sWinging It – Week 19

sWinging It

Learnin’ to Lindy where everyone’s friendly

 

Weeks 18 & 19 (New Term)

Both these weeks have been very similar to me in terms of what I’ve done, (Manchester and Mersey each week, with some added social fun at Ruby Blues in Liverpool last Wednesday) and how I’m feeling about my Lindy at the moment.

Overwhelmed and frustrated!

This isn’t because the routines we have covered so far are too difficult. They are tricky (especially the Manchester ones recently) but I’ve found that by the end of the lesson I have it to a place where, if I could practice more, it would be ok. It’s just because now there is a lot more going on.

Take Mike and Kate’s routine from week 19. In that one session concepts that were new to me were:

1) Varying energy in the rock step to signal/get a ‘quicker’ cross over.

2) Leading your follow in a direction where you aren’t strictly speaking going yourself (right towards the end I felt like I’m kind of bringing the follow towards whilst moving out of the way at the same time and I’ll be honest I’ve still not figured that bit out).

3) Breaking the comfortable beginner pattern of ‘rock step, triple, step-step, triple’. I’ve come to the conclusion now that this basically doesn’t exist anymore. It’s the correct step on the correct counts to make sure you (and your weight) are in the correct place and you are moving nicely with the music.

4) Moving your connected hands in time with the music for certain steps (this was right at the end).

And that’s on top of actually learning the routine. Oh and there is most likely more stuff that was new that I’ve just forgotten about before typing this up.

There is SO much to learn. SO much to get better at. And I can’t learn it all.

This is where the feelings are coming from. Overwhelmed (and a little excited) by how much there is to learn and frustrated that I can’t do it. I’m a quick learner (I like to think) and when I don’t get something I will go at it again and again until it works. I can’t do that here.

It’s hard to practice these routines during social dancing when you are navigating the floor and you actually would like to fit what you are doing to the song (still working on that…). It’s impossible to practice completely at home unless you have a partner because knowing if you got something right relies so heavily on seeing your partner move and feeling the connection, especially when you are trying for compression and stretch.

I almost gave up Solo Jazz for a while to get a bit more social dancing action in the hopes of helping consolidate these things. Thankfully I realised that was crazy. Take the one thing I am getting good at and drop it to feel more frustrated about the other stuff I want to work on… Not my best plan.

I’m sticking with the Solo Jazz. In fact I’m pouring more energy into it at home again. I need to balance out the frustration. Fortunately, the Manchester p__p (censored) walk routine this week was a lot of fun and quite rejuvenating after a really tricky class. On the classes front I’ll just make sure I get a few things out of it to think about and work on. The reality is if I get one thing out of a class I’m making progress. I like to really learn everything and consolidate stuff so I feel like I know it (spot the internally competitive one…) but I need to realise this just ain’t happenin’.

So more Jazz and more patience.

Let’s see what the next few weeks bring.

Dan

sWinging It – Week 9

sWinging It

Learnin’ to Lindy where everyone’s friendly

 

Week 9 (Lesson Week 6 Holiday Week)

As mentioned last week I was on holiday and so missed lessons this week. For those of you interested, my withdrawal symptoms included an increased need to listen to swing music*, spare minutes spent reading internet articles about dancing (covered more below) and a small bit of solo jazz to some buskers in Rome (in my defence they did swing).

Also worth noting this week is that I discovered the identity of ‘man in shorts’ through the power of social media. Not all of social media is a force for good but the Manchester Lindy Facebook group clearly is. ‘Man in shorts’ is called Chris. It’s good I discovered this before winter set in as I can’t imagine Chris needing shorts much longer.

So without much opportunity to practice, but plenty of thinking time whilst squashed on Rome’s buses, these are the things I have been wondering about before, and during, my holiday. I don’t blog about them normally because my random thoughts are nowhere near as fun as what happens on a Tuesday evening. There are two running themes to these questions.

1) They have a lot to do with interpreting music (or over-thinking it, a speciality of mine)

2) I am nowhere near ready to actually start worrying about them during lessons/social dancing** (which is why I torture myself with it in my spare time)

Why do Jazz steps start on the 8 count?

