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Couch to Hellzapoppin’

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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)
  4. Wrap it all up with the California Routinea 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’?

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Footwork Variation of the Fortnight #59

This fortnight’s variation is Tabby The Cat!

If cats could Lindy Hop I bet it’d look something like this!

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Musicality Course – 9th May

Learn how to dance to the music with our Musicality Course!

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 swingdanceleeds@gmail.com 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…

 

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On Lindy Hop and Motherhood

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Private Classes Update

Tina goes back to work next week and Rob will be stepping up his Daddy game Monday to Wednesday. This means we’ll need to consolidate private classes a bit for those who might not want a toddler in the room.

We can now take bookings for private classes at the following times:
Thursdays 9am-6:15pm
Fridays 9am-8pm
Sat/Sun 9am-8pm (availability may be limited)

Cost for private classes is £30 per hour. We can do them in our home studio, at your place (if you have the space), or we can hire studio space (at additional cost) for groups. To book a private class email swingdanceleeds@gmail.com or use the webform here.

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Swingout Course – 7th February

If you’re feeling confident with your Lindy Hop fundamentals, a swingout is the next move you’ll want to conquer!

Swingouts are the quintessential move of Lindy Hop and so important that we’ve dedicated an entire four week course to teaching them.

Swingout Course
Wednesday, 7th-28th February
8:30 – 9:30pm at The Dance Studio Leeds
£30 whole course

The course will go over the basic shape of a swingout and progress to more in-depth technique, styling, and a couple of variations to spice things up a bit. As usual with our courses numbers will be limited so we can give you personal feedback on what you need to make your swingout awesome.

Appropriate for those who have learnt a swingout shape and want to improve on their technique and learn a variation or two. This course is also for people who’ve never learnt a swingout, but have a solid grasp of the fundamentals of Lindy hop  – this is the next step for you.Shillouette Swingout

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An evening of Christmas swing

The Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra is holding an evening of Christmas Swing at the Corn Exchange 7.30pm – 10.30pm on Saturday 16th December!

Discounts are available if you are a dancer!  Tickets can be purchased online – select the £10 concession rate and mention on the door that you are a dancer!

You can find further information on the facebook event page.

This promises to be a lovely festive occasion and is a great opportunity to get a last dance in the Corn Exchange this year!

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