Tag Archives: Charleston

Intro to Partnered Charleston Course–Coming in January!

The 20’s are nearly upon us again and Peaky Blinders parties seem to be all the rage lately! Learn how to dance the Charleston with a partner just like they did back in the day. Bookings are now open for this beginner friendly course starting this January. Its likely to sell out quickly so get in touch to book your place now!

Intro to Partnered Charleston
Wednesdays, 9th – 30th January
8:30-9:30pm at Dance Studio Leeds
cost: £32 for the 4wk course

A course that will get you dancing this energetic dance everywhere you go. We’ll give you a good number of moves and the technique to social dance 20s and 30s style Charleston. So whether you’re going to a Great Gatsby party or a Big Band Swing Dance–we’ve got you covered! This is a great course for complete beginners or those who have done a bit of lindy hop and are looking for more moves to add to their repertoire.

A bit of trivia: Our Charleston dancers were actually featured in the first season of Peaky Blinders (that’s us on the left) and we got to teach the Cillian Murphy and Annabelle Wallis how to dance!

to register email: swingdanceleeds@gmail.com

Take a look at this to give you an idea about Partnered Charleston:

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2019 Wednesday Courses!

Drum roll please! Rattatat-rattatat-rattatat! Now announcing our Wednesday Courses schedule for 2019! Put these dates in your diary folks. All of these courses are 8:30-9:30pm at Dance Studio Leeds. We’ll also have Lindy Hop Fundamentals running alongside these courses on the same dates in the 6:30-7:30pm slot.

  • 9 Jan – 30 Jan Intro to Partnered Charleston
  • 6 Feb – 27 Feb Swingouts
  • 6 Mar – 27 Mar Advanced Charleston
  • 3 Apr – 24 Apr Classic Moves (Frankie’s Moves)
  • 1 May – 22 May Musicality
  • 29 May – 19 Jun Swingouts
  • 31 Jul – 21 Aug Intro to Partnered Charleston
  • 28 Aug – 18 Sept Classic Moves (Tricky Moves)
  • 25 Sept – 16 Oct Swingouts
  • 23 Oct – 13 Nov Tandem Charleston
  • 20 Nov – 11 Dec California Routine    

If you put in a request for something that don’t see here don’t worry we’ll be adding in a few weekend workshops as well at some point for those things. For a more detailed description of any of these courses visit our Courses Page.

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Let’s Talk About Shoes

Whether you’re going for maximum performance and comfort or authentic vintage style shoes are a very important part of any dancers wardrobe. We’ll have a look at what options are out there, some popular brands, and how to find your perfect shoe!

You Gotta Have Sole

One of the most important features of your dance shoe is what’s on the bottom! You want a shoe that will allow your feet to slide around on the floor a bit but there’s a lot of room for personal preference here–some dancers like just enough slip to be able to spin easily while others want to glide through every move frictionlessly. At some point you will probably end up with a variety of shoes for dancing on different types of floors so that you can always achieve the perfect combination of shoe and dancefloor to create your desired amount of slippiness. Here’s a rundown of the basic options:

  • Rubber: A rubber sole without too much texture (think plimsolls not walking boots) can be a great option for newer dancers and those who prefer a less slippery shoe. Rubber soled shoes are generally softer so good for those who are worried about stepping on their partners’ feet or have yet to master the art of floorcraft. Pros: Soft, durable, and easy to clean, forces you to pick up your feet and be more precise with your footwork, Cons: May be too sticky for some dance floors.
  • Suede: So long as you have a suede brush you can have some control over the slipperiness of sueded shoes. Brush them regularly to give them a bit of grip or leave the suede to matt down for a bit more slip. You can purchase dance shoes with suede soles, get your favourite shoes sueded by a cobbler or even do it yourself with a bit of superglue. Pros: versatility, Cons: Do not get wet! Also hard to clean so not  great on sticky bar floors
  • Leather: Hard leather soles will give you the maximum slide on most floors, soft leather can be slightly less slippery but its not as hard-wearing. Pros: excellent for slides and slip slops, hard-wearing (hard leather), Cons: May be too slippery on some dance floors
  • Split soles: Split soled shoes are popular for many styles of dance so you may see them around a bit. Rather than being one piece the sole is in two sections to allow your foot to bend in the middle. Pros: Can be very comfy, Cons: Prevent you from using your whole foot on the floor
  • Heels: Heels aren’t strictly necessary for lindy hop but many dancers love the aesthetic. We would recommend flats to start with for most dancers but once you’ve been at it for a while you may want to experiment with heeled shoes. Wedges or chunky heels are your best bet. Pros: Can really change the look of your dancing, preferable for some styles like balboa Cons: Takes a bit of practice if you don’t normally wear heals, will have an effect on balance
  • Sole Hacks: These are temporary solutions–none of them ideal but good to be aware of. Earlier in the revival dancers often put gaffa tape on the bottom of their shoes to make rubber soled shoes a bit more slippery. It is cheap and effective! Though you do have to keep an eye on them to make sure the tape doesn’t start to wear down and get sticky. Also once you’ve put tape on the bottom of your shoes there is no going back the sticky gunk doesn’t come off easily. Socks over shoes–some people seem to make this work in a pinch but it is a VERY slippery option. Talc–you may see some dancers put talc on the floor to make it more slippery. As a general rule, if you are sharing the dance floor with other dancers who have not consented to the use of talc PLEASE DON’T DO THIS. It changes the floor for everyone, and not everyone want’s to slide around like Bambi. Change your shoes not the floor.