OK there are plenty that start on the 1 but I’ve also seen enough that start on 8. I did do some looking into this using the magic of the internet but couldn’t get a satisfactory explanation. The best I found was that for those moves, the second step contrasts/compliments the first beat. I don’t have a clue if this is right. It bothers me.

What on earth is a break / how do I know it is a break?

I will hold my hand up and say there are some good articles on this which talk to musical structure and have examples to listen to, but I haven’t had time yet to really focus on them. I have seen a break described as when all of the instruments stop but also as when most of the instruments stop. I’m convinced that breaks exist, but not very clear on how to accurately recognise them. At least I no longer think it’s where you stop in the middle of a really fast song and hyperventilate.

I have been listening out for breaks and think I hear them sometimes. I do have trouble in tracks where one instrument stops and another starts. Is this a break or something else? Can I make up a name for it in case I accidentally hit it? I definitely hit that swap…

I can picture a moment in my future when I hit what I think is a break but clearly isn’t. If/when that happens I will have to tell myself to read this post again. Right now I can’t imagine having any brain capacity left over from all the other stuff I need to think about during a dance to actually hit a break, real or imagined.

Musicality

Oh yes. That word. Come on. From the Oxford Dictionary no less:

1) Musical talent or sensitivity:

her beautiful, rich tone and innate musicality

his compositions reveal an exceptional degree of innate musicality

2) The quality of having a pleasant sound; melodiousness:

the natural musicality of the language

Glad that one was cleared up.

This is the most ambiguous but often used term I have come across. People seem to use it to express an awful lot of things and that bothers me*** because it leaves me open to misconceptions which I am sure I would swallow. It would not surprise me to hear someone mention the word ‘musicality’ and ‘you can’t get pregnant during your first social dance’ in the same sentence. I would probably believe it and spend the rest of the evening wondering what kind of social dancing they do.

In all seriousness, I would like to see at least some kind of list of things that express/show musicality. I guess hitting a break would be one. Maybe by the time I’m ready to start actually demonstrating musicality I will be a bit clearer on what exactly it is.

I have just read this blog post back to myself and think I need to add ‘ranting about Lindy concepts which frighten and confuse me’ to my list of withdrawal symptoms. I need my next fix. Tuesday is only one sleep away. I can make it.

 Dan

*Flights go really quickly when accompanied by The Boilermaker Jazz Band, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington and Glenn Crytzer And His Syncopators.

** This is actually a blessing. I am actively trying to have fewer things to worry about during social dancing in the hopes I might actually relax a little bit

*** As a (long ago) physicist I confess that I probably have a hang-up about precise definitions and that, in more artistic areas, that isn’t always possible because it is very subjective. It’s like being cool. Everyone can accurately tell me I’m not cool. Nobody can tell me what I need to do to be cool. Except my daughter who says I need sunglasses like a spy, a leather jacket and some black trousers…

Dan clearly needs help, what can I do?

The doctor he found on the internet has prescribed dance related treatment. Dance with him. If you spot a break you can punch him until he starts to recognise them. Then he will be known throughout the world as ‘that guy who hits all the breaks by cringing’. A small price to pay to hit all them tasty  breaks.

Manchester Lindy on BBC Breakfast with Scottie!

Manchester Lindy were pleased to join Scott Cupit on BBC Breakfast. Scott talked Swing dance, Lindy Hop and Frankie Manning while we had a little dance outside on the Quays.

We’ve gained lots of new members and met many new friends, so thank so much for asking us, Scottie!

If you weren’t up early enough, you can catch up up with what you missed on YouTube, following the links below.

Manchester Lindy’s dancing on the BBC breakfast show has also snuck onto Swing Nation in their Scott Cupit interview. You’ll see the brief clip around 19:40.

Thanks to Mark for spotting us!

(and who is that starring in the I Charleston Jersey clip? Why, only Daniel, one of the founding Manchester Lindy Committee Members! Glad you are still dancing!)

You can watch many more Swing Nation episodes by following this link to the Yehoodi Swings Youtube Channel:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzjqX9NieCmo2_YpwnKPpMQ

Enriching our Swing Social with a dash of Balboa -Tuesday Feb 4th!

Manchester Lindy’s original swingin’ night out!

