Tag Archives: 2019

Swingouts 101

If you’ve been bitten by the lindy hop bug you’ll definitely want to spend some time on what is probably the most quintessential move–the swingout. You’ll spend the rest of your lindy career trying to perfect this move, learning different styles and techniques and all the variations. Let us start you off on the right track!

Swingout Course
Wednesdays, 29th May – 19th June
8:30 – 9:30pm at The Dance Studio Leeds
£32 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. 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.

This course is a good follow on from our Fundamentals Course for those who are feeling confident with the basics. It is also appropriate for those who have learnt a swingout in a drop in class and want to improve on their technique, learn to dance faster and add some styling (swivels!).

swingout.jpg

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Filed under lindy hop, What's On?

Is Lindy Hop for You?

Lindy hop is becoming more and more popular these days. There are a whole range of fantastic reasons to take up swing dancing! Some people start because of a love for swing music or vintage fashion, some are looking for a fun way to get more exercise, others are in search of a new hobby or a new challenge, some people are looking for a new way to connect with their partner or make new friends. Whatever the reason we’d love to see more people give swing dancing a try.

We take pride in the diversity of the Leeds lindy hop scene. You’ll see a range of ages on the dance floor, from 20-somethings to 60-somethings, in all shapes and sizes and colours. If you want to find out if swing dancing is right for you the best thing to do is pop along to a class. Our Fundamentals Course is a great way to start:

Learn the basics of Lindy Hop in just 4 weeks!

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 in a structured learning environment. We run these courses regularly–the next one starts in May.

Course Details:
Wednesdays 1st -22nd May
6:30-7:30pm
at Dance Studio Leeds
cost: £32 for the 4wk course

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

For a full list of beginner lessons and drop in classes have a look here. And for those who might be feeling a bit nervous about their first class, check out this blog post: How to Survive Your First Dance Class

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It Don’t Mean a Thing….

You know it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing…If you’re ready to move beyond just executing moves this is the next step. Join us this May and learn to EXPRESS YOURSELF with our Musicality Course!

Musicality Course
Wednesdays; 1st – 22nd May
8:30 – 9:30pm at The Dance Studio Leeds
£32 whole course

Once you have a solid grasp of the basics and a good handful of moves under your belt the next challenge for most dancers is musicality–taking the moves and steps you learn in class and turning them into a three way conversation between you, your partner, and the music.

We take a practical and structured approach to musicality. We’ll cover the basic structure of swing music. We’ll help you find the parts of the music that speak to you and give you the tools to express what you hear. We’ll also look at how to work with a partner, and take inspiration from those around you.

As with all our courses the class size will be small so we can answer any questions and give individual attention. No partner required but pre-booking is essential.

Email swingdanceleeds@gmail.com to book your place

Here’s 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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Book now for our next Lindy Hop Fundamentals Course!

Get out on the Dance Floor

Our Lindy Hop Fundamentals Course is by far our most popular course. It’s your gateway drug to the world of Swing Dancing! After just four weeks you’ll be able to join in with other Lindy Hoppers at a social dance or wow your friends at weddings.

We’ll teach you the basics of Lindy Hop in over the course of four weeks. Each week builds on the last with plenty of time for review and repetition to give you a solid foundation in basic moves and techniques. We often have people in class who’ve never tired partner dancing before–so if this is you don’t worry. Our small class sizes help you get to know a lovely group of people so that you’ll have friends to dance with when you come along to a social dance or drop in class.  The course is appropriate for absolute beginners as well as anyone who wants to brush up on their basics.

Course Features:
– Small class size
– Individual feedback
– Structured learning

Course Details:
Wednesdays 3rd – 24th April 
6:30-7:30pm
at Dance Studio Leeds
cost: £32 for the 4 week course

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:

For a full list of course dates visit our courses page

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Footwork Variation of the Fortnight #83!

This fortnight’s variation is Jump to the Side!

It’s just a jump to the left…

Put a spring in your step with this seasonally appropriate variation!

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Our Frankie’s Moves Course is Back!

frankie-Manning multi image.jpg

This course was a special addition to the lineup last year and definitely a keeper! We’ll spend the whole four weeks working on some of Frankie Manning’s signature moves.

