Even with lockdown restrictions easing up in some places it seems unlikely that we’ll be able to return to social dancing anytime soon. Perhaps by the end of the summer it will be possible to try an outdoor solo jazz class or a partnered class where you bring your own partner and only dance with them. In any case virtual learning may be the only option for a while so we thought we’d pull together some ideas for those who are keen to start dancing or keep dancing during lockdown.
Maybe you’re looking for a new form of exercise you can do at home, a bit of fun to break up the monotony or a new hobby to sink your teeth into. Whatever the reason you’ve decided you want to give vintage dance a whirl. Unfortunately you can’t go to a class due to the global pandemic that’s ruined everything this year. Never fear! Here are some options for starting your vintage dance journey from home.
If you’re on your own then solo jazz or solo Charleston will be your best option. Once it’s safe to get within 6 feet of other humans again you can absolutely go to a lindy hop class or a social dance on your own and dance with everyone. Swapping partners is an important and wonderful part of Lindy Hop culture. Until then though solo dancing is a great way to train your body, learn some steps, and get familiar with the music. Hot Charleston Live is a great place to start. It’s a live-streamed solo Charleston class that we run on Saturday afternoons. It’s taught like a class with a full breakdown of all the moves, lots of time to practice and opportunities to ask questions. We’ve been running the class online for a couple of months now and the videos stay up on our facebook page so you can join the live class or learn from the videos any time
If you have a dance partner at home and want to learn partnered lindy hop you may have noticed that there are loads of videos on Youtube but its difficult to find actual video lessons. This new video series from SwingStepTV looks fantastic (the first video is free on YouTube the rest of the course is available to download from their website.) Alternatively this series from Swing Zing is one of the few free YouTube based options out there.
If you want an introduction to the swing community while you’re stuck at home check out the posts in our Cat’s Corner blog and here are a couple of others that you should check out: Swungover, The Frankie Manning Foundation Archive of Early Lindy Hop. For music to keep you motivated Damien-Mason Harding of Wakey Lindy Hoppers has posted some great playlists on Spotify
For more ideas on how to get started get in touch. We’re happy to help!
If you already have some dance experience you’ve got lots of options for practicing at home, the trick is finding what works for you. Practicing steps at home in your kitchen is a world away from dancing the night away to a live band in a grand hall with loads of friends. But this might be all we get for a while still. So at some point you may just miss dancing enough to explore some other options:
- Work on your solo dancing: We’re currently running Hot Charleston Live on Saturdays (all levels solo Charleston) and Your Wednesday Routine on Wednesday nights (classic solo routines). There’s a fair bit of interaction in these classes so it even feels social. Join us!
- Work on your video learning skills: Ever tried to steal cool variations from a competition video or pick up moves from an old clip? It’s not easy! It is a great skill to have though and one that you can work on with or without a partner
- Try your hand at choreography: If you’ve never done it before why not have a go? Find a track you like and challenge yourself to choreograph a 1 minute segment.
- Binge on video clips: The Frankie Manning Foundation Archive of Early Lindy Hop is a great resource for clips from back in the day or you can watch the last 10 years or so of lindy hop competition footage on youtube.
- Delve into the history of the dance: Read Frankie Manning’s autobiography, a history of lindy hop through the eyes of one of the greatest lindy hoppers of all time. The book was written in 2008 and is very accessible.
- Do some serious practicing: Another book worth getting hold of is Bobby White’s Practice Swing. It’s an entire book of dance geekery, concepts to work on, and practical exercises. It may be trickier to pick up in the UK but ask around in your scene and you’re likely to find someone who can loan you a copy.
- Online Classes: At the moment you can take classes from almost anyone in the world in one form or another. Check in on teachers you’ve enjoyed learning from in the past and see what they’re offering right now.
- Virtual Private Lesson: We recently did one of these. We sent off a few videos to a teaching couple we like and they sent us some videos in response. It was really good for us to have some outside input on what we were working on.
- Work on your partnership: If you decide to do some serious practicing with your significant other, you may want to have a preemptive read of our recent blog post How to Practice with a Partner Without Falling Out