West Coast Swing is

more than a pattern,

it’s a conversation!

Join us and learn!
Learn More!

Small class sizes...

Specialty classes...

Advance your dance!

Leveled workshops

Placement is based

on individual skill set.

Limited number of passes

Register early to 

reserve your spot!

West Coast Swing is

more than a pattern,

it’s a conversation!

Join us and learn!
Learn More!

Why Sweet Side of Swing?

Designed to serve both men and women equally, this unique WCS weekend focuses less on the patterns and more on the conversation and technique of the dance that is so often neglected. Embrace the "sweet spot" where partnership becomes a priority over patterns.This weekend  also offers specialty classes for understanding music, cross-training solo movement workshops, and styling classes for leaders and followers.


You will learn:                                                           

  • How to create connection that feels amazing with every partner
  • How to lead assertively & follow responsively without being    
      overbearing or inflexible
  • How to adapt and enjoy your dance with every partner and most circumstances
  • How to listen, interpret & express within the partnership
  • Practical skills and techniques - beyond patterns to develop your personal movement
  • How to communicate and express your musicality with style comfortably with confidence
  • * Special masculine & feminine workshops on styling!
  • * Special choreography, partner workshops!
  • * Special solo movement workshops to incorporate into your WCS


Sweet Side of Swing Northwest is brought to you by:

Event Directors: Tom Hickey, Maryann Newmeyer & Deborah Zokol
email: info@wcsvancouver.com


This hotel convention-style workshop weekend is the intense immersion experience you need to renovate, revitalize, and permanently reform your West Coast Swing.  

The audition process and levelled workshops are designed to target your specific needs, whether you are just learning West Coast Swing or have been dancing for years. The positive, supportive, and inclusive learning atmosphere focuses on the soul of the dance - the conversation, technique, and expression - rather than the typical formula of pattern classes. Dancers walk away with fresh perspectives, tons of invaluable homework, and an empowering community mission.


Sweet Side of Swing Northwest wants to help dancers of all levels take the next step in their development. If you are a WSDC All-Star dancer who wants to develop your skills as both a dancer and a community leader, we offer a discounted rate. 

Whether you're looking to take your dancing to the next level, add to your teaching skills or gain skills in community building, the All-Star incentive pass will take you closer to achieving your goal.

For more details please contact us at:



This is where it all comes together. This powerful culminating activity brings dancers together from all levels to work in small pods. Our pro and mentee staff will guide each pod in feedback exercises and creative projects designed to apply the skills from the weekend and build community cooperation.


  • Thursday night kick-off lesson and dance
  • Friday night Meet'n'Greet Reception and Dessert Bar
  • Friday & Saturday night J&J contests (with prizes)
  • Saturday performances by our Sweet Side Staff
  • Sunday night post-event dance on-site
  • All weekend long: Team "Houses" games and activities




Sweet Side of Swing models growth at every phase of a dancer's career: In lieu of their male partner, each Pro invites an up and coming All-star dancer as their teaching assistant mentee. Be inspired by their fresh ideas and dedication to studying the craft of teaching. These assistants are hand picked by our pro-staff to work side-by-side with them throughout the weekend to provide a once in a lifetime teacher training experience and are seen as role models in the community.



Event Schedule - Schedule Subject to Change

  • 6:00 pm: Registration opens
  • Check-in early and avoid the lines
  • 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm: Kick-off Workshop
  • 8:30 pm - 2:30 am: Open Dancing
  • 9:00 am: Registration opens
  • Check-in early and avoid the lines
  • Vendors available - Get your merchandise
  • 11:00 am - 12:15 pm: Placement Session
  • All full weekend pass holders must attend. *If not able to attend please advise Event Director & attend "Clean Slate"
  • Placement confirmation to the levelled workshops for Saturday and Sunday
  • 12:30 pm - 6:30 pm: Specialty workshops & Open dancing
  • 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm: "Clean Slate" Audition
  • 2nd chance placement session for those who were unable to make the morning session or those who want a second chance. (additional fees may apply)
  • 8:30 pm - 10:30 pm: Meet'n'Greet Dessert Bar
  • Meet your Sweet Side game challenge House-mates
  • 8:30 pm - 4:00 am: Open Dancing, J&J contests, performances
  • 10:30 - 11:00 pm JnJ Contest
  • Social dancing until 4:30 am
  • 9:00 am: Registration opens
  • Vendors available - Get your merchandise
  • 11:00 am - 6:30 pm: Levelled Workshops
  • 8:30pm - 4:30 am: Open Dancing & J&J contests, Performances
  • 10:30 - 11 pm J& J contests
  • 12 - 12:30 am: Performance by Sweet Side Professional staff and Showcase performance by Alpha Vo & Jen Malcolm
  • Social dancing until 4:30 am
  • 10:30 am: Registration opens
  • Vendors open - Get your merchandise
  • 11:00 am - 5:00 pm: Workshops & Closing ceremonies
  • Leveled workshops and Shared Educational Experience

