sWinging It – Week 8

sWinging It

Learnin’ to Lindy where everyone’s friendly

Week 8 (Lesson Week 5)

Two months of Lindy have flown by and have been marked this week by… a FAIL. A fail of the social kind (the worst 😦 ).

I nervously walked up to two ladies who were sat down. They both looked at me as I was about to ask one of them to dance and… I asked if either would like to dance. This was pointed out to me (in a very nice way) as bad. A no no. If I had been thinking at all I would have realised (before I said it) that I was basically telling both of them that neither was particularly special and was also labelling myself as needy to boot. My finest hour…

I could just not write about this (convenient being the story teller) but I set out to write about the good (mostly), bad (rarely) and the ugly (hopefully never again). Also:

1) If you have done this and feel like an idiot. You now know you are not the only idiot.

2) If this stops you from being an idiot, then bonus.

3) Most importantly, to say thank you to the two ladies. I basically insulted them and they were really nice in the way they set me straight on how to, actually, you know, be polite. They still danced with me. They also seemed a little worried I was upset (I was horrified – with myself).

People like that are what make Manchester Lindy just a really nice place to come to.

Lesson week 5 (run by Ben and Meg) was sort of Charleston and 8 count refresher but also about moving between the two. This was good because, amongst many other things, I have been wondering a lot about how you signal moving from 8 count to 6 count (and back), and 8 count to Charleston (and back). One of those I can now practice until I have it down cold.

Lindy Circle* was also covered. This move was one that I really was not good at, so I was pleased it was revisited. I can now reliably get a full 360 turn if I want (teacher tip – little steps!). For me I feel like I am really invading my follow’s personal space when it goes right. Either this is correct and I will eventually feel more comfortable doing it, or, someone will tell me how to do it without being creepy and I can have another embarrassing confession to make!

Solo Jazz was run by Paula + a lady I don’t recognise (I think she’s Kate but I could have just made that up) (Editors note: you did, it was Beck – and that was her very first time as a teaching assistant! She was awesome! Paula). We learnt the first 40 seconds of the Tranky Doo. This doesn’t sound like a lot but in 45 minutes this is (to me) a real achievement! Also, Paula announced that she had decided, after reading this blog, that she needed to be as hardcore in the Solo Jazz class as Amy (Paula is the editor so she has the power to read blog future). What have I done??!!! If this carries on there will be casualties.

I loved learning the Tranky Doo! It’s really fun. The shuffle just feels fun to do and it is the only routine I know of that features Zombies. Paula suggested shouting out the names of the moves as we did them to help remember. During practice I had no spare brain power to do this but at home I have concocted a story including the names of the moves to help remember the order** – it works for my brain. We performed this again during the social (it is definitely a thing now – yeeeess!). They may or may not have videoed it. If I am on the video then look for the person that does it wrong about half way through. I did recover (phew), so not all bad.

Other than my moment of shame, social dancing was again good fun. There are now a small group of beginners that all started around the same time as me and come pretty much every week – we seem to have found each other. This is really nice because I can practice with people at or around my level. For me this is a comfortable break from the great, but sometimes scary, experience of dancing with the more advanced follows. It’s worth noting I’m still enjoying dancing with absolute beginners (says the guy with only 8 lessons under his belt…). It’s not like I can’t do with extra work on my pulse and my rhythm and my connection and…  But there are things I can’t do with people who have attended a couple of weeks. I wouldn’t subject a complete beginner to my very dodgy swing-outs – especially given how keenly I still remember my first session of social dancing!

Nice moment – one of the dances with another beginner in my ‘started same time’ group was declared as awesome (by her not me – but I thought it was awesome too!). It’s a great feeling when you have what feels like a good dance!

That said my best moment was being told by Meg during a social dance that she could tell I had worked on my footwork. Yes!!!! Obsessive practice is paying off!! And I got to dance with Paula for the first time! Good times.

At the end of the evening, as I was being really slow getting ready to go***, I was asked to the pub by Adrian and Valadee (almost surely spelt wrong). Considering I’d never met them this was really nice. Six of us went out for a drink and some pizza and I really enjoyed myself. It’s a nice comedown from the dancing and made even better by friendly company!

Sadly I won’t make it next week because I’m in Rome. I haven’t figured out yet how to get to Manchester for Tuesday evening and back to Rome for Wednesday morning without my wife and child noticing. So there may be no week 9 or, if there is, it will be full of my rambling dancing thoughts (more than usual) rather than any real insight into what happened in lessons.


*The names are all so obvious that I am only now calling out ones that I feel aren’t particularly descriptive of what you actually do.

** Some things I will not share here and my primary school level Tranky Doo memory story is one of them…

*** I loiter until the very end. I think a small part of me is saying. “Maybe they will stop packing up and put the music back on?”

Who is Dan?

I’m writing this on Back to the Future day. So if my plan worked then Gray’s Sports Almanac has been replaced with a note that Marty McFly will take back to me in 1985. The note will tell me to find somewhere to start learning Lindy and I will be an awesome dancer.

Given I am 4 years old in 1985 I probably ate the letter. This means my 2015 self is not an awesome dancer. I am most likely a humdrum IT contractor with a wife, one child, two cats and no social dancing etiquette. I am, however, starting to feel like part of an awesome dancing community.


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)


Superhero Leads!

On May 29th, Manchester Lindy’s Tuesday Swing Social is going Superhero crazy!

Leads (including lady-leads) are invited to attend dressed as superheroes – we’ll also have a communal dressing up box for those too shy to travel to Freemason’s Hall with their underpants over their trousers.

Here’s the official low down:

There is an exciting project coming up to make a fun film about celebrating all the lovely leads who are our prince charmings & book on with us wonderful follows for events – the aim is fun whilst also encouraging the sluggish leads to step it up!

What we want to do is get some still shots of lots of leads striking their superhero poses!

This is going to be a fun montage & the leads featured can have exposure for their local event/group/cause or remain anonymously gorgeous – their choice. All guys posing need to be comfortable with the shots being used online around the swing community.

Whether you want to wear your groups’ t-shirt or your red cape it’s up to you, as long as you look awesome & it’s suitable for kids/grannies to watch!

The rest of the nature of the film is under wraps so we make an even bigger impact when the film comes out in the summer

Manchester Lindy will be snapping pics and submitting them on your behalf so all you have to remember is your cape!

Illustration by Jesse Lonergan, see more dancing comic icons here.

Oldham Jubilee Street Party – Lindy Hop Demo

Want to show the good people of Oldham how wonderful the Lindy life can be?

Well here is your opportunity to do just that! The lovely Kat Birks of Lindy Bomb is organising a vintage dance demonstration as part of Oldham’s Jubilee celebration and she’s looking for social dancers, Charleston strollers and jam circlers!


Like to take part in this great community event? Email Kat – lindybomb@live.co.uk

but hurry, the street party is taking place on June 4th.

Coming Up in Manchester

May/June/July 2012

Manchester Lindy’s Saturday Swing, TV21, 10 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1DH – Saturday May 26th

Taina K’s Spice it Up Shag and Balboa workshop at Fitness First, Lower Moseley Street M2 3DW – Sunday May 27th

Manchester Lindy’s Sunday Swing Jubilee Special, TV21, 10 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1DH – Sunday June 3rd

Authentic Jazz Workshop with Trisha Sewell, Fitness First, Lower Moseley Street M2 3DW – Sunday July 15th

Learn the Tranky Doo for just £5! Fitness First, Lower Moseley Street M2 3DW – Sunday July 29th

And of course, Manchester Lindy Tuesday Swing Social every Tuesday at Freemason’s hall, Bridge Street!