Tonight’s Manchester Lindy is a special edition event!

Due to ongoing issues with our regular venue, we are hosting a one-off dance upstairs at Revolution Oxford Rd.

Sadly, Revolution is only a one-room venue, so we’ll be teaching a level one class only.

If you are coming along just for the social dance, then please stay in the bar downstairs until after the class has finished, due to limited space.

Doors 7.30pm
Level 1 class (more of a recap than a normal cycle week) 7.45pm
Social 8.30pm-11pm.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1710900225606922/?ti=icl

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Manchester Lindy Awards 2015 – the results!

To accompany Dan’s sWingin’ It Xmas party post, here are the award winners, and the nominations too!

Massive thanks to everyone who attended the party, or indeed, attended any of our events in 2015. It’s been our busiest year ever, and as we’re always busy, that’s saying something!

‘Most Wonderful Wunderkind’ (dancing less than 2 years)
(for dancing or community endeavours)

Winner: Liam Craddock

Runner Up: Dan Potter

Other nominees (in no particular order): Luke, Jane, Alistair, Agne, Rebecca

Most incredible Intermediate’ (dancing between 2 and 4 years)
(for dancing or community endeavours)

Winner: Kunnaya Wimooktanon

Runner up: Sarah Sharpe

Other nominees (in no particular order): Daisy, Catherine, Victoria, Natasha, Ruth, Beck, Jeremy

‘The Elder (Scroll) Statesperson’ (dancing more than 4 years)
(for dancing or community endeavours)

Winner: Paula Hardy Kangelos

Runner up: Barbara Rockwell

Other nominees (in no particular order):Ben, Nataly, Leanne, Taina, Andy W, Murph

‘The Snowflake Award’
(for the most unique dancer)

Winner: Jeremy Pye

Runner up: Kevin Leach

Other nominees (in no particular order): Chris, Jared, Nataly, Jacqui, Amy, Natasha, Sabie, Sophie, Ben

‘Snazziest Sartorialist’
(for the person who always wears the fanciest of pants)

Winner: Daisy Thurkettle

Runner up: Natasha Evans

Other nominees (in no particular order): Ben, Sonia, Dave, Isobel, Leanne, Ruth, Paula

‘Hotelier of the Year’
(the hostess or host with the mostest or most -aka the person with the fullest abode after Lindy events)

Winner: Velody

Runner up: Kunnaya

Other nominees (in no particular order): Paula, Vee, Lottie, Sonia, Liam

‘Mr.Miyagi Memorial Award’
(the experienced dancer that takes the best care of newbies)

Winner: Amy

Runner up: Ben

Other nominees (in no particular order): Paula, Andy W, Andy C, Beck, Kunnaya, Chris, Katy, Leanne, Liam, Natasha

‘The Overall Awesome, a bit like Sir Frankie of Manning Award’

(we didn’t vote on this one, but instead totted up the votes across all the categories and the person with the most takes the prize!)

Winner: Paula

Runner up: Liam

(photos from the party – by the wonder Ruth Hornby Photography – can be viewed here and here)

And on the last Tuesday before Xmas, we had a casual J&J contest!

This started out with an amazing 38 entrants, whittled down to 3 couples by our 6 judges, with the eventual winners being decided by a publicly generated invisible applause-o-meter.

After a tie break situation the eventual winners were:

Isobel Heyworth & John Perry

and the runners up:

Beck Rowaichi  & Julian Harris and Toby Danger & Agnė Chu

Massive thanks to our 6 judges, Mark, Jenny, Meg, Amy, Andy C and Liam.

Same time in 2016? 😀

Times-They-Are-A-Changing!

Don’t forget, tomorrow is the start of the new timings & class system at ML:

Manchester Lindy provide dance classes each Tuesday evening followed by social dancing until 10.45pm (ish).

We will test drive the new timings Tuesday 3rd June with Levels 1&2 only

  • Level 1 (been dancing less than 6 months? This level is definitely for you!)  7.45 pm in Room 1
  • Level 2 (for those lindy hopping between 3 months and two years-ish) 7.45 pm in Room 2
  • As always, Social Dancing starts at 8.30 pm in Room 1.