Downloadable/printable schedule:


Executive Airport Plaza Hotel

Executive Airport Plaza Hotel

7311 Westminster Highway
Richmond, BC V6X 1A3
Direct: (604) 278-5555
Toll Free: 1 (800) 663-2878

  • Complimentary shuttle service to/from the airport (5 am - 11 pm)
  • Complimentary parking for all hotel registered guests
  • Complimentary high speed wifi in every guestroom
  • Mini Fridge with complementary coffee & tea in guestrooms
  • Stay Fit: Fitness Centre, Indoor Heated Pool, Hot Tub, and Rooftop Jogging Trail
  • Three Licensed Dining Options: Tivoli's Restaurant, Carvers Steakhouse & Lounge, and Ceili's Irish Pub.
  • Also: Cold Beer & Wine store on site
  • Shopping mall near by
  • Several restaurants within walking distance

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why should I attend Sweet Side of Swing?
  • All of our instructors are known for being fun and approachable and our DJs are some of the best! You will be able to apply the knowledge you gain immediately in your dance. Don't miss out on this fun, unique event! 
    Tell your friends about this amazing event. Don't wait to hear stories about it!
  • I am a leader, what will I learn at Sweet Side of Swing?
  • How to be the leader that followers dream about! You will learn practical skills and techniques - way beyond the patterns. Learn how to lead assertively & responsively without being overbearing or inflexible.  Our instructors will teach you how to create connection that feels amazing - with every partner. Attending Sweet Side of Swing, you will be able to learn to enjoy your dance with every level of follower and get comfortable & confident with styling & meaningful musicality.
  • I am a follower, what will I learn at Sweet Side of Swing?
  • Sweet Side of Refreshingly different aspects of learning WCS  - the followers' perspective! Practical skills & techniques to develop your personal  movement. Learn how to communicate with your leader; How to express your musicality without hijacking. At Sweet Side of Swing, we teach on The What, When and How of PLAY in WCS and how to follow authentically & consistently & adapt to every level of leader.
  • What is the class format for Sweet Side of Swing?
  • Followers and Leaders will take classes together. The instruction will focus on followers and leaders simultaneously.
  • Why are there different levels of classes?
  • Everyone's west coast swing skill set is different and we learn at different rates. Since we are all at different levels, we believe that it is important to have classes that cater to you and your skill set. We believe it is important to offer classes that cater specifically to your skill set so you can learn efficiently and enjoy the process! 
  • Is there a level for those brand new to west coast swing?
  • No, we do not have a level for brand new to WCS. We suggest learning some basics before attending this weekend. Attendees should have some experience with West Coast Swing. This year, Sweet Side of Swing Northwest 2017 has added the Newcomer Intensive. This is for those who have taken some lessons in WCS; either newer to the WCS community, been away from dancing for a period of time and want to get back into the scene, experienced dancers who need to fine-tune their fundamentals or dance instructors looking to upgrade their teaching skills.
  • What is the difference between the levels?
  • The Newcomer Intensive focuses on core concepts and movement. These are designed to give newer dancers a good understanding of the core movements at an accelerated pace. This intensive will help experienced WCS dancers build a stronger confidence with their fundamentals and timing. No Audition required!
  • The 200 level is intended for dancers who have WCS experience, but are still working on comfort and consistency. You may struggle with music, still count the pattern when dancing. At this level, you should know how to do 6 and 8 count patterns.
  • The 300 level will be made up of dancers who have significant experience, and are working on refining their fundamentals in order to access more control and creative skills.
  • The 400 level will consist of dancers that have rock solid fundamentals and need challenges in speed, precision, and dynamics.
  • The 500 level is aimed specifically at dancers who and pushing themselves in specific areas such as solo performance, choreography, advanced musicality, and highly technical partnering skills.
  • How will I be placed in a specific level?
  • At Sweet, we want you to feel honoured and respected through every phase of the learning process, including how you are placed in your designated learning groups.
  • During the registration process you will complete a self-assessment by answering a series of questions about your dance experience. This is not a test—there is no pass or fail. Based on your self-assessment, you will be initially grouped with other dancers of similar dance experience for the Friday Jack & Jill placement audition session.
  • During the placement audition session, you will dance to three or four different songs with three to four different dance partners of similar dance experience based on their self-assessment. These three or four dance partners will rate your skill set and you will rate theirs. You will vote to keep your partner in the level you are initially grouped, or move them to a different level.
  • During those same dances, the instructors will also be rating your skill set. They will vote to keep you in the level you are in, or move you to a different level. ALL dancers will audition for EVERY level, from beginners to All-Stars, unless you are taking the Newcomer Intensive) so the instructors get an accurate picture of the entire event and can sort dancers more precisely into levels that are not based on any points. They are view you on your skill level dancing in a J&J format with the group you were assigned to.
  • Based on your self-assessment, the votes of the instructors and your dance partners, you will be placed in an appropriate level. The result of this process is legitimate, definitive, homogenous groups that can learn and be challenged at the same pace, which is what makes Sweet Side of Swing a global model for levelled workshops. 
  • How will I know what level I am dancing?
  • During the Friday placement audition session, everyone will be wearing a number. Friday afternoon you will visit the check-in desk to find out your workshop level and receive a new wristband with the appropriate level marked.
  • What if I don't like the level in which I am placed?
  • There will be a final chance for you to audition in front of a panel of instructors Friday evening to review your skill set. This will be a "clean slate" audition. They will not look at your scores from the morning Placement Session, WSDC points you may have or who you take lessons from. You will dance with a few partners and the judges will give their final decision.  This will be the final call. No going back.  You can ask for feedback prior to attending the "clean slate audition" to make your decision if you wish to stay where you were placed or take the chance; as long as you believe you are at the level you wish to be placed at.
  • What if I don’t want to participate in the placement session?
  • That is OK! If you don’t want to dance in the placement session, just let us know. ALL ATTENDEES go throught the 3-step process by their Self-Assessment, Instructor Assessment and Peer Assessment. If you choose not to attend the Placement Session or Audition, you are missing 2 out of the 3 components of the process and therefore we cannot properly assess your skill level.  Those who are registering for the limited "Levelled only" passes must provide their WSDC number for us to place them into an appropriate level. They are also able to audition up if they want to attend the "Clean slate" audition on Friday afternoon for an additional fee.
  • Can I register by myself?
  • Yes, you do not need a registration partner to register this year.
  • There are individual passes sold unless our numbers get unbalanced. If we end up with an unbalanced registration, we will limit registration to partner only or the role we have less numbers only.
  • We encourage you to as your friends in the opposite role to register to keep our numbers balanced. Our dance community is large, don't forget to talk to your friends outside your local dance area!
  • Do you have group rates?
  • We can offer groups a discount for nine (9) full weekend event passes and receive one (1) free pass. The group organizer must pay in full for all 9 passes before April 22, 2017. All names and registration forms to be completed by May 22, 2017
  • If you have a group of ten (10) who want to get together and stay in our event hotel and receive an additional discount, please contact the Event Director at info@wcsvancouver.com
  • What is this "On-Site Rebate"?
  • Get more of a savings by staying in our room block! Book your hotel room at the Executive Airport Plaza hotel, Richmond under "Sweet Side" and at the event, we will give you back $20, $30 or $60 (CAD) back on your event pass depending how many nights you stay at our event hotel.
  • Go to the Register section of our menu for more details: Registration
  • Reserve your hotel room: Executive Airport Plaza

