Don’t ask what your dance community can do for you, ask what you can do for your dance community! So you’ve been bitten by the Lindy Hop bug and you want to shout it from the rooftops! Here’s a list of things both big and small that you can do if you want to get more involved in your local lindy scene:
- Welcome new dancers They may be a bit awkward at first but they’ll get better. All they need is a little bit of encouragement. If you see someone you don’t recognise at a class or a social, go over and introduce yourself, ask them to dance, invite them to the pub, and be encouraging so that they’ll see what a lovely community of dancers they’ve found and want to come back.
- Tell your friends Let your friends know what a great time you’re having! Invite them to come with you to beginner friendly events. Share dance events on social media.
- Help beginners by being a top-notch dance partner Having more experienced dancers in a beginners’ class or a taster can be really helpful because it helps newbies see how the moves should look and feel. The best way you can help with the class is to dance the moves through accurately and consistently exactly as they are being taught so that the newbies get the chance to practice with a really good partner. If you are dancing with someone who seems to need a bit of extra help, be encouraging–let them know they are doing great and will get there with a bit more practice! You might also encourage them to listen to the teacher (who is likely to be aware that they are struggling and will be giving them extra time to practice or tips to help). Avoid giving instruction yourself as that will often make new dancers feel self-conscious and can be quite disruptive and disrespectful to the teacher.
- Volunteer your time It’s likely that at least some of the classes or social dancing events that you attend are not for profit and rely on volunteers to do things like setting up, tidying up, or taking money on the door. Maybe you’ve got a special skill that could be put to good use like designing logos or making eye catching room decorations or maybe you are just really great at making people feel welcome. Ask the organiser of your favourite event what you can do to help or just pitch in and stack some chairs.
- DJ If you’ve started to enjoy building a collection of music that you like to dance to its worth asking your local organisers if they need new DJs. Expect to start small with early slots at smaller events. If you can, try to get some mentoring from one of the more experienced DJs in your scene or attend a DJ workshop at a dance weekend.
- Start something new Do you have a great idea for something that seems to be lacking in your local scene? Sometimes the best way to contribute to your scene is by becoming an organiser yourself. The truth is many of us are stretched a bit thin and just don’t have the capacity to run everything we’d like while also working, studying etc… Pitch your idea to the organisers in your scene. They’ll probably be thrilled to see someone else stepping up and should be able to offer tips, support, maybe even funding. Do make sure that you are aware of what else is going on in your area so that you can avoid competing with other events.