Come Lindy Hop with us at the beautiful art deco Freemason’s Hall, Bridge St (off Deansgate) M3 3BT

Just £5! A whole heap of social dancing fun!

Doors open 7.30pm

7.45pm (Room 1) Level 0-1 (Beginners) Charleston

7.45pm (Room 2) Level 3 Taina – Introduction to BALBOA!

8.30pm (Room 2) Level 2 Taina

8.30pm (Room 1) Social Dancing until 10.45 (ish)

Not sure which class is right for you? Here’s a handy guide:

http://manchesterlindy.co.uk/understanding-levels

This week only: Experienced level 2 dancers who are keen to learn Balboa can step up and do the level 3 class (as well as their own level 2 class later on). Please be respectful of the level 3 dancers, this is their time! If you are unsure if you’ll cope, speak to the committee (or Taina) in the lead up to Feb 4th. Ladies, be prepared to learn the lead role if numbers are unbalanced!

WHY Balboa:
Balboa is a brilliant dance on its own and it really clarifies the ever important Lindy principle of weight change as well as the difference between body-lead and arm-lead. Great for all tempos, especially useful for fast music.

Video: Peter Loggins and Mia Goldsmith mix Balboa and Bal-swing with Lindy Hop and Charleston:

You can even bust out a little Balboa mid-Lindy dance, especially if you need a little break!

If you’d like to learn more, Taina will be following up the Manchester Lindy class with a dedicated Balboa workshop.
Taina has years of Balboa teaching experience at all levels and is happy to share it with you. Good Balboa tuition is rare in Manchester so do not miss this!

Workshop details:

FAST-BEGINNERS: 12pm-1.30pm
(You’ve tried Balboa before or are a fast learner / level 2-3 Lindy Hopper.)
Learn cool steps, how to combine with Lindy, technique, leading & following

IMPROVERS: 1.30pm-3pm
(You can dance the basic steps.)
Come Arounds, Spikes, Variations + more technique, leading & following

WHERE:
Soho Gym / Fitness First, Premier Lodge Hotel, 7-11 Lower Mosley St, M2 3DW
Tram: St Peter’s Sq
Fee: £8 / person / wshop or
£15 for the day

Full workshop event listing here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1441475899403268/ and here:

New for Thursdays! Manchester Lindy and Would You Dance? Present Solo Jazz!

Solo Jazz with Taina K
Solo Jazz with Taina K

Solo Jazz every Thursday with Taina K!

Manchester Lindy in collaboration with Would You Dance? Present a new, weekly authentic Solo Jazz class at Studio25 in the centre of Manchester.

WHAT:
1.5hours of solid dancing & learning!
Technique for individual steps & classic solo routines!

Solo Jazz makes a solid base for your Lindy! The better you can dance by yourself, the easier it will be to do partnered dances, swing dance or other.

COST:£7 for individual session or
£33 for a prepaid set of 6
(use within 10 weeks of purchase)

WHERE:
Room7, 25 Church Street, Manchester, M4 1PE.
Church Street is behind Debenhams; if you follow the tram tracks towards Shudehill, it’s the next right after Debehams.

PARKING AND STUDIO25View Studio 25, Manchester City Centre in a larger map

BOOKINGS OPEN SOON

PARKING: Leave your car in an outdoor car park
Map of :
– inexpensive outdoor parking near Northern Quarter here
– parking zones & charges here

MORE INFO & join the mailing list:
Taina & Would You Dance?
mail@tainak.com or
call 079 497 43 549

Mailing List: sign up here

Manchester Lindy says:

We were delighted when, in January 2012, Taina, international teacher and swing dance champion (with more than 20 years experience!) first attended a Manchester Lindy Swing Social, having recently relocated from London.  Within a couple of months the committee had worked up enough courage to ask her to take a class, and happily, since then Taina has become a regular guest, teaching across all three levels.

We are now delighted to extend that partnership and add a new dimension to vintage dance in Manchester by bringing you Solo Jazz every Thursday! This will be the perfect opportunity to learn all those tricky steps, in detail, with authentic styling and historical context. Suitable for Lindy Hoppers, Tap dancers and Burlesques babes!