Tag Archives: improvers

Add Some Fun to Your Life

When was the last time you rolled down a grassy hill or stomped in a puddle or made up a silly song? These days we all find ourselves spending far too much time working and planning and networking and generally adulting and we forget to make time to just have fun!

At Swing Dance Leeds we’re here to help. We want you to have a go at swing dancing, not so that you can become a pro and impress all of your friends–I mean that’s okay too–but mostly we want you too see how much fun it is! We think you’ll love it and that you’ll enjoy spending time with other people who have set aside the time to just do something fun for the hell of it.

How to get started

Our Fundamentals course will get you off to a great start and help you feel confident in your new found dancing skills. Classes are small so you will meet a lovely group of new friends and find out all about the swing dancing community in Leeds and other activities you can get involved in.  This course is appropriate for absolute beginners and anyone else who wants to re-visit their basics in a structured learning environment.

Course Details:
Wednesdays 25th Sept – 16th Oct
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

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Uncategorized

Science Says Learn to Dance!

It seems like every few weeks a new article is published with scientific studies demonstrating various health benefits of dancing. The latest article making the rounds states “researchers interviewed 1,000 people and found that often those who were dancing not only reported feeling happier, but also more satisfied with their lives, especially in relationships, health, and the goals achieved over the years.”

Dancing is great for your physical and mental health, can ward off dementia, and improve your quality of life. We’ve collected a few more articles on the benefits of dancing here. If you’ve never tried “proper” dancing don’t worry–the need to dance seems to be in our DNA! With just a bit of guidance you’ll be on your way to a healthier, happier life (according to science!).

Start with the basics

Our Fundamentals 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, so 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 end of August.

Course Details:
Wednesdays 28th Aug – 18 Sept
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

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Uncategorized

Learn to Dance Like Its 1935!

Ever wondered what it must have been like to go to dance hall in the 30’s? Fabulous dresses, dapper lads, couples moving and swaying across the dance floor executing intricate sequences of moves to the thumping rhythms of a live jazz band. Step back in time with us and find out just what it feels like!

Swing Dancing is alive and well today and you can find pockets of lively dancers in cities across the UK (and the world). Once you try it we promise you’ll be hooked. Sign up today for our Lindy Hop Fundamentals course and see what all the fuss is about.

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 29th May – 19th June
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

Leave a comment

Filed under lindy hop, News, 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

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Uncategorized

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.

IMG_6260

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.

IMG_6258

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!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats' Corner, Uncategorized

Is Lindy Hop for You?

Our city of Leeds hosts a lovely diverse and vibrant Lindy Hop community. These lovely dancers make a start for a wide variety of different reasons. Some people take up swing dancing because of a love for vintage fashion, some are fans of swing music and trad jazz, some people come in looking for a fun way to get more exercise, some come in search of a new hobby or a new challenge, others are looking for new ways to connect with their partner or make new friends. These are all fantastic reasons to take up swing dancing!

You’ll see a range of ages on the dance floor, from 20-somethings to 60-somethings, in all shapes and sizes and all colours of the rainbow. If you want to find out if swing dancing is right for you the best thing to do is pop along to a class. For a list of beginner lessons and drop in classes have a look here. Another great option is our Fundamentals Course:

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

Course Details:
Wednesdays 26th Sept – 17th Oct
6:30-7:30pm
at Dance Studio Leeds
cost: £30 for the 4wk course

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

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Uncategorized

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!

earhart_amelia

  • 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats' Corner, News