Tuesday 10th June and onwards we’ll have the third lesson as well:

  • JAZZ -suitable for all! Solo movement makes you a better all around Lindy Hopper!) 8.30 pm in Room 2
  • And as always, Social Dancing starts at 8.30 pm in Room 1.

(Please see our Levels section for more information)

 

The Lindy Circular – Norma Miller Queen of Swing

The Lindy Circular – Norma Miller Queen of Swing

“Give me a bucket of fried chicken and a Count Basie record and I will solve all the world’s problems”.

                                                                              Norma Miller

Norma Miller (centre front)
Norma Miller (centre front)

Frankie Manning’s name is heralded at crowded water tables on the edge of dance floors across the globe (with as much reverence as Voldemort has to a Death Eater) and it sometimes easy to forget that there are still some of Swing history’s greats with us today. Jean Velóz celebrated her birthday dance with Remy and Skye at SEAJAM earlier this year and Dawn Hampton is still making aspiring dancers cry with the razor-sharp tongue and teaching style. However, there is one woman whose name definitely deserves a mention: Norma Miller. If you don’t know who she is, you should. If you want to learn about her, you can. At the very least you can keep up with her movements across the globe via her Facebook (yes, Facebook) page. To point you in the right direction, here is a little bit of background on the First Lady of Lindy, the last surviving member of the world famous Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers: Norma Miller , Queen of Swing (by Nathan Dias)

Leanne Frank

Isabella and Pontus Workshop Weekend and Social – Booking

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We at Manchester Lindy are beside ourselves because the wonderful Isabella & Pontus are coming to teach and inspire on SATURDAY 10th and SUNDAY 11th MAY!

We will be following our previously used format of Improver/Intermediate on the Saturday, and Intermediate/Advanced on the Sunday. As there is some crossover, we are happy to help you to find the correct level for you.

We cannot confirm start and finish times as yet, but there will be four hours of teaching each day plus breaks, so plan to spend  5-6 hours at the venue.

See Isabella and Pontus in action here: http://youtu.be/mUOP5jG24Sc

The price for this event is £45 per day, inclusive of entry to the Saturday night social dance.

To book, please contact Manchester Lindy committee member Hayley via Facebook, link below. There are limited places available for couples and solo advanced Leads. Follows booking alone are currently being placed in a waiting list.

Friend request Hayley here: https://www.facebook.com/hayley.h.gosling
Join the Manchester Lindy Group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/manchesterlindy/ (you must join the group in order to ‘attend’ on the event listing – sorry about that!)
Click attending on the main event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1383764718559950/

We would like to draw your attention to our new venue, so you don’t all automatically flock to a familiar one, like homing pigeons.

Our new venue for this weekend’s workshops and social dance is St Mathews Church Hall, next to St Mathews Church in Stretford, (near the incredibly strange Stretford Mall – inspiration for the Morrissey lyric, “Slap me on the patio”) this will be the first time Manchester Lindy have used the venue and we’re hoping the floor will be just right for us picky dancer types. Stretford is close to Chorlton and is well served with buses and trams.

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The Lindy Circular – Good for the Sole

Good for the Sole

A blog post about dance shoes by Marianne Knowles

A general chat about what the hell to put on your feet when you’re dancing, and whether anyone should even give a damn, anyway.

Bottoms Up

There are few topics that interest dancers as much as footwear – frankly, we’re obsessed. Some Manchester Lindy members buy fancy trainers that will never touch a Lancashire cobble. Others visit their cobbler more often than they go to the dentist, but what is it that makes us get so excited about having bits of material stuff stuck to the bottom of our pumps?  What is all this madness? And if you want to hop onto the dance shoe bandwagon, where do you get started?

Virtually every Lindy dancer who has been dancing more than a few months wears shoes chosen specifically for the dance. When I started, I knew there must be a reason for this, but I didn’t know what that reason was or where to get them from. I took the time to ask around, researched and pondered and finally bought some fancy shoes of my own.

I’ve now been dancing two years, and here is everything I wish I’d known right at the start, in a handy blog guide.

The Science (tist) View

Manchester Lindy’s resident expert (and committee member) Megan Lomas, (BSc sport Science Physiology, VTCT Dip Sports Massage no less), believes that when it comes to shoes, personal preference is key. Lindy Hop attracts people of different shapes and shoe sizes, so it makes sense that whilst a particular pair of pumps may make one person feel like Ginger, it might make someone else feel like Oliver Hardy.