2014 Workshop - 300 Level

2014 Workshop - 200 Level

Sweet Side of Swing was first organized in 2010 in Atlanta, GA USA by Alan Annicella. The first event was held in January, 2011.

Sweet Side of Swing Sweet Side of Swing was developed with the intent of providing an opportunity for leaders and followers to explore the conversation of our dance, west coast swing. Through our experiences with dancing west coast swing, we understand that west coast swing is more than a pattern, the dance continually develops with both the leader and follower communicating equally throughout the dance.

Sweet Side of Swing has been organized to provide leaders with an opportunity to learn how to communicate clearly with the follower. This communication includes "speaking to" and "listening to" the follower. This includes learning good technique, connection, and how to be responsive to the follower. Developing a leader's ability to recognize what a follower is bringing to the dance and developing a leader's capacity to allow a follower to express their creative skills will provide that leader with a unique ability to share an amazing dance every time that leader steps onto the dance floor.

Sweet Side of Swing provides followers an experience where they can learn to integrate their own unique style and artestry into the music and the moments that are shared with their partner. Followers will be taught how to initiate, respond, and create within our dance. Followers will be given the opportunity to express their passion for west coast swing and bring out the fire of that lies within.

Sweet Side of Swing's goal is to build each other up through our shared passion of west coast swing.

In 2016 Sweet Side of Swing expanded internationally with Sweet Side of Swing Northwest in Vancouver, BC, CANADA

Sweet Side of Swing Youtube Channel


Want to be a vendor or find out more about sponsoring our event?  Contact us at: