bands. Their swing emailing list posts their events about once a month.
Step Into Swing: They offer swing and Lindy hop classes in Des Moines as well as a swing dance party most Thursday nights, from 8-10:30pm, at Madhat Ballroom studio in Governors Square Mall, Des Moines; swing lesson at 7:30pm. They also have many good links about dance places and groups in central Iowa. Sign up for their swing-dance emailing list.
Bulldog Swing Society: Focusing on the collegiate crowd at Drake University, Des Moines, they often dance at the Thursday night Step Into Swing social (discussed above).
Heartland Swing Festival and Collegiate Jitterbug Championships: The biggest swing dance event, workshop, and competition in the Midwest, which is held in Des Moines during late February or early March. This three-day weekend combines five levels of swing workshops featuring nationally known swing instructors that includes an amateur swing competition offering thousands of dollars in trips and prizes along with several live-band evening dances.
FreeStyle: Very energetic, up-beat quintet from Des Moines that plays a wide variety of classic dance music including big band, 50s, 60s, Motown, classic rock, and jazz. Great band for dancing.
The Rivieras: Swing quintet from Des Moines playing all the popular swing dance classics from the 50s and 60s across central Iowa.
Popcorn Button: Young, swing-oriented, jazz band composed of college students and recent graduates. With donations encouraged for charity purposes, they host free swing dances during semester breaks at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic, which is due west of Des Moines, IA. They play many of the popular swing classics.
Salsa Des Moines: They exclusively teach Latin classes primarily for salsa, merengue, cha cha, bachata, and salsa rueda at the Des Moines Ballroom studio (link above). Their website also links to Latin dance places and upcoming salsa dances (events calendar) in central and eastern Iowa.
Bachata Des Moines: They host dances and teach bachata and cumbia classes in Des Moines and neighboring areas as well as showcase Latin dance performances. Visit their website and hear real bachata music.
Orquesta Alto Maiz: Definitely the best Latin-jazz dance band in the Midwest. And they cut eight CDs in the past 15 years to prove it. See their website for upcoming performance venues in Iowa. Eastern Iowa based.
Eastern Iowa Social Dance Links
The Cedar Valley Dance Club: USA Dance chapter for Waterloo & Cedar Falls, IA. They host monthly dances and semi-formals for Christmas and spring (April), afternoon workshops often included. Their website also lists a number of studios and instructors for obtaining group or private dance instruction in eastern Iowa.
The Iowa DanceSport Classic: Iowa's own amateur ballroom dance competition held every March in Cedar Rapids, IA. This annual event also includes dance workshops, showcases by champion dancers, and an evening dinner and social dance.
Hawkeye Ballroom: They're a new collegiate competition and social ballroom group serving the University of Iowa and Iowa City area.
UI Swing Dance Club: They're an upbeat swing group promoting east-coast swing and Lindy hop for the Iowa City area. They also host the annual Hawkeye Swing Festival in April featuring swing competitions and workshops taught by nationally known swing instructors.
State-wide Iowa Social Dance Links
IowaDance.com: Lists Iowa ballroom places, dance halls, bands, organizations, and events. More focus is on eastern and some of central Iowa.
Swing Out Iowa: Covers social ballroom, swing, and salsa dancing in the Quad Cities and eastern Iowa area. They also include a cool calendar of dance events for all of Iowa.
Just Outside Iowa Dance Links
USA Dance, Minnesota Chapter: Minnesota has a very active ballroom dance scene, and their state-wide website hosts numerous links to studios throughout Minnesota along with a monthly chapter-sponsored dance.
In addition, USA Dance Minnesota hosts the annual Star of the North DanceSport Classic ballroom dance competition. This all-ages, all-amateur, weekend activity also includes workshops, performances, and evening social dances. It's held late February in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Quad Cities Social Dancing: Based in Moline, Illinois, their primary focus is on ballroom and swing instruction for social dancing. They also host a major swing dance workshop, Dance the Bix, in August featuring many Midwest swing instructors.
If you liked the above Iowa dance links, then you'll like these USA-wide dance resource links even better.
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Our Featured Upcoming Events
Friday socials move (Fri; May 17)
The free Friday dance socials will be meeting in the air conditioned ISU Memorial Union during summer. Socials return to Forker in fall. See Friday dance social …
Classes starting (Thu-Fri; June 21)
Summer semester ballroom classes are forming now. See our Lessons link for more details. It is possible to join one or two weeks late.
Xtra Moves Nights
On select Friday nights, the ISU Ballroom Dance Club hosts free dance instruction by guest instructors. Discover Xtra Moves Nights.