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.
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Rob, Tina and Talia were interviewed last night on Georgey Tonight about the Lindy Hop craze that’s sweeping the North. If you didn’t catch it you can listen here on iplayer. We’re on at around the 32 min mark.
You’ve probably heard of “Couch to 5k” right? Here at Swing Dance Leeds we have our own version with dancing instead of running. This will be the second year we’ve done it. We think it’s a bit special so we wanted to shout about it a bit this time!
Maybe you’ve got a wedding coming up, maybe you want a fun way to get fit or wow your friends, or maybe you just like a good challenge. Whatever your reason we’ve got the perfect challenge for you. Here’s how to do it:
- Start off with our Fundamentals Course. This is a 4 week introductory course that runs Wednesdays 6:30-7:30 at the Dance Studio Leeds. Take this at your own pace, some people do this course twice, for others once is enough.
- Next up is the Swingouts Course. This one works on a quintessential Lindy Hop move and is an excellent follow on from the Fundamentals. Dates: 6-27 June or 24 Oct-11 Nov
- After that you’ll need to get some Tandem Charleston under your belt. Date: 29 Aug-19 Sept (if you’ve never done Charleston before it would be wise to do the Intro class first 1-22 Aug)
- Wrap it all up with the California Routine, a choreography that incorporates all of the standard lindy repertoire that you can learn in the courses mentioned above as well as a few extra flashy moves. It is easily the most famous lindy hop choreography and a fantastic goal to work towards (see video below)! Course Date: 21 Nov – 12 Dec
Have you got what it takes to go Couch to Hellzapoppin’?
This fortnight’s variation is Tabby The Cat!
If cats could Lindy Hop I bet it’d look something like this!
Learn how to dance to the music with our Musicality Course!
Wednesdays; 9th – 30th May
8:30 – 9:30pm at The Dance Studio Leeds
£30 whole course
Lindy hop wouldn’t be lindy hop without the swung rhythm of the music we dance to. Once you have a good grasp of the basics and a good handful of moves under your belt, we will give you some tools to help you become more musical in your dancing. This course will give you a better understanding of the music, it’s common features and how to work with the music when you dance. It will include both how to be musical yourself as well as how to work with a partner to inspire and take inspiration from each other and the music. As with all our courses the class size will be small so we can answer any questions and give individual advice and exercises to take home.
– Small class size
– Individual feedback
– Progressive structured learning
– Appropriate for people who are comfortable social dancing
– Pre-booking and payment in advance required
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place
A favourite clip of ours, showing how musicality doesn’t have to be choreographed polished routines but just making it up as you go…
So while everyone else is out dancing to a live band tonight I thought I’d spend Mothers’ Day evening writing about my experience so far of balancing motherhood and dancing. I left it quite late to have a child, partially because I hadn’t met the right person and partially because I wasn’t ready to give up dancing, traveling, and all those other fun things that are much easier without children. Fortunately, once our daughter was born, crazy hormones completely took over my brain and made it so that all I could care about was my baby. Well, okay for the first few weeks I do remember getting annoyed when people said things like “Don’t you wonder what you did with your time before having kids?” Nope, I didn’t wonder–I knew exactly what I’d have been doing if I weren’t feeding a tiny baby round the clock, thank you very much! After those first weeks though, I now only get occasional twinges of disappointment about missing out on dance weekends and even those are quickly replaced by a genuine and overwhelming feeling of “aw my baby needs me though so it’s okay”. Those are some seriously strong hormones! Also I know it won’t be forever.
I danced throughout my pregnancy (even in the delivery room). We stopped doing performances with aerials when I started showing because we didn’t want people to worry. I kept waiting for balance to become a problem but it never really did, though I did need to slow down a bit, take more breaks, and in the later months avoid moves that required a lot of core strength. Keeping active in that way was fantastic for my body and soul! I think it helped me avoid a lot of aches and pains, helped with labour and recovery. I’m not yet back to my pre-baby figure and I still feel like my core is a bit weak but it will come with time. On the plus side, I think I’ve gained slightly better balance as a result of having to focus on protecting a small baby, first in my belly and then on the outside, whilst also adjusting to a changing centre of gravity.
You think that as a parent you’ll get to make all the choices but really a lot is shaped by your circumstances. Rob and I wanted to continue teaching together after having Talia but we don’t have any family nearby so we’ve ended up having her with us most of the time in classes and at social dances. It’s an ever-evolving experience that has so far worked out alright. At first she was most content being attached to one of us and would happily drift off to sleep during classes, eventually we were able to sit her down with some toys for half the time, then she started crawling and we found ourselves building a variety of barricades to try to contain her, now at 12 months she spends most classes licking the mirror or careening around the studio with a walker. As a result, she loves swing music–it makes her feel like clapping, stomping and wiggling. It’s been great to be able to listen to Naomi and her Handsome Devils in the car rather than nursery rhymes. We’ve enjoyed sharing dances with her and it’s given her Daddy a great way to put her to sleep.
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reactions we get to Talia’s presence in the room when we’re teaching. When you spend most of your time in the normal adult world I think it’s quite easy to never really encounter babies or children. Even though our little one is calm and happy in a dance environment, I worried that people might be annoyed by the presence of a baby in an adult space but everyone seems to love having her around. Some of our beginners have said that they enjoyed having her in class because it gave them something else to focus on besides being nervous. I’ve started thinking of it as a way of normalising parenthood, giving people the opportunity to interact with a baby and to see breastfeeding and as part of normal life, showing how we can make space for families and that being a parent doesn’t mean you have to only do baby things and be home by 6pm.