Swing dancing, community, happiness.

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December 2016 – Underground’s Holiday Ball!


We at Underground are excited to invite you to our annual Holiday Ball! This special night is in celebration of Michigan’s fantastic swing community, and we’d love for you to join us! Featuring the best (read: cheesiest) swinging Christmas music, fantastic performances, free refreshments, and much more, we want YOU to come dance with us at the Underground Dance Community’s final Monday night swing of the year!


Open dancing from 8 pm – 11 pm with holiday performances at 9:30 pm. There are no classes on this Monday.

Sophisticate your swingouts! Formal dress is very much encouraged, but not required.

A photobooth run by Mike Will Art!

Stockings! Sign up to get an envelope hung on our community wall with your name on it, where people can then leave notes inside of it for you!
Guidelines for this:
Do write things like “Hey Casey, I like the way that your eyebrows are both the same color. From Ike.”
Do not write things like “Dear Casey, Thanks for ruining my life. Love, Ike.”

Do you like free food? Because we’re going to have a table of it for you.

If you need housing for Monday night in Grand Rapids, we can find you a place to stay.

…Much more to be announced! Stay tuned!

Tickets prices for this event are $10 for students and $15 regular.

Underground information & December schedule:

Want more info on The Underground? Here is our website: http://undergrounddancing.org/

Series classes from November continue in December.

December 5th
8 pm – 9 pm FREE beginner drop-in
8 pm – 9 pm Lindy Hop 2: Expanding your Toolkit
8 pm – 9 pm Balboa with Kelly
9 pm – 11 pm Evening dance

December 12th
8 pm – 9 pm FREE beginner drop-in
8 pm – 9 pm Lindy Hop 2: Expanding your Toolkit
8 pm – 9 pm Balboa with Kelly
9 pm – 11 pm Evening dance

December 19th
8 pm – 11 pm Evening Dance
Performances are at 9:30 pm

December full month pass – get all three Monday nights at a discounted price! $25 Students, $35 regular.

Single evening student prices: $10 int/adv class, $5 evening dance, $15 for both.
Single evening regular price: $15 int/adv class, $10 evening dance, $20 for both.

December Newsletter

November Newsletter

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!


September Newsletter

Lessons & Travel Opportunities

Next month our Introduction to Lindy Hop beginner series starts! This is the perfect opportunity to get your friends hooked on the world of dance, so be sure to invite them and spread the word! Next month also features another month of Balboa with Kelly Palmiter!

Weekend Swing Dance Events coming up: Rocktober 2016 (Columbus, Ohio, October 7-9) and Time Warp Swing 2016 (Columbus, Ohio, October 21-23).


Travel Spotlight

Ike Swets

Looking to travel? Every month we’ll give you a brief look at an event that is coming up!

Time Warp Swing is in Columbus, Ohio, and is routinely attended by a large portion of the Underground. This year it features great classes on Saturday and Sunday taught by popular swing instructors in the Midwest, two Jack-and-Jill competitions, a costume contest, and, most importantly, dancing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights! Tickets are $45 for students and $55 for non-students. Time Warp offers free housing so you can avoid the cost of a hotel room, and carpooling options are available.


Historical Highlights

Casey McCoy

Each month we’ll be featuring a brief piece on a portion of swing history that we find interesting!

In 1982, a group in Stockholm, Sweden called the Rhythm Hot Shots sought to go back to the roots of Lindy Hop. Hoping to keep the dance as close to its roots as possible, they sought out the original Harlem dancers in New York City. The Rhythm Hot Shots were able to make ties with the original Harlem dancers, bringing legends such as Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Dawn Hampton, and Chazz Young overseas to teach. Thanks to their efforts, Herrang Dance Camp has come to be what it is: a 5-week Lindy Hop dance camp held in Sweden.


Featured Music

Emory Thompson

Looking for more swing to fill your collection with? We’ve got you covered! Each month we’ll put the spotlight on a different source of swing music for you to check out!

When it comes to traditional swing music, there’s no group more iconic than Slim and Slam on the 1930’s and 40’s. To this day, their unique and quirky style has yet to be replicated, solidifying their prominent place in the history of swing and jazz.


For Dancers Only

Sarah McLellan

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

Let’s cut to the chase: the vast majority of dancers struggle at one point or another in their dancing career with their body image. I’m too tall and lanky. I’m too short and stocky. I’m too thin and twiggy. The list could go on and on.

Here’s a little tip that I’ve learned, and one that has completely altered how I perform, how I practice dance, and, ultimately, how I view myself both on the floor and off: comparison will kill you. Let me explain.

I will never have the long legs of Annie Trudeau or the build of Jo Hoffberg. But that does not disqualify me from having the ability to move as well as they do. That does not make my personalized styling invalid. And to me, that is what makes Lindy Hop the awesome dance it is.

If you look at the professional Lindy Hoppers – those recognized for their killer quality of motion, creativity on the dance floor, and precision of movement, you will see leads and follows of all different shapes and sizes. And they’re all fantastic They’re not out on the floor comparing themselves to the body types of those around them. They’re out there kicking ass and taking names in a way that makes sense to their body and their view of themselves and compliments their build.

Nothing brings greater joy to me than to see dancers – especially beginning dancers! – experiment and try to find a niche in their dancing that makes them feel awesome and reflects who they are both physically and personality wise. Embrace how your body is and learn to move it in a way that shows of just how great your build is. There is no “right dancer body” or “right dancer personality.” Your body is yours and you get to own your movement and make it unique to you. You are not “too” anything. You are you and that is more than enough.



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