‘Some Lindy dancers like more slip from suede whereas for others, the suede can put them off balance. From my point of view, the more slip from the shoe the better, especially for the twisting actions and swivels that females do, slippy shoes are pretty much a necessity. If the foot doesn’t slide well, you risk twisting the joints, stretching the back muscles and damaging your knees. The wrong shoes can also strain tendons and ligaments in the feet’, says Megan.

Serious stuff – but don’t let this put you off dancing, injury can occur doing anything (including changing light bulbs and waiting for the bus) and being aware of the potential for injury is often all you need to avoid it.

Sole Searching

Check out the following brands and stockists for some suitably suede-y (or leather-y) soled shoes:

Aris Allen pumps and shoes are designed specifically for Swing dancing, made by and available (along with plenty of other male and female dance-type paraphernalia) from www.dancestore.com in the USA (good prices, expensive shipping).

(see here for Dancestore’s detailed explanation of shoe terminology: www.dancestore.com/footwear-glossary.aspx)

Bleyer Shoes are made in Germany, and are popular amongst Swing, Jive and Rock and Roll dancers all over the world. These come in European sizes and some require an additional insole, so pay attention if ordering online! Available from the London Swing Dance Society http://www.swingdanceuk.com/store

Remix Shoes are some of the most beautiful retro shoes on the planet – for dance, you may wish to have them sueded by a local cobbler (this usually costs around £25) www.remixvintageshoes.com

Rock and Roll Products– part of (Johnson’s Shoes) craft both ready made and custom shoes, for dance and for style, right here in the UK) www.rocknrollproducts.com

Retro Revival sell vintage style clothing and shoes in London (stockists of Aris Allen and Remix and personal friends of Manchester Lindy) www.revival-retro.com

A heads up on shoe size mysteries – Swing shoe shops in the UK are rare and there are none in Manchester – this means many dancers buy their shoes online. Some online shoe ‘stores’ work in American sizes and generally speaking there is a 2.5 – 3 size difference between British and American sizes for ladies sizing and a 1 size difference for chaps. This means that if you’re a women’s 6 like me, you’d be looking at a US 8.5 or 9, If you are a UK men’s 10, you’ll likely be a US men’s 11, depending on the type of shoe and your feet. If you are thinking of buying a particular brand via mail order ask around and see if you can try on someone’s shoes, or try them on at Lindy Exchanges and camps (we’ll be posting more about these soon).

Don’t Forget the High Street

As well as buying ready-made slippery soled shoes, you can go to regular stores such as Primark, Dune and Clarks and pay a cobbler about 25 quid to slap some suede on the bottom for you. This might be handy, if you’re new to dancing and don’t want to spend much on shoes (especially the Primark option, as some of their basic pumps have smooth enough soles to use as is, although you might like to buy a size up and add a supportive insole) and is a great option for when you just fall in love with street shoes and wish they were dance shoes. It’s also good for those of us that are fussy about fit, and need to try shoes on before purchase.

Dancers’ Devotions

I asked a few Manchester Lindy chaps and chapettes what they had to say about shoes:

Leanne Frank, Lover of Colourful Keds and Comfort

‘Sueding shoes for me became a thing around two years ago. I went to a dance weekend and noticed after a couple of swing outs that my knees started to twinge. As I was running regularly at the time, buying new shoes was a no brainer. My brand of choice, Keds (founded in 1916 and with styles that are virtually unchanged since the 30’s) aren’t particularly popular on the Manchester scene but I love them for the support they offer me when I’m dancing and the variety of colours you are provided with. My advice would be, find a pair of shoes that you like and are comfortable in, befriend your local cobbler and get some dance soles put on them. Or, go for popular dance shoes, such as Aris Allen as they come pre sueded. Comfort is the key in this game!’

