Lesson and Travel Opportunities

This month check out David and Bri’s class “Expanding Your Toolkit”! Packed with different patterns and new count concepts, this series will give you the tools you need to broaden your horizons in Lindy Hop.

Looking for a different challenge? Kelly’s balboa class is continuing through this month! Learn some new steps and tricks to step up your bal game!

Looking to travel? Start thinking about Dayton Swing Smackdown! Held in Dayton, Ohio, this event focuses on competitions and offers great classes with awesome teachers, including Bobby White and Gabby Cook. Check it out for it’s 10th anniversary!

 

Travel Spotlight

Ike Swets

Purdue University’s swing club in Indiana threw their yearly weekend event “Whistlestop” and many of us traveled to it! Whistlestop offers a fantastic experience with many features such as classes, live music, and other dancers from all over the country! These classes are taught by international level Lindy Hop instructors, so if you’re looking for some awesome new material to really level up your dancing then this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss next year!

I attended this event last year, and one of my favorite classes that I took was a “Masters’ class” offered there. A masters’ class is where one person gets their dancing critiqued for a few minutes in front of the all of the other attendees, and I got some fantastic personal feedback for the low price of having all of the flaws in my dancing showcased to everyone else in the room. The benefits to this style of class are that you get free personal instruction from phenomenal dancers, and you get to learn from everyone else’s critiques as well. If you have the option take a masters’ style class, it may give you just the tip you need to polish up your swing game.

 

Historical Highlights

Casey McCoy

In the beginning of the swing craze, a team formed in New York that brought our present day Lindy to what it is – Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. This core group was the face of Lindy Hop in Harlem. Figures renowned today such as Frankie Manning were invited to perform all over the United States and even the world, performing in movies and astounding audiences throughout their careers.

To improve their dancing, both leads and follows of this group consistently social danced and went out of their way to invent new moves and ideas on the dance floor. Frankie Manning mentions in his book Ambassador of Swing that a lot of the follows in the beginning swing days came up with their own way to swing out. Both roles spent hours developing the dance, which eventually led to movements such as swivels, swing outs, and, in the context of showcases, air steps being integral to the Lindy Hop.

 

Featured Music

Emory Thompson

We all get into a dance rut. And one of the best ways to beat it is to change your music. Dance to a song that pushes you in a new direction. To that end here are a few suggestions:

  1. Try and match the off-the-wall rhythms of Tidbits by Paul Tillotson.
  2. Try to match the low energy (despite the tempo) of Taking a Chance on Love by the Ahmad Jamal Trio.
  3. Try to make your triple steps and movements controlled with Long, Strong and Consecutive by Catherine Russell.
  4. Or just max out the fun and energy to Happy by C2C.

 

For Dancers Only

Sarah McLellan

Things that the world of dance influences, affects, and shapes.

One of the most exciting things about dancing is improving. Learning new moves and patterns, new variations, new ways to move your body and communicate with your partner. However, it can also be the most frustrating. You get burnt out; you fear that you’re not improving; you’re not improving at the rate you want to; you’ve plateaued.

Getting out of the rut can be difficult, but there are various ways to help yourself fall back in love with the dance and step up your game – and going to classes isn’t the only option!

  1. Find a practice partner. They can be your best friend, someone you admire, or someone you just really enjoy dancing with. Practice with them once a week, once a month, or whenever you want to bring out your dance shoes. Work on new patterns or new variations or focus on improving something you want to get better at, such as tension, connection, or making your triple steps clear.
  2. Go solo. You can do drills by yourself! Take over the living room or even just your tiny apartment kitchen and work on isolating parts of your body, clearing up your triple steps, or working on balance.
  3. Check out instructor videos. Michael and Evita have a free email list where they send you practice videos; Dax has a triple step drill video available on youtube; other instructors, such as Grace Jones-Taylor film themselves during their practice sessions, which can be helpful for picking up what they focus on when they practice. Find someone who’s dancing you love and get inspired from them.
  4. Take videos of yourself. It’s an easy, quick way to pinpoint what you like about your dancing and what you want to change. Plus, having videos of yourself comes in handy when you’re getting the dance blues (not the dance style of blues, mind you) because you get to go back and see just how far you’ve come!
  5. Listen to more jazz. Integrating yourself in the music can completely change the way you view dancing. Ask Emory or any of the other staff members for some great new bands that we love to jam to.
  6. Dance just to have fun. For one night, go to the social dance with the mentality of having the best time of your life. Don’t focus on form; just focus on feeling great. Cutting loose can be the best help!

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