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Look the Part

If you want to go for an authentic vintage look. Here is a rundown of authentic swing era shoe styles.

For Men: Leather suit shoes are your best bet, two toned brogues are an authentic 30s style. Plimsolls are also an authentic vintage style for men and women as revealed in our last style feature.

For Women: Women’s shoes came in lots of styles in the 20s-40s. Heels were the norm for going out but flats are not inauthentic as there were sports shoes available with a very small heel. Iconic styles from the swing era include mary janes, oxfords, brogues, T-straps and wedges.

The Vintage Dancer website is a great resource with lots of photos of clothes and shoes from different eras.

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Where to Shop

First Shoes: If you’re just starting out we highly recommend picking up a pair of cheap plimsolls from Primark. They are an excellent first dance shoe! If you want something a bit fancier Keds and Toms and also great for this style.

Shoe retailers popular with lindy hoppers in the UK:

www.remixvintageshoes.com

www.slideandswing.es

www.swingdancestore.co.uk

https://www.swinggear.co.uk/

The DIY Option: In our experience, even some of the more reputable brands of dance shoes can be very pricey and at the same time not very well made so another good option is to make your own bespoke dance shoes. Find a pair of shoes that are comfortable and have the look you want on the high street or wherever you normally shop for shoes. If the sole is already appropriately slippy then you’re done! If not, take your shoes to a cobbler who will be able to grind them flat if they are too textured, or resole them with suede, leather, or whatever you want (Cobblers are awesome). Voila the perfect dance shoe!

 

 

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California Routine–Are you up to the challenge?

Our last course of the year is a very special one–we’ll be teaching the California Routine! A classic lindy hop routine, choreographed by the legendary Frankie Manning, it draws on all of the fundamentals of lindy hop, including 6 beat, 8 beat and Charleston footwork. Once you know this routine, you will see it everywhere! Most lindy hoppers learn it at some point so it’s an easy impromptu performance piece. Whether you want to do more performing or you’re just looking to challenge yourself, this course is a great way to do it!

We will need to move quickly to get through the routine in four weeks so there are a few prerequisites. You will need to be familiar with basic 6 beat moves (tuck turn, passby, bring back), swingouts, and tandem Charleston. The version we do on the course will have some flashy moves but no big aerials so that we can focus on the dancing (for those that are interested we’re happy to help you add aerials in later!).

California Routine Course
Wednesdays, 21st November – 12th December
8:30 – 9:30pm at The Dance Studio Leeds
£30 for the 4 week course

Email swingdanceleeds@gmail.com to book your place

Here’s a sneak peek of what the California Routine looks like (with aerials)

 

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Learn the Tranky Doo Thursdays in September!

Get these dates in your diary because we are excited to announce a series of Thursday night classes on the Tranky Doo, 6th, 13th and 20th September! The Tranky Doo is a classic vintage jazz solo routine from the 1940s. For some interesting factoids about the history of the routine and clips of a variety of performances of it go here.

We wanted to feature this little video because this simple class recap has long been the most popular video on our Youtube Channel. Dancers around the world are still finding it really useful for learning this great classic routine. Here’s your chance to learn this fabulous routine from Rob IRL (in real life) over the course of three weeks!

This will be offered as a short course of 3 classes. If you haven’t done much solo jazz before don’t worry–book on for all 3 classes and we’ll go at an easy pace with lots of repetition. If you’ve learnt the Tranky Doo before and want a quick refresher feel free to just drop-in for one or two classes.

Learn the Tranky Doo 

Thursdays, 6th, 13th & 20th Sept 2018
8:30-9:30pm

at Dance Studio Leeds

Cost: £15 for all 3 classes (pre-booking required)
or drop-in for £7 per class

Email swingdanceleeds@gmail.com to book your place!

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

Tandem Charleston – 29th August

Wednesdays,
29th Aug – 19th Sept
8:30-9:30pm
at Dance Studio Leeds
cost: £30 for the 4wk course

This course is for those who have a good grasp of basic partnered Charleston and are looking for more. Tandem Charleston aka Back to Back Charleston” is awesome fun, looks impressive and once you get the hang of it its easy to dance to fast music.

The course will focus on core Tandem Charleston repertoire including entries, exits and fun things to do while you’re there.

No prior knowledge of Tandem Charleston required you’ll just need to have a grasp of the 30s Charleston basic, some experience with partner dancing is helpful but not required.

– Appropriate for improvers, and anyone looking to brush up on their tandem charleston.

to register email: swingdanceleeds@gmail.com

 

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Intro to Partnered Charleston – 1st August

Learn how to dance the Charleston with this beginner friendly course!

Intro to Partnered Charleston
Wednesdays, 1st-22nd August
8:30-9:30pm at Dance Studio Leeds
cost: £30 for the 4wk course

A course that will get you dancing this energetic dance everywhere you go. We’ll give you a good number of moves and the technique to social dance 20s and 30s style Charleston. So whether you’re going to a Great Gatsby party or a Big Band Swing Dance–we’ve got you covered! This is a great course for complete beginners or those who have done a bit of lindy hop and are looking for more moves to add to their repertoire.

A bit of trivia: Our Charleston dancers were actually featured in the first season of Peaky Blinders and we got to teach the Cillian Murphy and Annabelle Wallis how to dance!

to register email: swingdanceleeds@gmail.com

Take a look at this to give you an idea about Partnered Charleston:

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Filed under Charleston, lindy hop, What's On?