Jacqui Madden, Fan of Aris Allen and Free to Spin Forever

“I wore extremely cheap (1 of my finest English pounds) and very cheerful pumps from the good folks at Primark during my first year in dancing and found them to be comfortable and more than adequate. My balance and spin-ability weren’t the greatest in the beginning, so having a shoe that wasn’t hugely slippery but also not too grippy really helped. Now that I’ve been dancing for two years I swear by Aris Allen sneakers/pumps and whilst I still think having fancy suede shoes isn’t a necessity for dancing, it really does help. Suede shoes feel great, are extremely comfy and allow for freedom of movement. I’ve also found that my balance has improved and that I can now manage a darn good spin.”

Sidney Simon,  This Man Knows all about Good Gaffer and Killer Threads.

“At Manchester Lindy on a Tuesday and for practicing generally, I prefer to adapt street trainers by putting some good quality gaffer tape on the sole. This gives a decent amount of slide without it being permanent (*editors note: some posh dance floors will not permit this, because it can leave a sticky residue on the wood, so be sure to get acquainted with your venue). If I’m dancing out, I choose the shoes to suit my outfit and that often means leather soled dress shoes. These shoes can be very expensive, but you can get bargains in places like TK Maxx and if you keep them for best they’ll last years.  I think the main point is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to dance.”

If the Shoe Fits

In keeping with the welcoming spirit of the Lindy Hop, the most important thing is finding something that works for you, something comfortable, something enjoyable and most of all, something safe. Happy Dancing!

Marianne Knowles

Source for the science bit: http://www.nismat.org


The Lindy Circular – Flying Solo

Flying Solo

a blog about Jazz by Leanne Frank

Manchester Lindy is branching out into the world of solo Authentic Jazz, with a veritable smorgasbord of Jazz knowledge being delivered by the wonderful Taina. But why go? What is it? What’s in it for you?

There have been a lot of questions like this bandying about the social dance floor; so to contextualise, let’s use what we know.
It’s Saturday night. A song comes on that you love but none of your friends are keen to accompany you to the dance floor. Fuelled by (Dutch) courage, you get up and dance, regardless, throwing shapes with such joyous musical abandon that those around you gaze on, secretly jealous of your style and the apparent happiness it brings you. The song finishes and you feel… electric, knowing that you danced because you wanted to and nobody was going to get in your way. Now, add a swing soundtrack and there it is… solo Jazz!

Solo Jazz (or vernacular Jazz, as it is also referred to) is a way of dancing without a partner, which is always helpful on a social dance floor if there aren’t many leads/follows to dance with. Along with that, it’s a fast-track way of developing your own sense of style in your partner dancing and gaining confidence with variations and more technical moves.
If you only remember three things that solo Jazz can (and will) add to your dancing, remember these.

Creativity
The best international social dancers get to be the best because of their understanding of the freedom solo Jazz offers to you. After a few months of classes, your swing-out repertoire will be unbelievable; follows will find opportunities to try out new moves with the most basic of leads, leads will be able to interpret the music in previously unprecedented ways. This is the stuff that makes a good dancer a great dancer. If you enjoy improvisation and playing with rhythms, then this is the next step.

Confidence
It almost goes without saying that if you are bold and creative, your confidence will increase. If you are in the middle of a dance, testing new Jazz steps and having a jolly good time, people will notice. People will praise you. Most importantly, people will ask you to dance. Remember, you are partaking in an activity that is visual. If someone sees that you are an innovative dancer, they will want to dance with you because you will put them through their paces and create those ‘did-you-just-see-what-they-did?’ moments that we all feel when watching the professionals dance. Some people may feel self-conscious about dancing alone, but to those people I say: dancing fortune favours the brave, and where you lead, others will follow.

Commitment
Now, for the science-y bit. The beauty of solo Jazz is that you are completely responsible for your own body movement. It seems silly, but seeing as we are ‘raised’ in a world where our dancing destiny is inextricably linked to the person we’re connected to, breaking that link is enlightening. You have to take command and really contemplate your weighting, balance and positioning, for every move. This is something that feeds back in to your partnered dancing, making you more sensitive to yours and your partner’s movement. You learn what works and what doesn’t, and even better, how to self-correct.

That’s when you’ve made it.

The best dancers don’t get to be the best without making things up, being bold and trying them out, getting things wrong and taking the time to work out how to make it right. Solo Jazz helps with every aspect of this. Of course, there will be some trip-ups along on the path to Jazz glory, but if you aren’t cocking up at some point, you aren’t trying hard enough.

Leanne Frank