Flying Solo

I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve heard “I’ll never be a good dancer because I don’t have a partner.” Please do not let yourself believe this nonsense! Sure, Lindy Hop is a partner dance, but it’s also a social dance that offers a whole range of opportunites for anyone–with or without a dedicated dance partner. Especially if you’ve only been dancing for a year or less, there is no reason to think that you need to have a regular dance partner in order to improve. We rotate partners in all our classes because it’s better for everyone’s learning. New dancers are less likely to develop bad habits, couples don’t get the chance to argue, and those who need a little extra help benefit from dancing with more experienced partners. Still not convinced? Here’s a whole list of things that anyone at any level can do to improve their dancing—no partner required!

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  • Focus on your feet Practice the basic footwork patterns on your own so that you can do your footwork consistently without having to put any thought into it. For an extra challenge, really push the tempo!
  • Get yourself out there Get out to social dances whenever you can and ask everyone to dance. Learning to dance is a lot like learning a language—at some point you need to leave the classroom and attempt to have a real conversation. Social dancing will help you work on important skills like adjusting to different partners, and reacting in real time. It’s also a great way to make friends with other dancers
  • Get it together Organise a practice group. Maybe you’ve got some space in your house or know of a public space with a good floor. Invite some of your dance mates to meet up and work on some moves that you’ve learnt recently or just try out ideas on each other.
  • Up your solo game Have a go at some solo Charleston, Vernacular Jazz, or solo Blues—these are all great vintage dances that don’t require a partner. These dances offer a great opportunity to challenge yourself, work on your quality of movement and build your repertoire of useful steps.
  • Switch it up If you’re feeling quite confident with the basics and want a new challenge, have a go at dancing the other role. Then you’ll be able to dance to every song because you can partner with anyone!
  • Get competitive If your aspiration is to dance competitively, never fear! Most lindy hop events with competitions will have a Mix & Match (or Jack & Jill) Competition where you enter as an individual and get matched with a random partner.
  • Invest in the next generation If you’ve tried all these other ideas and still have things you really want to work on with one consistent partner, consider mentoring a newer dancer. Find a keen newbie that you get on well with and help them develop into your ideal dance partner.
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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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Why You Should Learn Lindy Hop

Here are just a few reasons why we think everyone should learn Lindy Hop:

  • Partner dancing is good for your brain! Studies have shown that partner dancing can reverse the signs of ageing in your brain and help prevent dementia.
  • Physical touch is good for mental health Apparently we are living through a crisis of touch. If that’s news to you its probably because you’re already a dancer ;)
  • Exercise is good for you! This one doesn’t have a link because we all know its true. Exercise that is fun and that you don’t have to think about doing is THE BEST KIND
  • Making friends as an adult is hard. Taking up a sociable hobby is a great way to expand your social circle and the lindy hop community is an extremely friendly bunch!

Take the plunge its totally worth it!

Learn the basics of Lindy Hop in just one 4-week course!

This course will give you a solid foundation in fundamental lindy hop moves and techniques, ideal for people who’ve never danced before. With small class sizes you will meet a lovely group of people, meaning you’ll have friends to dance with when you come along to a social dance or drop in class.  It is appropriate for absolute beginners and anyone else who wants to re-visit their basics

Benefits:
– Small class size
– Individual feedback
– Structured learning

Course Details:

The Fundametals Course is very popular so we run it throughout the year! The next course will be 4th-25th April
Wednesdays 6:30-7:30pm
at Dance Studio Leeds
cost: £30 for the 4wk course

For a full list of course dates visit our courses page

Pre-booking and payment required in advance
to register email: swingdanceleeds@gmail.com

Have a look at this video for a taster of what you can expect on the course:

 

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Footwork Variation of the Fortnight #58!

This fortnight’s variation is Cross Kicks!

Get your kicks with this lively variation!

Inspired by Trisha Sewell .

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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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Footwork Variation of the Fortnight #57!

This fortnight’s variation is the Slow Sink Away!

Add some texture to your dance with this simple variation.

Inspired by the lovely Natalia Eristavi.

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