If Manchester Lindy had to elect a committee rockstar, Andy would be prime candidate. He was once referred to as the ‘David Cassidy’ of ML (showing my age, I had to Google Cassidy and the search produced an interesting news story where he had just been arrested for drug driving charges – hmm), which is generally read as ‘he’s rather good, let’s all look at him’.
He is rather good and we should all look at him but not too much, or he’ll get self-conscious. A clear and confident lead, he is admired and feared by beginners and known internationally for his dancing talent. Manchester is lucky to have him and he is an international benchmark for any aspiring dancer to learn from and measure themselves against.
When and why did you start dancing?
My first experience was at circus school where we were taught basic steps and aerials. I did not immediately continue Lindy after that short course but I looked for it again when I stopped performing circus, as I remembered how much fun it was.
Has Lindy Hop affected you in ways you haven’t expected?
It has made me less worried about what people think of me and it has given me confidence in social situations.
Where do you like to dance outside of Manchester?
All over the world! I love travelling and dancing as long as I leave a little time to explore the local area. Dancing in Istanbul was fantastic as the Lindy scene was really great and there was so much history to check out.
What made you decide to join the committee?
I wanted to contribute to growing a Lindy scene and I really enjoy teaching.
What are your favourite shoes to dance in?
Pumps with a little bit of grip.
What worries you the most during a social dance?
Doing the same moves over and over and my partner being bored.
What’s would someone say your signature move is on a social dance floor?
I don’t know.
(Writer’s note: there is such a saying as being Conwayed at a ML. It’s generally the sensation is being overly warm, flustered and generally feeling/looking like you have stepped out of a tumble dryer. Make of that what you will – Andy is not for the faint of heart).
If you had to put in to words what a good dance feels like, what would you compare it to?
Good dances feel like a big conversation involving the dancers and the instruments. The feeling in the dance can range from being jokey to thoughtful, to anything really, but good dances feel like a conversation.
Name one difficulty you have faced learning to dance. How have you dealt with it?
I felt enormously self-conscious when I started dancing. The only way to get over that feeling it is to dance, dance, dance. It took ages for me to feel less self-conscious. I think it is important to remember that when people are dancing they are most likely thinking about their own steps and not yours.
What’s the number one rule any good Lindy Hopper must follow?
Who are your favourite dancers to watch?
Skye Humphries and Frida Segherdahl. He is the coolest dancer I have ever seen and she makes every movement look amazing. I love watching them dance together. Also Max Pitruzella who we were lucky enough to welcome to Manchester last year… He has an amazing ability to make extremely complicated moves look very easy and he somehow does them in perfect time.
Is there such a thing as a mistake in Lindy Hop?
I don’t think so. I reckon Lindy Hop has probably developed through experimentation and therefore any mistake could be described as progress.
What are your hopes for the Lindy community in the future?
I hope that we are able to build on what we have in Manchester and I love that we are a non-profit group. In general, I hope that Lindy Hop does not become too commercialised as it becoming so would diminish its spontaneous element and could lead to the over-standardisation of the dance.