Learnin’ to Lindy where everyone’s friendly
Week 17 (New Term)
My week looked like this:
Monday: Blues (Basement Blues Manchester)
Tuesday: Lindy (Manchester Lindy of course!)
Wednesday: Lindy (Mersey Swing in Liverpool – I can see this being a new haunt)
Thursday: Lindy (Matt and Phreds – The Gelatos can swing!)
Friday: Pub with Lois, Kunnaya, Tom & Sam (This was a rest night, we didn’t even talk Lindy shop which is a miracle)
Saturday: Lindy (Mersey Swing Winter Ball!!!)
Sunday: Learn the meaning of Swungover*
My body isn’t talking to me anymore. This was an exceptional week and I don’t think I can have another like it for a while!
Tuesday was a record for Manchester Lindy. There were countless beginners giving it a try. Apparently they were three or four (FOUR!) rows deep! I didn’t witness this because I was in the Improver class (I had M People – Movin’ on up stuck in my head which probably shows my age).
I won’t go into depth on what happened on Tuesday because I’m thinking of changing the format of the blog a bit. I’m going to just pull out things I’ve improved, discovered or thought about and how I’m feeling in general. This may mean fewer posts as progress slows down but I honestly don’t know. If this week is anything to go by I have a lot to talk about.
So onto things I’ve noticed:
Following is hard!
We did a bit of this in our lesson and I had done a tiny amount of following before (in a blues lesson) and so had a bit of an appreciation for how hard it is. It is very hard.
People I have spoken to talk about how stressful it is to lead because of the thinking ahead and having responsibility for the structure of the dance etc.
Follows just have a different kind of stress. As far as I can tell they are constantly on the back foot, expected to react quickly to a lead’s signals and can have little to no control over how the dance goes (depending on the lead). To me that is super stressful!
That said I’m not put off following. One of my goals (at some point in the distant future) is to get reasonable at following and be able to do switch dances** because they look like great fun.
Six count isn’t scary any more.
Something I started to notice in social dances this week is that somewhere along the way, my brain has become much better at picking up where we are dancing in the music. To the extent that a lot of the time when things have gotten ‘out of sync’ with starting on the 1; either through excessive six count or just fluffing something up, six count has saved me.
I can take an ‘uh-oh where am I in this song?’ panic situation and lead a bit of six count back to ending on the 8. The really exciting thing about this is that I’m not even consciously thinking about how many or what kind of six count moves I need to do. My dance brain just knows. This must be why all the more advanced dancers just look so effortless. Their dance brains must be bulging with stuff they just don’t need to think about anymore (editors note: no matter how long you’ve been dancing, you still get blank moments! However, we have tricks to help with this stuff, and now you are in Level 2 we’ll soon be sharing the secrets of 2,4, and 10 count moves – aka – ways to effortlessly get back to the 1).
This also gives me hope around things like recognising phrases and leading appropriately to the music for a whole song. At some point, if I keep bludgeoning it with social dancing, my dance brain will pick these up as well!
Solo Jazz is going to be HOT for the next few weeks.
The class was packed 5 rows deep and jammed from end to end. A note to whoever is planning Solo Jazz routines – if this carries on there will be no travelling moves possible! The Solo Jazz routine this week was great! I loved the kick ball change and jump into tick tocks! Oh and the Shimmys!
I cannot do a spin to save my life.
The techniques class in Mersey Swing covered this and I just can’t do it and keep balance (something new to practice at home methinks). I did discover I can do lock turns (thank you Solo Jazz!)
The Winter Ball is amazing.
So many lovely people, so many lovely dances, so much lovely cake!
I’m off to sleep for a week now and grow some new feet.
*A term coined by Bobby White? A hangover type feeling induced by excessive swing dancing, usually at weekenders etc.
** Dancing where both partners can lead and follow and will switch roles mid way through.