Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dance Weekends 101

If you’ve been taking classes and maybe even started venturing out to try social dancing the next adventure for you should be traveling to a dance weekend. You now speak the international language of dance and one of the most fun things you can do with this new found skill is to travel to another city anywhere in the world, have a dance with someone you’ve never met, and be amazed at how well it goes! Not sure where to start or what to expect here’s a handy guide:

Types of Events

Dance Camps: These are weekends or even a whole week with classes from one or more sets of teachers and often social dancing as well. This kind of event is great for those that like intensive/immersive learning opportunities. They’re also really great for getting to know other dancers since you will spend a lot of time with the group of dancers in your classes. Some events have leveled streams, others are multilevel, some offer taster classes in other related dance styles. Some events may also include competitions as a small part of the event or even as a focus. There are several camps that run over Christmas/New Years and in the summer that offer a whole week or multiple weeks of classes and events. Examples of dance camps: Swing Revolution, London Swing Festival, Lindy Shock, Herrang, Swing Summit

Exchanges: An exchange is a full weekend of social dancing (usually without any classed). These often feature live bands, and some combination of evening dances, late night dances, daytime dancing and social events. Exchanges are great for dancers who want to dance dance dance as much as possible and also chill out and meet new people from all over. Examples exchanges: Leeds Swing Exchange, London Lindy Exchange, Arctic Lindy Exchange

Top Tips for Attending Dance Festivals

Where to Look: If you’re looking for an event to attend, Swing Planit is a good one-stop-shop. Your local teachers may be able to recommend events that are popular with dancers in your area. If you want to know what events we’ll be teaching at have a look at our Dance Weekends page.

Plan Ahead: If you’re a single leader you may be able to spontaneously book an event the week before but be aware that some sell out way in advance. It’s a good idea to be looking ahead several months and take note of when bookings open for events you want to attend. If you’re a single follower, booking onto events in Europe can be a challenge–try to register as soon as bookings open to avoid being put on a waiting list. Or, even better, try to find a leader to book with either by asking around in your local scene or posting a message on the event’s facebook page or in a group like Followers & Leaders Let’s Book Together

What to Bring: Let’s just start by saying it’s totally fine to pack twice the amount of clothing and shoes for a dance weekend that you would for any other weekend trip! If you haven’t been dancing for very long be prepared for your feet to take a bit of a beating. Definitely bring more than one pair of shoes to dance in, in case one pair becomes uncomfortable or isn’t a good match for the floor at a venue. It’s also a good idea to bring some plasters and moleskin tape or blister plasters. Bring cool comfy clothes for classes. Depending on where you are staying you may need to bring a sleeping bag, towels, ear plugs/sleep mask. Evening socials may have a theme, if you plan to go to a dance in fancy dress plan a costume that will be comfortable to dance in. If there are no themes you may want to just bring some nicer outfits for the social dances. (Pro tip for those who wear dresses: lot’s of dancers wear shorts under their dresses so that they don’t have to worry about showing their pants). Social dances may be a bit more crowded and hot and sweaty than what you’re used to so you may also want to consider bringing extra tops, a fan or a sweat rag.

Make the Most of It: The best way to make the most of your dance event experience is to DO ALL OF THE THINGS–especially the things that make you a bit nervous! Ask strangers to dance, enter a competition, take a tour of the city, take advantage of all of the learning opportunities. If you are taking classes bring along something to take notes on after class or make sure you have space on your phone to film the recap that many teachers will do at the end of a class. Dance weekends are also a great opportunity to take private classes from teachers you like. If meeting new people is a priority, try to stay with local dancers rather than in a hotel if that’s an option, volunteering at the event is another great way to meet people (if volunteering isn’t offered as an option when you register just ask the organiser), taking classes is also a good way to get to know people or if you’re attending an event with no classes make sure to take part in whatever tasters or social activities are offered.

Avoid Burnout: Dance weekends can be pretty full on! Here are our best tips for avoiding fatigue: If possible try to stay as close to the venues as possible (to minimise travel time and maximise napping time!). Scope out the food options ahead of time for lunch and dinner (and consider how many other dancers will be there at the same time) to avoid having to wait a long time to your food. More waiting=less napping. If you prefer less crowded dance floors and a good night’s sleep, you’ll probably want to arrive right at the start of the evening dance. If you want to be able to make it to the end of the late night (and get up for class the next morning) you may want to have a good rest over the dinner break and arrive a bit later to the evening dance. Either way, you might want to consider booking the day after the event off of work so that you have a day to recover! If you’re taking classes don’t be too hard on yourself! Get geeky about your dancing during the classes and have a bit of a practice of your new skills at the social dances, but make sure you also give yourself a bit of a break to just enjoy dancing so that your head doesn’t explode.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats' Corner, lindy hop, News, Uncategorized

How to Spread the Lindy Love

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats' Corner, News, Uncategorized

Keep up with Swing Dance Leeds!

We know its hard to keep up with everything that’s going on these days! If you like what we do here at Swing Dance Leeds and you want to keep on top of all the latest news here are a few different ways you can do it. Click the links to be taken to the appropriate subscription pages:

  • Subscribe to our website to get notifications about new posts. You can do this by clicking the “Subscribe button” in the upper left corner.
  • Subscribe to our Youtube channel to get updates whenever we post Footwork Variation of the Fortnight, performance videos or class recaps.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
  • Subscribe to Charleston Shout our monthly email newsletter about all things Charleston related (and now fully GDPR compliant whoop!)

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Uncategorized

We were on the radio

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under lindy hop, News, Uncategorized

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’?

Leave a comment

Filed under lindy hop, News, Uncategorized, What's On?

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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…

 

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Uncategorized, What's On?