Who was Frankie Manning? He was one of the greatest lindy hoppers of his time (he was the first to add air steps to the dance!). He was also hugely instrumental in the swing revival. As a young man he performed all over with Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, in his later years he traveled the world teaching at lindy hop events, large and small, nearly every weekend. He became known as the Ambassador of Swing and even got his own google doodle a couple of years ago. Come along and learn some of Frankie’s classic moves.

The Frankie’s Moves Course is appropriate for dancers who are comfortable with the basics and ready to add some new classic moves to their repertoire.

Wednesdays, 3rd-24th April
8:30-9:30pm
at Dance Studio Leeds
cost: £32 for the 4wk course

Pre-payment required. To register email: swingdanceleeds@gmail.com

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How to Create a Welcoming Atmosphere for New Dancers

We love that lindy hop is a bit of a niche hobby, a little too geeky and involved to appeal to the mainstream perhaps and that suits us just fine BUT we also love having new people to dance with. So how can we make sure that those that do work up the courage to venture into our little subculture stick around long enough to become excellent dance partners? How do we make sure that our dance communities continue to grow? Here are a few things that anyone can do to help keep new dancers coming back for more.

  1. Be seen. Try to find a way to hold at least a few events in public spaces; outdoor dances, a social dance held in a space that is also open to the public, a charity event in a public space. All of these give people an opportunity to see what you do and how fun it looks. Make sure you’ve got some fliers for local classes for anyone who’s interested.
  2. Keep on top of  Social Media Make sure you’ve got information about your classes online at least with a simple website and facebook page and keep the information up to date so that potential new dancers can find out where and when classes are held and how to get in touch.
  3. Make the first move. This is one that everyone can help with. Keep an eye out for new people that you don’t recognize at a social dance and make a point of asking them to dance or at least say hello and introduce yourself. Will you intimidate them? Possibly (more on that in a moment) but more importantly you’ll make them feel welcome and included.
  4. Be Gentle. Dancing with newbies can take a bit of skill but here are a few tips that can help. Whether you’re a follower or a leader try to have a really clear bounce to help your partner find the beat. Keep it simple, avoid crazy variations or tricky moves. Be ready take it slow, new leaders may spend ages just stepping before they attempt to lead a move, new followers may need time to recover between moves.
  5. Be Reassuring If you’re dancing with a beginner dancer chances are that they’ll be worried that they’re doing everything wrong and ruining the dance for you. Let them know that they are doing a great job, they’ll learn faster by getting out there and social dancing. Even if you’re just having a chat with a newbie on the sidelines you can reassure them that everyone on the dance floor was once a beginner, encourage them to ask someone to dance, maybe even point out dancers that you know are good at dancing with newbies.
  6. Avoid unsolicited feedback Whether you’re having a social dance with a beginner dancer or dancing with them in a class, the one thing to avoid is giving them feedback or tips on their dancing. It might sound a bit counter-intuitive because you know they just want to get it right. However getting lots of unsolicited feedback can be overwhelming for any dancer and can make them feel very unwelcome. When you already feel like a clumsy octopus surrounded by graceful swans, and you’re desperately trying to keep up with what’s going on, the last thing you need is for every partner you dance with to let you know just how terrible you are. The most welcoming and effective way to help new dancers in a class is to be reassuring, make sure they are able to listen to what the teacher is saying, and help them practice by doing only what is being taught in a consistent way.
  7. Play music they can dance to. If you’re DJing a dance that has newer dancers in attendance make sure to periodically play some music that they can dance to–this might mean playing some slower tempo music or playing tracks that you know they’ve heard in class. If the event starts with a taster make sure the first few tracks at the start of the social dance are are the right style and tempo for whatever style was taught in the taster.
  8. Invite them along. Getting invited to go along with a group of dancers to the pub after a dance or for lunch between classes can easily be THE THING that tips the scale for a new dancer and makes them feel like they want to invest their time in becoming part of our community. Even though it was more than 15 years ago now, I’ll never forget the first workshop I went to and the dancers who invited me to join them for lunch that day and told me about a dance happening in the evening–that, more than anything else, is what made me want to keep going.
  9. Give them the inside scoop. Another great way to help beginner dancers is by letting them know about other classes, events and social dances that they can go to. Let them know where to find information about what’s going on in the local area, if there is a facebook group they can join or a website or community calendar to check.

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